Fuel Injection - A Short History

There are presently various types of mechanical and electronically controlled fuel injection sys­tems utilized by domestic and foreign automakers. And you may think of fuel injection as a rela­tively new development, yet various manufac­turers have been trying to circumvent the car­buretor for more than 50 years.

Bosch began in 1912 in its experiments with fuel injection concepts primarily for increased engine power output, which, until the recent and overrid­ing emissions requirements, was the major thrust of fuel injection development. By 1932 Bosch was ready to series-produce piston operated aircraft engines equipped with gasoline injection systems. Bosch’s first automotive injection setups for series production were introduced in 1952.

The history of American fuel injected engines is integrally connected to racing, units having ap­peared as early as the 1940s on Indianapolis and other racing cars.

Enderle and Hilborn fuel injection units first ap­peared in the 1940s and became virtual necessities on modem drag racing engines, both naturally as­ pirated and supercharged. Today’s turbocharged Indianapolis, Formula I, and drag racing engines utilize fuel injection that works in conjunction with superchargers and turbochargers.

Cadillac’s use of a Bendix electronic fuel injec­tion system in 1975 was the first employment of domestic fuel injection in an American production automobile since the famous fuel injected Cor­vettes passed from the scene in 1965.

The Chevrolet Corvettes employed Rochester fuel injection as an option from 1957 until 1965. The Rochester unit was unique, and originally de­ signed for extreme cornering situations during rac­ing and slalom events, because carburetors just could not function properly under such conditions. The unit, however, not only served diligently in racing for nine years, but also delivered excellent fuel economy and performance on the street.

With Chevrolet leading the way with production line installation of the Rochester fuel injection units on Corvettes and even high performance ver­sions of their passenger cars, other American man­ufacturers began looking at fuel injection as a performance and an image booster.

Pontiac built 1500 special 1957 Bonneville con­vertibles with bucket seats and fuel injected en­gines in late 1957 as a test. Although the test seemed successful, and Pontiac announced the in­jection option as available for 1958; however, they never built any 1958 cars with injection, instead going to three 2-barrel carburetion for their top perform­ance models.

Also, in 1957, the Rambler Rebel was advertised as a fuel injection V8 and the 1958 Chrys­ler 300D, both special high performance models; however, only Chryslers delivered a very few with an electroni­cally controlled Bendix Electrojector system. How­ever, as production line and field problems devel­oped with these early units, they disappeared, leaving only the Corvette Rochester system, which would continue as a regular production option until 1965.

In contrast to American auto manufacturers, the imported carmakers have continued on the fuel in­jection development road in partnership with the Robert Bosch Corporation.

Bosch and Volkswagen cooperated in the de­velopment and 1967 introduction of Bosch’s first real electronically controlled injection system, the D-Jetronic. Various model VWs have used this system ever since. As more and more automakers came to Bosch and needed different performance characteristics from an electronic fuel injection system, Bosch evolved the L-Jetronic system that is more com­mon now than the earlier D-Jetronic. And when manufacturers asked for a simpler system that could accomplish the same results as the L-Jetronic but without the inherent complexi­ties of an electronic brain controlling the system, Bosch developed the K-Jetronic which is a me­chanically controlled continuous: Bow injection sys­tem.

At present, most automobile manufacturers, utilize an electronically controlled fuel injection system. Similar to or as man­ufactured by Bendix and is electronically controlled. However, it is expected that this situation will change in the future as more and more manu­facturers seek an EV solution for efficiency and emissions.


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