Understanding your Cars Air Intake System

By: Zeke Gervis

The air intake system is a car part that needs full attention all the time.

It is carefully built and tuned for an automobile to experience the maximum efficiency and power. It is the part of the internal combustion engine that is a powerful air pump. Its function is to increase the velocity of the air until such time that it travels in to the combustion chamber. This is done at the same time while minimizing the turbulence and restriction of flow. The intake works by testing the flow of air on a flow bench in the port design stage.

To tremendously improve the car's performance, extensive tweaking of the intake system is found on cars with turbochargers or superchargers that provide a pressurized intake system.

Consumers nowadays mostly prefer modern cars. And these cars also require a modern air intake system that has 3 major parts, namely an air filter, mass flow sensor, and throttle body. In order to reduce the noise that enters the cabin, more recent cars now have silencer. This car part hinders the flow of air and creates turbulence that reduces total power. In effect, many performance fanatics often remove the silencers.

Specific lengths of air intakes are designed for the air to vibrate and be available at a specific frequency. This assists the flow of air into the combustion chamber. To minimize the restriction of flow at the cost of changing the pattern of the air intake for a small net increase in power or torque, the aftermarket industry now has larger throttle bodies and air filters.

In the case of your Daihatsu car, if you feel any damage in its air intake, the might be in trouble. Check your owner's manual and know how to solve.

As a car owner, you need to know other things about your air intake system. One of which is the process of how the air and the fuel that needs to burn get into the cylinders.

In a carburetor equipped engine, the air comes into the space for air filter. Air passes through the air filter and then into the carburetor where the fuel is blended with it. Through the intake manifold, it passes. And then it is drawn into the cylinders.

The Air Temperature Sensor is the most advanced part of the air intake system. This prevents carburetor icing that might cause your vehicle to stall and die out. It also facilitates vaporization of the fuel into the air stream. Moreover, it is used to gauge the temperature of air. It also allows cool air in through the air horn or heated air piped in from around an exhaust manifold. And this is done through opening and closing a flap.

However, you cannot accurately measure the incoming air for the appropriate fuel mixture. Nonetheless, for an idle car, you can use emission analyzer. Then, adjust the fuel mixture. Remember that you cannot attain the right fuel mixture at higher speeds.

While some car manufacturers do not recommend carburetor adjustments, some manufacturers recommend carburetor adjustments on a dynamometer with the engine under load.

Vehicles using fuel injection, air is drawn in through the air intake. It is a long plastic tube that transcends up to the space for the air filter. The intake tube is long because it must make the air move in a fairly steady, coherent stream. Through the air filter and then followed by the air flow meter, the air passes.

The vane type and the hot wire type are the two types of AFMs. The first one contains a flap that is forced by the incoming air. More flaps are forced back when there is more amount of air that is coming in. A potentiometer that is attached to the flap sends a signal of voltage to the Power train Control Module (PCM). Behind the main vane is a second vane. This fits into a closed camber which suppresses the movement of the vane. In effect, a more accurate measurement is given. An Air Temperature Sensor, which functions exactly as it does in the carbureted engine, is also built into the vane AFM.

On the other hand, the hot wire AFM utilizes a series of wires strung in the air stream. The wire resistance at normal operating temperature is held constant; it will allow a set voltage through it. The air cools as it passes through the hot wire. And during this process, the wire resistance diminishes. As a result, it allows passing through more voltage. The signal of the voltage then goes to the main EFI computer. There, it allows the fuel mixture to be adjusted. And then, from the AFM, it goes to the throttle chamber.

The air that flows into the engine is controlled by the chamber. The car comes in an idle mode when the throttle chamber is closed. A small bypass chamber allows a small amount of air to bypass the throttle plate and proceed into the engine.

The Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) and the Cold Start Valve are among the other essential parts of the air intake system.

And so this is how the air intake system works and how air enters the engine. Having knowledge on this will lessen your ignorance when it comes to intake matters. A frequent owner's manual browsing will also help a lot.


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