Direct Injection Vs. Conventional Injection – Why is GDI a noticeable engine improvement?

GDI Engines

GDI, often known as Gasoline Direct Injection, is a type of fuel injection that injects high-pressure gasoline straight into each cylinder’s combustion chamber.  In comparison, Traditional port fuel injection injects gasoline into the intake at low pressure.

How does Gasoline Direct Injection work?

Direct injection gasoline engines work by pumping high-pressure gasoline directly into the combustion chamber. It is significantly more precise than carburetors or previous fuel-injection systems.

GDI Engines History

In 1925, the first GDI engine was developed for use in some truck engines. later in the 1950s, Several German vehicles used the Bosch mechanical GDI system, but the technology was rarely used until Mitsubishi developed an electronic GDI system for mass-produced cars in 1996. About 75% of the cars produced today by the eight major manufacturers have GDI installed.

Advantages of GDI engines

BMW GDI, photo by Ton1~commonswiki, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Efficiency

Because of the direct injection, the combustion is more efficient, due to controlling the quantity, timing, and pattern of gasoline injected into the cylinder. This accuracy increases engine power while reducing engine size.

2. Economy and power

Direct injection leads to better combustion which reduces fuel consumption, this saves money and minimizes the environmental effects, and it lowers cylinder temperatures. Cooler temperatures improve the compression ratio, providing more power and economy from the same quantity of fuel. Some manufacturers claim GDI engines can deliver 50% more torque while improving fuel economy by 15%.

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Source: Netcarshow.com

Disadvantages of GDI engine 

There have been a few significant obstacles along the road. Deposits on the intake valves of GDI engines were common. We’ve listed the major disadvantages of GDI:

1. Carbon build up

The GDI engine’s power is a double-edged sword, While you get many benefits from GDI, carbon deposits that build up can steal all the positives associated with this type of engine. Because GDI engines pump gas directly into the cylinder, dirt from the intake air and blowback carbon gather on the intake walls. 

Carbon build up. photo by Steve Pallante/euromotive.ca

As a result of the carbon buildup, airflow to the cylinders is reduced, and you lose the torque and fuel efficiency, which are the benefits that GDI was designed to offer in the first place.

2. Heavy load on piston rings

Regular fuel injectors usually require 46 to 65 psi of fuel pressure to operate. In comparison, The GDI fuel injectors will need a pressure of at least 2000 psi. The injectors spray at such a high pressure that some gasoline may be blown out of the combustion chamber.

Source: cartreatments.com

GDI engies maintenance

If you are an owner of a GDI engine (KIA, HYUNDAI, TOYOTA, etc), you should follow these steps to prevent any potential severe problems with your engine:

  • While GDI vehicles will require a service every 20 to 40,000 miles, proper maintenance in between will help reduce carbon buildup.
  • Oil should be changed at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and with the prescribed oil for the intake valves to work optimally.
  • Replace spark plugs at the prescribed mileage to limit the amount of unburned fuel in the combustion chamber.
  • Use premium fuel with additional detergents To help maintain engine parts clean and free of deposits.
  • Use a fuel system cleaning, To keep the GDi system in good working order.
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