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In its simplest terms, an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system is a computer controlled fuel delivery system. This electronic control unit (ECU) reads various sensors located on the vehicle and makes the determination of how much fuel to allow the engine to have based on this information. The computer will open and close the injectors allowing gasoline into the engine based on the sensor inputs and the fuel map programmed into the computer. The various sensors (RPM, engine temperature, air temperature, throttle position, manifold pressure, crankshaft position) provide information on operating conditions and load on the engine. Figure 1 is a detailed drawing of a typical fuel injection system and the sensors that might be in place. The EFI Components table provides a detailed description of each of the major components.
We will limit our discussion to the types of fuel injection systems that are likely to be encountered on motorcycles. One of the major differences between fuel injection systems is how the sense the amount of load that is placed on the engine. The load can be sensed by how far the rider has twisted the throttle and MAP (manifold absolute pressure). EFI systems that sense engine load by the use of the throttle or TPS (throttle position sensor) are referred to as an Alpha-N system. EFI systems that sense engine load by the use of a MAP sensor are referred to as a Speed-Density system. Harley-Davidson has used both types of EFI systems on its vehicles. While many of the sensors can be the same in both types of EFI systems, there is a significant difference in the way that each system determines what the load on the engine actually is. The Magneti-Marelli system used on EVO and Twin Cam FLH's until 2001 and Buell XL engines is an Alpha-N EFI system. On these bikes, load sensing is determined by the throttle position. The newer Delphi EFI system used on current Twin Cam engines is a Speed Density system. Speed Density EFI systems determine the engine load based on the intake manifold vacuum.
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