The function of a diesel injection pump is very similar to the function of a human heart. It delivers fuel with timely precision to keep a diesel engine running smoothly. Just as our hearts pump blood according to the oxygen needs of our bodies, the diesel pump controls the amount of fuel fed to the engine to achieve the desired power.
Unlike gasoline engines, diesels don’t have an ignition system. In diesel engines, the injection pump directly injects fuel into heated, highly-pressurized air which automatically ignites it. In other words, the fuel injection pump in a diesel does the job of both the ignition system and the throttle.
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Diesel has always been considered the inferior type of fuel when compared to gasoline. Diesel engines had poor emissions as diesel is a lesser grade petroleum product and is not as refined as gasoline. However, the technology has come a long way. Modern diesel engines are highly fuel efficient and cleaner than their gasoline counterparts. A large extent of it is thanks to the evolution of injector system technology.
Inline Injection Pumps
Also known as a jerk pump, this is the first version of injection pumps to be developed. In a jerk pump, the pumps are situated in an inline formation. Plungers are used to force fuel into the combustion chamber. The plunger moves in a back and forth stroke pattern. The backward stroke would open a valve to let fuel in and the forward force would generate the thrust to force the fuel into the combustion chamber.
The pressurized and heated air in the combustion chamber completed the job by igniting the fuel. Inline injection pumps do not offer the complexity and sophistication of electronic injection systems but do have the ability to vary timing. Inline injection pumps look like a miniature version of an inline combustion engine.
Distributer/Rotary Injection Pumps
This is the more modern version of the diesel injection pump. It only has one fuel pump which rotates to provide fuel to each combustion chamber whenever required. It possesses more valves and an electronic system for improved control on the fuel used per injection.
The electronically controlled fuel distribution maximises the amount of fuel that can be saved. Here is what a distributer injection pump looks like.
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