Niagara Gazette

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March 14, 2014

TOM'S CORNER: A cylinder deactivation technology update

Niagara Gazette — Cylinder deactivation is used by carmakers to increase fuel efficiency & lower tailpipe emissions. The system selectively cancels cylinders while driving under light load, thus increasing fuel mileage. Cylinders are activated only when needed to pull or haul. There’s no real impact on drivers other than the need to maintain good maintenance. Additionally, tend to lit check engine lights immediately to stay the “domino theory” in your performance system. Additionally:

• Motorists might think that they have to do something to activate it. This is not true; the system operates without input from the driver. Motorists might be ill advised that the technology prematurely wears engines out. This is not true. Finally, Motorists might be jaded on the technology due the GM’s failed use of cylinder deactivation in the late 70s to early 80s. No need to be concerned about systems today, technology has been improved to the degree that it operates seamlessly due to greatly improved computerized engine management systems.

• Technicians/repair shops working on the systems need to have knowledge, tools, and database information necessary to diagnose & repair them.

• The technology reduces tailpipe emissions that contribute to air pollution & quality.

 How it works

Systems shut down fuel supply and close the valves of the cylinders not being used. There are two ways that valve control is accomplished: (1) control of rocker arms electro-hydraulically-mechanically or (2) collapsing valve lifters via oil pressure control through the Engine Control Module. When the valves close, the remaining exhaust gas from the previous combustion explosion in the deactivated cylinders acts as a cushion, bouncing the piston back down after it travels to Top Dead Center on compression and exhaust strokes. This action aids in keeping the crankshaft rotating despite the deactivated cylinders and causes no undue stress or pressure on the engine. Fuel, ignition, lifter collapse, and/or rocker arm control are all managed via microprocessors.

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