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The other component of vehicle tuning that's most generally addressed will be the fuel delivery. The amount of fuel being despatched into the combustion chambers is usually measured as an "air to fuel ratio." A number representing the ratio of the level of air to the amount of petrol being burned in the motor. An internal combustion engine mixes fuel with oxygen in the air after which it ignites that mixture with a spark plug.

From my position of view, the optimum mixture of air and fuel is approximately 14 parts of oxygen to every one part of fuel to give a ratio of 14:1.

Higher ratios, or mixtures that consist of additional air than what is wanted are regarded "lean." Lower ratios, or mixtures that contain more gasoline that what is desired are deemed "rich."

Since there is generally some oxygen left inside exhaust gas stream of a operating engine, we have an easy way of measuring the air/fuel ratio. An "oxygen sensor" can be used to measure the percentage of oxygen still left inside the gas stream, and a pc or other electronic device can be used to calculate the air/fuel ratio that could result in that particular oxygen percentage. "Narrow-band" oxygen sensors respond with a voltage output that is sent to the computer that is between 0 and 1 volt. "Wide-band" oxygen sensors send a 0 to 5 volt signal which allows for a much higher resolution and therefore are much better for tuning. "Lambda" is a commonly used term that is used in place of one's air/fuel ratio number, as a great number of devices use or report lambda values. A lambda of 1.0 is equal to the ratio (14:1 for air/fuel) and is adjusted accordingly - a lambda of 0.82 is equal to 12:1 air/fuel ratio.

The "best" air/fuel ratio for a particular car is a issue of great debate and I will do my best to avoid that debate in this guide. Simply put, you'll find a number of factors that one must bear in mind in determining the best ratio, which include power, safety, and fuel economy. Fuel economy is the easiest to grasp, as a lower air/fuel ratio means more fuel and obviously lower fuel economy. As far as safety is concerned, richer is considered safer (to a point) as the more fuel helps things run cooler. The lower temperatures help decrease the chance of autoignition and can literally keep engine products from melting. The safest air/fuel ratios are continuously being debated, but it can be widely accepted that 13:1 is a fine ratio for normally aspirated engines and 12:1 is good for forced induction engines. Numerous choose to go even richer, even 11.5:1. Autoignition (or "detonation" or "knocking") is regarded a key concern with rotary engines, and many chippers choose to go even richer than that. One must also keep in mind that these "safe" ratios are considered safe mainly because they have been tried with numerous thousands of trucks over many years by dyno operators that use the same instruments that most people are likely to encounter. For that reason, a safety margin that takes into account the accuracy of that equipment is inherently factored in. If it were common for turbocharged cars to blow up at 12:1 as measured on typically used equipment, then the "safe" air/fuel ratio would have been lowered.