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Old 06-29-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default Wideband Shootout

I'm not sure if any of you had seen this.


" By Mike Kojima

The art of tuning an engine is not new, being important since the birth of the internal combustion engine over 100 years ago. For a generation or two, methods such as vacuum gauges, CO meters, and the black art of reading spark plugs were the main tools in a tuners arsenal. Due to the lack of accuracy of these methods, tuning was nothing more than subjective analysis and best left to the seasoned professional.

Later, as emissions standards tightened and as racing engines started to produce higher and higher outputs, the need to accurately determine air-fuel ratio became increasingly important. Technology improved and wide band air fuel ratio meters with embedded data logging equipment emerged. For many years this technology was out of reach for all but the most well heeled DIY tuner. The cost of accurate reference level wideband air fuel ratio meters was in the several thousand dollar range.

The affordable meters on the market, at the time, used conventional narrow band O2 sensors- the same type of sensors found in most early EFI cars. Such sensors are only accurate around the stoichiometric range, which is an air fuel ratio of 14.7:1. Accuracy in this range is useless for performance tuning where wide-open throttle ratios may drop as low as 11:1, and certainly in the 13:1 range for most naturally-aspirated engines.

The big breakthrough for the performance aftermarket occurred when Bosch made the LSU4 wide band O2 sensor available for a reasonable price, and the aftermarket responded by making affordable wide band air fuel ratio meters using this sensor. This is a boon to the DIY tuner as now there are many wideband air fuel ratio meters available on the market for a reasonable price.

Not All are Equal
However, many questions have since arisen since the widespread availability of wideband air-fuel meters.

First, since all of these meters use the same Bosch sensor, and since this sensor is factory calibrated, are they all more or less equal? The answer is no. There is significant difference between the controllers and circuitry used in the various meters. How the sensor's heater is controlled and how the pump current is switched and controlled, for instance, are critical for accurate sensor operation. Other questions also can be posed: Which meter is the best performing one? Which meters have the features I need?

With these question and few subjective answers to be found, we set out to determine which meters were the best. The task was a difficult one but we were determined to find the answers."
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:53 AM   #2
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