Understanding emission numbers and how they work

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Old 30 Oct 2005, 12:54 am   #1 (permalink)
Steve H
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Default Understanding emission numbers and how they work

Borrowed this from a training manual for an advanced ASE diagnostics test.
Thought it would be good for others to read and get a basic understanding of
what happens in a engine and how emissions are formed. I learned a lot
typing it, and I hope it helps me pass the test.

Steve

Exhaust Gas Analyzer
One of the more useful Diagnostic Devices available to a technician is the 4
or 5 gas analyzer. Not only are they readily available, but many of them can
be taken out for a test drive. This feature makes them an ideal tool for
base lining a vehicle that has failed an inspection maintenance test. Most
state inspections are in grams per mile (GPM) of pollutants while most shop
exhaust analyzers measure in Parts Per Million (PPM) or in percentage (%).
The difference does make the readings difficult to compare, but does not
eliminate the use of the shop analyzer for diagnosis purposes. Most
analyzers available today will measure HC in PPM, C0 in %, CO2 on %, and O2
in %. An option to measure NOX in PPM can be added to most units. Lets look
at the individual gases and analyze why they are produced.

Gasoline is comprised of mostly hydrocarbons (HC). When HC is burned it
combines with oxygen (O2) and under ideal conditions produces water (H20)
and carbon dioxide (CO2). Notice the emphasis on the Ideal. To be practical,
ideal conditions really do not exist in engines that have to operate under
varying loads and speeds. As a result, we not only get water and carbon
dioxide but we also see some raw gas come out of the tailpipe (HC) and some
carbon monoxide (CO). Under extreme heat conditions we also see some varying
conditions for excessive HC and CO. Some states additionally check for NOx



You will remember that gasoline was composed of HC and yet after the burn in
the cylinders we still see some HC coming out of the tailpipe, or going into
the catalytic converters. How can this be? The burn in the cylinder is never
totally complete; some gasoline will always be left over. The amount left
over will be relatively small, sometimes as low as 100 PPM. This 100-PPM
will enter the converter and be converted to CO2 and H2O reducing the HC
emissions to near zero. However, lets add another element, a complete
misfire from an open spark plug wire. What will this do?



Think about what should be occurring in a cylinder: we should ignite the HC
with ignition. If ignition never takes place, all of the HC that the fuel
system put into the cylinder will come out the engine and possible the
tailpipe. This may be in excess of 5000 PPM. Quite a difference between 100
PPM and 5000-PPM HC! Actually the amount of HC that will come out of the
cylinder is imposable to predict because of the variables of load, speed,
engine size, temperature, etc., must be calculated in. Put HC into a
cylinder, don't ignite it, and it will exit the cylinder in the same form it
went in - raw gas. HC emissions from dead cylinders are generally easy to
diagnose. Dead cylinders that produce excessive HC are generally the result
of ignition or compression problems isolated to the cylinder in question.

Run a compression test and an ignition scope test and you will probably
identify the problem without much difficulty. Partial burns are much more
difficult to track down. By partial, we mean some of the fuel has been
burned, but not all Again ignition or compression may be at fault. A plug
that tends toward fouling or has a badly eroded gap, or an ignition coil
that has lost some of its capacity might cause part, but not all of the fuel
charge to burn.



Also, weak or lower compression might cause the cylinder to only partially
burn the fuel. A partial burn will result in increased HC emissions. Another
factor to consider besides compression or ignition is fuel control. Fuel
control is a simple way of saying that the air fuel ratio is held within
design parameters of the engine. Generally this is 1407:1 (14.7 pounds of
air to 1 lb of fuel). If the fuel system cannot hold or control this ratio
then the engine is not in fuel control



Lets look at the two ends of not being in fuel control, too rich or too
lean. Adding much more fuel than the engine needs or is designed to handle
(running rich) can produce an inefficient burn in the cylinder. This usually
results in excessive C0 production, as you will se in the next section,
however it can increase HC emissions. If the cylinder has way too much fuel,
some of it might not be ignited. You know what happens when we do not ignite
the fuel - it comes out as HC, just like it went into the engine. An
excessively rich engine will increase the HC emissions. At the other end of
not being in fuel control is the too lean condition. Being "too lean" is
another way of saying an excessive amount of air has entered the cylinder:
excessive for the amount of fuel.



Another way of saying this would be to say that a smaller amount of fuel
than specified is in the cylinder. A partially plugged fuel injector, or a
vacuum leak are both examples of a lean condition. Cut back on the fuel and
add the air and you are creating a lean condition. If the cylinder is
running lean, than the burn within the cylinder will result in excessive HC,
because the amount of fuel present does not support combustion. This is
generally referred to as a "lean misfire" There was fuel in the cylinder,
but not enough to burn and produce power. This smaller than specified fuel
charge will exit the engine as HC.

Make no mistake about it; a vehicle that is not in fuel control can and
frequently does produce excessive HC. Go back to the basics, for cylinders
to produce equal power they must have equal compression, ignition and be in
fuel control.



CO Emissions are generally related to whether the vehicle is in fuel control
or not. The "O" in CO stands for oxygen. If we burn fuel with sufficient
oxygen then we will produce CO2. It takes two O's to produce CO2 and only
one to produce CO. This is why a rich running vehicle produces more CO than
it should. More fuel in the cylinder will normally require more oxygen.
Because of the rich condition, there is insufficient oxygen for the amount
of fuel - this will produce CO because it is easier to produce. It will take
more air (oxygen), which means the system must run leaner, to lower the CO
production and increase the CO2 production. A correctly functioning engine
will generally produce very low levels of CO (1-2%), which will be converted
into more CO2 in the catalytic converter.

A vehicle that is in fuel control and has a functioning catalytic converter
will generally have near zero CO out the tailpipe.



We have repeatedly referred to CO2 production and hinted that it will go up
if everything if functioning OK. Specifically, CO2 Levels for a vehicle with
good ignition, compression, fuel control and a functioning converter will
generally be in the teens (13.0% - 19.0%). View the CO2 Levels as an
indication of efficiency - the higher the better!



Another byproduct of incorrect combustion is Nitric Oxide NOx. NOx is
produced in excess if the internal temperature of the cylinder gets around
2500 degrees F. At this temperature the nitrogen in the air becomes unstable
and reacts with the oxygen (o). This forms NOx. NOx is measured in parts per
million and is generally is less than 50 - 100 PPM. Think about the
conditions within the engine that will contribute to higher temperature.
They include lean mixture, Carbon in combustion chambers, EGR problems,
preheaters stuck in the heat position, advanced timing etc.



Anything that will add heat to the chamber will generally allow for
increased production of NOx. To be practical, NOx production is almost
always the result of one of three items; advanced timing, carbon or an EGR
problem. The exception to this statement is if the vehicle is not in fuel
control on the lean side. A leaner cylinder will run hotter and therefore
produce more NOx than desired. Notice that we are back looking at being in
fuel control as an issue again. There is probably no single item as
important as being in fuel control for reducing emissions. If the air fuel
ratio can be held tightly to the 14.7:1 ideal, emissions will be reduced,
except CO2 which will increase.



If the vehicle has been running rich and has failed for CO, your repair will
probably increase the production of NOx. A rich running engine will tend to
become carboned up, which increases the compression ratio. Once you have
leaned the engine to the correct ratio, the carbon will increase the
temperature of the cylinder and there goes the NOX







  Reply With Quote
Old 30 Oct 2005, 02:55 pm   #2 (permalink)
Dave
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work

In article <QeZ8f.1576$qk4.463@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>, "Steve H" <hansensw@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Borrowed this from a training manual for an advanced ASE diagnostics test.
>Thought it would be good for others to read and get a basic understanding of
>what happens in a engine and how emissions are formed. I learned a lot
>typing it, and I hope it helps me pass the test.

...
>Specifically, CO2 Levels for a vehicle with
>good ignition, compression, fuel control and a functioning converter will
>generally be in the teens (13.0% - 19.0%). View the CO2 Levels as an
>indication of efficiency - the higher the better!


I'm curious how they can get a CO2 as high as 19% (and consider
that "better"). Does the manual say? Complete stoichiometric
combustion would result in a number close to 13% (15% on a "dry"
basis).

Anyway, good luck on the test!
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Old 31 Oct 2005, 10:01 pm   #3 (permalink)
Pars
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work

Will excessive NO emission cut the life span of the catalytic converter???

I recently took my 98 Civic with 260,000km and original emission system for
a test. CO is 0%, HC is 0% and NOX is about 300ppm (I'm not sure about those
results and need to confirm them)

From those results (assuming they're correct), I'm assuming that the car is
working properly, but the timing is advanced and the car is running lean.
(Which would make sense since my 98 was noticeably more powerful then the 06
Civic coupe, I recently test drove).

When my car was newer and NOX was near to 0%, I was only able to get about
550km from a fill-up. Now, with the lean mixture, I'm able to get 650km per
fill-up.
The question is, which setup is more environmentally friendly, considering
that I get an extra 100km per tank from a setup that's not standard.

Pars

"Steve H" <hansensw@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:QeZ8f.1576$qk4.463@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> Borrowed this from a training manual for an advanced ASE diagnostics test.
> Thought it would be good for others to read and get a basic understanding

of
> what happens in a engine and how emissions are formed. I learned a lot
> typing it, and I hope it helps me pass the test.
>
> Steve
>
> Exhaust Gas Analyzer
> One of the more useful Diagnostic Devices available to a technician is the

4
> or 5 gas analyzer. Not only are they readily available, but many of them

can
> be taken out for a test drive. This feature makes them an ideal tool for
> base lining a vehicle that has failed an inspection maintenance test.

Most
> state inspections are in grams per mile (GPM) of pollutants while most

shop
> exhaust analyzers measure in Parts Per Million (PPM) or in percentage (%).
> The difference does make the readings difficult to compare, but does not
> eliminate the use of the shop analyzer for diagnosis purposes. Most
> analyzers available today will measure HC in PPM, C0 in %, CO2 on %, and

O2
> in %. An option to measure NOX in PPM can be added to most units. Lets

look
> at the individual gases and analyze why they are produced.
>
> Gasoline is comprised of mostly hydrocarbons (HC). When HC is burned it
> combines with oxygen (O2) and under ideal conditions produces water (H20)
> and carbon dioxide (CO2). Notice the emphasis on the Ideal. To be

practical,
> ideal conditions really do not exist in engines that have to operate under
> varying loads and speeds. As a result, we not only get water and carbon
> dioxide but we also see some raw gas come out of the tailpipe (HC) and

some
> carbon monoxide (CO). Under extreme heat conditions we also see some

varying
> conditions for excessive HC and CO. Some states additionally check for NOx
>
>
>
> You will remember that gasoline was composed of HC and yet after the burn

in
> the cylinders we still see some HC coming out of the tailpipe, or going

into
> the catalytic converters. How can this be? The burn in the cylinder is

never
> totally complete; some gasoline will always be left over. The amount left
> over will be relatively small, sometimes as low as 100 PPM. This 100-PPM
> will enter the converter and be converted to CO2 and H2O reducing the HC
> emissions to near zero. However, lets add another element, a complete
> misfire from an open spark plug wire. What will this do?
>
>
>
> Think about what should be occurring in a cylinder: we should ignite the

HC
> with ignition. If ignition never takes place, all of the HC that the fuel
> system put into the cylinder will come out the engine and possible the
> tailpipe. This may be in excess of 5000 PPM. Quite a difference between

100
> PPM and 5000-PPM HC! Actually the amount of HC that will come out of the
> cylinder is imposable to predict because of the variables of load, speed,
> engine size, temperature, etc., must be calculated in. Put HC into a
> cylinder, don't ignite it, and it will exit the cylinder in the same form

it
> went in - raw gas. HC emissions from dead cylinders are generally easy to
> diagnose. Dead cylinders that produce excessive HC are generally the

result
> of ignition or compression problems isolated to the cylinder in question.
>
> Run a compression test and an ignition scope test and you will probably
> identify the problem without much difficulty. Partial burns are much more
> difficult to track down. By partial, we mean some of the fuel has been
> burned, but not all Again ignition or compression may be at fault. A plug
> that tends toward fouling or has a badly eroded gap, or an ignition coil
> that has lost some of its capacity might cause part, but not all of the

fuel
> charge to burn.
>
>
>
> Also, weak or lower compression might cause the cylinder to only partially
> burn the fuel. A partial burn will result in increased HC emissions.

Another
> factor to consider besides compression or ignition is fuel control. Fuel
> control is a simple way of saying that the air fuel ratio is held within
> design parameters of the engine. Generally this is 1407:1 (14.7 pounds of
> air to 1 lb of fuel). If the fuel system cannot hold or control this ratio
> then the engine is not in fuel control
>
>
>
> Lets look at the two ends of not being in fuel control, too rich or too
> lean. Adding much more fuel than the engine needs or is designed to handle
> (running rich) can produce an inefficient burn in the cylinder. This

usually
> results in excessive C0 production, as you will se in the next section,
> however it can increase HC emissions. If the cylinder has way too much

fuel,
> some of it might not be ignited. You know what happens when we do not

ignite
> the fuel - it comes out as HC, just like it went into the engine. An
> excessively rich engine will increase the HC emissions. At the other end

of
> not being in fuel control is the too lean condition. Being "too lean" is
> another way of saying an excessive amount of air has entered the cylinder:
> excessive for the amount of fuel.
>
>
>
> Another way of saying this would be to say that a smaller amount of fuel
> than specified is in the cylinder. A partially plugged fuel injector, or a
> vacuum leak are both examples of a lean condition. Cut back on the fuel

and
> add the air and you are creating a lean condition. If the cylinder is
> running lean, than the burn within the cylinder will result in excessive

HC,
> because the amount of fuel present does not support combustion. This is
> generally referred to as a "lean misfire" There was fuel in the cylinder,
> but not enough to burn and produce power. This smaller than specified fuel
> charge will exit the engine as HC.
>
> Make no mistake about it; a vehicle that is not in fuel control can and
> frequently does produce excessive HC. Go back to the basics, for cylinders
> to produce equal power they must have equal compression, ignition and be

in
> fuel control.
>
>
>
> CO Emissions are generally related to whether the vehicle is in fuel

control
> or not. The "O" in CO stands for oxygen. If we burn fuel with sufficient
> oxygen then we will produce CO2. It takes two O's to produce CO2 and only
> one to produce CO. This is why a rich running vehicle produces more CO

than
> it should. More fuel in the cylinder will normally require more oxygen.
> Because of the rich condition, there is insufficient oxygen for the amount
> of fuel - this will produce CO because it is easier to produce. It will

take
> more air (oxygen), which means the system must run leaner, to lower the CO
> production and increase the CO2 production. A correctly functioning engine
> will generally produce very low levels of CO (1-2%), which will be

converted
> into more CO2 in the catalytic converter.
>
> A vehicle that is in fuel control and has a functioning catalytic

converter
> will generally have near zero CO out the tailpipe.
>
>
>
> We have repeatedly referred to CO2 production and hinted that it will go

up
> if everything if functioning OK. Specifically, CO2 Levels for a vehicle

with
> good ignition, compression, fuel control and a functioning converter will
> generally be in the teens (13.0% - 19.0%). View the CO2 Levels as an
> indication of efficiency - the higher the better!
>
>
>
> Another byproduct of incorrect combustion is Nitric Oxide NOx. NOx is
> produced in excess if the internal temperature of the cylinder gets around
> 2500 degrees F. At this temperature the nitrogen in the air becomes

unstable
> and reacts with the oxygen (o). This forms NOx. NOx is measured in parts

per
> million and is generally is less than 50 - 100 PPM. Think about the
> conditions within the engine that will contribute to higher temperature.
> They include lean mixture, Carbon in combustion chambers, EGR problems,
> preheaters stuck in the heat position, advanced timing etc.
>
>
>
> Anything that will add heat to the chamber will generally allow for
> increased production of NOx. To be practical, NOx production is almost
> always the result of one of three items; advanced timing, carbon or an EGR
> problem. The exception to this statement is if the vehicle is not in fuel
> control on the lean side. A leaner cylinder will run hotter and therefore
> produce more NOx than desired. Notice that we are back looking at being in
> fuel control as an issue again. There is probably no single item as
> important as being in fuel control for reducing emissions. If the air fuel
> ratio can be held tightly to the 14.7:1 ideal, emissions will be reduced,
> except CO2 which will increase.
>
>
>
> If the vehicle has been running rich and has failed for CO, your repair

will
> probably increase the production of NOx. A rich running engine will tend

to
> become carboned up, which increases the compression ratio. Once you have
> leaned the engine to the correct ratio, the carbon will increase the
> temperature of the cylinder and there goes the NOX
>
>
>
>
>
>
>



  Reply With Quote
Old 31 Oct 2005, 11:02 pm   #4 (permalink)
Ray O
Guest
  • Posts: n/a
  • User Status:


Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work



"Pars" <sdaro(remove)@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:YMOdnS_SbdYgdfvenZ2dnUVZ_s-dnZ2d@rogers.com...
> Will excessive NO emission cut the life span of the catalytic converter???


No.

>
> I recently took my 98 Civic with 260,000km and original emission system
> for
> a test. CO is 0%, HC is 0% and NOX is about 300ppm (I'm not sure about
> those
> results and need to confirm them)
>
> From those results (assuming they're correct), I'm assuming that the car
> is
> working properly, but the timing is advanced and the car is running lean.
> (Which would make sense since my 98 was noticeably more powerful then the
> 06
> Civic coupe, I recently test drove).


If you have a distributor-less ignition system, timing may not be adjustable
on your car. If timing is correct, then the engine could be too lean
(possibly due to clogged injectors), you could have carbon buildup, or an
EGR problem. Since you say that performance is good, I'd lean towards the
EGR system.

>
> When my car was newer and NOX was near to 0%, I was only able to get about
> 550km from a fill-up. Now, with the lean mixture, I'm able to get 650km
> per
> fill-up.
> The question is, which setup is more environmentally friendly, considering
> that I get an extra 100km per tank from a setup that's not standard.
>
> Pars


If the problem is due to a stuck EGR, you could fix it and have little or no
effect on fuel economy.

--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply
>
> "Steve H" <hansensw@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:QeZ8f.1576$qk4.463@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
>> Borrowed this from a training manual for an advanced ASE diagnostics
>> test.
>> Thought it would be good for others to read and get a basic understanding

> of
>> what happens in a engine and how emissions are formed. I learned a lot
>> typing it, and I hope it helps me pass the test.
>>
>> Steve
>>
>> Exhaust Gas Analyzer
>> One of the more useful Diagnostic Devices available to a technician is
>> the

> 4
>> or 5 gas analyzer. Not only are they readily available, but many of them

> can
>> be taken out for a test drive. This feature makes them an ideal tool for
>> base lining a vehicle that has failed an inspection maintenance test.

> Most
>> state inspections are in grams per mile (GPM) of pollutants while most

> shop
>> exhaust analyzers measure in Parts Per Million (PPM) or in percentage
>> (%).
>> The difference does make the readings difficult to compare, but does not
>> eliminate the use of the shop analyzer for diagnosis purposes. Most
>> analyzers available today will measure HC in PPM, C0 in %, CO2 on %, and

> O2
>> in %. An option to measure NOX in PPM can be added to most units. Lets

> look
>> at the individual gases and analyze why they are produced.
>>
>> Gasoline is comprised of mostly hydrocarbons (HC). When HC is burned it
>> combines with oxygen (O2) and under ideal conditions produces water (H20)
>> and carbon dioxide (CO2). Notice the emphasis on the Ideal. To be

> practical,
>> ideal conditions really do not exist in engines that have to operate
>> under
>> varying loads and speeds. As a result, we not only get water and carbon
>> dioxide but we also see some raw gas come out of the tailpipe (HC) and

> some
>> carbon monoxide (CO). Under extreme heat conditions we also see some

> varying
>> conditions for excessive HC and CO. Some states additionally check for
>> NOx
>>
>>
>>
>> You will remember that gasoline was composed of HC and yet after the burn

> in
>> the cylinders we still see some HC coming out of the tailpipe, or going

> into
>> the catalytic converters. How can this be? The burn in the cylinder is

> never
>> totally complete; some gasoline will always be left over. The amount left
>> over will be relatively small, sometimes as low as 100 PPM. This 100-PPM
>> will enter the converter and be converted to CO2 and H2O reducing the HC
>> emissions to near zero. However, lets add another element, a complete
>> misfire from an open spark plug wire. What will this do?
>>
>>
>>
>> Think about what should be occurring in a cylinder: we should ignite the

> HC
>> with ignition. If ignition never takes place, all of the HC that the fuel
>> system put into the cylinder will come out the engine and possible the
>> tailpipe. This may be in excess of 5000 PPM. Quite a difference between

> 100
>> PPM and 5000-PPM HC! Actually the amount of HC that will come out of the
>> cylinder is imposable to predict because of the variables of load, speed,
>> engine size, temperature, etc., must be calculated in. Put HC into a
>> cylinder, don't ignite it, and it will exit the cylinder in the same form

> it
>> went in - raw gas. HC emissions from dead cylinders are generally easy to
>> diagnose. Dead cylinders that produce excessive HC are generally the

> result
>> of ignition or compression problems isolated to the cylinder in question.
>>
>> Run a compression test and an ignition scope test and you will probably
>> identify the problem without much difficulty. Partial burns are much more
>> difficult to track down. By partial, we mean some of the fuel has been
>> burned, but not all Again ignition or compression may be at fault. A plug
>> that tends toward fouling or has a badly eroded gap, or an ignition coil
>> that has lost some of its capacity might cause part, but not all of the

> fuel
>> charge to burn.
>>
>>
>>
>> Also, weak or lower compression might cause the cylinder to only
>> partially
>> burn the fuel. A partial burn will result in increased HC emissions.

> Another
>> factor to consider besides compression or ignition is fuel control. Fuel
>> control is a simple way of saying that the air fuel ratio is held within
>> design parameters of the engine. Generally this is 1407:1 (14.7 pounds of
>> air to 1 lb of fuel). If the fuel system cannot hold or control this
>> ratio
>> then the engine is not in fuel control
>>
>>
>>
>> Lets look at the two ends of not being in fuel control, too rich or too
>> lean. Adding much more fuel than the engine needs or is designed to
>> handle
>> (running rich) can produce an inefficient burn in the cylinder. This

> usually
>> results in excessive C0 production, as you will se in the next section,
>> however it can increase HC emissions. If the cylinder has way too much

> fuel,
>> some of it might not be ignited. You know what happens when we do not

> ignite
>> the fuel - it comes out as HC, just like it went into the engine. An
>> excessively rich engine will increase the HC emissions. At the other end

> of
>> not being in fuel control is the too lean condition. Being "too lean" is
>> another way of saying an excessive amount of air has entered the
>> cylinder:
>> excessive for the amount of fuel.
>>
>>
>>
>> Another way of saying this would be to say that a smaller amount of fuel
>> than specified is in the cylinder. A partially plugged fuel injector, or
>> a
>> vacuum leak are both examples of a lean condition. Cut back on the fuel

> and
>> add the air and you are creating a lean condition. If the cylinder is
>> running lean, than the burn within the cylinder will result in excessive

> HC,
>> because the amount of fuel present does not support combustion. This is
>> generally referred to as a "lean misfire" There was fuel in the cylinder,
>> but not enough to burn and produce power. This smaller than specified
>> fuel
>> charge will exit the engine as HC.
>>
>> Make no mistake about it; a vehicle that is not in fuel control can and
>> frequently does produce excessive HC. Go back to the basics, for
>> cylinders
>> to produce equal power they must have equal compression, ignition and be

> in
>> fuel control.
>>
>>
>>
>> CO Emissions are generally related to whether the vehicle is in fuel

> control
>> or not. The "O" in CO stands for oxygen. If we burn fuel with sufficient
>> oxygen then we will produce CO2. It takes two O's to produce CO2 and only
>> one to produce CO. This is why a rich running vehicle produces more CO

> than
>> it should. More fuel in the cylinder will normally require more oxygen.
>> Because of the rich condition, there is insufficient oxygen for the
>> amount
>> of fuel - this will produce CO because it is easier to produce. It will

> take
>> more air (oxygen), which means the system must run leaner, to lower the
>> CO
>> production and increase the CO2 production. A correctly functioning
>> engine
>> will generally produce very low levels of CO (1-2%), which will be

> converted
>> into more CO2 in the catalytic converter.
>>
>> A vehicle that is in fuel control and has a functioning catalytic

> converter
>> will generally have near zero CO out the tailpipe.
>>
>>
>>
>> We have repeatedly referred to CO2 production and hinted that it will go

> up
>> if everything if functioning OK. Specifically, CO2 Levels for a vehicle

> with
>> good ignition, compression, fuel control and a functioning converter will
>> generally be in the teens (13.0% - 19.0%). View the CO2 Levels as an
>> indication of efficiency - the higher the better!
>>
>>
>>
>> Another byproduct of incorrect combustion is Nitric Oxide NOx. NOx is
>> produced in excess if the internal temperature of the cylinder gets
>> around
>> 2500 degrees F. At this temperature the nitrogen in the air becomes

> unstable
>> and reacts with the oxygen (o). This forms NOx. NOx is measured in parts

> per
>> million and is generally is less than 50 - 100 PPM. Think about the
>> conditions within the engine that will contribute to higher temperature.
>> They include lean mixture, Carbon in combustion chambers, EGR problems,
>> preheaters stuck in the heat position, advanced timing etc.
>>
>>
>>
>> Anything that will add heat to the chamber will generally allow for
>> increased production of NOx. To be practical, NOx production is almost
>> always the result of one of three items; advanced timing, carbon or an
>> EGR
>> problem. The exception to this statement is if the vehicle is not in fuel
>> control on the lean side. A leaner cylinder will run hotter and therefore
>> produce more NOx than desired. Notice that we are back looking at being
>> in
>> fuel control as an issue again. There is probably no single item as
>> important as being in fuel control for reducing emissions. If the air
>> fuel
>> ratio can be held tightly to the 14.7:1 ideal, emissions will be reduced,
>> except CO2 which will increase.
>>
>>
>>
>> If the vehicle has been running rich and has failed for CO, your repair

> will
>> probably increase the production of NOx. A rich running engine will tend

> to
>> become carboned up, which increases the compression ratio. Once you have
>> leaned the engine to the correct ratio, the carbon will increase the
>> temperature of the cylinder and there goes the NOX
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>

>
>



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Old 01 Nov 2005, 06:15 am   #5 (permalink)
Michael Pardee
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work

"Pars" <sdaro(remove)@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:YMOdnS_SbdYgdfvenZ2dnUVZ_s-dnZ2d@rogers.com...
> Will excessive NO emission cut the life span of the catalytic converter???
>
> I recently took my 98 Civic with 260,000km and original emission system
> for
> a test. CO is 0%, HC is 0% and NOX is about 300ppm (I'm not sure about
> those
> results and need to confirm them)
>
> From those results (assuming they're correct), I'm assuming that the car
> is
> working properly, but the timing is advanced and the car is running lean.
> (Which would make sense since my 98 was noticeably more powerful then the
> 06
> Civic coupe, I recently test drove).
>
> When my car was newer and NOX was near to 0%, I was only able to get about
> 550km from a fill-up. Now, with the lean mixture, I'm able to get 650km
> per
> fill-up.
> The question is, which setup is more environmentally friendly, considering
> that I get an extra 100km per tank from a setup that's not standard.
>
> Pars
>

Looking at the larger picture helps. The engine isn't likely to be running
lean, since the mixture is controlled by feedback from the front O2 sensor.
Your '98 should be OBDII controlled if you are in North America, so if the
sensor were soft or failing the "check engine" light would be on. The timing
could be advanced, but I wouldn't expect it... assuming you aren't getting
"ping."

The two unknowns are EGR operation and the catalyst. EGR operation is
loosely monitored and the catalyst is monitored for CO operation, but there
is room for trouble in either of those. EGR is notorious for needing service
after dealing with hundreds of thousands of km of exhaust. Most modern
converters are "3 stage" - they have separate stages for breaking down CO,
HC and NOx. Often the NOx stage is the first to go, for reasons I don't
know.

If or when it reaches the point of having to do something about it (or is
that now?), having a few years of history helps. Catalyst failures usually
show up as a long, slow slide, while EGR failures tend to get worse more
quickly. The catalyst can also be evaluated by a professional with a way of
measuring temperature of each stage; if the stage is running cool and the
emission output is high, it isn't doing the job any more.

Mike


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Old 01 Nov 2005, 09:59 pm   #6 (permalink)
Pars
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work



> > Will excessive NO emission cut the life span of the catalytic

converter???
>
> No.
>
> >
> > I recently took my 98 Civic with 260,000km and original emission system
> > for
> > a test. CO is 0%, HC is 0% and NOX is about 300ppm (I'm not sure about
> > those
> > results and need to confirm them)
> >
> > From those results (assuming they're correct), I'm assuming that the car
> > is
> > working properly, but the timing is advanced and the car is running

lean.
> > (Which would make sense since my 98 was noticeably more powerful then

the
> > 06
> > Civic coupe, I recently test drove).

>
> If you have a distributor-less ignition system, timing may not be

adjustable
> on your car. If timing is correct, then the engine could be too lean
> (possibly due to clogged injectors), you could have carbon buildup, or an
> EGR problem. Since you say that performance is good, I'd lean towards the
> EGR system.


Me too. Also, the old Catalytic converter could be also contributing to
higher readings. I checked my results and the NOX is actually 220ppm (which
is about 2/5 under the allowable limit).

>
> >
> > When my car was newer and NOX was near to 0%, I was only able to get

about
> > 550km from a fill-up. Now, with the lean mixture, I'm able to get 650km
> > per
> > fill-up.
> > The question is, which setup is more environmentally friendly,

considering
> > that I get an extra 100km per tank from a setup that's not standard.
> >

>
> If the problem is due to a stuck EGR, you could fix it and have little or

no
> effect on fuel economy.


There's very little available power when you're rolling up a slight incline,
while in 5th gear at about 1200rpm (without having to go down on the
accelerator). If a properly working EGR is going to take 1/10th of the power
out of the above scenario, it would mean that I'd need to cruise around in
4th gear instead of 5th and then my city mileage would go down the shithole.

Pars

>
> --
> Ray O
> correct the return address punctuation to reply
> >
> > "Steve H" <hansensw@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:QeZ8f.1576$qk4.463@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> >> Borrowed this from a training manual for an advanced ASE diagnostics
> >> test.
> >> Thought it would be good for others to read and get a basic

understanding
> > of
> >> what happens in a engine and how emissions are formed. I learned a lot
> >> typing it, and I hope it helps me pass the test.
> >>
> >> Steve
> >>
> >> Exhaust Gas Analyzer
> >> One of the more useful Diagnostic Devices available to a technician is
> >> the

> > 4
> >> or 5 gas analyzer. Not only are they readily available, but many of

them
> > can
> >> be taken out for a test drive. This feature makes them an ideal tool

for
> >> base lining a vehicle that has failed an inspection maintenance test.

> > Most
> >> state inspections are in grams per mile (GPM) of pollutants while most

> > shop
> >> exhaust analyzers measure in Parts Per Million (PPM) or in percentage
> >> (%).
> >> The difference does make the readings difficult to compare, but does

not
> >> eliminate the use of the shop analyzer for diagnosis purposes. Most
> >> analyzers available today will measure HC in PPM, C0 in %, CO2 on %,

and
> > O2
> >> in %. An option to measure NOX in PPM can be added to most units. Lets

> > look
> >> at the individual gases and analyze why they are produced.
> >>
> >> Gasoline is comprised of mostly hydrocarbons (HC). When HC is burned it
> >> combines with oxygen (O2) and under ideal conditions produces water

(H20)
> >> and carbon dioxide (CO2). Notice the emphasis on the Ideal. To be

> > practical,
> >> ideal conditions really do not exist in engines that have to operate
> >> under
> >> varying loads and speeds. As a result, we not only get water and carbon
> >> dioxide but we also see some raw gas come out of the tailpipe (HC) and

> > some
> >> carbon monoxide (CO). Under extreme heat conditions we also see some

> > varying
> >> conditions for excessive HC and CO. Some states additionally check for
> >> NOx
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> You will remember that gasoline was composed of HC and yet after the

burn
> > in
> >> the cylinders we still see some HC coming out of the tailpipe, or going

> > into
> >> the catalytic converters. How can this be? The burn in the cylinder is

> > never
> >> totally complete; some gasoline will always be left over. The amount

left
> >> over will be relatively small, sometimes as low as 100 PPM. This

100-PPM
> >> will enter the converter and be converted to CO2 and H2O reducing the

HC
> >> emissions to near zero. However, lets add another element, a complete
> >> misfire from an open spark plug wire. What will this do?
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Think about what should be occurring in a cylinder: we should ignite

the
> > HC
> >> with ignition. If ignition never takes place, all of the HC that the

fuel
> >> system put into the cylinder will come out the engine and possible the
> >> tailpipe. This may be in excess of 5000 PPM. Quite a difference between

> > 100
> >> PPM and 5000-PPM HC! Actually the amount of HC that will come out of

the
> >> cylinder is imposable to predict because of the variables of load,

speed,
> >> engine size, temperature, etc., must be calculated in. Put HC into a
> >> cylinder, don't ignite it, and it will exit the cylinder in the same

form
> > it
> >> went in - raw gas. HC emissions from dead cylinders are generally easy

to
> >> diagnose. Dead cylinders that produce excessive HC are generally the

> > result
> >> of ignition or compression problems isolated to the cylinder in

question.
> >>
> >> Run a compression test and an ignition scope test and you will probably
> >> identify the problem without much difficulty. Partial burns are much

more
> >> difficult to track down. By partial, we mean some of the fuel has been
> >> burned, but not all Again ignition or compression may be at fault. A

plug
> >> that tends toward fouling or has a badly eroded gap, or an ignition

coil
> >> that has lost some of its capacity might cause part, but not all of the

> > fuel
> >> charge to burn.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Also, weak or lower compression might cause the cylinder to only
> >> partially
> >> burn the fuel. A partial burn will result in increased HC emissions.

> > Another
> >> factor to consider besides compression or ignition is fuel control.

Fuel
> >> control is a simple way of saying that the air fuel ratio is held

within
> >> design parameters of the engine. Generally this is 1407:1 (14.7 pounds

of
> >> air to 1 lb of fuel). If the fuel system cannot hold or control this
> >> ratio
> >> then the engine is not in fuel control
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Lets look at the two ends of not being in fuel control, too rich or too
> >> lean. Adding much more fuel than the engine needs or is designed to
> >> handle
> >> (running rich) can produce an inefficient burn in the cylinder. This

> > usually
> >> results in excessive C0 production, as you will se in the next section,
> >> however it can increase HC emissions. If the cylinder has way too much

> > fuel,
> >> some of it might not be ignited. You know what happens when we do not

> > ignite
> >> the fuel - it comes out as HC, just like it went into the engine. An
> >> excessively rich engine will increase the HC emissions. At the other

end
> > of
> >> not being in fuel control is the too lean condition. Being "too lean"

is
> >> another way of saying an excessive amount of air has entered the
> >> cylinder:
> >> excessive for the amount of fuel.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Another way of saying this would be to say that a smaller amount of

fuel
> >> than specified is in the cylinder. A partially plugged fuel injector,

or
> >> a
> >> vacuum leak are both examples of a lean condition. Cut back on the fuel

> > and
> >> add the air and you are creating a lean condition. If the cylinder is
> >> running lean, than the burn within the cylinder will result in

excessive
> > HC,
> >> because the amount of fuel present does not support combustion. This is
> >> generally referred to as a "lean misfire" There was fuel in the

cylinder,
> >> but not enough to burn and produce power. This smaller than specified
> >> fuel
> >> charge will exit the engine as HC.
> >>
> >> Make no mistake about it; a vehicle that is not in fuel control can and
> >> frequently does produce excessive HC. Go back to the basics, for
> >> cylinders
> >> to produce equal power they must have equal compression, ignition and

be
> > in
> >> fuel control.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> CO Emissions are generally related to whether the vehicle is in fuel

> > control
> >> or not. The "O" in CO stands for oxygen. If we burn fuel with

sufficient
> >> oxygen then we will produce CO2. It takes two O's to produce CO2 and

only
> >> one to produce CO. This is why a rich running vehicle produces more CO

> > than
> >> it should. More fuel in the cylinder will normally require more oxygen.
> >> Because of the rich condition, there is insufficient oxygen for the
> >> amount
> >> of fuel - this will produce CO because it is easier to produce. It will

> > take
> >> more air (oxygen), which means the system must run leaner, to lower the
> >> CO
> >> production and increase the CO2 production. A correctly functioning
> >> engine
> >> will generally produce very low levels of CO (1-2%), which will be

> > converted
> >> into more CO2 in the catalytic converter.
> >>
> >> A vehicle that is in fuel control and has a functioning catalytic

> > converter
> >> will generally have near zero CO out the tailpipe.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> We have repeatedly referred to CO2 production and hinted that it will

go
> > up
> >> if everything if functioning OK. Specifically, CO2 Levels for a vehicle

> > with
> >> good ignition, compression, fuel control and a functioning converter

will
> >> generally be in the teens (13.0% - 19.0%). View the CO2 Levels as an
> >> indication of efficiency - the higher the better!
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Another byproduct of incorrect combustion is Nitric Oxide NOx. NOx is
> >> produced in excess if the internal temperature of the cylinder gets
> >> around
> >> 2500 degrees F. At this temperature the nitrogen in the air becomes

> > unstable
> >> and reacts with the oxygen (o). This forms NOx. NOx is measured in

parts
> > per
> >> million and is generally is less than 50 - 100 PPM. Think about the
> >> conditions within the engine that will contribute to higher

temperature.
> >> They include lean mixture, Carbon in combustion chambers, EGR problems,
> >> preheaters stuck in the heat position, advanced timing etc.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Anything that will add heat to the chamber will generally allow for
> >> increased production of NOx. To be practical, NOx production is almost
> >> always the result of one of three items; advanced timing, carbon or an
> >> EGR
> >> problem. The exception to this statement is if the vehicle is not in

fuel
> >> control on the lean side. A leaner cylinder will run hotter and

therefore
> >> produce more NOx than desired. Notice that we are back looking at being
> >> in
> >> fuel control as an issue again. There is probably no single item as
> >> important as being in fuel control for reducing emissions. If the air
> >> fuel
> >> ratio can be held tightly to the 14.7:1 ideal, emissions will be

reduced,
> >> except CO2 which will increase.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> If the vehicle has been running rich and has failed for CO, your repair

> > will
> >> probably increase the production of NOx. A rich running engine will

tend
> > to
> >> become carboned up, which increases the compression ratio. Once you

have
> >> leaned the engine to the correct ratio, the carbon will increase the
> >> temperature of the cylinder and there goes the NOX
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>

> >
> >

>
>



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Old 01 Nov 2005, 10:23 pm   #7 (permalink)
Pars
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work



> > Will excessive NO emission cut the life span of the catalytic

converter???
> >
> > I recently took my 98 Civic with 260,000km and original emission system
> > for
> > a test. CO is 0%, HC is 0% and NOX is about 300ppm (I'm not sure about
> > those
> > results and need to confirm them)
> >
> > From those results (assuming they're correct), I'm assuming that the car
> > is
> > working properly, but the timing is advanced and the car is running

lean.
> > (Which would make sense since my 98 was noticeably more powerful then

the
> > 06
> > Civic coupe, I recently test drove).
> >
> > When my car was newer and NOX was near to 0%, I was only able to get

about
> > 550km from a fill-up. Now, with the lean mixture, I'm able to get 650km
> > per
> > fill-up.
> > The question is, which setup is more environmentally friendly,

considering
> > that I get an extra 100km per tank from a setup that's not standard.
> >
> > Pars
> >

> Looking at the larger picture helps. The engine isn't likely to be running
> lean, since the mixture is controlled by feedback from the front O2

sensor.
> Your '98 should be OBDII controlled if you are in North America, so if the
> sensor were soft or failing the "check engine" light would be on. The

timing
> could be advanced, but I wouldn't expect it... assuming you aren't getting
> "ping."


I do get 'pinged', unless I'm using premium gas. Since gas prices are very
high, the extra cost for premium seems negligible compared to the overall
gas prices.

Shell's premium gas returns comparable mileage when compared to the regular
blend. Otherwise, switching to higher Octane gas (in my car) normally would
reduce fuel consumption.

>
> The two unknowns are EGR operation and the catalyst. EGR operation is
> loosely monitored and the catalyst is monitored for CO operation, but

there
> is room for trouble in either of those. EGR is notorious for needing

service
> after dealing with hundreds of thousands of km of exhaust. Most modern
> converters are "3 stage" - they have separate stages for breaking down CO,
> HC and NOx. Often the NOx stage is the first to go, for reasons I don't
> know.
>
> If or when it reaches the point of having to do something about it (or is
> that now?),


Nope, I still have aways to go before it would fail. My last ready, for NOX,
was about 220ppm and the limit was at about 550ppm.

having a few years of history helps. Catalyst failures usually
> show up as a long, slow slide, while EGR failures tend to get worse more
> quickly. The catalyst can also be evaluated by a professional with a way

of
> measuring temperature of each stage; if the stage is running cool and the
> emission output is high, it isn't doing the job any more.


In my last emission test (2 yrs ago), my NOX emission was similar to the
current reading. If the EGR is quick to fail once it start to go bad, the
poor reading would point toward Catalytic converter.

>
> Mike
>
>



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Old 01 Nov 2005, 11:33 pm   #8 (permalink)
SoCalMike
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work

Pars wrote:
> Me too. Also, the old Catalytic converter could be also contributing to
> higher readings. I checked my results and the NOX is actually 220ppm (which
> is about 2/5 under the allowable limit).


FWIW, on my 98 CX, all my levels were *lower* on my 2005 smog check as
compared to my 2003 smog check.

main reason? the top (manifold) O2 sensor failed (MIL, and
everything!)in 2004.
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Old 02 Nov 2005, 06:11 pm   #9 (permalink)
Michael Pardee
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work

"Pars" <sdaro(remove)@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Ic6dne_VwtP9ovXeRVn-sw@rogers.com...
> In my last emission test (2 yrs ago), my NOX emission was similar to the
> current reading. If the EGR is quick to fail once it start to go bad, the
> poor reading would point toward Catalytic converter.
>

Sounds like you are in pretty good shape. The converter could go quite a
while before it gets out of limits, and it sounds like the timing is a
little advanced to boot so you have a simple thing to try if it reaches the
point where it fails... maybe squeeze out a couple more years ;-)

Mike


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Old 02 Nov 2005, 11:19 pm   #10 (permalink)
Pars
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Default Re: Understanding emission numbers and how they work


"Michael Pardee" <michaeltnull@cybertrails.com> wrote in message
news:y7udnY0QEM09yPTeRVn-ig@sedona.net...
> "Pars" <sdaro(remove)@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:Ic6dne_VwtP9ovXeRVn-sw@rogers.com...
> > In my last emission test (2 yrs ago), my NOX emission was similar to the
> > current reading. If the EGR is quick to fail once it start to go bad,

the
> > poor reading would point toward Catalytic converter.
> >

> Sounds like you are in pretty good shape. The converter could go quite a
> while before it gets out of limits, and it sounds like the timing is a
> little advanced to boot so you have a simple thing to try if it reaches

the
> point where it fails... maybe squeeze out a couple more years ;-)


In a couple of years, the car would have accumulated over 350,000km. If the
original emission system can last that long. My hats off to Honda.

Otherwise, I'm just going have to turn it over to the niece so that she can
go crazy with the performance add on and resign myself to something a bit
more mundane.

Pars

>
> Mike
>
>



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