Diesel Engine Jerk Pump System

The big breakthrough came with the development of the Bosch inline pump, used today in a form almost identical to the first production run of April, 1927. The first pumps were mated with pintle injectors for indirect injection (IDI) applications. Direct injection (DI) multiple-orifice injectors arrived in 1929 and, two years later, Bosch integrated centrifugal governors with the pumps. At this point, the modern diesel engine came into being.

The inline pump consists of a row of individual plungers, one per engine cylinder, operated by the same internal camshaft. High-pressure tubing connects each of the plungers to its injector. The spring- loaded injectors function like pop-off valves to open automatically when a certain pressure threshold is reached. The sudden loss of line pressure gave rise to the term “jerk pump,” which while a bit inelegant, is descriptive.

The distributor pump was developed in the early 1960s as a means of reducing the number of extremely precise and expensive plungers. One pumping unit, consisting of one, two, or sometimes three plungers, serves all injectors. After pressurization, the fuel passes through a rotary valve, known as a distributor head, for allocation to the individual injectors. A distributor pump is the hydraulic equivalent of an ignition distributor. Because of their relatively low cost, distributor pumps are standard ware for automobiles and light trucks. The major disadvantage is that the internal cam, which drives the plunger set, depends solely upon fuel for lubrication. Inline pumps lubricate the high-pressure cam faces with motor oil, either from an internal reservoir or from the engine oiling system.

Figure 5-2 illustrates the layout of the jerk-pump system that, in this example, employs an inline pump. A distributor-type pump could be substituted.

A lift pump, shown on the lower left of the drawing, delivers fuel to the filters and from there to the suction side of the inline pump. High-pressure fuel exits the pump through dedicated lines to each injector. A second line made up to each injector recycles surplus fuel back to the tank. The system works at three pressure levels: low pressure, on the order of 30–50 psi, between the lift pump and injector pump, pressure of several thousand psi in the injector piping, and slightly more than zero pressure on the return line.

One Reply to “Diesel Engine Jerk Pump System”

  1. I thought that the jerk pump was invented by Akroyd Stuart and was vital to the development of the diesel engine. From what I have read, Diesel’s original engine only produced enough power to keep itself running.

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