BMW X5 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW X5: Piezo Fuel Injectors

It is the outward-opening piezo-injector that renders possible spray-directed direct injection and thus the overall innovations of the N54 engine. Due to the fact that only this component ensures that the injected fuel spray cone remains stable, even under the prevailing influences of pressure and temperature in the combustion chamber.

This piezo-injector permits injection pressures of up to 200 bar and extremely quick opening of the nozzle needle. In this way, it is possible to inject fuel into the combustion chamber under conditions released from the power cycles limited by the valve opening times.

The piezo-injector is integrated together with the spark plug centrally between the inlet and exhaust valves in the cylinder head. This installation position prevents the cylinder walls or the piston crown from being wetted with injected fuel. A uniform formation of the homogeneous air/fuel mixture is obtained with the aid of the gas movement in the combustion chamber and a stable fuel spray cone.

Engine Service Information
Fig. 59: Identifying Piezo Fuel Injectors

The gas movement is influenced on the one hand by the geometry of the intake passages and on the other hand by the shape of the piston crown.

The injected fuel is swirled in the combustion chamber with the boost air until a homogeneous mixture is available throughout the compression space at the point of ignition.

NOTE: When working on the fuel system of the N54 engine, it is important to ensure that the ignition coils are not fouled by fuel. The resistance of the silicone material is significantly reduced by heavy fuel contact. This can cause secondary ignition misfires.

Injector Design and Function

The piezo-injector essentially consists of three sub-assemblies. The expansion of the energized piezo-element lifts the nozzle needle outwards from its valve seat. To be able to counter the different operating temperatures with comparable valve lifts, the injector has a thermal compensating element.

The nozzle needle is pressed outwards from its tapered valve seat. This opens up an annular orifice. The pressurized fuel flows through this annular orifice and forms a hollow cone, the spray angle of which is not dependent on the backpressure in the combustion chamber.

Engine Service Information
Fig. 60: Identifying Injector Design & Function

Engine Service Information
Fig. 61: Identifying Outward Opening Injector Nozzle Needle

The spray cone (1) of a piezo-injector can diverge during operation (2). Due to the formation of soot inside the engine, such divergence is perfectly normal and acceptable to a certain extent.

If, however, spray divergence reaches the stage where it begins to spray the spark plug wet, the spark plug may incur damage.

Engine Service Information
Fig. 62: Identifying Spray Piezo-Injector Operation

NOTE: Do not attempt to clean the injectors in any way.

This may result in damage which can effect the spray pattern. Any divergence in the spray pattern can cause damage to the spark plug or the engine itself.

NOTE: Replace the Teflon sealing ring when fitting and removing the piezo-injector.

This also applies when an injector that has just been fitted has to be removed again after an engine start. A piezo-injector provided with a new Teflon sealing ring should be fitted as quickly as possible because the Teflon sealing ring could swell up. Please observe the repair instructions and follow without fail.

When fitting, make sure that the piezo injector is correctly seated. The holddown element for securing the piezo-injectors must rest on both injector tabs, otherwise the necessary force is not applied to the piezo-injector.

Injection Strategy

Injection of the fuel mass required for the operating situation can take place in up to three individual injections.

Which option is used in the relevant operating situation is dependent on engine load and speed. Here, the actual time resulting from the engine speed available for metering the fuel is an important framework quantity.

A special situation during the operation of any engine is the range in which a high load occurs at low engine speed, so-called "Low End Torque" operation. In this operating situation, the required fuel mass is metered to the engine in three individual injections.

This results in a highly effective mixture formation which in the final analysis has the effect of both increasing power output and saving fuel.

Engine Service Information
Fig. 63: Identifying Injection Strategy

In order to bring the catalytic converters up to operating temperature as quickly as possible, the N54 engine has a catalyst-heating mode for when the engine is started from cold. In this mode, combustion heat is intentionally introduced into the exhaust train and not used first and foremost to develop power output.

The point of ignition is moved to 30º (crankshaft degrees) after TDC. The main quantity of the required fuel is injected before TDC and mixed with the boost air. The piston is situated after TDC in its downward travel such that the air/fuel mixture is already expanding again, which reduces the ignitability of the mixture.

In order to ignite the mixture reliably, a small residual quantity of fuel is injected 25º after TDC and this guarantees an ignitable mixture at the spark plug. This small fuel quantity therefore provides for ignition of the residual charge in the combustion chamber.

This operating mode is set by the engine-management system after a maximum period of 60 seconds from engine starting but is terminated if the catalytic-converter response temperature is reached earlier.


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