Diesel: The Obvious Choice In terms of potential energy, diesel fuel contains approximately 30 percent more heat energy, measured in Btu, than gasoline. Diesel engines also produce more cylinder pressure than gasoline engines due to the length of the combustion process. See, diesels burn more like flame throwers, and gasoline engines burn more like bombs. More cylinder pressure = more torque, and more torque = more power from each gallon of fuel burned.
Also noteworthy is the actual process by which diesel fuel is rEFIned from crude oil. Not only is it less expensive, but it requires less time to develop batch quantities. Furthermore, diesel fuel is much safer to transport over the open road, thanks to its higher flash point.
The lubricity of diesel fuel offers added value by helping to protect moving parts like pumps and injectors. And nobody will argue the fact that diesel is the dominant transportation fuel used worldwide-subsequently, the distribution network is usually just minutes from any Interstate.
Yes, the cost of diesel is generally higher in today's turbulent economy. But let's face it-diesel engines are more robust while keeping electrical systems simpler, and they offer a longer life expectancy than gasoline engines. While I'll admit the modern diesel engine will cost you more up front-in many cases, a lot more-I also want to point out the fact that all the newly imposed "clean diesel" emissions regulations require new technologies, and the automotive industry is still in the technology learning curve at the present time, just like the late '70s when complex vacuum systems and smog pumps were being added to gasoline engines.
Fuel injection, with its better power, economy, resistance to extreme angles, and high rel
Injection is Perfection, Or Something Close to It
We'll grant the obvious: for your average home wrench, a carb is simpler to take apart and rebuild, and less costly to purchase and modify. But modern-day electronic fuel injection does the better job by far of providing the best balance of power, performance, and economy, and doing it predictably and efficiently. And contrary to popular belief, converting an older rig to EFI isn't all that daunting anymore; just about any Chevy V-8, for instance, can be converted to throttle-body or tuned-port injection using nothing more than off-the-shelf OE parts and an aftermarket wiring harness. If it's tunability you're looking for, EFI has that, too-there are plenty of programmable plug-in modules nowadays that can work in harmony with your EFI to recalibrate your torque curve to provide an extra boost. And if you really want to tailor your fuel delivery, there are companies out there that offer EFI controllers that use open-source software and which you can "build" to your own specs.
Another thing: because EFI systems use constant pressure instead of vacuum to deliver fuel to the cylinders, there are no worries about operating angles, or gravity affecting fuel flow. That's the one huge advantage EFI has for wheelers. Simply put, it'll run the same way, regardless of angle-whether your rig's on its side, or even upside down-as long as the engine's got oil pressure. No carbureted induction system can promise that. And more constant fuel delivery generally translates into better mileage for injected rigs, too.
And contrary to the old clich, you can indeed "fix" your EFI with very few tools other than a sim-ple screwdriver-just carry some spare injectors in your part's bin, and you can chuck all those myriad floats, springs, and jets out of the toolbox for good. Then enjoy your day on the trail, even if you make a mess of it and end up on your lid. Did we mention EFI runs just fine upside down?
Carbs: An Easy ChoiceIn every classic battle there are two passionate sides of the equation and sometimes one argument is seemingly the clear winner until you dig a little bit deeper. This is one of those times when a little information might be enough to sway your opinion.