Since the introduction of the catalyst Every new car in Germany is equipped with at least one lambda probe as standard. The probe is a component of the catalyst. This is integrated into the exhaust system of every vehicle that runs on gas, diesel or petrol. The following article provides information on the function and advantages of lambda sensor tuning for the car.
Structure + mode of operation / Lambda sensor
A lambda probe is similar in size and shape to one spark plug, Using an external thread, it can be integrated directly into the exhaust system and is a firmly screwed component. The sensor is usually installed directly in front of the catalytic converter or in the exhaust manifold. Inside, the lambda sensor is equipped with a heating wire and a specific sensor ceramic. In the different variants, a distinction is made between planar probes and finger probes.
Prerequisite for efficient engine tuning
With tuned engines and also when installing new exhaust systems with, for example, one downpipe it is imperative to monitor the fuel-air mixture explicitly. As soon as the engine is running, the lambda sensor determines the exact composition of the engine's exhaust gases. To do this, it compares the amount of residual oxygen with the amount of oxygen in the environment. The mixing ratio is optimal if the value 1 is shown. At a value of 1,1 the mixture is too thin. If the determined value is below 0,9, the mixture in the engine is too rich.
Importance of a lambda probe
In order to ensure that a vehicle meets higher emission standards, several lambda sensors must be installed. With V-cylinder engines, one lambda probe is installed per cylinder bank. In top models with selective cylinder deactivation, each cylinder is equipped with a lambda sensor. To reduce emissions (Soot, hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxides), the measurement is carried out using the lambda probe (s).
Tuning lambda sensor for motorsport vehicles
If a car is tuned with an engine or racing designed exhaust system, this is often with a sports catalytic converter (often with 100/200 cells) fitted. After installing the sports catalytic converter, a new calibration of the lambda sensor is absolutely necessary. For this purpose, chip tuning is carried out, which at best also increases performance and harmonizes all components. Vehicle owners can be sure that the exhaust gas cleaning system will then work properly. Defective lambda probes must be replaced immediately, otherwise the environmental impact, engine performance and fuel consumption are increased.
Lambda probe deactivation - when required?
In exhaust systems that are not equipped with a catalytic converter, the lambda sensor must be deactivated. The same sometimes applies when upgrading with a manifold, a downpipe, etc. If the lambda probe is not deactivated, errors occur in the engine control unit and the engine indicator light comes on. The engine then does not run smoothly and does not perform optimally. Deactivation prevents the occurrence of errors in the engine control unit, so that in future no error messages will be caused and the engine will run smoothly. It should of course be borne in mind that a deactivated lambda sensor must not be used in an approved vehicle on public roads in Germany. Removing or deactivating the lambda sensor is prohibited within the EU!
Differences to the factory lambda sensor
An improved broadband lambda sensor enables the engine's air-fuel ratio to be closely monitored. To optimize the accuracy, the positioning and also the calibration of the probe is very important. An improved probe for retrofitting comes with a stainless steel welding ring, which must be welded clean so that no fresh air is introduced into the air flow. Basically, there is no essential difference to the component ex works. The improvements are often only in the area of the connector, the connection cable or the material quality of the probe. However, the mode of operation is identical and the adaptation to the engine differs only rarely compared to the standard lambda sensor.
Tuning lambda probe - properties
- available for almost all vehicle models
- available for cars with diesel, gas and petrol engines
- Reduction of pollutants
- higher performance with lower fuel consumption
- improved connector
- improved wiring
- improved material
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