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RE: Vacuum

To: mgs <>
Subject: RE: Vacuum
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 18:40:00 -0800 (PST)
Another way that vacuum is maintained for operating wipers etc. when there 
is no vacuum is by using a vacuum resevoire which is basically a rigid ball 
with vacuum ports where vacuum is built up and isolated from the manifold by 
a check valve. It can supply temporary vacuum. Modern cars hav 'em

Chris Reichle
From: mgs-owner
To: mgs
Subject: Vacuum
Date: Thursday,January 11,1996 11:10AM

Dirk asked:

> The purpose of the vacuum advance is to get an earlier spark during
> high vacuum conditions, but I cannot remember whether vacuum is higher
> during idle or at high rpm's. Anybody else who does?
> I do recall stories about vacuum operated windshield wipers slowing
> down when overtaking another car in the rain, which would indicate
> lower vacuum during high rpm's.

There are two kinds of vacuum in a car: manifold and ported.  Since an
internal combustion engine sucks air from the intake and shoves it out
the exhaust, the engine creates vacuum in the intake manifold and pressure
in the exhaust system.  The more closed the throttle butterfly is, the
more vacuum is created in the intake manifold.  This is manifold vacuum
and it's highest (lowest pressure) at idle and lowest (nearer to the
ambient air pressure) with the throttle wide open.

Ported vacuum on the other hand is caused by air flowing through the carb
venturi (Bernoulli effect).  This is what sucks gas out of the jet into
the airstream.  Any opening in the venturi walls will have lower pressure
than the surrounding air.  The more air that's flowing (butterflies more
open) the more ported vacuum there is.  This is the opposite of manifold

My father had a Mercury Comet (early sixties) that had vacuum operated
winshield wipers.  They'd go like stink while sitting at a stop light, but
as soon as my father stepped on the gas, they'd slow to a crawl.  Useful,
huh?  So they obviously ran off of manifold vacuum.  The Opel GT has
retractable headlights whose retracting mechanism runs off of vacuum.  When
going up a long incline, the headlights slowly flop back over.  These
obviously work off of manifold vacuum too.  If you pay attention, you'll
notice that most Opel GT's have the headlights permanently mounted in the
up position.  As car manufacturers got smarter, they started using both
kinds of vacuum to guarantee that vacuum was constantly available.  One-way
valves prevent the ported vacuum port from being a vacuum leak for the
manifold vacuum.

As cars got more sophisticated, all kinds of creature comforts were run off
of vacuum because it's essentially free power.  The Porsches and Audi's I
worked on had vacuum operated door locks and heating/AC vent flaps.  Since
the engine only supplies vacuum while running, these cars had vacuum
reservoirs (lime green bulb things) that would make something work a few
times after shutting off the engine.  You can tell which parts of your car
are vacuum operated by operating them without the engine running.  If they
stop working without being broken, they're vacuum operated.  It got to the
point where so many things ran off of vacuum that the engine couldn't supply 

enough so some cars came with electric vacuum pumps.  So, the car burns gas
to run the alternator to make electricity to run a vacuum pump to create
vacuum to operate levers.  This isn't the most efficient power source I
could think of.

I've been saving up words.

Denise Thorpe

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