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An Injection Pump (or Diesel Pump) pumps fuel into the cylinders of a diesel engine. A few petrol engines also use injection pumps, but not many. The Diesel pump is driven indirectly from the crankshaft by gears, chains or a toothed belt (often the timing belt) that also drives the camshaft on overhead-cam engines ( OHC ). It rotates at half crankshaft speed in a conventional four-stroke engine. Its timing is such that the fuel is injected only very slightly before top dead-centre of that cylinders compression stroke.
The rotary pump or distributor pump was developed for use on cars and light trucks. It uses a single injection cylinder driven from an axial cam plate, which injects into the individual fuel lines via a rotary distribution valve. Later variants such as the Bosch VE pump vary the injection timing with crank speed to give greater power at high crank speeds, and smoother, more economical running at slower revs.
All injection pumps incorporate a governor to cut fuel supply if the crank speed gets to the point that the engine might be comprimised. The heavy moving parts of diesel engines do not enjoy being thrashed. Things can get messy if they are over-revved.
Mechanical pumps are gradually being phased out in favour of cleaner alternatives, to comply with international emissions directives, and to increase performance and economy. Alternatives include common rail diesel systems and electronic unit direct injection systems. These allow for higher pressures to be developed, and for much finer control of injection volumes compared to mechanical systems.