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Old 11-20-2002, 04:53 PM #1
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Fuel Injector Cleaning

Fuel Injector Cleaning
by Jim Kerr

I get a lot or questions from car owners about their vehicles. Many of these questions are related to "driveability". Driveability is the automotive industry's term to identify any problems that have to do with engine performance. It could be a rough idle, stalls, hesitations, poor acceleration, low fuel economy, or even hard starting. As you can see, there are many potential problems related to driveability.

While there can be as many causes of poor driveability as there are types of problems, many of them are related to fuel and fuel injection. In the past, there were two types of fuel injection systems commonly used on vehicles: throttle body and port.

Throttle body systems use centrally located injectors mounted in a housing complete with throttle plates. These systems were pretty trouble free. Throttle body injectors sit up high above the engine and are not subjected to as much heat as injectors mounted directly in the manifolds. They also flow a lot of fuel through each injector because one injector feeds several cylinders. For these two reasons, throttle body mounted injectors have few problems and cleaning them usually made no difference in engine performance.

Port injection, on the other hand, uses one injector for each engine cylinder and the injectors are mounted directly in the intake manifold. The fuel sprays into the intake port and sits behind the intake valve until the valve opens and the fuel in drawn into the cylinder. Because of their mounting, port injectors get "heat soaked" almost every time the engine is run. A heat soak occurs when a hot engine is turned off. Heat from the engine rises, and fuel sitting at the tip of the port injectors evaporates. Left behind on the tip of the injector is a gummy residue from the low ends of the fuel. This residue causes the problems.

Gum on the tips of the injectors changes the fuel spray pattern from the desired cone-shaped mist to an off-centre stream of fuel. When fuel is injected in a stream, it tends to drop out of the air stream or takes longer to evaporate in the cylinder. Either way, the fuel doesn't burn properly and a driveability problem results.

Cleaning the deposits off the tips of the injectors can be done several ways. One way is to take the vehicle out on the highway and accelerate hard several times. The increased fuel flow tends to wash away the deposits. Most fuel companies add fuel injector cleaning additives to their fuels to help remove these deposits.

Another way to clean the injectors is to add concentrated fuel injector cleaner to the fuel tank. Available at dealerships, corner service stations, and automotive parts stores everywhere, this type of cleaner adds more detergents to the fuel. Several aftermarket companies supply injector cleaner but directions on the container are usually the same: add one container of cleaner to a full tank of fuel. The detergents will help keep the injectors clean, especially if you do a lot of slow speed driving. Do not add more than one container of cleaner to a tank of fuel. The detergent agents in the cleaner are very concentrated and too much can cause rubber parts in the fuel system to fail.

A quicker way to clean injectors is to force injector cleaner directly through the injectors at a concentrated rate. This service can be performed by most repair shops and is usually only done when there is an injector-related driveability problem with the vehicle. To use this method, the technician connects the injector cleaner and its supply tank directly to the fuel lines at the motor. Any fuel return lines to the car's fuel tank are blocked so the cleaner goes only through the injectors. With this type of cleaning, the concentration of the cleaner is very strong, so injectors are cleaned quickly. It also has the advantage of cleaning some carbon off the backsides of the engine's intake valves. Carbon on the back of the valves soaks up or blocks fuel delivery into the cylinders, and rough idles or hesitations during acceleration result.

If this method of cleaning injectors doesn't work, there are two choices: replace the faulty injector or have it removed and cleaned off the vehicle. Off-vehicle cleaning is done on equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars, so very few repair shops have this equipment. Instead, they send out injectors requiring cleaning to a local specialist. The injectors are mounted on the machine and pulsed electrically while cleaning fluid is forced through the injector backwards. An amazing amount of dirt, rust, and water comes out of injectors cleaned using this method, but not all injectors can be cleaned.

After the cleaning process, the injectors are tested on a flow bench to verify correct spray patterns and fuel flow. Any that do not meet the standard must be replaced. I know of some local hot rodders that have the repair shop "match" the injectors. Several injectors are tested until enough are found that have the same fuel flow rates (within 5%). This helps fuel economy and performance. For passenger car applications, the injectors usually flow within a 10% of each other.

Injector cleaning doesn't need to be done on a regular basis, but if you are experiencing stumbles, stall, hesitations, or other driveability problems with your vehicle, then it may be the gum on the injectors causing the fault.
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:30 AM #2
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The Truth About Additives

Advice:
The Truth About Additives
by Phil Bailey

My article a couple of weeks ago on the subject of engine oil additives drew a gratifying amount of positive reaction. Therefore, it seems appropriate that I should continue with an assessment of other additives that are available off the shelf. I have also been asked to explore the subject of synthetic lubrication and I will get to that in the near future.

People, perhaps, don't realize that after the Second World War, Britain remained on rationing until the early fifties and that cars were just about as precious as diamonds. There was huge amounts of money to be made selling used cars, as Bernie Ecclestone soon realised as he went on to parley a “bomb site” flat lot used car operation into a stranglehold on Formula One. That took money!

Every Austin Ten or Vauxhall was towed out of the field it had occupied for the last six years, polished up and offered to the public as “One owner, nearly new”. In many cases, there was some work to be done first to make the car a “good runner”. Radiator leaking? Drop in a couple of egg whites. Gearbox noisy? A little oatmeal will do the trick. Differential moaning? A peeled banana was good for a week or so of silent running. So began the development of automotive additives and many of todays products had their beginnings back then.

That's not to say that todays products are as crude and short term as bananas or eggs, far from it. Many of them are very useful indeed. Let's take a look at some of the more popular ones:

Radiator stop leak.
These products don't work very well, last only a short period of time and are strictly a “get you home” last resort solution to a leaking cooling system. The problem is that they have a strong tendency to block off the heater core and the small passageways inside the engine. Usually the thermostat sticks open shortly after this stuff is poured into the radiator filler opening. Use it in a dire emergency if you have to, but there is really no substitute for a rebuilt radiator installation.

Power steering additive.
Adding power steering lubricant to your reservoir is useful for a secondary reason. In addition to helping the life of your pump, it also contains “seal swellers” that will help prevent leaks from the pump seal as well as the rack & pinion seals. In some cases, the evil day of repair can be postponed for some time. However, if your spring check up reveals a leaking power steering system and you plan to take the whole family on a very long journey, have the leak repaired properly. An additive of this kind can let you down badly at just the wrong moment and leave you in the hands of the tow truck bandits out there on the Interstates.

Water pump lubricant and coolant conditioner.
Not a bad idea, certainly won't do any harm, but if you really want to help your pump and radiator to survive, go to the trouble of using distilled or ionized water in your 50/50 mixture. Especially if you have a GM vehicle using Dexcool. This latter “long life” coolant reacts very badly when in contact with chlorine, as many a dealer has discovered of late.

Brake fluid.
Don't even think about it. The only way to keep brake fluid fresh is to have it flushed every 3 years or so.

Transmissions.
If a transmission hasn't had the prescribed changes of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) and carbon build up is evident, it may well be too late to change the ATF. At which point a transmission tune up additive will help the internal hydraulic seals recover some of their flexibility and may add another year or so to the life of the transmission. There is no substitute for ATF changes at prescribed intervals, but if you bought a second hand car that hadn't been properly cared for, a conditioner is a very useful way of putting off the evil day when a remanufactured unit will be required.

Fuel tank stuff.
Unfortunately, the info-mercial crowd has somehow managed to render everyone paranoid about fuel injectors. Let me be clear about this. FUEL INJECTORS ARE THE MOST RELIABLE COMPONENT IN YOUR ENGINE. More reliable than spark plugs, high-tension wires or distributors. They rarely, rarely need any kind of attention and injector cleaner is the most over sold, over rated additive to ever be offered to mankind. (After engine oil additives of-course). The oil companies already put fuel system cleaner in every litre you buy. In our shop we see about 1200 cars a year. We do professional injector cleaning on about five engines per year. And then only because our scope tells us to. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. The orifice in the end of an injector is about the same diameter as a human hair. The astringent, abrasive character of injector cleaner enlarges this hole over a period of time. Since your on-board computer doesn't know this, it will continue to tell the injector relays to open wide and thus provide a rich fuel mixture. Then the oxygen sensor calls for the fuel supply to be cut back. Once that's at a minimum, the check engine light comes on. New injectors cost about $165 each - a little more than the cost of the fuel you thought you were saving.

By comparison, gas line anti freeze is a good idea in very cold weather. This winter, we have solved quite a lot of emergency tow-ins with the judicious application of some isopropyl alcohol. Methyl alcohol, by the way, should not be used in modern engines, unless the owners manual says that the engine is designed to run on gasohol. Up to 8% alcohol in fuel is acceptable for all engines, as is the case, for example, at green pumps in Ontario.

Gearbox and differential additives.
We will cover the topic of synthetic gear lubricants in a later article. Nothing else is going to do much good.

Conclusion.
Recently I had a very nice old gentleman walk into our shop with a bill for over $370 that he had been charged for a 24,000 kilometre check up. He asked me to see if all that had been done was necessary. The invoice showed a total of $55 for additives. When I asked why this was so, the gentleman replied that he had been told that were necessary to the health of his car.

Actually, they were healthy for the service departments' bank account and very detrimental to the bank account of this client, particularly in an almost brand new car.

Let the buyer beware.
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Old 08-05-2004, 01:46 PM #3
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I've visually seen excellent results with Auto-RX added to engine oil every 50k to 100k miles. It eats away at carbon deposits slowly and after about 1500 miles of driving they recommend you change your oil to get rid of the liquified deposits, and you'll be good as new.

We tried it on my friend's 130,000 mile Chevy Silverado. We first removed the intake, runners, etc and looked at all the build-up, and then looked afterward and the results were flat-out amazing. It looked like we'd cleaned about 100k miles worth of dirt from the inside of the motor.

Others on www.bobistheoilguy.com report similar results.

Also, air intake and injection path cleaning systems are a very good idea. Don't believe it? Go buy BG Product's Total Desosit Control (TDC) package and use it on a car with at least 60k miles... 100k miles or more untreated will make even more dramatic results. Use it as prescribed (the induction system cleaner is the coolest, as you feed it in through an IV to your PVC valve (vacuum line). You'll smoke up your entire neighborhood with all of the crud you're burning out of there.

Their fuel tank additive is the only somwhat questionable part since really all it is, is Chevron's Techron (they bought the patent rights to their formula) sold at a slightly higher price. But techron in and of itself is widely reguarded as the best overall top-end/fuel system cleaner on the market.
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:40 PM #4
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Where to buy BG products.

I found this link to buy the mentioned products above. I hope this helps everyone.

http://www.ec-securehost.com/RynoPer..._Products.html
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Old 02-06-2005, 08:27 PM #5
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Is there any reasonable way to test the gas you buy to get some idea of what your pumping into the tank?
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:47 PM #6
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So these two so-called experts differ on their opinion of using fuel injector cleaners. Terrific.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:32 PM #7
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There are so many additives already in gasoline. Fuel injection cleaner
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Old 09-13-2008, 02:04 AM #8
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i poured this last week.

http://www.autobahnpower.com/product...ctor%20cleaner
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:18 AM #9
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Sorry bullshit,
The fuel injector cleaner I have been using (Lucas, also piston ring lubricant) has offered a quiter running engine as well as a more fuel efficient one.

Lubrication in your fuel lines would help them from deteriorating internally and the additive would assist to the life of any engine.

Im sorry you think your the expert.
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Old 11-29-2008, 09:44 AM #10
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I've only used BG's 44K and it does a very good job hence it's $20+ a can pricetag.

I used it in my modded Eclipse for 8 years and the stock injectors were still operating at nearly 100% capacity per info on my datalogger and that was at over 100k miles before I wnet to bigger ones.
I now use it once a year in my 4Runner and feel confident my fuel system is running near perfect efficiency.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:54 AM #11
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Lightbulb

I have used either Chevron Techron or Redline S-1 fuel systems cleaner in all of my vehicles once every 25,000 miles. I will then remove and clean the throttle body at 100-120k. All the TB's have been pretty clean and I have never had one engine suffer from a fuel injector failure or leak. The redline S-1 is probably the best because it is 100% fuel detergent and is not a harsh solvent. Techron is #2 IMO both are available at many locations. I also change the air filter at 20-25k as well. I have found if you keep the intake clean you eliminate a lot of problems associated with performance and you can run 87 octane fuel in an engine.
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Old 07-25-2009, 03:36 AM #12
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I use Gumount Regane or Chevron fuel system cleaners every six months with MMO every gas fill ups.
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:38 PM #13
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Quote:
The orifice in the end of an injector is about the same diameter as a human hair. The astringent, abrasive character of injector cleaner enlarges this hole over a period of time. Since your on-board computer doesn't know this, it will continue to tell the injector relays to open wide and thus provide a rich fuel mixture. Then the oxygen sensor calls for the fuel supply to be cut back. Once that's at a minimum, the check engine light comes on. New injectors cost about $165 each - a little more than the cost of the fuel you thought you were saving.
This comment is interesting because it seems to be what might be going on with my truck.

I've 230k original miles on my injectors and I keep getting a random 01,02,03,05 misfire CEL that only happens at idle and doesn't come back for hours or days later. It never flashes just throws the code at idle occasionally.
I've done the fuel injector service but if the issue is that my injectors are worn out then that's a bummer since they are way expensive.
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:24 AM #14
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Have you tried Berryman ? It is much better than BG and much cheaper! The price starts from 7$ check on InjectorCleanerManual.COM


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMAIDEN View Post
I've only used BG's 44K and it does a very good job hence it's $20+ a can pricetag.

I used it in my modded Eclipse for 8 years and the stock injectors were still operating at nearly 100% capacity per info on my datalogger and that was at over 100k miles before I wnet to bigger ones.
I now use it once a year in my 4Runner and feel confident my fuel system is running near perfect efficiency.
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:21 PM #15
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Here is some info on AMSOIL fuel injector cleaner.
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