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Diesel Fuel Injectors: Significance and Maintenance Tips

February 20, 2017
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Diesel Fuel Injectors: Significance and Maintenance Tips

Ask any auto expert on what vehicle component greatly influence the performance of your diesel-powered engines and you’ll get a unanimous response that it is the injection system design and pressure.

Thanks to a well-functioning diesel fuel injectors which does the dirty work of spraying the fuel proportionally around the combustion chamber for an even burn.

While the system’s main function is to deliver fuel to the cylinders of a diesel engine, it is how the fuel is delivered that makes a helluva of difference in terms of engine performance, emissions, and noise quality.

Don’t hesitate to ask professional diesel services for confirmation and you’ll get a response in the affirmative. Now, let’s discuss a few basic concept related to injection system.

The Injection Process

It is what differentiates between a diesel engine and a gas engine. When it comes to most car engines, the injection system carmakers use can fall between a port injection or a carburetor.

HowStuffWorks says a port injection system is used to inject fuel before the intake stroke (outside the cylinder) while a carburetor combine air and fuel just prior the entry of the air to the cylinder.

What these functions tell us speak a lot about how the processes involved in the inner workings of a diesel engine. Let’s discuss car engine, for instance. Here, all the fuel is loaded into the cylinder during the intake stroke and then compressed.

Fuel and air mixture compression plays a vital role in limiting the compression ratio of the engine. Compressing the air too much, there will be a spontaneous fuel/air mixture ignition, which can lead to knocking.

Knocking – which triggers excessive heat – can cause severe damage to the engine.

Meanwhile, direct fuel injection that is used for diesel-based engines is a very complex component to ensure the injection done into the cylinder is not haphazard.

Thus, HowStuffWorks remarked that the injector has to meet certain attributes to withstand the pressure inside the cylinder and still deliver the fuel in a fine mist. But there’s still more to understand about this – getting the mist circulated in the cylinder so that it is evenly distributed.

Some diesel-based automakers ensure that the vehicle come with a special induction valves, pre-combustion chambers or other devices to allow the air in combustion chamber to circulate. This process must also improve the ignition and combustion process.

How about cold-starting issue? Some smaller engines and engines has advanced computer control put a glow plug, which heats the combustion chambers and raises the air temperature when the engine is cold.

These glow plug is an electrically heated wire, which you can liken to the hot wires you see in a toaster.

Why Fuel Injectors Are Important?

Fuel injectors are significant for many reasons, but more importantly in ensuring maximal performance of the vehicle.

Knowing that energy burning is the main thing when it comes to how your vehicle will work, it needs component like the fuel injectors to deliver a high mist of fuel into the intake air creating an explosive mixture that takes power to the vehicle.

Hence it is imperative to prevent or limit gunk to build up on critical vehicle components. By leaving the component with harmful deposits – even not clogged – expect your vehicle to malfunction due to some obstruction of fuel flow.

The result of unaddressed obstruction issue that resulted from poorly flowing injector can lead to poorly mixed fuel. When this happens, it will be difficult to ignite the fuel and will burn less efficiently than well mixed fuel.

Dirty fuel injectors causes poor fuel mileage, harder starts (especially during cold seasons), less power, higher harmful emissions and a poorly idling vehicle.

Common Symptoms of Dirty Injectors

Vehicle owners cannot be ignorant or neglectful of some important roles attached to owning one. In this sense, it is important for you to take the time out to analyze and diagnose your car’s health, along with the time to clean the fuel injectors whenever necessary.

Moreover, to be sure of your diagnosis, consult experts from a reputable diesel services company.

In this regard, knowing the various symptoms the clogged injectors show and how to clean them. You will have so many opportunities to grab when you are dealing with a dirty system. Cleaning it before it leads to other major problems is a must.

Note that you will experience the following problems when the engine of your vehicle start showing signs of problems as a result of clogged injectors:

•    Low performance
•    The car’s engine will begin stalling
•    Failing emission tests
•    There’s an engine misfire
•    When you start the vehicle, the engine begin to shutter and hesitate.

When you notices any of the symptoms mentioned above, you can resort to trying fuel injector cleaners or other maintenance tips. Using the injector cleaner earlier is advised to prevent any clogging-related problems.

Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Help?

They come in handy for cleaning up the fuel system, especially in dissolving the harmful deposit build up in the fuel injectors. But what do these cleaners do and how?

•    Designed to improve the fuel mileage, lower emission and maximize engine performance, fuel injector cleaners can help clean deposit build ups without damaging any sensors or other components.
•    Use the fuel cleaner every 3,000 miles to ensure the fuel processing system is clean and deposit-free.
•    Choose the best cleaner for your fuel injectors because there is no other way to get the best result.

Of course to get the most performance out of your engine components, like fuel injectors, diesel services recommend cleaning your fuel injectors. Traditional fuel additives, however, may not be altogether effective in ridding off or preventing harmful deposits.

Other harmful effect of such deposits include: increased white or black smoke, power loss, reduced injector life, reduced fuel economy, and the likes.

Diesel Fuel Injectors Maintenance

To get the best performance and fuel mileage out of your diesel engine, it is important to consider that fuel injectors are clean and functioning well. When you use a properly-functioning injector, fuel will be injected in a well-optimized mist that burns evenly and cleanly.

Frequent use and over time, fuel and other contaminants can combine to form deposits that can affect the previously new, clean and nice spray of the injector. The buildup of deposits, especially when exposed to the high temperatures and pressures linked with advanced fuel injection system equipment, emerge after the engine is shut down, causing fuel to be cooked and affect the injector.

Moreover, anyone concerned with the fuel injectors’ health and performance will need to consider the following tips:

•    You can go the nearest professional diesel servicing and garage tents, which typically use an ultrasonic machine that can clean your injectors.
•    If you are the kind of person with auto mechanic skills, simply pull the injectors, disassemble them and clean the parts with an acetone bath and wire brushes. Be careful doing this approach as it’s easy to damage parts of the injector tips. Knowing how to them the injectors back is a must.
•    Some try periodic fuel injector cleaner applications which uses concentrated detergent packages delivered through the fuel. (We’ll discuss more of this below).
•    When the injector is worn, it is not cleaning that is needed. To know whether you have a worn injector, use a chemical cleaner and see if the performance reverts back to the way it is supposed to.
•    If the issue is mechanical, don’t hesitate to approach a professional who can address the engine problem.
•    Don’t assume that just because you can find some references on the internet about cleaning your diesel injectors, everything else – from a repair and troubleshoot standpoint – will be easy. Remember that gasoline can potentially change the combustion qualities of diesel and also strip essentially lubricating films form diesel parts.

The Deciding Factor

Tim Gibson of The Telegraph quoted technical author and diesel specialist Martin Randall about the qualities of modern turbo diesel engines. Saying that such are more complex than their predecessors, it is then imperative to maintain them on a regular basis, which include replacing oil and filters in line with guidelines from the automakers.

Sometimes too, using old lubricants no longer help, but instead impair your vehicle’s performance. Worst, inattention and carelessness can even cause the storing up of mechanical problems for the future.

Furthermore, it pays giving attention to cambelt (timing belt) service intervals and any particular instructions from the manufacturers. Some vehicles can be applied with an additive to clean the diesel particulate filters. This latter part, finally needs topping up once the car has covered a set mileage.

One should not ignore clogged fuel injectors symptoms and must take note of the milestones. By ignoring the milestones, there is big chance that your car’s ability to achieve its potential will be curtailed. When such event occur, expect a disappointing driving experience and a much higher risk of large-scale repairs.

It is commonly observed that people have the tendency to prefer fixed cost over the uncertainty of greater but undefined savings. This explains why in many cases, prevention is neglected, and not valued the way it should be.

But in whatever aspect, be it in caring and maintaining clean and sharp diesel fuel injectors, prevention costs less than the solution. Taking the right steps or measures earlier can be cost-effective and cause fewer headaches.

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