A reminder about injector cleaning - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-28-2008, 09:58 AM   #1
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A reminder about injector cleaning

Just a friendly reminder with a short story behind it. My wife's explorer's mileage took a nose dive this month so I did some preventive maintenance like installing new plugs, cleaning the MAF and washing the air filter etc. None of these things seemed to make much difference.

I realized that it had never had a professional pressurized fuel injector cleaning service. So I made my own fuel injector cleaning machine/pressure pot. On ebay they sell for around 200$ which is out of my budget by about $200... Anyways I built one out of a paint gun kit from harbor freight for $29, combined with a fuel pump test kit from harbor freight for $10. It screws onto the fuel rail of the engine. I disabled the fuel pump and ran the engine from the injector cleaner machine for 10 minutes until it ran out of cleaner. The cleaner is made by BG, also sold on ebay. It's a powerful cleaner that cleans the combustion chamber, injectors, and valves.

I filled the fuel tank and gave the truck back to my wife. Our gas mileage has returned, and in fact is better than ever. Our best average fuel economy used to be @65 mph with approx 21-23mpg. Now we get 24+ mpg @70mph. I'll have to see what we get at 65mph now also, but this last tank was @ 70.

Not bad for a vehicle with that many miles which is rated at 17 mpg when brand new. It's almost the same as my stock 350Z.

My whole point is to remind others to occasionally have their fuel injectors cleaned with an actual cleaning machine. I think dealers charge about $85 for the service.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:24 AM   #2
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I just run a cupful of isopropyl alcohol through every few tanks. If your injectors are bad though, you might need to do three tanks in a row of it. It is the major constituent of many "injector cleaners" "emissions cleaners" "carb cleaners" "fuel system conditioners" "octane boosters" "water removers" "gas line antifreeze" and what you pay for it usually depends on what it claims on the bottle, sometimes as much as $15 for 125ml. Just get a bottle of 70% or higher concentration isopropyl alcohol from a grocery or drug store and use that. If you need to get rid of a lot of water/ice the 99% will do better. Less than about 70% will lose it's water when it goes into solution in the gas, so don't use the dollar store 50% stuff.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:12 AM   #3
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I actually use a lot of injector cleaners, I'd say once every month. Seems like a lot to me anyhow. I usually use B12 Chem tool, or Seafoam. B12 is the nastiest stuff I've seen, it will strip your paint off the car. I also use 3 oz Isopropyl / 3 oz marvel mystery oil per 10 gal gas. This is "supposed" to increase the efficiency of gasoline, but I haven't seen proof yet. Even with all the injector cleaners I've used it still didn't seem to make any difference until I did the pressure clean.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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Or for about $120 including shipping, people can be assured that their injectors are functioning properly to begin with and get them back ultrasonically cleaned.

http://www.rceng.com/Fuel-Injector-Cleaning-P43C0.aspx

I am skeptical of any cleaning that doesn't involve removing the injectors in the first place however. Modern gasoline is already laced with cleaning agents, but they can't do anything to remove solid contaminants.

Edit: Here's a less expensive provider of a similar service:

http://www.witchhunter.com/
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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I had a friend with a 02 ford taurus with the flex fuel vulcan 3.0 OHV. MIL came on when it started running bad and he looked up online some stuff and apparently they're prone to clogged injectors and the fix is usually just floor it for a few seconds to get it to pass like a kidney stone. one the way to the dealer he did that and it revved up, bogged down for a moment, then revved better than ever. MIL and roughness were gone when he got to the dealer so all they did was say it had a code stored for cylinder miss and cleared it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:44 PM   #6
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I would much rather remove the injectors and clean them but if I went that far I'd just clean them myself ultrasonically, or chemically and then test them myself. The only problem is the amount of hours of labor just to remove them and install them, combined with all the other components blocking access to the injectors like upper and lower intake manifolds, a/c compressor, power steering pump, throttle body, all that stuff has to be completely unbolted and removed to even see the injectors on my engine. A lot of people will have this problem. But when my mileage dropped from 22 down to 15 I knew there was a problem. After cleaning them with the pressurized method the mileage jumped up to 24mpg. I'm pretty confident that there isn't much dirt/solids/carbon left interfering with the spray pattern. Normally the guys who do the pressure clean for $$ will run two bottles through it anyways, especially if the engine was previously misfiring. I only ran one bottle through.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gto78 View Post
I would much rather remove the injectors and clean them but if I went that far I'd just clean them myself ultrasonically, or chemically and then test them myself. The only problem is the amount of hours of labor just to remove them and install them, combined with all the other components blocking access to the injectors like upper and lower intake manifolds, a/c compressor, power steering pump, throttle body, all that stuff has to be completely unbolted and removed to even see the injectors on my engine. A lot of people will have this problem. But when my mileage dropped from 22 down to 15 I knew there was a problem. After cleaning them with the pressurized method the mileage jumped up to 24mpg. I'm pretty confident that there isn't much dirt/solids/carbon left interfering with the spray pattern. Normally the guys who do the pressure clean for $$ will run two bottles through it anyways, especially if the engine was previously misfiring. I only ran one bottle through.

its much easier to clean them usign thr pressurized fuel cleaner. stock fuel pumps supply it with about 70 lbs of pressure thats 70 psi and pure injector cleaner, thats goign to clean alot more than your $3 can of carb cleaner

i did this to my truck not too logn ago and it made miracles. the chevetet i rebuilt the carb and cleaned all passeges but i might think about doing it as it has a mechanical pump i can access easily
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:29 AM   #8
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I can't speak for anyone else's vehicles fuel pump pressure since I honestly don't know what they are, but on my truck the fuel pressure supplied at idle is 25 psi. With the pressure regulator at full it's only 30psi. According to the ford manual it's at the correct pressure. I then disconnected the fuel pump fuse and the truck turned off within a second. Next step was to connect the fuel cleaning kit to the fuel rail, and then pressurized the container with 30psi of shop air. I started the truck and it then ran on the cleaner for 10 minutes. While it was running I removed the vacuum hose that plugs into the fuel pressure regulator. This caused the fuel rail pressure to run at max-30psi. It also let less of my cleaner fluid to return back to the fuel tank, and more of it stays in the fuel rail.
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:59 AM   #9
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I'll cast one more vote for removing your injectors and having them mechanically cleaned (not just snake oil in the gas tank). I've done this with four sets of injectors, and every time the difference has been much more than expected. Smoother idle, more efficiency, etc.

The guy I use will do a preliminary (before cleaning) flow test, then a full cleaning, then a flow test afterwards. If you are lucky enough to have airflow data on your engine, you can put the highest flowing injectors in the ports with the highest airflows. This helps even more!

BTW a couple of injectors have been leaky or have burned up coils. I never really knew this by driving the car (symptoms were minimal), but after I replaced these injectors the difference was quite noticeable. If I'd never sent the injectors out to be cleaned & tested, I never would have know about this problem!

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Old 02-29-2008, 06:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Snax View Post
Or for about $120 including shipping, people can be assured that their injectors are functioning properly to begin with and get them back ultrasonically cleaned.

http://www.rceng.com/Fuel-Injector-Cleaning-P43C0.aspx

I am skeptical of any cleaning that doesn't involve removing the injectors in the first place however. Modern gasoline is already laced with cleaning agents, but they can't do anything to remove solid contaminants.

Edit: Here's a less expensive provider of a similar service:

http://www.witchhunter.com/
Then again, there is a problem with places like these: vehicle downtime. You have to figure that it is probably going to take close to a week to ship to one of these places, a few days for cleaning, and close to a week to get your injectors back. Meanwhile, your vehicle just sits. This could potentially be a HUGE problem if you have just one car. Or, it could force you to drive a less economical vehicle for a couple of weeks. Regardless, it is just not convenient to ship off injectors. Having a way to clean them at home would be a HUGE advantage. At least if there is not a place that can clean them locally.
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