THE “FAILING” INJECTOR MYTH
President of Lubrication Specialties, Inc.
It’s one of those experiences that diesel owners prefer to avoid. Having to choose between an expensive repair or operating at impaired efficiency. A diagnosis of a “failing” injector can total thousands of dollars in replacement costs. However, a closer look at the problem reveals an interesting insight. Oil is exposed to temperatures much higher than reported on your engine temperature gauge. With enough heat and friction, the oil breaks down and leaves a gummy residue on the inside of the injector. This “gumminess” can cause a slight hesitation in the piston or spring release which can cause a diagnosis computer to trigger a “failed injector” code. This gummy, sticky, friction is called stiction. More times than not, mechanics will suggest replacing the injectors after the failure code is triggered. This is where the myth comes into play. While it is true that a replacement will solve the problem of a HEUI injector not performing correctly due to stiction, it is often unnecessary. Why replace an injector that is designed to go 1,000,000 miles? The elements of an injector are well crafted and can perform for the life of the engine. It is the stiction that is causing the failure, not the malfunctioning of the injector elements. Thus the “failing” injector myth. While many drivers prefer fuel additives to improve performance, the stiction build up that is causing an injector to fail requires a deep cleaning oil additive. This is often counter-intuitive to diesel owners who only consider the injector to be part of the fuel system, not the oil system. Common symptoms of stiction begin to occur well before your mechanic runs the diagnostics on your engine. If you are experiencing hard starts, especially on cold mornings, stiction might be starting to build up. If your diesel hesitates to accelerate, has been losing its power, or you have been noticing a decrease in fuel economy, you could very well be facing a stiction problem.
CHRIS GABRELCIK is certified with STLE as a CLS and OMA. He personally developed and tested a product designed to remove stiction called Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator.
The 2002 Chevrolet truck that these two kits were being installed on had previously been upgraded with an Alligator Performance Stage 5 transmission kit (now with more than 30,000 trouble-free miles above 500 hp) so the high-volume 5/8-inch lines will offer the best flow and further increase the transmission and cooler’s performance. While the BD Double Stack system mounts easily under the truck inside the frame rails with a universal bracket system, the test truck had a larger than stock Titan replacement fuel tank that took up the space needed to install the new cooler, so it was decided that with some minor modifications, the Double Stack core would fit nicely behind the grille in the stock cooler’s location. Since this location offers great airflow across the core, the electric fan was removed before installation and some small metal brackets were fabricated out of some strap steel to hold the new cooler from the factory mounting holes.
Before installing the new Double Stack cooler kit and DRP cooler lines, data was recorded so a true before and after temperature comparison could show just how much improvement the system upgrades would have. Under normal day to day city and highway driving, the test vehicle’s transmission fluid had been running around 110 degrees above the outside air temperature and had seen as much as a 145-degrees over ambient. So during the hot summer months at 100 degrees, it was not uncommon to see transmission fluid run in the 208 to 230-degree range, and this was in normal city driving, not towing. After installing the new BD cooler system and replacing the leaking factory cooler lines with the high-flow lines from DRP, fluid temperatures have dropped an average of 60 degrees, where a much more manageable 150-160 degree fluid temperature is common during daily driving. The extreme abuse of heavy towing has also shown a substantial drop in fluid temperatures, where while even traveling slow up slick mud/snow roads during hunting season, the Allison kept under 200 degrees with 14,000 pounds behind the truck. Cool enough! UDBG