Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Turbos & Kits - BY CHRIS GABRELCIK,

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.

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