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Fuel injector cleaners

Mich2020

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A thread about gasoline additives got me wondering about fuel injector cleaners (STP, Lucas, etc.) Are they any good? Do they work? Or just a waste of money? If they do work - which brands are best?
 

Kid Mechanic

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The top tier brands put additives in the fuel. The budget stations generally just run what’s produced, and sell priced accordingly.
If you switch brands periodically, that in my experience, is better than store bought additives. Now, adding Stabil or Heet for storing, etc. is a bit different.
 
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Chris

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I don't believe any of these additives do jack shit in terms of cleaning fuel injectors. That is my personal opinion, but it's a strong opinion of mine.

You want to know to keep your engine in tip-top shape? Ever hear of "ye old Italian tune-up"?

;)
 

Succentor

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The Italian tune-up was recommended to me many years ago before my first car went for its MOT (annual inspection including emissions test) and I’ve deployed it every year since. Seems to work!
 
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JKP

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The Chevron Techron complete fuel system cleaner, not the injector cleaner (less concentrated), seems to work. It's just a concentrated version of what they add to their gas anyway though.
 
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Jeepr89

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BG makes a product called 44K that we have used and had success with in the shop for years. I use it in my vehicles once a year.
 

Jerry Bransford

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There is no need for additional FI cleaners here in the US. Period. The EPA mandated that ALL gasolines sold here in the US have enough cleaners to keep the FI system clean. Yes we used to need FI cleaners but not since the late 80's when the EPA mandated they be in all gasolines here in the US. Not just Top Tier gasolines either... all gasolines have more than enough cleaners in them to keep everything clean.

Keep that $$$ in your pocket and pay no attention to the know-nothing revolving-door salesman at Autozone etc. told to push those high profit little bottles of cleaners at the cash register.
 

Jerry Bransford

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Jerry, I'll have to disagree with you on this one.

AAA ran a test recently that shows Top Tier still keeps deposits down compared to the non Top Tier.

https://www.aaa.com/AAA/common/AAR/files/Fuel-Quality-Full-Report.pdf
We'll simply have to agree to disagree. The real-world is this... clogged FI systems used to be common and dealers/mechanics made good $$$ cleaning them for good reason. Then after the EPA made fuel system MANDATORY for ALL US gasolines in the late-80's, clogged injectors and fuel systems all but disappeared here in the US.

Just for a personal frame of reference, I used to have 25 or so new truck & Jeep dealerships as clients and I would talk with their mechanics quite a bit. FI cleaning additives was a common subject years ago so I made it a point to ask every mechanic I spoke with how often they saw clogged/dirty fuel injection systems. The old mechanics said it had been a long time and the newer mechanics said they never had.

There's nothing wrong with using Top Tier but I so rarely use it that if it was a real thing I'd have FI system problems. I typically buy all my gas at discount gas stations that are hardly Top Tier.

YES I did used to have clogged injectors right after FI became a common thing in the 70's and 80's and I bought a lot of FI cleaning additives. Yes I had experience with clogged FI systems then. But I haven't had any more FI problems since the late 80's. That's real-world experience and what I base my comments on.

Let's just agree to disagree and move on. :)
 

Dino - KX6D

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All gasoline made in the United States has to meet a minimum formula composition per FEDERAL guidelines. This means all cars can run on the same gasoline. All gas is the same. Just so I'm clear...ALL GAS IS THE SAME because the feds say so!

So, it doesn't matter which refinery is making the fuel, they all make it the same...which is why x refinery is making fuel for MULTIPLE gas companies.

The difference is what's added to the fuel AFTER is made. For example; when I worked at the Arco distribution depot as a heavy diesel mechanic I would see Arco trucks, 7-Eleven trucks, Costco trucks, Ma and Pa trucks all come get gas at the same tanker fueling stations. The only difference was the ADDITIVES being added during the tanker fueling operation. There were hoses attached to the main header that would inject the additives as it was being added to the tanker. Think of it as the all-in-one soda machine that all injects the same soda water, but injects the syrup for Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.

Some oil companies have better additives than others. Chevron is the best, period. Mobil and Shell have their special chemicals too. As an example of Chevron being the best fuel, you can't buy Chevron in Detroit. But the automakers have Chevron fuel trucked in to Detroit for all their automotive engine certification runs because its the best and cleanest. Its why I only run Chevron gas in all my vehicles.

While Chevron already includes "Techroline" in their fuel, you can buy "Techron" at the automotive stores and add it to your tank. Does it work? Absolutely. After every tune-up I'd add a bottle of Techron to my customers car and tell them not to refill the tank until it was almost empty (per Chevron's instructions). This served to NOT dilute the concentrated fuel mixture so it can go to work on the fuel system. One bottle would do it and made a noticeable difference.

Back in 1985 I rebuilt a carburetor for my 1975 El Camino. When I removed the carb I noticed how dark the intake runners were in the manifold. I didn't get the float level set correctly and after a week of running the new carb I removed it to fix the float level. The intake runners were CLEAN this time! I had run a tank of Chevron fuel and one bottle of Techron when I originally installed the carb the week before. I've also worked on engines of customers who ran Chevron and their valves were clean and combustion chambers were clean. Back in the 80's we were doing a lot of head rebuilds because they had gotten rid of leaded gasoline and the "new" unleaded fuel required hardened seats in the heads. We could tell who ran Pennzoil too! Stay away from Pennzoil!

So buy Chevron's Techron and stay away from the other stuff. Techron works.
 

Gollywomper

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All gasoline made in the United States has to meet a minimum formula composition per FEDERAL guidelines. This means all cars can run on the same gasoline. All gas is the same. Just so I'm clear...ALL GAS IS THE SAME because the feds say so!

So, it doesn't matter which refinery is making the fuel, they all make it the same...which is why x refinery is making fuel for MULTIPLE gas companies.

The difference is what's added to the fuel AFTER is made. For example; when I worked at the Arco distribution depot as a heavy diesel mechanic I would see Arco trucks, 7-Eleven trucks, Costco trucks, Ma and Pa trucks all come get gas at the same tanker fueling stations. The only difference was the ADDITIVES being added during the tanker fueling operation. There were hoses attached to the main header that would inject the additives as it was being added to the tanker. Think of it as the all-in-one soda machine that all injects the same soda water, but injects the syrup for Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.

Some oil companies have better additives than others. Chevron is the best, period. Mobil and Shell have their special chemicals too. As an example of Chevron being the best fuel, you can't buy Chevron in Detroit. But the automakers have Chevron fuel trucked in to Detroit for all their automotive engine certification runs because its the best and cleanest. Its why I only run Chevron gas in all my vehicles.

While Chevron already includes "Techroline" in their fuel, you can buy "Techron" at the automotive stores and add it to your tank. Does it work? Absolutely. After every tune-up I'd add a bottle of Techron to my customers car and tell them not to refill the tank until it was almost empty (per Chevron's instructions). This served to NOT dilute the concentrated fuel mixture so it can go to work on the fuel system. One bottle would do it and made a noticeable difference.

Back in 1985 I rebuilt a carburetor for my 1975 El Camino. When I removed the carb I noticed how dark the intake runners were in the manifold. I didn't get the float level set correctly and after a week of running the new carb I removed it to fix the float level. The intake runners were CLEAN this time! I had run a tank of Chevron fuel and one bottle of Techron when I originally installed the carb the week before. I've also worked on engines of customers who ran Chevron and their valves were clean and combustion chambers were clean. Back in the 80's we were doing a lot of head rebuilds because they had gotten rid of leaded gasoline and the "new" unleaded fuel required hardened seats in the heads. We could tell who ran Pennzoil too! Stay away from Pennzoil!

So buy Chevron's Techron and stay away from the other stuff. Techron works.
I worked In A machine shop in the early to mid 90s. The machinist could tell what brand of oils was used in the engine by the amount of crud buildup. Lol.
 

eastbloc

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BG44 - the only thing that ever worked, everything you find in auto parts store is a waste of money.
As far as Jeeps and benefits of cleaners, mmmm ehhh, try and see where that goes.

Before i had a Jeep, a little change here and there, and car responds with a feelable difference in performance.
Now that i drive a Jeep, one moment it does 12 mpg, another 15 mpg, but regardless of which it still feels and drives like a Jeep.
 

InOmaha

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Mine was stumbling at idle so I seafoamed the intake. It removes carbon deposits all through the system.

You take off a hose somewhere on the intake and feed it in at idle, then open the throttle up and suck it in hard enough to about kill the engine at higher rpms, let it set 15 minutes, start it up, and make sure you're not at home or in a neighborhood. They might call the fire department. It's like spraying the intake down with carb cleaner without taking the intake apart. It smokes a cloud of white smoke for 5-10 minutes that's much less of and issue at 55-70.

I don't know about injectors, but I dump the rest of the can in the gas tank.
 

eastbloc

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Well, I've already pointed out that this statement is incorrect. Try the Techron...or don't.
And my previous STI and M3 will point out to you that it was a was of money... the 1st time i tried it, the 2nd time... and the 3rd time
 

Dino - KX6D

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Placebo effect. Same as putting higher octane gas in your vehicle that does not call for it. Use it if it makes you feel better. It’s your money. I rather waist my money on lottery tickets.
No placebo actually. There is no "octane" in gas. Its a rating the fuel companies come up with after burning actual octane and comparing the two burns. The higher the octane reading, the slower the gas burns. High compression engines will pre-detonate a fuel so they need a more stable fuel. They accomplish this by adding additives and slowing down the burn. The higher octane rated burn is actually cooler so you get a better burn and lower emissions with the lower octane rated fuel. You just don't get the power increase you get with the higher compression engines.

You are correct that if an engine was designed to run 87 rated fuel, there is no advantage to running 89 or 91 (CA numbers) in it and it can actually be detrimental over a long period of time with the extra deposits and emissions those higher rated fuels leave. You also loose performance do to the cooler burn. Jeeps need 87. Buy 87.

As for fuel injection cleaners, I can only speak about Techron because I've seen it work. It is a cleaner, not a fixer. If you have water or deposits in your tank or lines it will encapsulate it and burn it. It will not fix a worn out injector. It will clean the tips, runners, valves, and piston deposits. There is a reason Chevron runs it in their fuel.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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We could tell who ran Pennzoil too! Stay away from Pennzoil!
Pennzoil and some other engine oils had a reputation for causing sludge in engines but some of that was also based on old wive's tales. Partly true, partly engine design in some engines back in the day. Some engine designs developed sludge no matter what oil was used.

Pennzoil switched their base stock to something called PureBase in 1997 and that plus better engine designs stopped all that. Pennzoil has been as good as any of them for many years. I'd happily run it as a replacement for my Valvoline oils as I would NAPA, Castrol, Mobil, etc. This is the Press Release for when PureBase was introduced https://www.theautochannel.com/news/date/19970604/news003108.html

Their new refining process was not limited to Pennzoil, it was an evolutionary process that was being adopted across the industry at the time.