Heyyyy, Let's Keep It Clean!!

A recent trip to the coast and some engine problems has got me back at the computer and typing up another "tip" as it were, and its about routine maintenance for your motors.  I'm no mechanic but I do believe in keeping things running properly and probably spend to much money and time on doing so.  However, there are things that crop up that are totally out of our control, and the fuel injection system on some of the newer (and some older!) motors is just one of those systems.  When working, you won't find a better operating system when compared to the old carbureted models, which, by the way, will be around for many more years to come.  I'll keep it simple, because that's what most of us anglers are, simple, so I'll leave out the direct or indirect injection and pulse rates with mass air flow stats blah blah blah blah.

My problems probably started before I was aware of it, a slight "burbble" in the motor, maybe a slight loss of rpm at WOT (wide open throttle, so much for simple!), but yet the motor still ran as great as when I bought it, or so I thought.  That "burbble" rather quickly turned into a bad "stutter" or "stumble" when we were out salmon fishing, to the point where it ran just god awful at idle and the throttle response throughout was getting worse.  Subsequently, it put a bit of a damper in our salmon simply because I deemed the boat not safe for the big water out on the coast, and we were unable to go where the fish were.  Was there something I could have done to prevent this prior to the trip?  No idea, other than perhaps perhaps have investigated a bit further as to why the motor had a bit of a "shudder" (another technical term for anglers only!) in at when at home but that I wrote off to spark plugs and replaced them.

I guess the secret to preventative maintenance is to maintain things before they actually break, I believe that's what the term implies.  In my case, the motor has been used for 10 years but only has 520 hours on it however, it just might be time to look at stuff like the injectors.  Injectors have been around for a coon's age,  back as far as 1893 and developed by, get ready for this, Dr. Diesel!  Yup, from Germany, and it was actually designed to blast coal dust into a furnace.  There are many other references as to when injection was first developed but suffice to say its here to stay until something better comes up.  Its benefits are pretty simple, better efficiency and performance. Remember the old days of your carbureted vehicle trying to start in the dead of winter?  No worries with fuel injection, a computer looks after all that and meters the exact amount of fuel, air and engine settings for the start and it sparks up immediately, sets the idle and everything for you.  My 2001 Trophy had a carburetor on top of a Chevy motor.  In winter, it was an effort to get the big beast to start up and run smooth, when it was cold.  Fuel injection, turn the key and and it'll fire up every time.  Everything seems to be going to injection, my turbo Nytro sled (Yamaha of course!) was fuel injected, what a rocket!  My Duramax is fuel injected, the Mazda is fuel injected and on and on.  Enough story telling, on to the show,

After doing some research on the Internet and a couple of boat forums that I troll through, the verdict was that my screens in the fuel injectors may be clogged.  If there is one nemesis to fuel injection, its dirty fuel, it'll kill the system.  My outboard combats the dirty fuel issue with a multitude of filters before the fuel every reaches the injectors, but it can't stop everything.  In fact, along with the 4 other filters on my motor I added another water separator fuel filter before those 4!  Water/corrosion is a big killer of fuel injectors, they are so precise and the clearances so tight that any water entering into the system can destroy it and even your motor in short order.  Along with water there is the usual gunk that can clog filters and the injectors themselves, and one of the big enemies is ethanol based fuels.  Here's a link  http://www.injectorrenew.com/The_Facts.html that explains what this stuff can do to a motor, and why it should be avoided if possible.  I know, someone out there is saying its a bunch of BS and they've been using ethanol treated fuel for 600 years and have had no problem and you know something, you keep using it.  Also, those fuel treatments to combat ethanol, save your money, what they claim doesn't work.

The injector rail (photo) is really nothing more than a pipe that the injectors are "plugged" into, that's about it.  The fuel line connects at one end of it and its kinda the end of the line for your fuel delivery.  Each system has its own subtle differences, such as mine that has a fuel radiator/cooler to, that's right, keep your fuel cool!  There are many different brands and styles of injectors but their principle is the same, precise injection of a fuel either directly into a cylinder head or indirectly into a air plenum that goes into the cylinder head.  My injectors have four small holes (photo) in the end that the fuel is squirted through.  It doesn't' come out in a stream either, its more of a "V" shaped mist.  One area that gets plugged are these small holes and then your "V" turns into a "I" or "P" or some other letter that your motor doesn't care for, and it runs the pits!  The other area that gets dirty and plugged is what's called the filter basket (photo), which is what was the suspected problem on my motor.

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