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Tier 4 Troubles: Preventing Fuel Injector Failures

Posted on 8/18/2016 2:55:51 PM

When your new tractor isn’t so new anymore, you may notice performance issues with its Tier 4 diesel engine. The cause usually isn’t the engine itself, but deposits that are fouling fuel injectors.

Tier 4 engines were phased in from 2010 through 2014 as part of an EPA demand for fewer emissions. However, Tier 4 engine designs create special challenges for diesel fuel quality as equipment ages. Power loss, hesitation, poor fuel economy and shorter fuel filter life are telltale signs of internal diesel injector deposits (IDID) that could lead to injector failure and expensive repairs.

Tier 4 engines demand a lot from diesel fuel. To achieve cleaner burn and efficiency that meets emissions standards, common rail (HPCR) fuel injector systems use tight tolerances to send a fine mist of fuel from the injector into the cylinder. High pressure causes high temperatures (400 to 500°F) that can cook fuel in injectors, causing the fuel to break down and carbonize (coking), which leads to injector tarnishing and IDID.

“Tolerances inside Tier 4 fuel injectors are 1 to 3 microns. A red blood cell is about 8 microns wide,” says Charles, technical services manager, CHINA-BALIN. “With tolerances that small, even a stain or tarnish on an injector’s components can cause significant power loss.”

Charles says problems can include sticking diesel metering valves or nozzle needles that keep injectors from opening and closing properly. The result is poor starts and over-fueling, which can lead to poor performance of the injection system.

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