Having engine problems? Yours won’t start with a quick key flick, idles roughly, and surges through midrange and full throttle? It’s
likely the fuel injectors are dirty.
Dirty injectors make the fuel spray
pattern intermittent and splotchy instead
of the fine mist it needs to be. How to
solve it? While it’s possible to rig a
simple home-cleaning method, the best
remedy for dirty injectors is to remove
and send them to a professional.
Marine fuel injectors live a much
tougher life than their automobile counterparts. Inboard, sterndrive, and four-and two-stroke outboard motors are all
subject to fuel and injector problems.
The challenge is the same: keeping
fresh fuel in the tanks, having annual
fuel-system maintenance, and frequently
using the boat. Today’s ethanol-blended
fuel, if not treated properly or if not used
within a reasonable amount of time, can
create fuel-system degradation – bad for
any type of engine.
Hoses, filters, O-rings, and fuel
pumps suffer from the corrosive effects
of the alcohol in fuel, often disintegrating from the inside out, emitting
debris that ends up in the injectors.
Proper engine winterization and fuel
treatment are critical, with northern
boating enthusiasts facing the greatest
challenge. If winterization isn’t per-
formed and fuel isn’t stabilized with the
proper treatment to prevent evaporation
and varnishing, expensive fuel-injector
cleaning and calibrating are often the
remedy. Eventually the injectors can
fail and/or not provide enough fuel to
ensure the engine gets enough, and the
engine can be damaged internally.
What the pros say
We discussed injector maintenance and
cleaning with Brucato Fuel Injector
Service Inc. owner Rich Szczerbala.
Szczerbala recommends fuel-system service once a year or every 100 hours of
use. This includes all fuel filters (check
ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY JOHN TIGER JR.
Keeping your fuel
will help save on
fuel during busy
Fuel injectors are a vital
element in the lifecycle
of your engine. Periodic
maintenance is just what
the doctor ordered
• Use a sturdy glass jar, not plastic or
• Avoid aiming a pintle at your skin,
which could result in injury as the fuel
spray could penetrate the skin.
• Wear eye protection when dealing
with fuel injectors.