Detroit Diesel Injector Failure — What You Need to Know

July 26, 2020

One of the most critical parts of a diesel engine is the fuel injection system. This system pressurizes and injects fuel into the air that the combustion chamber has compressed. A fuel injection system causes the fuel quantity to adjust, the fuel to atomize, the injection timing to change and the fuel to feed into injectors.

Overall, fuel injectors ensure the fuel gets into the engine optimally. They also ensure the fuel is in the right form for an engine’s combustion process.

Fuel injectors are regularly used in engines to keep their emissions cleaner, reduce the need for fuel system maintenance and increase fuel efficiency. Most fuel injectors consist of an injector body and nozzle. Fuel injectors typically last a long time without needing maintenance or replacement, but sometimes the two main parts may fail, harming your engine’s performance as a result.

To protect your engine, you should be aware of the symptoms of a failed fuel injector and the troubleshooting steps you can take to find out what’s gone wrong. Additionally, you’ll want to know how Detroit Diesel Diagnostic Link (DDDL) software can assist in the troubleshooting process.


Can a Bad Fuel Injector Damage the Engine?

It’s crucial to know the signs of a fuel injector going bad and the ways to check for problems, as the fuel injector can harm your engine’s performance. Even though a bad fuel injector doesn’t hurt your engine directly, it can create conditions that lead to a damaged engine. For instance, a fuel injector with a cracked body can release fuel to the outer body, which can catch on fire when exposed to heat from the engine.


Symptoms of a Faulty Fuel Injector in Your Detroit Diesel Engine

Head off the problems that failed fuel injectors bring to your engine by learning more about the symptoms of a faulty fuel injector. By catching these signs early, you can reduce a defective fuel injector’s negative impact on your engine’s performance. Some common symptoms include increased fuel consumption, uneven idling and dirty emissions.

Below you can find out more about the primary symptoms of a faulty fuel injector:

Engine misfiring: An engine misfiring during ignition could be a sign your fuel injector is damaged. A misfiring engine is either a sign your engine doesn’t have enough combustion chamber heat or lacks proper fuel injection. You may not have enough fuel pumping into your ignition, or a cylinder’s fuel charge might not be igniting.

Uneven idling or problems starting the engine: One sign something is wrong with your engine is when it cranks but doesn’t start unless you crank for a significant time. There may also be an issue if you notice that while the engine is idling, it revs at various speeds.

Increased fuel consumption: If you see your engine’s fuel consumption going up, you may have an issue with your fuel injectors. Faulty injectors usually cause the engine to use more fuel, harming its efficiency and performance.

Dirty emissions: Clogged injector deposits or filters often cause an incomplete or uneven fuel burn. You can spot this problem by the engine’s emissions being dirtier and more noticeable.

Greater fuel smell: A major symptom of diesel injector damage is a more pronounced fuel smell. If you notice an increased fuel odor from the engine, your faulty injector may be causing the fuel to flow out of an inactive injector.



Detroit Diesel Fuel Injector Troubleshooting

One of the most common issues with a faulty fuel injector is when an injector in a cylinder doesn’t fire properly. To check for this potential problem, you can do a quick troubleshooting process to determine if the fuel injector is firing incorrectly. Here are the steps you can take to troubleshoot your Detroit Diesel fuel injector:

1. Remove Bolts

Start by using a ratchet wrench and socket to remove the bolts keeping the valve cover over the engine block. Once you remove these bolts, you should place the valve cover aside.

2. Remove Exhaust Manifold

Take the exhaust manifold off the engine by removing your six hex-head bolts. You can find these bolts by the exhaust manifold’s front, middle and rear.

3. Start Engine and Look for Smoke

Finally, with the valve cover and exhaust manifold removed, start the engine. After the engine has started, look to see how much smoke it produces. If you see a small amount of white smoke, your fuel injector is likely running normally. However, if the engine’s manifold hole doesn’t produce any smoke, the injector for the cylinder likely isn’t firing and needs to be repaired or replaced.


Pro Tip: Troubleshoot With Detroit Diesel Diagnostic Link Software

DDDL software is one of the most useful tools you can utilize to troubleshoot symptoms of a damaged or blocked diesel injector. With DDDL software, you can quickly plug a computer into the engine to find out what isn’t running the way it should.

What Is DDDL Software?

DDDL software is a type of diagnostic tool used to troubleshoot heavy-duty engines. It’s specifically designed to be utilized with Detroit Diesel’s engine line.

Troubleshooting With DDDL Software

Troubleshoot your engine with DDDL software by following the steps below:

1. Start your engine: To begin, simply start your engine and let it reach its standard operating temperature.

2. Plug laptop in: Once the engine’s reached its standard temperature, plug a laptop into its Deutsch receptacle. After you’ve plugged it in, start running the DDDL program.

3. Check for fault codes and perform tests: Before troubleshooting your injectors, check any fault codes listed on the DDDL’s diagnostic chart. After reviewing them, remove or repair any active and inactive codes. With the codes removed or repaired, you can use the program to turn off the cylinders to perform dual- and triple-cylinder cut-off tests. Examine the data from these tests, comparing this new information with historic engine data. If you notice a cylinder is low in power or didn’t fire, your engine likely has a failed injector.


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Diesel Pro Power has everything you need to make purchasing Detroit Diesel engine parts a breeze. We have a vast inventory of parts, offering you a diverse selection to help you find the perfect products for your engine. Our more than 24,000 satisfied customers speak to the high-quality parts and customer service you’ll receive when choosing Diesel Pro Power as your engine part supplier.

Want to improve your engine? Browse our selection of Detroit Diesel engine parts. If you have any questions, contact us to speak with one of our helpful representatives.

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