Four Common Diesel Fuel Injection Pump Problems
Fuel injection pump performance is closely tied to engine performance. If your vehicle has a fuel delivery issue, it will literally starve to death. Fuel injection problems, therefore, are one of the most pressing engine issues to deal with. Whether you’ve experienced fuel injector failure or not, it helps to understand the fuel injector pump, how it relates to engine performance, and also how diesel fuel injection pumps differ from traditional gasoline-powered units.
Problem #1 – Dirty Fuel
A clean diesel fuel pump injector is a happy diesel fuel pump injector. Over time, residue can build up in the fuel system, and enough gunk, grime and grease can clog up the entire fuel injector pump. The spray tip (where the fuel leaves the injector and enters the combustion chamber) is particularly prone to “backing up,” so to speak.
If your engine has ever sputtered or hesitated during acceleration, a clogged fuel spray tip might be the glitch. And it all starts with subpar diesel fuel. In 2006, diesel fuel production was tweaked to compensate for ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD), and diesel engine owners have noticed more “dirty fuel” difficulties than before.
Problem #2 –Low Fuel Tank Level
If your main goal in life was to destroy diesel fuel pump injectors, you’d run your car with the fuel tank as close to empty as possible. It all has to do with lubrication. With plenty of diesel fuel in the tank, the fuel pump bearings receive plenty of lubrication. With a near-empty tank, the fuel system is suddenly pushing air instead of diesel fuel. Anything but diesel fuel can wear out the fuel pump bearings, which means the fuel injectors will not receive the fuel at the pressurized level (30,000 psi, 40,000 psi, etc.) it should be.
Problem #3 – Foreign Object Inside Injector
Diesel fuel pump injectors are high-precision components. They also deal with a tremendous amount of motion and other stresses. One small visitor inside (a piece of dust, debris, etc.) can clog the injector. Worse yet, a microscopic object can leave the injector open all the time. If the injector can’t close, cylinder performance is compromised.
Problem #4 – Bad Injector Timing
Whenever the fuel injector pump’s O-rings or ball seats are defective, the timing of the fuel transfer process is disrupted. This is a common diesel fuel injector pump glitch, and usually requires a complete injection pump rebuild or replacement.