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Maintaining Your High Performance Fuel System

Aug 19, 2008
The fuel system is the livelihood of your imports engine. To put it simply, if at any given time your car becomes starved of gasoline, there is a good chance that damage will occur to your engine, especially if you are using nitrous oxide, forced induction, or running at very high rpms. So critical is fuel delivery to high performance street machines that most turbocharger kits or nitrous systems provide larger or extra fuel injectors and heavy duty fuel pumps to keep up with the demand.

It is obvious that keeping your fuel system in the best possible shape is critical when it comes to maintaining a healthy engine. There are a few different areas that you need to keep an eye on in order to make sure that your fuel system is running at the highest level.

The first and easiest step you can take is to regularly replace your fuel filters. Now, I know this does not sound glamorous, but fuel filters are in all probability the most forgotten serviceable component in the entire system. This is usually because unlike an air filter, fuel filters can be hidden out of sight anywhere along the fuel line. They are usually found either near the fuel pump or near the tank. Some vehicles have an in-tank fuel pump with a filter located nearby, and some even have an additional fuel filter in the engine bay.

Wherever yours are, over time they can clog up due to impurities in fuel or corrosion in the gas lines or tank itself. This clogging drastically reduces fuel delivery, and can lead to bad news under the hood of your car, not to mention lower fuel economy. Replacing fuel filters is usually cheap and easy, so it's worth doing at least once per season.

The injectors themselves can also get dirty or fouled, and this can lead to reduced power and mileage as well. What usually happens is that carbon or other contaminants coat the tip of the injector and turn the fine spray of gasoline into a trickle or a thicker spurt. This reduces the atomization of the gas, and is a general performance let-down. You have got a couple of options if you suspect that your fuel injectors might be dirty. You can use an in-tank fuel additive that will use chemicals to try to strip away to coating on the injectors, but this is not always effective. The most surefire way to clean up your act is to remove the injectors and have them sent away to one of the several companies which specialize in cleaning them off. Sure, you won't be able to drive your car while they are away, but when they come back they will be as good as new.

Finally, you should keep an eye on your fuel pump to make sure that it has still got some life left in it. If your car has an in-tank fuel pump, listen for any strange sounds coming from the rear of your car when you turn the key to the on position. In-tank pumps use fuel as a lubricant and coolant, and if they are starting to wear out, they can get quite noisy. It is always better to replace a fuel pump than to have it fail on you out of the blue or in the middle of a quarter mile run.
About the Author
Justina Mathews writes issues that currently affect the performance car enthusiast. She also writes about issues that affect the street tuner industry, as well as import scene lifestyle. She's a staff writer for racing fuel systems .
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