Transport 98: Stuck injectors - cylinder misfires

I have a Transport 98 with just over 100,000 miles. About mid 2004, the "Service engine soon" light when on. With an OBD II DTC reader, I was seeing
the DTCs corresponding to "cylinder misfires" set. I discovered then that the injectors were getting stuck (I assume close). I discovered also how to get them unstuck by removing temporarily the fuse associated with the injectors and then applying voltage on and off to the injector that was causing the misfire until I hear it clicking. Initially, I did that once and did not have any problems for several weeks. The problem got progressively worst having sometime multiple cylinder misfires. I had to carry a couple of 9 volt batteries (which I put in series), so I could unstuck the injectors while I was away from home..
Eventually, I got tired of unstucking the injectors and decided to replace them all. That was in October 2004. After that I did not have any problems until December 2004. The temperature got colder. I am in the Chicago area. I am not sure if there is any correlation with the temperature.
I started wondering myself whether the fuel pressure have anything to do with my problem and started doing some experiments. I found that by releasing the pressure using the corresponding valve, I could get unstuck whatever injector was stuck much more easily when I applied voltage to its terminals. I started suspecting of the the fuel pressure regulator and replaced it. Initially, I thought the problem was gone because I did not see the problem recurring after several engine starts during the day, but then it came back the same day I installed the pressure regulator. So I do not beleive replacing the pressure regulator helped at all. I also mesured the fuel pressure before and after replacing the fuel pressure regulator and the pressure seems to be within specifications between 41 and 47 PSI.
Currently, my situation is exactly the same as in mid 2004. I have single cylinder misfires and sometimes multiple cylinder misfires. Sometimes the engine starts perfectly fine--if my prayers work ;-). Sometimes it starts with a misfire. When the engine starts fine it remains fine (no misfires and smooth ride). When the engine starts with misfires, it remains misfiring; very rarely it recovers by accelerating .
I got more sophisticated though in recovering from the failure. I discovered that by disconnecting the fuel pump fuse while the engine is running and plugging the fuse back in before the engine stalled, I could recover easily from the failure. Now it takes me a few seconds to recover from the failure and I do not need to carry 9 volt batteries. I am even considering putting a switch inside the cabin to control power to the fuel pump in a more confortable manner without the need to open the hood.
In addition to have replaced the injectors and the fuel pressure regulator, I have replaced periodically the spark plugs, the fuel filter, the PCV valve, the spark plug cables, and the oxygen sensors. I also periodically have used fuel injector cleaner.
Some potential suspects I have in mind are
- the engine control module (maybe the injector drivers are bad), - the fuel pump, - bad quality injectors (the ones I installed are AC Delco), - the battery (not sure how it will relate to the problem, but it is almost as old as the van) - dirty fuel (perhaps the fuel tank itself is dirty)
I have considered getting rid of the van, but I have spent some money and time installing DVD player, a 17 inch display, a TV tuner, and satellite radio. I would like to hang on to the van for a little longer. Everything else is in good shape.
Any ideas (beside the fuel pump cutoff switch inside cabin or getting rid of the van) will be greatly appreciated.
Guillermo
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At least in Milwaukee, similar problems may be caused by bad fuel:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/dec04/287536.asp
I believe that Chicago uses the same EPA blend as Milwaukee...
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Zaphod Beeblebrox wrote:

Hi...
As an aside, if I may?
Given the cost of the durned things, for those of us still waiting our turn to win the lottery, isn't there any way that they can be cleaned as a DIY project?
I'm thinking of soaking them in carb cleaner, perhaps?
Injecting carb cleaner through them while "manually" operating the solenoid with a 12 volt supply?
Anything?
Thanks, take care, and all the best in the new year.
Ken
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wrote:

Years ago when the fuel was much worse than it is now we'd take the old VW injectors off the lines, soak them in injection cleaner for a couple days & then tap them on their end to knock out the debris that had collected.
Keep in mind.... That was a CIS injection system which was very crude with nothing resembling the tolerances required in modern electronic injection systems. If your injectors are plugged, you've got nothing to lose. Best bet if you're watching your $ is to get working one's from a wrecker. Keep in mind that your time is worth something as well.
good luck
PS I wouldn't soak injectors with any plastic in carburetor cleaner.
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It looks like I am not alone based on the article in JS ONLINE--very useful by the way. I have been using Mobil fuel almost religiously.
I have the dilema of what to do to fix my problem. Yesterday during new years eve, the temperature was above 50 degrees and the problem went away. Today 1/1/05, the problem came back and worst than ever (multiple cylinder misfires). The temperature also dropped to the 30s today.
I was pretty much determine to buy a different brand of injectors today, but after seeing the article in JS ONLINE now I am wondering how to deal with this problem. I guess I can also complain as well to the appropriate entities, but in the meantime I need a working car to move around. I don't want to spend $600 more to replace the injectors if there is some external factor beyond my control that will damage them in few months. I guess I could try cleaning them to buy some time. I could try also a different gas station.
Thanks to all the replies thus far and happy new year.
Guillermo

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At 97000 I had a misfire problem on my 98 Montana. Tried a number of things including switching injectors around but the single cylinder misfire didn't follow the "suspected" bad injector. I ended up replacing them with a set of reconditioned units from www.lindertech.com for around $150. No misfires in 11000 miles since switch. Occasionally I would run a bottle of Chevron FI cleaner but recently I try to find fuel meeting www.toptiergas.com standards. I notice Mobil isn't on the list however this doesn't mean their additive package is subpar.
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I never though gasoline type was an issue. After all, my van was running fine with the same injectors up to around 90000 miles. I replaced the injectors with brand new AC Delco on 10/2/04 when the van was 98000 miles. Now it is 101000 and the injectors are as bad or worst than before the replacement.
DonW, thanks for the reply. I will consider getting a set of injectors from www.lindertech.com since they are working for you. It is probably cheaper or simpler for me to buy them ready to mount than having to clean them up. I will also consider gas stations from the list suggested by www.toptiergas.com.
I appreciate very much the advice/comments given by you and others in this thread.
Thanks Guillermo

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