I currently use the wal-mart kind, works fine for me. I also like the
one that says "Pyroil" on the bottle but I haven't seen that one for a
while so I started buying the super-tech stuff from wally world.
It's all about the same, AFAIK what you are really buying is just a
small bottle of kerosene, which is basically Jet-A, which is why some
bottles claim that their cleaner is "made with JET FUEL" or something
along those lines.
If you took 6-8 oz of kerosene and dumped that in your tank you would
get the same results as that $1.50 bottle of cleaner you buy at the
store. But who wants to keep a gallon of kerosene around, right?
Easier to just spend the buck fifty and move on with your life.
The Lucas stuff is not kerosene, it's soap. Whether that does any good
or not, I don't know, but it's basically a big addition to your gasoline
If I were worried about dirty injectors, I'd pull them and see what they
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Actually, they vary widely in their contents and carbon removal
properties (not to mention any ability they have to also take up any
water in the fuel tank). The dollar-or-so stuff, I'd bet is mostly
kerosene ("jet fuel" sure sounds better) or light petroleum
distillates that amount to mineral spirits, aka paint thinner, or
naptha, which the smoke 'em if you got 'em generation used as lighter
fluid. There are also harsher, more complicated, more expensive ones
(which probably still have mineral spirits or naptha, but can also
have a cocktail of other chemicals).
The contents of each product are listed in the Materials Safety Data
Sheet (MSDS), a publicly available document that in practice most
vendors are pretty good about putting on the Web. They're allowed to
be a bit coy about the actual proportions to protect their trade
secrets, but they have to tell you basically what's in it. That's our
much maligned government standing up for your health and safety, with
a spinoff benefit in consumer-value assessment left up to your
Let me reiterate that the major purpose of the MSDS *is* industrial
hygiene. The more toad-choker chemistry words among the ingredients,
the better you should read and follow the precautions on the label --
in particular, avoid breathing it, and use safety glasses to keep
aerosols from getting into your eyes. A lot of the stuff that really
does a number on carbon and soot in an engine is not too good for you
As a friend of mine put it to beginning machine shop classes, "You've
already got the only eyeballs you'll ever be issued" (ditto for lungs,
I might add), so when you find stuff that Really Works that's still on
the consumer market, use it with all due respect.
(Occasional in-tank user and more frequent underhood or bench user of
Not *all* of them are kerosine. Some of the better cheapo's have
detergent, and may help a little bit.
I dont waste my money on those, and when someone gives me some ( which
happens often, I teach high school auto shop)
I use it for small parts washing and such.
Techron has an additive that gets between the carbon and the metal and
helps it slough off. It's not a detergent and doesnt dissolve hard
carbon (neither do any of the detergents. All of them work OK on
softcarbon).. It's poly proply somethingorother.
The only other additive I use is the SeaFoam that someone else
I have used these both extensively with good results; Techron is magic
on dirty injectors, SeaFoam is magic on throttle plates and intake
I'd suggest Chevron Techron Clean-Up (see
Some people like the Seafoam and Lucas products, but I don't. In the
past the Lucas product included the same active ingredient as Techron,
but they degraded it, so now it is no better than STP Fuel Injection
Cleaner. As far as I can tell Seafoam is just a marketing scam. There
must be a huge profit margin on that stuff. I've had salesman button
hole me in auto parts stores and try and convince me that it is good
for everything under the sun. I tried it once, and found it to be
But honestly, why do you think you need any fuel injection cleaner?
All unleaded gas sold in the US is required to have an effective level
of fuel system cleaner by the EPA (see
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/web-addt.htm ). Do you have
a symptom you are trying to fix, or do you just want to spend a little
money? The placebo effect can be pretty powerful. Send me the $5 and
I'll say an incantation for your car.
I was wondering what the OP was trying to fix....or if there was
anything to fix at all.
Fuel standards are set by the EPA. The actual type of gasoline sold in
a region varies because of federal and state rules (for instance
Minnesota mandates a certain percentage of ethanol) but the EPA sets
the overall rules, especially for the fuel system cleaner. The EPA
does not mandate a particular chemistry for the cleaner to be included
in the fuel, but the fuel supplier does have to demonstrate that the
cleaner included is effective.
That is correct. But it doesn't mean anything even remotely close to what you
think it does. The EPA mandate is for what is considered the absolute minimum
level. Studies have shown that since 1997 when the EPA mandates for detergent
additives were first implemented the actual amount of detergents being added to
gasoline has gone down by 50% on average nation-wide. So if there was ever a
need to add additional injector cleaners to the fuel the need is greater now
than it was before the EPA mandates.
Maybe, maybe not. My assumption is that the amount of fuel injection
cleaner currently added is probably good enough for most drivers. I
haven't added anything in years to my cars, including my Frontier with
70k miles. I monitor gas mileage, and nothing has changed yet. If I
see a problem, then I'll considering spending the money on one of the
Chevron Techron additives. But until I see a problem, why assume there
is one? Excessive use of some of the cleaners can be worse than not
using them at all.
Today's gasoline is not necessarily what it was months or years ago.
It may meet EPA standards, but may not be chemically the same.
If you are going to add injector cleaners or carburetor cleaners, they
are NOT all the same...It would be easy to think that they are, since
most of the packaged material on the FLAPS shelves indicate they
contain petroleum distillates, or some such.
In fact, the chemistries, as Ed says, may be quite different, and the
effects may vary widely. "Petroleum distillates" are, in general, not
the kind of materials that give threshhold cleaning.
I just had to have my intake system cleaned. The problem was that
the vehicle would not idle, and mileage had dropped off. Optical
fiber device showed heavy deposits in the manifold, plenum, on the
backside of the valves. I have always been suspicious of this cleaning
as a ploy of the garages who have invested in such equipment.
In this case, the results were spectacular and resolved all the problems.
That's interesting. I had the intake plenum off of my wife's 93 Chrysler
3.5 a couple of times during its 260,000 mile life (once for injector
O-rings, another for a lower plenum gasket, maybe another I'm
forgetting) and I always found the dirt deposits fascinating. The upper
cross-ram style plenum on that car would get impressively dirty from the
fact that it carried both EGR and PCV vapors without any fuel yet added,
but the passages were very large and the deposits only a thin surface
coating, so the only problem it ever actually suffered was an occasional
need for cleaning the throttle bodies and the AIS motor. The lower
plenum always showed a perfectly cleaned fan pattern of sparkling white
aluminum downstream of each injector, and the valves stems always looked
brand new. The injectors themselves were also always spotless, and from
that engine I too concluded that any form of injector cleaner or
manifold cleaning was an utter and complete waste. I'm surprised to hear
that you have a counter-example, and I now wonder if I went and pulled
that manifold off now after several years of running on the "new"
ethanol blends, I'd find the same thing you saw. The last time I had the
manifold apart was probably 4-5 years ago, and I that the ethanol blends
were just starting to show up in our area then. Maybe ethanol isn't so
good at controlling intake deposits after all. Just speculation.
Fuel injector clearer would not have helped "clean" any of those items
except possibly the back sides of the valves. For that application the
Chevron Techron Clean-Up product would have been my choice.
The biggest problem I see in intake is the back wash from the PCV
system. It deposits sticky goo on the back side of the throttle plate
and in the idle air control circuit. Fuel injection cleaner won't help
with this, but a clean rag and WD-40 will. My more recent vehicle have
had less problems with this goo than prior vehicles. Not sure why, I
suppose manufacturers are learning.
That would be hard to prove by me. My problems were much worse 6 or 7
years ago when I was still in the 3000 mile oil change club. I am
trying to break that stupid addiction. Now that I am changing oil
between 4k and 5k miles, I actually have had fewer problems. Maybe the
oil is better, or the cars are better. Not sure which, but I don't
think it was how often I changed my oil in the past, or even the type
The amount of PCV vapor produced by the engine depends on the amount of
blow-by past the piston rings, not on the condition of the oil. While
REALLY neglecting the oil will cause the rings to wear faster and thus
produce more blow-by, its not at all true that fresh oil in the
crankcase produces less PCV vapor than old oil.
Another nice arm chair theory but reality tells a different story. And no, the
stuff that settles in your PCV system is not entirely from products produced in
the combustion chamber. In particular the goo is not. Consider what is happening
to the oil as it gets continually pummeled and propelled thru the air by piston,
rod and crank. You don't think that any of it ever forms aerosols? But if you
want to believe the goo in the PCV system is inevitable and can't be eliminated
by more frequent oil changes go ahead and believe it. And I don't mean just one
oil change - I mean over the whole life of the vehicle.
OF course aerosols and oil vapor are part of the goo. A small part. But
do you think old oil somehow releases more vapors than new? Quite the
opposite, in fact.
And I did say that NEGLECTFUL oil change practices over the life of the
engine do contribute to excessive blow-by.
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