Injector Upgrade: Why Upgrading To New, Stock Injectors Is Okay

Diesel injectors play a critical role in the combustion process within a diesel engine. They ensure precise fuel delivery for optimal power and efficiency. While original equipment (OE) injectors are designed to meet the demands of most diesel applications, there are scenarios where an injector upgrade becomes necessary. In this article, we explore the factors that indicate the need for an injector upgrade. Insights from an industry leader such as S&S Diesel Motorsport will provide valuable guidance throughout the discussion on why upgrading to a new, OE-style injector is beneficial.

When Is It Time For An Injector Upgrade

There are several situations when your current injectors may not suffice. These include increased power demands, fuel system upgrades, and the need for improved fuel atomization. If you’re modifying your diesel engine for higher horsepower or torque output, the stock, worn injectors will probably struggle to deliver an adequate fuel supply. Insufficient fueling can lead to reduced performance, excessive exhaust gas temperatures (EGT), and potential engine damage.

injector upgrade

When your diesel is ready for new injectors, do you know which design is best for your needs?

When upgrading other fuel system components, such as larger fuel pumps or adding aftermarket tuning, the old injectors might not be capable of keeping up with the increased fuel demand. Also, upgrading injectors can enhance fuel atomization, resulting in better combustion efficiency, reduced emissions, and improved fuel economy.

An Expert’s Take About An Injector Upgrade

We talked with S&S Diesel Motorpsort’s co-owner, Andrew Stauffer, so he could flex his experience in this realm. We asked him when upgrading was necessary and what are considerations fuel injector companies take when manufacturing such crucial pieces to this puzzle.

“With any injector selection, there are gives and takes, even in OE applications. There needs to be a balancing of cylinder pressure, NOx generation, soot generation, cylinder washing, engine durability, fuel economy, etc.,” he says. “For engine longevity, you want to keep the spray plumes inside the piston bowl so as to not wash down the cylinders. You also need to keep cylinder pressure low for longer piston/ring/bearing/gasket life.”

He continues, “For low NOx, you want a longer injection, which will cause a lower pressure combustion event. You also want a nozzle with fewer spray holes. For low soot generation, you might want more spray holes. For fuel economy, you will want a short injection duration and high cylinder pressure. All these things must be balanced out when selecting an injector, and you need to pick the items most important to you. So, when are your current injectors not enough? That depends on how all the above items rank for you.”

injector upgrade

Engine Longevity vs. Low NOx Emissions

As stated above, one of the primary considerations during a fuel injector upgrade is balancing engine longevity with reducing NOx emissions. Achieving an extended engine life requires containing the spray plumes within the piston bowl, thus preventing cylinder washdown. This, in turn, reduces cylinder pressure, promoting longer piston life, as well as ring, bearing, and gasket performance. The relationship between engine longevity and low NOx emissions highlights the challenge faced by engineers in manufacturing the most suitable injector for a specific application.

Minimizing Soot Generation

Soot generation is another crucial consideration in injector manufacturing, particularly in today’s need for minimized emissions generation. To achieve lower soot production, an alternative approach to injector design might be necessary. An example would be incorporating more spray holes to improve fuel atomization and reduce the formation of particulate matter during combustion. However, this approach could potentially conflict with other requirements, such as maintaining low cylinder pressure for engine longevity.

injector upgrade

If you’re uncomfortable with tackling this job, this is a routine job for most diesel shops. The time it takes to install common rail injectors on a diesel truck can vary depending on several factors, including the specific make and model of the truck, the skill level of the person performing the installation, and any unforeseen complications that may arise during the process. In general, the installation of these common rail injectors can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.

Fuel Economy vs. Short Injection Duration

Fuel economy is a pressing concern for many truck owners, and achieving optimal efficiency often demands a shorter injection duration with higher cylinder pressure. This combination enhances combustion efficiency and maximizes energy utilization. To sum it up, here is what you can gain from upgrading to a newer set of injectors.

  • Enhanced Performance: Rebuilt fuel injectors are restored to their original specifications, ensuring precise fuel delivery and optimal engine performance. Over time, the performance of old, used injectors can degrade due to wear and tear, leading to inefficient fuel atomization, poor combustion, and reduced power output.
  • Improved Fuel Efficiency: OE-style rebuilt fuel injectors are designed to deliver the right amount of fuel with high precision. This accuracy promotes efficient combustion, leading to improved fuel efficiency. On the other hand, old and worn injectors may leak or deliver inconsistent fuel spray patterns, causing fuel wastage and decreased mileage.
  • Emission Compliance: Modern diesel engines must adhere to stringent emission standards. Replacing old injectors with OE-style rebuilt ones can help ensure that your vehicle meets the required emissions regulations. Rebuilt injectors are designed to provide optimal combustion, reducing the production of harmful pollutants such as NOx and particulate matter.
  • Longevity and Reliability: Rebuilt fuel injectors undergo thorough inspection, cleaning, and replacement of worn components, making them more reliable and durable compared to old, used injectors. This upgrade can extend the lifespan of your fuel system and reduce the risk of unexpected injector failures.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: While the initial cost of OE-style rebuilt injectors may be higher than keeping old ones, the long-term benefits outweigh the investment. Rebuilt injectors can help prevent potential engine damage caused by faulty fuel delivery, saving you from costly repairs down the road.
  • Warranty Coverage: Reputable manufacturers and suppliers of OE-style rebuilt fuel injectors often provide warranty coverage, giving you added peace of mind. This warranty ensures that if any issues arise with the rebuilt injectors within the specified period, you can have them serviced or replaced without additional costs.
  • Optimal Engine Protection: Properly functioning injectors contribute to a healthier engine. By ensuring that fuel delivery is consistent and accurate, OE-style rebuilt injectors help protect the engine components, such as pistons, rings, and cylinders, from unnecessary wear and damage.
  • Convenience and Compatibility: OE-style rebuilt injectors are designed to be direct replacements for the original equipment, making the installation process straightforward and ensuring compatibility with the engine’s fuel system and management system. This reduces the risk of potential installation errors or compatibility issues that may arise with used injectors from different sources.

In conclusion, upgrading to OE-style rebuilt diesel fuel injectors is a great way to maintain engine performance, fuel efficiency, emissions compliance, and overall reliability. The investment in rebuilt injectors ensures that your diesel engine operates optimally and leads a long and healthy life, providing long-term benefits and cost savings. To find out what S&S Diesel Motorsport has to offer for your truck, be sure and check out their website.

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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