The race teams that are building and tuning Corvettes for professional competition are using tools such as Innovate Motorsports' wide-band oxygen-sensor system to tune the air/fuel mixture each cylinder gets from the fuel-injection system. The use of a wide-band oxygen sensor in the header tube of each cylinder will allow the tuner to read the air/fuel mixture of each cylinder at any engine operating condition on the dyno or at the track. The data obtained by reading the air/fuel mixture of each cylinder, plus the fuel-injector flow bench data of each fuel injector are used to fine-tune the air/fuel mixture of each cylinder. The engine will give you the maximum performance from each gallon of gasoline when all the cylinders of the engine have the correct air/fuel mixture.
Preventing Dirty Fuel Injectors
The best preventive medicine to help prevent dirty or fuel flow-restricted fuel injectors is the use of a gasoline that has detergents in it to help keep the injectors clean and prevent deposit formation before it becomes a problem. Many of the car manufacturers recommend the use of a gasoline that conforms to the new Top Tier gasoline standards to help keep the fuel injectors clean. Top Tier gasoline has detergents in it that will help keep the fuel injectors clean as you use it, and many of the major brands of gasoline are now being blended to the Top Tier gasoline standards. The level of detergents in Top Tier gasoline is not always strong enough to keep your injectors clean, so from time to time you may need to add some extra cleaning power to your gasoline.
The use of an in-tank fuel-injector cleaner such as Chevron's Techron Concentrate Plus at the same mileage schedule as you change your engine oil is a good way to ensure your fuel injectors stay clean. A dose of Techron Plus will raise the level of detergents in a tank of gasoline to about ten times what it is in a typical Top Tier gasoline. Techron Concentrate Plus is one of the best in-tank fuel-injector cleaners we have used; the "plus" is it helps protect the cars fuel system against the corrosive effects of the sulfur commonly found in today's gasoline. These harmful sulfurs can corrode the fuel-level sending unit in the gas tank and cause the fuel-level gauge in the car to malfunction. The most common symptom of a corroded fuel-level sending unit is a fuel-level gauge that may stick or not read the correct level of gasoline in the fuel tank. The sulfurs' corrosive effects may also create excessive wear to the electric fuel pump(s) that are in the gas tank and thus shorten the fuel pump service life.
When you park your Corvette for the winter or any time the fuel will remain in the tank for more than a couple of months, we highly recommend you use a gasoline storage stabilizer such as STA-BIL from Gold Eagle in the gas tank. As gasoline ages it turns into a gummy varnish-like substance that will create problems in almost every part of the fuel system. This old gasoline can cause the fuel injectors to stick open, closed, or restrict the fuel flow through the fuel injectors, and it is also hard to clean out of the fuel tank, lines, and fuel pump. The only practical way to clean a fuel injector that is stuck open or closed by exposure to bad gas is to remove them from the engine, and then have them cleaned with an ultrasonic fuel-injector cleaning system or replace them with new fuel injectors.
The Clean Advantage
When all the fuel injectors are flowing the correct amount of fuel to each cylinder, the engine performance will be at its best, supplying your fuel-injected Corvette with maximum power and fuel economy. Each of the fuel-injected Corvettes (as well as many other brands of cars) we worked with during the research for this article had a noticeable increase in power and drivability after cleaning the fuel injectors. Fuel-injector maintenance and service is an important part of proper vehicle maintenance. Choose the fuel-injector cleaning method that works best for you, and don't forget to change the fuel filter.