Truck Trend Garage: 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Injector Cleaning
Question: I own a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500, 5.7-liter V-8, and manual transmission, and the truck has 122,000 miles. Since new, I have used Mobil 1 fully synthetic oil and started using the Mobil 1 extended performance oil filter. I've heard varying opinions on cleaning the fuel-injection system, from recommended cleanings every 60,000 miles to just using quality gas to keep the injectors clean. I keep up with the required maintenance and use 89 octane as recommended by the owner's manual. Since new, my mpg has not changed and the truck idles at 500 rpm without running rough or missing. The local Dodge dealer will clean the system for $99, and he stated it takes about 30 minutes.
Answer: If you scan the maintenance schedules in your Dodge truck owner's manual, you'll find there is no such recommended service. Very often, dealership service departments and independent repair shops market procedures that are not suggested by the manufacturer themselves -- fuel-injection cleaning and engine and transmission flushing, to name a few. There are situations where fuel-injection cleaning is part of a diagnostic/repair procedure when dealing with a confirmed case of a misfire, caused by a fuel-injector restriction. There are special tools to uniformly pulse the injectors on and off while viewing the fuel pressure drop for each. When the pressure drop is out of specifications or out of balance with that of the other injectors, an injector cleaning is the next step. The cleaning tool hooks up to the injector fuel rail and a high-pressure solvent passes through the injectors and runs the engine. When the cleaning procedure is complete, the injectors are retested. If the pressure drops now fall within specifications, you're good to go. If not, the defective injectors must be replaced. In my opinion, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Use a high-quality gas of the proper octane rating, and periodically add a manufacturer - approved fuel treatment to the tank.
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