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Old 07-17-2019, 05:33 AM   #1
metaldirtart
 
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Default Injector lifespan?

Is there a general consensus on what the typical lifespan of a fuel injector for a T1n is? A knowledgeable member told me his opinion was 200K miles. My van has 188K on it now, have very early, small black death symptoms, and no luck so far removing my first injector. Maybe it would be prudent to order new injectors and get ahead of the game? Thanks for your views. Van is vey clean, rebuilt trans, new tires, no real rust, runs great, good mileage, and I love it, btw.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

Metal.
The injectors will last the life of the vehicle as long as you use genuine MB fuel filters. Eric.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

I'm going to try to get mine to 500km (310k in freedom units). I'm 40k freedom units away. It doesn't idle as smoothly as some, and the STAR diag compression test says cyl3 is a bit lower than the others. But the injectors are all within spec on the smooth running test. My hot oil pressure is around 10psi. I also ran it for over a year with a dodgy head gasket and it is now "fixed" with chem-i-weld. So in 40k it will be even closer to rebuild territory anyway. So Eric is about right from what I've seen with my van.

Of course I've also seen vans with less miles than mine die from an overfuelling injector.
EDIT: and I've also seen vans die soon after having injectors replaced with "new" ones - which turned out to be dodgy parts.

Black death has nothing to do with injector lifespan btw.

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Old 07-17-2019, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

After talking with a bosch injector tech, it seems many are well out of spec around 150-250k miles. At least in the USA. The USA has a slightly lower lubricity standard, and our diesel fuel varies quite a bit more than Aus or Europe does. Which affects injector life. If you continue to operate an injector past its life, you can expect poor idle, lower fuel economy, and louder operation. Eventually you will either see poor starting, low/high fuel pressure codes, or possibly sticking injectors. When an injector starts sticking open, or leaks from the main needle seat, it can destroy an engine by overheating the cylinder, and also by washing lubricating oil out of the piston/rings.

There are two main wear locations on these units. The first is the nozzle. This can cause poor injection pattern, and drift from specified volume/rate. The second is the ball seat which controls the pilot circuit. This is acted upon by the solenoid control fluid circuit, and actually triggers the injection event. Eventually the ball erodes the seat, and the injector can start sticking open. It can also cause excessive leak-back, which results in starting while hot issues. The latter can be tested for using a leak-back test. The former cannot be tested in-situ.

Using quality filters (4 micron) is important to injector health. But even with OEM grade filters, there is still the risk of fuel contamination. A handful of emulsified water contamination events can cut an injectors life in half. Emulsified water makes fuel cloudy, and even 1% dramatically reduces fuels lubricity.

As mentioned, black death injector is head seal leakage. It doesn't harm the injector, though sometimes the sealing face needs recut, and the injector can be damaged during removal.

I take my van to pretty remote places sometimes. So I plan to pull my injectors around 190k, and send them for testing while I am down for other maintenance. If they are marginal, I will have them overhauled.
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Last edited by Midwestdrifter; 07-17-2019 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

A single example of injectors providing service is Ciprian's 2005. To my knowledge his injectors are factory at 770,000 miles. That included running with one injector unplugged to press on to a delivery, and then R&R of that injector for seal replacement.

Not passing OEM spec...
Anecdotally it seems to me that there haven't been many used injectors sent in for testing which pass muster. How perfect do they really need to be for general service?

An overfueling injector is a real concern. As Owner pointed out, that can be a problem even when injectors are renewed on a schedule. My guess is that there are more high mile Sprinters running on original injectors than there are those who have regularly replaced them as a maintenance item. Is that proper maintenance? It seems to work.

When I found Black Death seal leakage on my 2004 220,000 miles I replaced all 5 injectors with Bosch rebuilds... they didn't require a core return though, so maybe they were new. My present opinion is that it was an unnecessary expense. At 329,000+ miles now I would only repair what was needed. That will also be my mode with the 2006.

My opinion on injector preventative replacement.
If anyone does decide to replace their injectors I would be very careful to source proper Bosch injectors from a reputable supplier. Plugging in parts found on eBay may put you in a worse situation than you would have been in had you left the factory parts in service.

Sending the injectors out to a Bosch certified shop for testing and repair/replacement as MWD suggested is a safe option.

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Old 07-17-2019, 01:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

I always fall back on the bathtub curve for failures. Though with the injectors it seems that the tail end is not as steep. For those with higher tolerance of failure events or downtime, it makes sense to wait until you have symptoms. Just don't ignore the symptoms when they present!
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
I always fall back on the bathtub curve for failures. Though with the injectors it seems that the tail end is not as steep. For those with higher tolerance of failure events or downtime, it makes sense to wait until you have symptoms. Just don't ignore the symptoms when they present!
It's a great graph. The trick is to apply the proper units to the Time (Miles) flat area of the curve.

200,000 miles has been mentioned, but is that accurate? An extra 50,000 miles (only 25% increase) could easily add 5 years service for some owners.

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Old 07-17-2019, 02:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

I’d call up a shop such as Linden Engineering who has thousands, not a handful, of data points helping to create their view/opinion on the subject.

Having said that, my handful of data points (i’d say around 50 swapped injectors), point to to an average injector’s lifespan of efficient operation similar to what MWD outlined. Will there be outliers in both sides of the distribution, of course...

1 instance in swapping out all of my personal rig’s injectors with certified Bosch shop remans resulted in an over night increase in fuel economy of 12%. But is a 12% increase in fuel economy worth the ~$1,750 plus labor and potential risk of screwing up the job, perhaps the head???

I’ve had great success and seen dramatic improvements in smooth running and fuel economy by disconnecting the fuel tank, putting in an inline fuel pump to compensate for the in-tank lift pump (om647), and then running a couple cans of straight liquimolly diesel purge from a jug...
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

I tend to change my fuel filter each time I change my oil filter (about 7500 miles). Although the price of a good Mann filter has dramatically gone up recently, if you do it yourself, both filters and two jugs of good oil are still less than $100. I figure it is cheap if it adds longevity. What say ye about this practice?

Regards,

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Old 07-17-2019, 03:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Injector lifespan?

Changing that often has minimal benefit, and adds a small amount of risk due to accidental damage or introducing debris. I would say 15-20k miles is the shortest I was go.
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