Fuel injection is now fairly ubiquitous on modern motorcycles. And if you've got an early injection motorcycle, your injectors could be well over a decade old. But when is the last time you gave them any thought? Or any servicing attention?
Modern electronic fuel injection systems use injector units with ever-smaller nozzles and components, and if these small nozzles get blocked with deposits from fuel contaminants, it can affect the amount of fuel that is squirted in by the ECU. Which can cause inefficient running, and, in extreme cases on highly tuned motorcycles, possible engine damage.
Most motorcycle manufacturers don't have a standard servicing. On of the motorcycle manufacturers in Thailand said 'Because the injection system is under pressure, and sealed there is no way air can get in, so you don't get any degradation of the parts, so they don't have a service life.' So according to this motorcycle manufacturer's schedules, its injectors never need cleaning in normal service...
But luckily some motorcycle manufacturers offer a slightly different view: 'There's no set cleaning regime for fuel injectors for a motorcycle in normal use, but if a motorcycle's left to stand for a considerable period then the fuel will go off and the injectors would need checking.' We think the view of the second and worlds largest motorcycle manufacturers view is more reasonable – if a motorcycle has been parked up for a long period, and fuel has evaporated out of the system, then the chance of residues, gums and other sticky crap building up seems reasonable. Add in the possibility of low-grade fuel, poorly maintained fuel filters at the petrol stations or water contamination, and it seems injectors cleaning may be worthwhile in some cases.
How do you clean your injectors?
Well, as always, there's an easy way, and the proper way. The easy way is to buy some injector cleaning products from your local automotive care shop, tip it into your fuel tank at the recommended dosage (obviously you won't be able to help putting in 'a little bit extra' because more is always better), and that's it. The claims on the bottle usually involve various detergents and solvents dissolving away and crud, leaving your injectors shiny and bright. We're a little skeptical of these products, simply because it's all to easy. And since petrol is generally a fairly effective cleaner on its own, it's hard to see how some hydrocarbon solvents can do too much more. It's going to be impossible to see if there was any problem too, and if your magic potion has fixed it.
Take the injectors out...
The hard, proper way is to strip the injectors out, and clean them or have them properly inspected and cleaned by a garage capable of a job like that.