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Was recommended to get a fuel induction service for a 2002 V4 Camry, and am considering doing it MYSELF. The reasons for considering this are:

  1. My car idles a bit rough, especially when the AC is on.
  2. A dealer-mechanic recommended it for reason #1, and for the fact that my care has 125k miles on it and it couldn't hurt!
  3. The article linked to below has some interesting information on the subject.

My question is:
How should I do it such that it has the most benefit, and how hard would it be?

Update: Studies have shown that carbon build-up, especially in older direct-injected cars, to cause performance issues. See the following for example: http://www.dailytech.com/Direct+Injected+Engines+from+Some+Automakers+are+Seeing+Reduced+Performance/article21962.htm

Update 2: After some more research and talking to a dealer, the "fuel induction service" is where they pour chemicals / cleaning agents directly into the injectors and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. That is significantly different from pouring SeaFoam or other agents into the gas tank, and having them significantly diluted.

Obviously this is one method. But I'm curious if it actually makes sense to pull the injectors out and clean them, as one poster sarcastically suggests? If we're talking 30+ HP I'm all for it.

FINISHED:

I completed my own induction service over the weekend. The process took about 45 minutes (it was my first time). I went on to do it to our van and it took about 20 minutes :)

I accepted Larry's answer because he provided the most thorough explanation of the process. I did not follow his process completely, however, since I did not have the tools for one of the steps.

My solution was to detach the air intake hose and inject SeaFoam directly into the throttle body. I ran the RPM's at ~1,500 for a few minutes during this process. It took a bit of time before all of the SeaFoam was cleared out.

End result:

  1. Idling is now smooth.
  2. Engine is smoother under heavy acceleration (surprised at that, actually).
  3. More power, significant enough that I can tell the difference. The way I tested this was going from 45-65 on the highway as if to pass. I don't mash the pedal so the car stays in the same gear and only pushes the engine. It was able to do that without dropping a gear (it would drop a gear before).
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Why do you want to do this? Are you having drivability problems, or did someone recommend it? –  Larry Jul 28 '11 at 19:34
    
@Larry, see the link in my updated OP. It was recommended by a dealer as well. –  Joshua Jul 29 '11 at 18:50
    
@Josh: Does your engine have direct injection? –  qes Jul 29 '11 at 19:17

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You still haven't answered the question "Why do YOU want to do this?" I can provide you a better answer if I have that information.

I have been in the automotive repair business for more that 20 years and have sold and done many induction services. They work, but only if you need them. I used several systems and they all are comparable in results but vary greatly in price.

Some (General Motors) involve slowly pouring 2/3 of the can directly into the intake with the engine running between 1500 - 1800 rpm, and (almost) dumping the last 1/3 of the can in to choke the engine off, letting it sit for 15 minutes before cranking the engine up again.

Another (BG products) had a fancy little nozzle that you clamp to the throttle body and spray into the intake with the engine running, or hook up to the fuel rail and run through the injectors.

Others involve an aerosol can that you spray in the intake while the engine is running and add an additive to the tank.

But the cheapest, and just as effective except in the most severe cases is plan old water. Slowly (note too fast and you can destroy your engine as in bend a rod) pouring about a quart of water into the intake with the engine running about 1500 RPMs

I have actually checked the effectiveness (non-scientifically) by looking into the cylinder with a boroscope through the spark-plug hole. Water seemed to work just as well as the additives. On a side note the BG man didn't like me so much after that, and in his defense it's a lot harder to sell the customer a water induction cleaning verses some great chemical that would solve all their problems.

The bottom line to all of this is if you aren't have drivability issues, it's a waste of time and money, unless of course you do the water treatment yourself.

I have taken hundreds if not thousands of motors apart and rarely see any carbon buildup to amount to anything.

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I do value your experience & expertise on the matter. However, the article referenced above is partially what is driving me to consider this. The other part is the fact that [and I have already stated] my dealer-mechanic recommended it. Also come to think of it, it was recommended partially because my engine is idling a little rough, especially with the AC on. –  Joshua Jul 29 '11 at 21:56

From what I understand, a "fuel induction service" is nothing more than running a chemical cleaning agent through the fuel system.

If you are not experiencing any symptoms of clogged injectors, it is unlikely to help. However, it may be marginally useful as a preventative against build-up.

Personally, I just add a can of SeaFoam to my gas tank a couple times a year. Any similar product will probably be as effective, and should cost about 1/10th of what a dealership will charge for the "fuel induction service".

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+1 for the SeaFoam recommendation - that's what I'd do rather than paying someone for an 'injection service'. –  Timo Geusch Jul 29 '11 at 18:06
    
I've used SeaFoam before but I'm not sure that is enough. Please see the article I linked to in my updated OP. –  Joshua Jul 29 '11 at 18:30
    
@Josh: You can also disconnect a vacuum hose and suck SeaFoam directly into your intake manifold... –  qes Jul 29 '11 at 19:15

I might be in a cynical mood today but a lot of these 'services' mainly seem to service the bottom line of the person recommending it. As qes says, running the occasional can of SeaFoam or another good injector cleaner through the system might help; what also helps and tends to get neglected is changing the fuel filter on time. Most of these measures are preventative and not really a cure for issues in the first place as they'll clean out minor deposits.

If you really have issues with deposits on the injectors to the extend that it affects drivability, the only cure is to take out the injectors and have them cleaned by someone with the correct equipment or replace them. Either way a $100 'fuel induction service' isn't going to sort that out.

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So far, I'm disappointed that no one seems to even know what a fuel induction service is. –  Joshua Jul 29 '11 at 18:32

Induction service should not be confused with injector service. Induction service is the cleaning of the air induction/intake side with seafoam, water or eve better steam. Injector service on the other hand, is cleaning of deposits from the fuel injector, either using an additive in the gas tank(less effective for driveability problems, more of a preventive measure) or direct injection of a suitable injector cleaner into the fuel rail (a intermediate fix for driveability problems). If the injectors are clogged, the only viable solution is to remove the injectors and have them ultrasonically cleaned in a professional rig.

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GO to a Chrysler Deal and buy 1 or 2 cans of "Cumbustion Chamber Cleaner" and follow the directions. IT works wonders. Allow one or two days between treatments.

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