Reviewer's Notebook: C&C Fuel Injector Service

Nov. 01, 2005 By Randy Burleson

Cleaned, balanced, and numbered fuel injectors ready to be installed. Better than new for less than a third the price of new parts!
Both my trucks have high mileage inline four cylinder motors, one with 130K and the other with 175K. With the diluted juice that California currently sells as gas, and these advanced miles, I was concerned that my fuel injectors might need work. I pulled them out to examine them, and in spite of regular use of injector-cleaning solutions, my fuel injectors looked NASTY. Serious deposits on the outside of the pintle cover suggested worse things hiding within. Most injectors don't fail -- they just become obstructed by microscopic deposits. With higher engine temperatures in newer cars, common additives are actually baked onto the injector over time.

One look at my injectors and I knew I had a problem -- and worse yet, replacement injectors are dealer-only parts that cost about $150 each.


Samples of what C&C replaces when they rebuild injectors. From left to right: cracked o-rings, clogged filter baskets, cracked seats, crusty pintle caps, and cracked and chunked pressure sleeves.

C&C Fuel Injection, in Reno, has a few different levels of fuel injector service: they can do a simple rebuilding and cleaning -- or, if you send them more than just one set of injectors, they can rebuild, clean, and test them, putting together a best-matched set. After a few phone calls, I had a buddy's set of fuel injectors, my own set, and another two sets from the local salvage yard. All told, I showed up at C&C with four sets of injectors, and I wanted two matched sets -- serious overkill.

C&C has a trick computerized flow-bench that allows them to vary the pressure and frequency of the injector pulse to best fit your application. Just about any shop with a flow bench can do that, but C&C's bench can automatically cycle injector pulses to imitate a motor running from low RPMs to way-beyond redline, and back again. This precision cycle is repeatable and measurable to a very fine scale. Cycling the injectors across their capacity allows C&C to tune injectors across the engine's entire power curve, instead of just optimizing a match based on one engine speed.


Craig, one of the "C's" at C&C, allowed me to watch the first few steps of the process. C&C numbers and bench-tests all injectors when they come in the door. This gives you an idea of their function before cleaning. Half of my junkyard injectors were clogged entirely. If I had installed these in my truck, I'd have been lucky for it to run at all. A good injector sprays a sharp burst of finely misted fuel. Plugged injectors drizzle fuel out, or show asymmetrical patterns. C&C's experience and test equipment allowed them to quickly cycle through all 16 injectors and establish solid baselines.





Detail of the fuel injector flow bench graduated cylinders. The left most injector is blocked, and the other injectors vary as much as 20%, which isn't at all unusual for such high mileage units.
Craig stripped each injector of old seats, o-rings, filters, and pintle caps, then bathed them in an ultrasonic bath. You can't just throw injectors in a pot of carb cleaner -- they are precision electro-mechanical instruments. The choice of cleaning solution is critical, as is the frequency of ultrasound. Craig also periodically flushes solvent through the injectors while they are in the ultrasonic bath. Few shops have the tools and expertise to clean injectors well, and the commercial preparations that can be run through your injectors simply don't work as well as C&C's cleaning service. In fact, GM and Nissan have both issued technical service bulletins warning not to clean injectors while installed because of the potential damage to the injector, oxygen sensor, and catalytic converter.

When I left the shop, all 16 injectors, even the ones that had previously been entirely obstructed, were firing clean patterns, and they were scheduled to be flow-tested later that week.


One of C&C's supercharged LJ80s C&C sells a kit to add a bit of zoom to late model Land Cruisers. Does a water-intercooled blown Cruiser sound tempting? How about if it were a bolt-on kit tested and implemented on other trucks? Water-intercooled Blown Lancruiser
C&C can express mail the injectors to you when they are finished, but since I live nearby, I drove to their clean well-lit shop. When I was there previously, I'd spotted a few vehicles I needed to drool over more thoroughly. The Pantera and some other autos were beautiful, but the scrapbook of their LJ80 Landcruisers supercharger kit impressed me the most.

Along with the rebuilt and balanced injectors, they also deliver a copy of their data for your injectors. This detailed report gave me an idea how badly I needed this service! C&C measures each injector's coil resistance and inductance, as well as fuel flow rate and volume under three different conditions: wide open, pulsed delivery, and cycled acceleration. Each injector is tested for leaking under load, and the spray pattern is qualitatively evaluated. Looking at the reports for all the injectors, it was easy to see how each injector worked individually, and how they could deliver me a set of injectors that were within a half percent of each other.


When I unboxed the cleaned and balanced set of injectors, they were neatly bagged in pairs and accompanied by a detailed report of their condition both before and after cleaning. Sets were clearly marked, and C&C returned all the worn and dirty parts removed from my injectors, as well as a spare set of o-rings. Craig sent me the original equipment replacement o-rings, but also added a set that he thought would fit tighter, with less chance of leakage.

Installing these cleaned and matched fuel injectors was a task, but no more so than installing a stock set of injectors would have been. I unwisely chose to install the original equipment replacement o-rings, and after I had everything back together, when I keyed the motor, I was rewarded with a spray of leaking gas. I guess Craig really knows his o-rings; I should have listened to him.

After a few hours more work, the motor was idling, holding an indicated 72 psi of fuel pressure. I'd had the motor apart for more than a week, so side-by-side comparison was out of the question, but it sure sounded s-m-o-o-t-h.

I took a test ride, and the word to describe it, again, is SMOOTH. Ever driven a vehicle before and after the engine has been disassembled and blueprint-balanced? That's the closest comparison I can draw. My little four-banger was spinning so smoothly. It says something when these kind of results show through Swamper-induced noise and vibration.

Dyno time isn't cheap, so I opted to use my tried and true test track, a section of gently sloping highway where I can do timed full throttle fourth gear runs between 30 and 75mph. Clocking the sweep of the needle with my stopwatch has served me well in the past -- I've tested exhaust and engine modifications this way and later verified the improvements on a rolling dyno. With my under-powered 2.6-liter engine, acceleration occurs slowly enough that I've plenty of time for measurement, and it tests the engine across a good chunk of its rev range. I can generally get back-to-back runs within two-tenths of a second of another, and I was tickled and surprised to see times average just over a half second better with the balanced injectors. This isn't all that scientific, but it is reproducible. Note that my 'before' runs occurred when it was fifteen degrees cooler than the 'after' runs. With that temperature difference, the 'after' run should have been slower, not faster.


The time advantage is a small improvement, but the smoother-running motor is a real bonus. I'd spend the money again just for that improvement alone, even though the biggest advantage is piece of mind. I know that I'll continue to pull up the kind of steep slopes that stymie carbureted vehicles, and I know that my mileage will continue to push 20mpg. These fuel injectors are tested, and I have a set of cleaned spares for my trail box. Also, with cleaned and rebuilt injectors, I should be able to avoid dropping more than $500 at the dealer for replacements.

If you have a fuel-injected motor with more than 50,000 miles on it, consider having C&C service your injectors. You can also have them balanced, making use of C&C's vast array of core injectors. Some customers send in multiple sets of their own injectors and get a rebuilt and balanced set as well as spare rebuilt injectors. Be sure to ask for the special ORC pricing.

C&C is a serious high-tech shop that builds race engines but is also accessible to the home builder. In addition to restoring stock EFI systems and components to peak performance, they specialize in making Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) systems perform and installing after market EFI systems. They can test, engineer, customize, and produce performance EFI systems and components. If true engine performance is your goal, give them a call today!


C&C also has a computerized airflow testing bench to optimize porting of heads, throttle bodies, and other engine parts. Dave Capurro (the other "C" of C&C) has the experience to take the fullest advantage of this tool. Anything that air flows through can be improved -- and Dave's experience focuses development dollars where they will produce the largest gains.

C&C Fuel Injection
135 Giroux, Suite ORC
Reno, NV 89502
Phone: (775) 329-9974
Fax: (775) 337-8900 Newsletter
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