5 Ways To Bulletproof Your Fuel System
Outdoor recreation is booming, which means more people are using their Powersports vehicles. Motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs/Side-By-Sides, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft are racking up hours across the United States as new riders and families join in on the fun. Motorcycle sales alone were up nearly 10 percent in 2021, hitting their highest levels in 15 years.
All that time out on the road, trail, or water does add up, and responsible owners know that to get the most out of our vehicles, they need to keep up with regular maintenance. Even the most diligent owners and DIY mechanics overlook their fuel systems until there is a problem.
We’re going to go over five easy ways to bulletproof your fuel system and ensure it’s in good working order, giving you peak performance, fuel mileage, and reliability. Don’t think these tips are exclusive to your motorcycle, quad, or UTV — these maintenance suggestions apply to any car, truck, or RV equipped with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI).
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1. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full
This is one of the most straightforward tips of the bunch and applies to any standard in-tank fuel pump conveniently located inside your fuel tank. In-tank fuel pumps are constantly submerged in liquid fuel, helping lubricate and cool one of the hardest working components in your fuel system.
Radiant heat from the engine and the fuel pump’s electric motor will increase fuel temperature as your fuel load drops, putting more stress on the fuel pump and causing it to work harder, leading to premature failure.
While today’s gas prices certainly aren’t making things easy for consumers, one of the simplest ways to maintain the health of your fuel pump is never run on empty. Always try to stay above ¼, and your fuel pump will thank you for it.
2. Don’t Fill Up When The Fuel Delivery Truck Is At The Gas Station
We know that this suggestion might sound like an urban myth, but there is nothing subtle about how a tanker truck dispenses fuel into gas station holding tanks. Thousands of gallons of fuel are dumped into a tank rapidly, stirring up sediment, debris, and even water resting at the bottom.
None of that material is suitable for your fuel system, and it’s best to let the sediment settle before filling up at that station.
3. Inspect Or Replace Filters And Strainers
Filters and strainers are the first and last words in protecting your fuel system. Without them, harmful particulates can mix with a sticky fuel remnant known as gasoline varnish, wreaking havoc on the precision components found in the fuel system and engine. Clogged or damaged filters and strainers can lead to performance loss and premature wear on your internal components.
The first line of defense your fuel system has is a fuel pump strainer that prevents sand, dirt, and foreign objects from clogging or damaging parts. Once a strainer has absorbed all the material it can, it will restrict flow, which puts unnecessary strain on the fuel pump.
Fuel filters serve the same purpose as a strainer and are typically further up in the fuel system chain. Filters defend engine components, such as your fuel injectors and sensors, from anything that manages to get past the fuel pump strainer.
A clogged filter is detrimental to proper fuel flow, and foreign objects are equally harmful to the rest of your fuel system, clogging small passages and causing performance loss or outright mechanical problems.
Always remember that street-focused motorcycles, cars, and trucks will have much higher service intervals than anything off-road oriented. The harsher off-road environment can quickly introduce dust, dirt, and debris into the fuel system, making maintenance schedules far more frequent on dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs/Side-By-Sides.
Be sure to reference your model-specific manual for exact mileage/hour figures. Our complete line of filters and strainers are designed to withstand harsh fuel additives and ethanol-based gasoline, ensuring filtration and performance.
4. Clean Your Injectors
Fuel injectors do precisely that: Inject fuel into the engine throttle body or cylinder, allowing a precise amount of atomized fuel to be delivered for proper combustion. Injectors are electronically controlled valves operated by a solenoid that must open and close with extreme accuracy.
Over time, deposits can restrict their spray pattern, causing symptoms like performance loss, decreased fuel economy, rough idle, and misfires.
Cleaning injectors do not apply to low-mileage/low-hour vehicles unless they’ve sat unused for long periods. Any late model or high-mileage vehicle can benefit from a thorough injector cleaning.
There are plenty of aftermarket tools, solvents, and fuel additives to help clean your injector system. These products remove varnish, build-up, and deposits from small passages, allowing the injector spray pattern to function as intended.
The most effective way to clean any delicate precision component is using ultrasonic cleaning tools. At-home mechanics can purchase specialized tools, but many authorized service shops have the equipment to perform this task.
Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves transmitted through a liquid to scrub and clean surfaces through a process known as cavitation. These tools are incredibly adept at removing build-up, oils, and other deposits that might obstruct the spray pattern.
If you find that your injectors are beyond repair, QFS sells direct replacements from reputable brands such as Bosch, Injector Dynamics, RC Engineering, and Siemens Deka. We also stock PnP adapters and wiring harnesses built to fit seamlessly with their respective fuel injector.
5. Maintain Electrical Components
Electrical gremlins are tough, especially when you’re out having fun on your bike, UTV/Side-By-Side, or personal watercraft. Inspecting and double-checking electrical connections is as crucial as changing fluids according to cited service intervals, although many owners don’t make it part of their routine.
Loose or damaged connectors and wiring can lead to problems beyond intermittent issues. These bad connections could lead to a total failure of a fuel pump, pop fuses or relays, and leave you stranded.
During your routine maintenance, make it a habit to inspect all electrical connections, especially those on off-road oriented vehicles that are subject to running in dirty environments and taking lots of abuse.
It’s also advisable to test critical electrical systems with a voltage meter to detect problems before they cause harm. While you’re there, hit the electrical connections with some contact cleaner to clean the conductive surfaces.
Lastly, those doing long-distance rides or drives should always look at the most common fuses and relays in their fuse box and carry a spare.
At the most basic level, ensuring your battery is healthy and fully charged is a good place to start. Depending on your charging system, a weak battery can reduce fuel pressure and create lean conditions.
Always keep batteries maintained with a modern “smart charger” that not only maintains a full charge but reconditions your battery and provides a long service life.
Have Any Questions? Give Quantum Fuel Systems A Call Today!
Quantum Fuel Systems is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. We are happy to assist our customers over the phone, or you can browse our extensive catalog. Have any technical questions? Our trained support team will get back to you with answers.