The consequences of COVID have a severe impact on the automotive industry. The situation with the chipsets has been critical for already two years (also in retail). At the beginning of the pandemics, all manufacturers reported a shortage of chipsets. At the end of 2021, several manufacturers stopped the manufacturing for a longer time (from 2 weeks to 3 months). There are rumors that several models of cars have been sold without some parts (for example, a USB port).
At the end of 2021, the situation became even harsher – even the injectors for DI petrol engines have become a deficit.
On September/October 2021, all stocks of new injectors for N43/N53 series engines were sold out. In December 2021, the backorder was around 16’000 units. At the end of the year, the injectors for N54/N63 series engines were sold out.
The situation in the middle of January 2022 (BMW dealer network):
a. the backorder for N43/N53 series engines – around 22’000 units;
b. the backorder for N54/N63 series engines – around 12’000 units.
Deliveries confirmed for around 600 injectors (middle/end of February). This amount can be taken seriously. In addition, these injectors will be received by the customers, which are “closer” (it means customers of Greman dealers) and are at the beginning of the line.
The situation will be critical for at least the next few months. Even rougher it is because it is winter, the typical problem of injectors – leaking – is incredibly particular.
In this entry – concise guidance, what to do (and what to not do) if your car experiences typical injector problems.
What are the signs that the engine has problems with the injectors?
Permanent vibration, shivering, the smell of unburned fuel from the exhaust, EML (Check engine) icon in KOMBI, and any engine cylinder is turned off. These problems are especially pronounced when cold starts (when the environment temperature drops below 0 C). Still, it could also manifest for idle and driving for the warmed-up engines.
What NOT to do:
a. add any “cleaning” additives to the fuel. These additives will soften the oxide and other dirt from the fuel tank; they will get stuck in the nozzles or the injectors and be damaged entirely. In the case of Piezo injectors, these additives can NOT be used!
b. do not give your injectors for “cleaning”! After cleaning, the situation will only get worse! The reason – as the cleaning fluid in the cleaning stands is not replaced after cleaning each injector (it is expensive) – this widely used cleaning can not be used for Piezo injectors (due to microscopic openings of the nozzles)!
If previously mentioned symptoms appear for your car:
a. act ASAP! Why? If you wait, the leaking injector will cause significant damages to the exhaust system. CO catalytic converters, Lambda probes, and the NOx sensor will be damaged permanently. You have to remember that “switching off” of CO catalytic converter or replacing with cheap alternatives is not an option for these engines. In this situation, when the CO catalytic converters are damaged, replacement costs will be around 1500 .. 2000 EUR. Instead, with not working CO catalytic converters, you will not be able to pass TI and participate in traffic;
b. perform QUALITY diagnostics. Quality diagnostics means: it is precisely determined which exact injector has started to leak. You will receive a diagnostics protocol with live data confirming the defect. After replacing the injector, all required procedures (encoding of the injector, re-adaptation of the engine) are performed, and repeated diagnostics, which shows progress, are performed. In this situation, the “solution” – let’s replace all injectors, it should get better, is NOT a solution!
c. if you have stored injectors, which have been “prophylactically” replaced – use them! Unfortunately, in most cases, the old injectors (which were replaced when any other injection has started to leak) are not collected from the service. Who knew that such times would come!
d. if you buy used injectors, I suggest purchasing several injectors (or complete sets) from the same engine. Only injectors of the 11th release are more or less valuable; others are not less than 10 years old already! When you purchase the injectors from the same engine (and you can make sure that they really are from the same engine), there is some hope that at least part of them will be in working order. If you purchase injectors by piece from the service, who sells defective/replaced injectors, there is no such hope;
e. I don’t recommend buying any “refurbished” injectors (for example, offered by Metzger). At first, there is no information on “refurbished”. Second – I believe it is straightforward for everyone – if there are no spare parts available (and there are none for these injectors) – how would be any repair possible! The refurbisher can try to clean the injectors, but… If the cleaning of injectors costs around 350 EUR (such “refurbished” injectors cost around 400 EUR), then – it would make more sense to buy at least one complete set (6 injectors) of used injectors.
The solution, which you can try – VIP injector cleaning (and I suggest cleaning only injectors, which are confirmed as leaking – there is nothing to lose in such case). What does it mean – VIP?
a. the cleaning fluid of the cleaning stand is drained;
b. fresh cleaning fluid is filled in, it is “pumped” through the system and drained – the system has been cleaned;
c. fresh cleaning fluid is repeatedly filled in to clean your injector.
During cleaning, the injectors are activated, and the cleaning fluid is dragged through through them (using pressure). After cleaning, the leaking of injectors in the closed condition is checked (under the pressure of 200 .. 250 bar).
Suppose you are present in person when the cleaning fluid is changed. You can make sure that the injectors are cleaned precisely in such a way (not, for example, simply thrown in the ultrasound bath or thrown in in the tub with connected activation plugs, but not dragging through them the cleaning liquid). The leakage test is performed with the appropriate pressure, then – yes. In that case, such cleaning can be tried out. Instead, if the cleaners simply promise to do all this, but does not allow you to make sure, how it is executed (or there’s no option to make sure) – in my opinion, it is not worth wasting time and money.
Understanding the tense situation with injectors, Bimmerprofs offers a discount for the diagnostics:
a. during one month after purchase of the NOXEM, you can order diagnostics for a reduced price: 30 EUR. Diagnostics include identification of the initial defects and one after-repair inspection;
b. if repeated after-repair diagnostics is necessary (for example, the first inspection indicates that the newly installed used injector is also leaking), the price of each repeated examination is 20 EUR.