Can fuel injectors be repaired?

Hi Paul,

I have an issue with my car. When you ignite the engine, it starts but cannot go up a steep hill. What could be the problem? The car also smokes when ignited. It’s a diesel Ford and the mechanic has suggested that we replace the fuel injectors. Can the old ones be repaired?

Diesel engines rely on compression at high pressure for ignition. Therefore, the fuel delivery system ought to be at its optimum for total combustion and full engine power to be achieved. The key components are clean fuel, a working fuel delivery pump, fuel injectors, which should be able to deliver a fine spray of diesel under charged pressure as well as a steady supply of unrestricted clean air. The fuel injectors will over time accumulate deposits because of the extreme heat and burnt fuel residue, which blocks the internal linings of the injector nozzles. This will affect the fine spray of diesel and reduce engine power.

Your mechanic may have a point. You need a specialist to test your injectors and decide whether to replace the nozzle tips and service the injectors or replace them out rightly. Loss of power and black smoke points in that direction. In future, you can mitigate this problem by fuelling your car with Shell Fuel Save diesel, which is designed with detergent additives which prevent accumulation of deposits in the diesel injectors.

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your effort in making us more knowledgeable about vehicles, especially, when making decisions on car purchases. I want to buy a Nissan Caravan Diesel Automatic 4WD, with engine type TD27. I need your aice on its efficiency in terms of the engine and performance. I am aware of its low resale value but I am not basing my decision on that. Kind Regards,


Dear Richard,

Nissan Caravan was designed in 1973 as a passenger and cargo carrier. It borrowed attributes from the 1965 legendary Nissan Homy and has also been rebadged with the same name alongside Nissan Urvan, Nissan King Van and Isuzu Como. There are five generations of the Nissan Caravan, all renowned for their robust reliability and good design only rivalled by Toyota’s Hiace. You have not mentioned the manufacture year you are interested in but I will assume it is the late 2001 edition of the E24 Nissan Caravan, which offered the optional TD27 and TD27 1T diesel engines, had four wheel drive and was also sold as the Urvan, Urvan Escape or the Homy. Interestingly, this model was assembled in Philippines and Kenya.

The Nissan Caravan’s 2,664cc (2.7L) TD27 naturally aspirated diesel engine provides ample engine power (88.8 bhp @ 4,000rpm) and sufficient torque (188Nm@ 2,200rpm). Alongside the TD27 engine is the more powerful and fuel efficient TD27T1 2.7L turbo charged diesel engine (which delivers power output 98.6bhp @ 4,000rpm and torque 230Nm@ 2,200rpm). The Nissan Caravan’s TD27T1 turbo diesel engine offers a better power and fuel economy package when compared to Toyota Hiace’s popular 3L 2.8L turbo diesel engine. The Hiace 3L engine delivers less power and is less fuel efficient (output : 91 bhp @ 4,000rpm and torque: 188Nm @ 2,400rpm).

However, Nissan Caravan’s turbo diesel TD271T, like all turbo engines, requires a stricter maintenance regime with good multigrade turbo diesel engine oil or else it will need an engine rebuild at 200,000 kilometres. The body and engine spare parts can be easily found in Kenya where this model is popular. The four wheel drive will come in handy when you have to tackle slippery and muddy terrain.



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