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#4331523 - 02/16/17 09:55 PM fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs?
NissanMaxima Offline


Registered: 10/21/15
Posts: 83
Loc: co
Hi all:

When I bought my new Maxima back in 1995, I asked my master Nissan mechanic at the dealership where I bought it about periodic use of fuel system or fuel injector cleaners. He said to never use them because they make spark plugs run way too hot for my VQ30DE aluminum engine. Did cleaners back them have ingredients that would lend any truth to this statement? Recently I wrote to the distributor for BG44k and they said that some cleaners are alcohol based and can affect engine temperature but the BG44K will not overheat the aluminum block.

So, my questions are:
1. is it true that some cleaners do contain alcohol and if so, do they in fact cause engines to run hot - validating what my mechanic told me 22 years ago? I have scoured the internet on this topic to no avail.
2. is it true that BG44K will not cause dangerous heating? What other cleaners would not cause excessive heating?
3. I have never run any sort of cleaner through my engine. It has 67k miles on it so obviously has not been driven a lot. I have not noticed any issues such as hesitation, stalling, etc. but would it be a good idea based on the fact that the car sits at times without being run to use a fuel system cleaner? The BG44K distributor says that top tier gas (which I always use) has a short shelf life and that I've probably run a lot of oxidized and/or separated gas through my car.
4. based on your answers to (3), should I just run a can of fuel system cleaner or seek out one of these induction services? If cleaner, any preference for what I've heard are the two top regarded cleaners, BG44K or Chevron Techron? From what I've read, Chevron developed the PEA based cleaner so I'm inclined to give that a try.

Again, no current issues with the car (other than noted horsepower loss after moving to Colorado many years ago from an elevation near sea level where I bought the car new). I have always heeded this mechanic's advice because the last thing I want to do is harm the engine. (Of course the owner's manual says cleaners are not recommended but I've seen this in every manual for every car I've owned.) In fact, the car is finally due to for its first spark plug change and I don't want them to get so hot with any sort of cleaner that they would be difficult to remove! My current Nissan mechanic here in Colorado says no problem with using a cleaner so I really don't know who is right.


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#4331533 - 02/16/17 10:06 PM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 1112
Loc: USA
You've done everything right and there are no problems. You don't need to add fuel system cleaner into the equation.

You can add it if you want, but based on your assessment, it would just be a waste of money.
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2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 4X4

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#4331547 - 02/16/17 10:23 PM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 5908
Loc: S California
Doesn't Top Tier gasoline have "cleaners" in the mix?

I've never heard that a PEA causes heat or ignition problems. Am I missing something, here?

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#4331556 - 02/16/17 10:33 PM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: OneEyeJack]
NissanMaxima Offline


Registered: 10/21/15
Posts: 83
Loc: co
OneEyeJack...I may have confused you. My original mechanic never said anything about what ingredient could actually cause overheating. The BG44k said alcohol based cleaners can apparently do this, but said the BG44k doesn't cause overheating because apparently no alcohol in the BG44k.

What the BG44k distributor told me about oxidized fuel concerned me and then I saw a video on youtube which claims to demonstrate carbon formation when burning oxidized gas (simulated by mixing gas with acid). So I don't know if I have these carbon deposits now, or if they are cleaned when I run fresh gas, or if it even matters if I'm not really experiencing any issues (unless a cleaner might restore some performance that has been so incrementally lost over the years I haven't even noticed). It is a bit difficult to judge performance because when I lived near sea level the car would accelerate very quickly (Motor Trend car of the year in 1995 with 0-60 tested at 6.1 sec as I recall) but now in Colorado at over a mile high, the performance is not what it used to be by a long shot. I'm sure most of it is probably the elevation and thin air, but again, could some performance loss be carbon deposit related?


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#4331630 - 02/17/17 02:01 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 7202
Loc: Texas
There's 10% alcohol in your gas now and that is much more than a single bottle of fuel cleaner will introduce to your tank. I don't agree with the mechanic and mechanics are not always the know it alls but more opinion alls.

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#4331669 - 02/17/17 05:53 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 530
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: NissanMaxima
My current Nissan mechanic here in Colorado says no problem with using a cleaner so I really don't know who is right.


Your current Colorado mechanic is correct.

The other one listens to old wive's tales.

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#4331693 - 02/17/17 06:52 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 18047
Loc: Upstate NY
Use a PEA cleaner as per the directions and you will be fine.
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2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
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#4331735 - 02/17/17 07:57 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 5837
Loc: Hudson, NH
What kind of alcohol? Ethanol in gas? Isopropyl alcohol in Seafoam? Or Methanol found in fuel cleaners from the 80's, banned because it was found to dissolve and corrode aluminum?
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06 Escalade 6.0L AWD 142k. M1 5w30 FU

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#4331777 - 02/17/17 08:47 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 10507
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
My nissan truck from the 90s had wrong heat range plugs (Like NGK #5). Too Hot. Just for idle emissions - [censored] part throttle load heating. Go to a Recessed electrode and a cooler heat range.

I find engine run poorly with the cleaner in them and then run better after its gone thru with the next tank.

Don't run a cleaner. Decent gas has all you need maybe MORE than you need.
_________________________
2014 Nissan Rogue S CVT, OC#4 24210mi-Castrol Magnetec 5W30+ Fram Toughguard Filter 7317
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#4331825 - 02/17/17 09:35 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 8795
Loc: Boston, MA
One reason alcohol was used in race engines was because of the cooling effect (heat of vaporization).

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#4331856 - 02/17/17 10:04 AM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3209
Loc: Manchester, England
Occasional cleaners can't hurt but aren't proven to do huge amounts of good, either. Air density makes a difference, but was your sea level fuel pure or e10? That variable will shed more light on elevation.
But no, your spark plugs won't be affected.
_________________________
1982 VW Scirocco
1457cc
98 bhp
78000 miles
Redline fluids
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#4332249 - 02/17/17 05:43 PM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: HerrStig]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 530
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: HerrStig
One reason alcohol was used in race engines was because of the cooling effect (heat of vaporization).


Yes, but ONLY when running 100% alcohol, & it was methanol at that. The A/F ratio has to be like 7:1 when running methanol!

What I don't like with "modern engines" with oxygen sensors is that they "over-compensate" when alcohol is in the gas. If you have E-30 in the tank, your gas mileage is cut in half. Not sure why engines run so darn rich when running alcohol blends.

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#4335304 - 02/20/17 09:00 PM Re: fuel system cleaners - too hot for spark plugs? [Re: NissanMaxima]
NissanMaxima Offline


Registered: 10/21/15
Posts: 83
Loc: co
Thanks all: Saw a Chris Fix video on YouTube where he tested Chevron Techron and did two treatments back to back and even ran the second treatment with no gas dilution. His borescope showed little to no difference in before and after treatment on the cylinders. Some folks in the comments pointed out it primarily is supposed to clean fuel injectors, but according to the label, he was expecting a more dramatic cleanup of the cylinders. I guess I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I'll just stick with running my Shell Nitro 91 and try and run the car more often. Thanks for all the input.

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