Some smoking - Checking/cleaning injectors
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Thread: Some smoking - Checking/cleaning injectors

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    Some smoking - Checking/cleaning injectors

    My 4200 smokes - some white smoke - and I'm not sure if I should be concerned. It has almost 900 hours - I've owned it since it had 780 hours. The smoke is usually hard to detect visually - its really light unless under heavy load. I spoke to the dealer/mechanic last year. His response was:
    "Is it using oil?"
    "No.And the oil is really clean"
    "It can't be the rings so don't waste time on a compression test. Is is losing coolant?"
    "No."
    "It can't be a gasket or cracked head. Where are you getting your fuel?"
    "At the local station."
    "Are you using normal, over the road fuel?"
    "Yes."
    "Stop that. Drain the fuel tank and refill it will "off road diesel. Add JD fuel treatment. Run it for a while, the problem should go away."

    Well, its been almost a year and about 50 hours later. This week I had it running with the lights on after dark - its smoking a lot more than I would have expected. I've only lacked power one time - moving very wet heavy snow with the 59 SB - not surprising. So, I'm pretty sure I don't have a compression problem or a blown head gasket/cracked head. Yesterday I checked the valve gap - 3 were within specification, 1 was slightly too tight and 2 were slightly lose - all have been adjusted and verified.

    The service manual says it could be an injector problem.

    The owner's manual for the 4200 says "Inspect fuel injectors" every 500 hours. I have the service manual & the instructions for removal appear to be straight forward. It also suggest it could be a temperature issue but the engine is not over heating so I suspect that's not an issue.

    Question: Has anybody removed and inspected the injectors?

    Question: Does anybody know what I'm supposed to be looking for? The service manual describes connecting them to a "testing" device and describes the procedure - I imagine I'll have to send them out to a diesel repair shop to test them and there's a few near me.

    Question: Should I get some fuel injector cleaner and run it through the engine? If so, what brands have people tried and with what level of success?

    Question: Has anybody tried to rebuild their injectors? If so, how hard was it?

    Question: Am I just being too careful?

    I've priced out new injectors - $225 each so I'm not prepared to just replace them to "see what happens."

    All opinions welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
    keane likes this.
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    Superglidesport's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if your 4200 is running too cold? The thermostat could be stuck open. A cold running engine will smoke and occasionally wet stack (partially burned fuel accumulating in the muffler and exhaust.)

    Running at low rpm / lugging can also cause smoking.

    If I were you I'd check the upper and lower radiator hoses after running the machine under load for a while. Both hoses should be noticeably hot.

    You could also run some Seafoam in your fuel to dissolve any internal injector and combustion chamber deposits that may have accumulated.
    Last edited by Superglidesport; 02-11-2018 at 06:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superglidesport View Post
    I'm wondering if your 4200 is running too cold? The thermostat could be stuck open. A cold running engine will smoke and occasionally wet stack (partially burned fuel accumulating in the muffler and exhaust.)

    Running at low rpm / lugging can also cause smoking.

    If I were you I'd check the upper and lower radiator hoses after running the machine under load for a while. Both hoses should be noticeably hot.

    You could also run some Seafoam in your fuel to dissolve any internal injector and combustion chamber deposits that may have accumulated.
    Thank you for the suggestion. It does seem to take a while to warm up. I need to flush and replace the coolant so maybe I'll just go ahead a replace the thermostat while the system is drained.
    Last edited by Superglidesport; 02-11-2018 at 06:31 PM.
    John Deere 4200, 420 FEL, 60" MMM, #74 Front Blade, #59 Snowblower, iMatch, Hydraulic Dump MCS

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    Hiya,

    As Frank says, could be a temp issue as Diesels will tend to smoke white when it's cold. (If the exhaust smells like someone just blew out a wax candle, then it's most likely temp related)

    However, Diesels will also smoke white then there is a fuel restriction. Normally you look to the filters when you get white smoke when the engine is under normal load. It could be dirty injectors however, 900 hours is only about 29,500 miles of road use so I highly doubt that any injectors are worn or damaged. I would go get a good Diesel cleaner and treat the fuel in the tank and run the tractor for a while. I would also plan on changing out the fuel filters as part of this cleaning, if you haven't changed them since you got it, your due. Another thing you sould confirm is that your fuel tank is vented properly, as any restriction on the primary fuel supply side is bad.

    Here are 2 cleaners I use with great results:

    https://www.amsoil.com/shop/by-produ...njector-clean/

    Performance Formula® Injector Cleaner « Stanadyne Additives

    As far as the dealer telling you to only use off road fuel, well, that's not the case anymore as the only difference between on and off road fuel at this point in time is the red dye and road use tax. In my experience, unless your getting off road from a known source, in quantity, delivered to your house, that lone off road Diesel pump way off in the corner of the filling station lot is a lot more trouble than it's worth because you have no idea how old that fuel is, how much water and other contamination it has. Stick to the on road from a station that you see truckers and pickup truck owners going to, that's the fuel you want as it's fresh and clean.
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    Thank you for the helpful comments and suggestions. I did change the fuel filter at the 800 hour mark since I wasn't sure how long it had been since it had been changed. The owners manual recommends every 500 hours but its cheap enough that I was planning on doing that every 100 hours along w/ the oil filter - makes it easy to remember.

    Is the fuel tank vent in the cap? I don't see one anywhere else and there's not anything listed on the parts diagram.

    Thanks again.
    John Deere 4200, 420 FEL, 60" MMM, #74 Front Blade, #59 Snowblower, iMatch, Hydraulic Dump MCS

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    Yes, should be in the cap. Loosen your cap and run the tractor, see if it improves. If it does, there ya go.
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    I checked the fuel cap vent - no issues there.

    I bought a thermostat, gaskets and some anti-freeze. This may have been part of the issue - the thermostat was sticking at least part of the time. It was closed when I removed it and it sticks open when I compress it manually. After a few cycles it moves freely but I know that it won't last. New one installed and new antifreeze in the system. The system looked pretty clean so I didn't flush the system. The antifreeze was pretty clean - I replaced it anyways. I may drain in again in a little while and replace it again just to be sure.

    I've also added some injector cleaner to the fuel - it will take a while to use the tank of fuel up at this time of the year.

    The temperature gauge is definitely more active now and, under load, registers higher. And, the hoses are much warmer - it appears to be circulating. If I allow it to sit and idle, the gauge registers lower after a few minutes. I would offer the gauge never registered more than 1/5 of the scale and when idling, its more like ⅛. (I'm not really sure what "normal" is.) The top hose is much warmer after the machine warms up.

    Now for the real question - Is it still smoking? Well, it appears to be less, even under load. I took it down the road in high range and even on a small incline, it had no noticeable smoke. It did smoke under heavy load coming up my steep driveway, but it wasn't dark black.

    I think I'm going to run it to see what happens. When its darker, I'll warm it up and see if having the lights on will still indicate too much smoke.

    Its quite possible its running normally and I'm just too particular. Oh, by the way, the point about letting lug down was well spoken, I have a tendency not run the machine a full throttle when I'm driving around the property and that's probably not the best thing for the machine. I definitely opened it up today.
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    Thanks to all who provided helpful advice. With the nice weather, I've been using the machine for a few hours per day and it seems the issue is resolved. The temperature comes up to about 20% on the gauge when its warmed up and there's no visible smoke, even under load. And, it seems to have more power - doesn't bog down on hills like it used to. To recap, I'm adding JD fuel treatment to the fuel (JD mechanic recommendation), I've cleaned/replaced the air filters, adjusted the valve gap/lash and replaced the thermostat/coolant.

    Thanks again!
    Kennyd, keane and Fozsey like this.
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