Maintaining a Micro Sprint Fuel System
Cleaning the fuel system in my micro sprint is one of my favorite tasks to do during my weekly maintenance. It also serves a great purpose for the overall performance on the race track. Having a clean fuel system is critical as well. Fuel problems at the race track is the last thing that you want to mess with. You don’t want to be running around trying to figure out the issue and miss one of your races, or have it happen during the race. You also don’t want to take your system apart and then risk something getting stuck in your system.
I personally have had problems where one of my injectors and fuel filter got clogged. Those are two things that you never want to happen during a race night. So, I make sure that during the week my fuel system gets cleaned, and I make sure the whole system is closed so there is no chance of something getting inside of it.
In the micro sprint world, there are several different types of injection and fuel filters. I run an Engler Mechanical fuel injection, and it is the most straightforward system that I have ever worked with in my racing career. After I wash my car, I let the motor run for a bit to get the water off the motor and make sure nothing got damaged during the wash. Once I have done that, the cleaning of my fuel system begins. I try to get it done as soon as I can, so the methanol doesn't sit for an extended period of time. Methanol has a way of damaging injectors, nozzles, and fuel filters. To prevent that, I like to get that fuel out of the main areas of the system as fast as possible. I usually don’t let a couple of days go by after a race night to get the fuel out.
The main areas of my system are the nozzles, high speed, stumble, and the fuel filter. These are the areas where a clean system is important since those are the critical parts of the system. I start by cleaning the nozzles. Some people use an ultra-sonic cleaner to clean these parts, but most of the time I use an air compressor to blow out the nozzles.
Every two races, I like to put a little brake cleaner in the nozzle to get everything out of it. Then after the brake cleaner, I spray a little Marble Mystery oil in there to keep the O-rings from drying up from the brake cleaner. The great thing about the nozzles is that it's usually really easy to tell if they are clean simply just by looking through the nozzle in the light. If it is clean, you will be able to see completely through it. If you can’t, that’s when you have something clogging the nozzle. Once those are clean, I place them in my injection stack and leave them dry all week.
Next, I move on to my high speed and stumble. Since there are moving parts inside these containers, it is critical to make sure these are cleaned weekly. I don’t do anything incredibly complicated for this step. I take them apart and blow everything off with an air compressor. I look closely at all of the items to make sure there isn’t anything that could cause a problem. I make sure the puppet is clean and usually spray some WD-40 around it, so it gets cleaned well. You also want to make sure that you can see completely through the jet. I also clean out the brass container that these items sit in before I put it all back together. This step usually isn’t hard, just time-consuming. It pays off on race day when everything works correctly.
Lastly, one of the main components that I clean before racing is the fuel filter. The last thing that I want to happen while leading a race is have my filter clog and not be able to finish. This is something that could be easily prevented during the week. I have a main shut off valve just before my filter, so it makes it easy to take the filter out of my system.
Once I have the filter out of the system, I take a couple of crescent wrenches to unscrew one of the end caps. On the filter housing, only one side typically unscrews, so you don’t have to worry about unscrewing both sides. After one side is unscrewed, I take the filter element out. Since I clean the element every week, I don’t have anything too serious to clean it. I blow out the entire element with the air compressor, then look inside and out of the element to make sure there is nothing stuck that could affect something else down the road. It is rewarding to have a clean system every week, with everything working correctly.