Caring for your Mazda DISI engine
Direct injection engines are nothing new… for diesel lovers. The application of direct injection in gasoline engines in large volume is a much newer feat however. As far back as 1902, manufacturers have tried to inject gasoline directly into the cylinder, companies such as: Mercedes, Ford, AMC and many others all tried to perfect the technology. Ironically, the first company to roll out gasoline direct injection cars en mass was Mitsubishi. The long story short version is now most manufacturers offer a direct injection engine or many. The technology is extremely versatile in adding power, improving gas mileage, fine tuning and in many other areas.
So with all the hoopla surrounding direct injection technology why isn’t it in every car? Well, there are a few reasons.
1. Technology is expensive, DI engines require new heads, cams, and many more additional pieces of equipment.
2. The process is proven but un-proven.
3. Change, many auto companies can be slow to adopt newer technology.
With DI engines being the future, why are we talking about them? Well, there are certain problems that many are seeing as a direct result of this technology. The main issue revolves around the intake and the intake valves. In traditional engines, fuel is sprayed outside the combustion chamber into the intake manifold and passes the valves on the way to the chamber. The detergents in modern gasoline help clean the intake tract and the valves and can help prevent deposits left from debris or from the EGR system. With direct injection technology, the injector is directly in the combustion chamber and the gas does nothing but get instantly atomized and ignited. As such, we are seeing common failures in DI engines, there are two key steps you can take to prevent these build ups and increase the power and longevity of your engine.
The first is quality oil. With any modern engine, we recommend a synthetic oil. The benefits far outweigh the costs and in many cases you can actually save money in the long run with longer oil change intervals and fewer mechanical issues as a result of the better protection.
Why Oil Matters
All synthetic oils are not created equal. Here in America we are at a disadvantage as to knowing what oils are synthetic and which are not. Due to a loophole in regulations and advertising, companies in America can advertise their group 3 oils (which start life as gasoline and are turned to liquid via hydrocracking) as fully synthetic. Many of these oils such as Royal Purple, Castrol Syntec, Mobil 1 cannot be called synthetic in other parts of the world where these things are taken much more seriously. As such, we recommend group 4 and group 5 oils exclusively. Many oils like Redline, ELF (Total), Amsoil, Torco, and Castrol formulations from Europe are all good examples of this. These oils are so important that every Volkswagen company (VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, etc.) REQUIRE their dealerships to use them exclusively. So when in doubt, you can always have your oil changed at one of those dealerships to make sure you are getting the best quality oil.
What You Can Do
The second way you can care for your direct injected engine is to use an oil catch can. Modern engines have to use EGR systems. EGR stands for exhaust gas recirculation. The basic purpose of EGR is to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and it works by recirculating a portion of the engines exhaust gas back into the intake to be “burned” again. The unfortunate byproduct of this set up is that many of the things in your exhaust you do not want going in your engine. Unburned gas vapor, burned oil vapor, water contaminated with other different chemical compounds are just a few of the terrible things EGR can introduce back into your engine.
With the installation of an oil catch can, you can capture many of those contaminates and dispose of them before they ever get to the engine you’ve spent so much money on. The gains are easy to see every time you empty it.
So there you have it; to keep your DISI Mazda running strong and trouble free, follow those simple tips and you’ll have a long and happy life together.