It may not have the coolness quotient of a high-lift cam or a rowdy exhaust system, but a properly functioning set of fuel injectors plays a critical role in optimizing overall engine performance. Fortunately for those of us on salt-miners' salaries, a well-maintained octet of factory injectors is more than capable of meeting the fueling demands of a typical bolt-on performance build.

How, then, to make sure your stock squirters are performing up to snuff? In-tank cleaners such as Chevron Techron are fine for routine fuel-system maintenance but aren't concentrated enough to break down heavy deposits. Pressurized systems that use a solvent routed directly into the fuel rail are better, but cleaning solutions alone can only do so much.

For a serious injector-scrubbing, you'll want to use a system that supplements the cleaning-fluid component by bombarding the injectors with ultrasonic (high-frequency) sound waves. We don't have the space or the acoustical-engineering degree to get into the science of it here, but suffice it to say it's like the difference between working over your teeth with a Sonicare Elite and simply swishing around a mouthful of Listerine.

For now, what we can do is show you the results of a real-life injector-cleaning test conducted recently on this author's 77,000-mile '96 C4. As in the past, the work went down at Seffner, Florida-based Corvette tuner AntiVenom, which earlier this year took delivery of an ASNU-01 (the name refers to the machine's purported ability to restore injectors to "as new" condition) Ultrasonic Cleaning System and Tester.

If you like what you see-and we think you will-AntiVenom can provide you with the same service on a mail-order basis for $125. A full rebuild-including new O-rings, filters, etc.-will run you $185. With most aftermarket injector sets currently selling for $350 or more (not including the requisite PCM recalibration), that qualifies as a bargain.

With the fuel system buttoned up, Lovell makes another set of pulls on the dyno. In the end, our C4 picked up almost 5 hp and more than 7 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels-a deeply impressive result given the relative cleanliness of the injectors prior to cleaning. In addition to the extra power, the car's fuel economy jumped by 0.8 mpg on an improvised city/highway driving loop. Even idle smoothness was markedly improved. These are improvements you'll appreciate on the street, at the track, and at the pump.

Injector Flow (cc) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Baseline 65 64 64 66 66 63 64 64
After Cleaning 65 66 65 66 67 65 65 65
Dyno Performance Fuel Economy*
Baseline Peak HP/TQ: 280.87/301.66 Baseline MPG: 15.2
Peak HP/TQ After Cleaning: 285.69/309.00 MPG After Cleaning: 16.0
*On 30-mile city/highway driving loop
SOURCE
AntiVenom
813-690-0175
www.antivenomefi.com