Carbon build is a blight that faces modern direct injection engines, the one in my little Peugeot 207 – the EP6 which is shared with MINI – is one of those.
Having never had the engine inspected or cleaned of carbon in my nine years of ownership, even with the relatively low mileage of 52,000 it was something that had always stuck in the back of my mind as it can cause massive problem down the line.
There are numerous remedies for carbon build up, like using products such as Seafoam to help reduce the deposits, you could also have your engine walnut blasted which is rather invasive but will definitely remove the build up, or opt for the more costly Terraclean which uses highly refined fuel and a negative electrical charge to remove carbon.
One of the most cost effective options is a service provided by Engine Carbon Clean, Gary from the Bucks & Berks division got in touch and asked if he could show me the process. A week later and he was on my drive.
What is it?
Engine Carbon Clean is designed and manufactured in the UK, it uses hydrogen technology its parent company H2GoGo developed.
Running on tap water alone the H2GoGo unit that sits inside the large black cabinet separates the hydrogen and oxygen, in its now gaseous form it gets sucked into your engine via the air intake.
Once inside the normal combustion process occurs but the now HHO carries an increased amount of oxygen, so combustion is improved. The hydrogen element reacts with the carbon to slowly break it down.
The gas works its way through the rest of the engine and exhaust system eating away at the carbon as it goes, leaving the exhaust as gas and water.
There isn’t much to the system, in fact the large black cabinet is rather sparse when you see inside it. To one side there’s the water reservoir, this is gravity fed so no need for pumps, the H2GoGo unit sits at the bottom being supplied by the upper container, a pipe then goes to an empty bottle before flowing up and into the pipe that gets put into your air intake.
A couple of fans keep air circulating inside, but that’s about it. The whole thing is run off of a petrol generator or a plug socket if you have one handy.
Does it work?
When you delve into the details of HHO and if hydrogen carbon cleaning actually works it seems it’s rather hard to find any strict scientific evidence as to whether it works or not.
Ideally someone needs to put a borescope inside a coked engine to see what it looks like before, then after. Without that, doubt will still rage.
A few error codes popped up during the process which have now fully cleared and not returned nearly a month on. They were to do with engine knock and the ignition process, this could be as a result of the timing being off during the cleaning, or the additional oxygen creating combustion early and the car not being able to compensate.
The only thing visibly expelled by the process is water, so you’ll see a patch of liquid below the exhaust tip after your done. It’s then recommended to give it a spirited drive for few miles.
But do I think it works?
Well yes, after the clean, torque delivery felt far punchier. The 207 produced a kick in the back effect whenever you dabbed the throttle no matter the speed, this sort of response has always seemed absent, even with its 200 BHP and 310 Nm of torque.
There was also a slight dip in power when pulling away from junctions, this seemed totally cured on the first drive after the clean but has since come back, but to a far lesser extent.
As Gary said a hydrogen carbon clean is more of a preventative maintenance measure. It won’t remove all the carbon, but it will reduce the build up to some extent. How much, who knows?
The service costs £99 and takes around an hour in total.