High levels of hydrocarbon emissions during light load operation keep the direct injection stratified charge engine from commercial application. Previous analytical work has identified several possible hydrocarbon emissions mechanisms which can result from poor in-cylinder fuel distribution. Poor fuel distribution can be caused by erratic fuel injection.Experiments conducted on a single cylinder DISC engine show a dramatic increase in the cycle to cycle variation in injection characteristics as engine load decreases. This is accompanied by an increase in cycle to cycle variation in combustion behavior suggesting that degradation in combustion results from the degradation in the quality of the injection event.Examination of combustion and injection characteristics on a cycle by cycle basis shows that, at light load, IMEP and heat release do not correlate with the amount of fuel injected into the cylinder. There are strong indications that individual cycles undergo partial or complete misfire.