The effect of high pressure injection (using an accumulator type unit injector with peak injection pressure of approximately 20,000 psi, having a decreasing injection rate profile) on combustion was studied. Combustion results were obtained using a DDA Series 3–53 diesel engine with both conventional analysis techniques and high speed photography. Diesel No. 2 fuel and a low viscosity - high volatility fuel, similar to gasoline were used in the study. Results were compared against baseline data obtained with standard injectors. Some of the characteristics of high pressure injection used with Diesel No. 2 fuel include: substantially improved ignition, shorter ignition delay, and higher pressure rise. Under heavy load - high speed conditions, greater smokemeter readings were achieved with the high pressure injection system with Diesel No. 2 fuel. Higher flame speeds and hence, greater resistance to knock were observed with the high volatility low cetane fuel. Results indicate that while high pressure injection improves ignition quality, proper matching of injection pressure profile, nozzle orifice design and air swirl are important to reduce undesirable pressure rise and smoke.