Diesel engines are the driving force of many different types of off-highway operations, and keeping them running at full tilt is critical to maximizing productivity and boosting profits.
To help you keep those engines turning, this tip will examine some common diesel engine suffering
points and how to protect your equipment from them.
It’s fairly obvious when a diesel engine is not performing at its best—performance issues usually lead to a loss of power or shortened engine life.
But, how can you detect suffering points before they become an issue?
Here are three common signs that we’ll take a closer look at:
If an engine is smoking black, it is being over-fueled. Typically, the cause is a faulty fuel injector(s) or pump. Fuel injector and pump repairs are not complex or expensive, but they do require the unit to be offline for a few hours.
You may be asking: Is it worth taking that engine offline to fix the issue?
Well, let’s look at what over-fueling costs you. Let’s assume the price of fuel is $2.00 per gallon. To smoke black, an engine is getting about 10% more fuel than it needs—at a minimum. An average diesel engine in a piece of heavy equipment uses 16 gals/hour, operating 8 hours a day for 200 days per year.
Based on those assumptions, the savings math for one piece of heavy equipment is as follows:
Over-fueling can also lead to excessive soot deposits and fuel dilution of the engine oil, which can lead to premature crankshaft, camshaft and bearing wear. All of these issues can shorten the life of the engine!
Blue smoke is a warning sign that your engine is burning oil, which can shorten engine life. Here’s a rule of thumb: A diesel engine used in off-highway heavy equipment should consume about 1 quart of oil for every 25 hours of operation.
Some common causes of blue smoke in diesel engines include:
Diesel engines in off-highway applications should last between 25,000 and 30,000 hours. Re-building them is costly, often between $20,000 to $30,000, so it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. If you identify the causes of blue smoke and make speedy repairs, you can help minimize impact on engine life and likely save thousands in operating hours and costs.
In off-highway engines, it takes an average of 18,000 gallons of air to burn one gallon of diesel fuel. If the air is not properly filtered, abrasive dirt can get into the combustion chamber and accelerate wear of the pistons, cylinders, rings, crank/cam shaft and bearings.
Improperly filtered intake air will often lead to the introduction of abrasive silicon. Silicon will show up in the oil analysis results along with associated levels of iron, chrome, lead, tin and copper. This result should not be ignored.
Here are steps to make sure the intake air is clean:
during repairs or maintenance cycles. While the bolt may hold the element in place, it will allow unfiltered air into the engine.
I hope this tip helped give you some good insight into how you can keep your diesel engines running in tiptop shape.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for future tip topics, please let us know in the comments. And, be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn. Until next time!
Great article, Rick!
Any one has Tonly Trucks approvals for Mobil Delvac MX 20W-50 and Mobil Nuto H Series.