9 Ways to Kill Your Diesel Engine

9 Ways You Are Killing Your Diesel Engine

Fairfax Virginia – You love your diesel and all the things it is capable of. Let’s face it – you made a wise decision in purchasing a diesel engine. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, diesel engines can give you 30-to 35-percent more fuel economy than gasoline engines.  Your diesel will get a better payback after some high mileage – giving you better towing efficiency. And to add – you get more payload capacity: A turbo-diesel engine and a corresponding transmission can weigh 600-800 lbs more than their gasoline counterparts.

Since you put a lot of thought and money into buying your Diesel let’s make sure you haven’t you slipped into any of the bad habits that could lead to potentially costly repairs or a shortened lifespan for your diesel vehicle.

Changing Your Fuel Filter

Easiest way to damage your diesel’s fuel filter – let it clog. This can lead to having to replace injection pumps and injectors. And yes – that’s expensive to repair. Allowing your injection system to clog can create a lot of heat. Your vehicle’s injection system relies on an obstructed fuel flow to keep it cool at all times. A clog – can product extra pressure and cause a filter failure – sending contaminants into the injection system. You don’t have to be an auto mechanic to know this doesn’t sound good. Change your fuel filter when necessary by consulting your local auto repair diesel shop.

Not Changing Air Filters

Your air filter can also clog. Contaminants and other environmental matter can make its way to your engine if your air filter is not clean. One major difference between a gas engine and a diesel engine is the power of suction and air intake that flows directly into a diesel’s motor. Not regularly checking and changing your air filter can cause dust and contaminants to clog, shooting these dirty particles into your engine. Heed our advice – clean or replace your air filer as your owner’s manual recommends. Not doing so can cause your diesel engine to completely shut down.

Not Changing Your Oil

Contaminants can flow into your engine from different passages. Oil filters are another means in preventing these particles from damaging your diesel engine.  An oil analysis can determine laboratories your diesel motor’s health. These tests includes spectral exams that can tell you the amount of wear metals in the oil, which can provide information on the bearing level and probable future mechanical problems. Silica can be the most intrusive factor in engine wear and can pass seals and filters. Silica can combine with carbon, forming an abrasive called carborundum which, when it hardens, is similar to the hardness in diamonds.

Not Checking for Air Leaks

An air leak in fuel injector nozzles is a serious issue. Contaminants – yes – again – including sludge, microbes and water, can cause problems in the fuel line. But, air leaks can be just as serious or worse by entering the fuel lines, connections, and engine. The most common air leak happens between the filter inlet and the engine lift pump. As the engine is working the lift pump creates a vacuum to pull the fuel thru the filter to the engine. When the filter clogs the vacuum will start to increase. Air then enters the fuel system thru loose or compromised connections. This can cause the engine to completely shut down as it’s not getting the fuel required to run the engine. A symptom may show as the RPMs increasing quickly as the engine shuts down.

Buying Cheap Parts

Your diesel is only as strong as its weakest link. Cheap parts often aren’t made of the same quality materials as higher end parts and will fail more quickly. Investing in high quality parts will save big money in the long run; not only will you have to do repairs less frequently, but there is less chance of the wear and tear on other components that may occur during multiple replacements. Also remember to keep your part receipts and pay attention to warranty specifications, some brands offer lifetime warranties on parts that you may need multiple times during your ownership.

Ignoring Payload & Tow Capacity

Your diesel is tough. It was made for work. But every machine has its limits and your diesel is no different. It is incredibly important to know your vehicle’s payload and towing capacity and be mindful about not exceeding it. Hauling heavy loads is what your truck was made for, but if you’re considering going great distances it’s crucial to understand your truck’s total weight ratio, as well as the front and rear axle weight limits. Many owners manuals also indicate “heavy use” guidelines for those hauling and towing regularly — this might include more frequent fluid changes and suspension checks.

Short Trips & Extended Idling

Most engine wear happens at startup. For those that have no choice but to make short trips or many starts and stops, consider installing a Pre-Lube System. Designed to prolong the life of internal combustion engines, pre-lube systems use an electric pump to send oil to critical engine parts before ignition. Another option for frequent starts and stops is a Turbo Timer. This sensor gauges the temperature of the engine and keeps the motor running until it is cool enough to shut down safely.

Inattention to the Electrical System

The electrical system is not often something we think about as part of regular maintenance but it’s very important to perform an inspection on a consistent basis. Have an older diesel? It might be worth switching to a multiplex wiring system. Notice some weak spots? Consider adding relays in weak areas to relieve strain on the system. And always avoid splicing into the wire harness.

You’re not Letting Your Engine Warm Up

Cold engine? Then it’s best not to start your engine cold and rev it up. Allow your engine to warm up after starting it. Your engine bearings need lubrication – and cold thick oil isn’t good for your diesel.  It’s best to let your engine warm up while idling for a few minutes. Your glow plugs and intake heater will perform as they should. Give it some time to heat up the engine evenly.

This practice is very important on extremely cold mornings. Hot and cold engine parts expand at different rates, so gaps can form, which could cause leaks or gasket failures. Wait until your engine oil and coolant temperature gauges show you are in the right operating range. You do have these readings…don’t you? Also, if it’s really cold, don’t turn the steering wheel too much right away or you could risk blowing a hydraulic hose. The other thing that’ll keep your engine running longer is preheated coolant. The more cold-starts your diesel is subjected to, the shorter its lifespan will be. Inconsistent metal expansion and poor-flowing (thick) lubricants don’t provide protection from moving parts.

*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.

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