When you need an engine with steady torque and pulling power without sacrificing fuel economy, diesel engines are the preferred choice. Diesel engines have a fuel efficiency of roughly 30-35 percent more than gasoline engines and as such, they’re a good source of reliable power. However, the engine is massive and heavy to offset the stress of high compression, which makes this engine a bit pricey compared to gasoline engines.
Seven Points of Diesel Engines
1 Unlike gas engines, a diesel engine has no electrical ignition parts like spark plugs, wires and moving parts like a distributor rotor, which is subject to wear. These parts have a limited life and have to be changed on a regular basis. Because of this, this is one chore diesel engine owners don’t have to worry about.
2 Diesel engines run at higher compression pressures than gasoline engines. Where the highest compression for most high performance gasoline engines is close to 200 psi, a diesel runs at almost three times that pressure. As a consequence, more heat is generated, putting extra demands on the engine cooling system. Studies show that 40-50 percent of engine down-time is due to cooling-related problems because they cannot stand prolonged overheating.
3 Gaskets on diesel engines must be monitored closely since they are exposed to extreme operating conditions. If possible, all mounting bolts must be re-torqued at regular intervals to prevent leaks, especially in the combustion mounting areas. This is also true for coolant hoses which can deteriorate quickly if not secured properly. A lot of this is also caused by engine vibrations, which is common on diesel engines. Always replace a leaky gasket as a set. If one starts to leak, the rest are not far behind.
4 Since diesel engines use a lot of air, greater attention is paid to the engine air filtration. A common practice among truckers is to install a tell-tale plastic indicator on the side of the air filter housing. The indicator changes color as soon as the engine filter element becomes dirty. Cooling this air is also critical especially if the engine is turbocharged. On some high end diesel engines they are fitted with aftercoolers to cool the air from the turbo charger.
5 The oil filter selection is very important on diesel engines because of the bad elements of sulfur residue and carbon created when fuel does not burn completely. The filter used must meet or exceed the OEM filter recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This will ensure that all corrosive particles are removed from the oil. Using synthetic oil will also help because the additives in the oil will resist premature breakdown.
6 The fuel system maintenance is handled in various ways. Always keep the fuel tank full to prevent condensation from building inside the tank which can end up in the fuel injectors. This also requires changing the fuel filters as recommended to prevent moisture build up.
7 During winter, diesel engines are normally hard to start and the best way to remedy this is to install an electric heater to the cylinder block. Another way is to install a heater element in series with the heater hose.