To get the best from your diesel engine a number of factors have to be taken into consideration.
The machine, into which the engine is fitted, must be the right machine for the application to ensure that the engine is never unnecessarily, or continually, overloaded beyond its design capabilities.
From that point on the servicing and maintenance that the engine receives throughout its life is of the utmost importance.
Lack of that vital servicing and maintenance over the forthcoming hours of work ultimately determine the reliability and lifespan of the engine.
It is critical that the first oil and filter change takes place after fifty operational hours of use in order to ensure that the reliability continues. Further oil and filter changes must be carried out according to manufacturer's recommendations.
Use of original manufacturer's oil is highly recommended as the engine oil specification and quality are important factors in ensuring the life of your engine is extended to the maximum whilst, at the same time, maintaining performance and reliability throughout that period.
The correct quantity and level of oil in the engine should be maintained as specified, more often than not the visual method of a simple dipstick is all that is needed, but failure to maintain the correct level can be detrimental. Too low a level and lubrication may be inhibited, too high a level and overheating may occur.
Engines with turbochargers usually require higher levels of maintenance.
Genuine replacement parts must always be used, including oil, air, and fuel filters, as these are internally designed and produced to manufacturer's specifications, to further enhance the performance of the engine.
The diesel fuel supplied for the unit must be clean and of the correct specification. This also helps to prolong the life of the diesel engine by lubricating the component parts of the fuel injection pump and fuel injectors that are machined to highly critical tolerances.
Dirty or contaminated fuel can cause considerable damage to these components thereby reducing peak performance. This can also have a dramatic effect on the exhaust emissions and, at the same time, undermine all the design work carried out for the engines to pass the emission regulations as laid down by the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) and other E.U & world related bodies.
The degree of fuel filtration varies, depending upon the type of fuel system on the engine.
The air filter maintenance or replacement also has significant importance in the smooth running and reliability of the engine by filtering contaminants from the air supply before entering the engine to mix with the fuel ready to burn. Any of these contaminants entering the engine via an incorrectly maintained or damaged air filter can cause considerable wear to the cylinder bores, piston rings and valves, as well as other vital components.
Any such ingress of dirt and foreign particles, over a prolonged period of time, causes further contamination and degrading of the engine oil, ultimately reducing the overall performance of the oil and its ability to lubricate and cool.
The coolant used within the engine must be a 50/50 mix of long life coolant (anti-freeze) and water. This coolant not only transfers heat from the engine to the radiator to be dissipated into the atmosphere but it performs some other vital functions, such as reducing corrosion within the engine, lowering the freezing point and also raising the boiling point of the coolant within the pressurised cooling system.
The radiator must be kept clean to allow full air flow through the external fins, therefore assisting in this cooling function.
A thermostat controls the temperature of the engine as it opens and closes automatically to allow specific water flow around the engine to ensure a constant temperature and engine peak performance.
This water flow is aided by a water pump, housed on the engine block. An externally mounted cooling fan pushes or pulls the air through the radiator fins to dissipate the heat from the engine. The fan drive belt must be adjusted correctly to ensure the fan operates and performs this vital function.
The radiator cap must be in good condition to allow system pressurisation and, therefore, ensure full coolant performance.
The electrical system of the engine is used primarily to ensure easy starting, from the power source to the starter motor. It is often used in the engine monitoring systems for coolant temperature, oil pressure and, with higher spec engines, the function of the CRS components.
Some engines have pre-heat systems which use electrical power to heat glow plugs. These are fitted into the cylinder head of the engine and protrude into the combustion chamber. Heating the air inside the engine, improves the starting ability of diesel engines, especially in cold temperatures.