5 Signs of Diesel Engine Failure

The diesel engine cranks more torque and power than a gasoline engine, which is why it exceptionally powers trains, pick-up trucks, and tractor-trailers. Diesel engines will work efficiently for a long time if you give them proper attention and maintain them well.

Diesel engines can easily surpass a million miles because of their stellar durability and power. However, like any machine, you can experience an engine failure. Here are the signs of a worn-out diesel engine so you can get it fixed before it is too late, so keep reading to find out more.

1. Engine Runaway or Hard Start

Engine runaway happens when you turn the engine off, but it keeps running anyway, hence the term. Even though this is a comical moment in movies that gives everyone a laugh, it is a profoundly serious problem and can be extremely dangerous. 

Your engine is then running on excess fumes or fuel in the chambers. The pistons or rings in the engine may be old and worn-out, causing the fumes to escape through the combustion chamber.

Another obvious sign of engine failure is when it simply will not start. You may be cranking the engine repeatedly, and it refuses to turn on, which is frustrating. This hard start is caused by low compression. The compression is the basis of your diesel engine. If that is malfunctioning, your engine has no chance.

As the diesel grows old, the components age as well, which causes problems with the seal inside the chamber. You may notice excess wear on the piston, cylinder liner, valves, or ring that can result in a hard start.

These issues can get even worse during extreme temperatures from engine overheating. However, there is no need to panic and assume the worse. The best way to solve this is by running through the usual diagnostic checks to identify the root of the problem.

2. Excessive Blow-by

Engine Blow-by is common when compressed air and fuel in the cylinder increase more than the pressure in the oil pan. This causes the fuel to leak past the piston ring and get into the crankcase. If there is not that much smoke, it means that the blow-by is not too serious and a little bit can be acceptable.

However, if you notice that the blow-by is more than usual, it could mean that your rings, cylinder walls, or piston are worn out. This leads to a lot of exhaust entering the crankcase, and then you will see it smoking out even more. To check this problem, you should examine the excessive oil under the truck because it could mean that the exhaust is carrying all that extra oil.

3. Blue, White, or Black Smoke

If there is some blue smoke coming from under the hood of your vehicle, then it can mean that your diesel engine is burning oil in a way that is not normal. This problem is common if you have older engines where the parts and components have gotten tired from excessive use.

Blue smoke results from the oil left on the cylinder wall, which is burning along with your fuel. The clearances cannot remove this oil completely, so it keeps burning when it should not. When you see blue smoke, you should do a compression check to see whether this is causing your engine failure.

White smoke that comes from the exhaust points to damaged injectors. The smoke indicates that the diesel fuel is not burning properly. The unburned diesel fuel will then go through the exhaust without being used, and the white smoke can irritate your skin and eyes.

Unlike white smoke, black smoke contains a lot of carbon exhaust particles. It is the most common smoke color that you see coming from a diesel engine failure. Black smoke indicates that there is something wrong with the combustion process.

The best way to diagnose the problem is by looking at the mixture of air and fuel flow in the cylinders. Your engine could be delivering insufficient fuel, which is causing this type of smoke.

4. Turbocharger Engine Failure

Turbochargers are an essential part of operating diesel engines. If you are having problems with yours, it will be obvious because you may have a hard start, engine overheating, warning lights, or a busted engine altogether. As the turbocharger continues wearing down, it will start wobbling, and this is a catastrophic engine failure.

If the turbo shakes loose while you are driving, your oil will then pass into the intake and create a puff of instant thick black smoke. The clamps, intercooler, or loose hoses could also be worn down, causing leaks that affect the volume of compressed air going into the engine.

When this happens, you will experience a significant decrease in power. Then you may need a thorough engine maintenance service.

5. Poor Fuel Mileage

If you notice that you need to keep ordering diesel fuel delivery and burn a hole through your wallet, there could be a problem with your rings or injectors. If the injectors or rings are old and worn-out, they will need to be repaired soon. Otherwise, extra fuel could be leaking into the chamber and causing a plethora of other problems.

Adding more fuel will throw off the balance because it is not burning efficiently, and this will cause some black smoke as well. Your worn rings could be letting all that additional fuel slide into the oil, which leads to a rough idle and bad mileage. You will need to keep filling up and buying fuel, which can become awfully expensive and unnecessary.

Spruce up Your Engine Power

There is no point in having a high-powered vehicle if there is a lack of sufficient power due to engine failure. You will notice how quickly your diesel engine loses its strength at take-off and when it takes longer to gain speed.

If you have been having problems with your ride for a while, give us a call today. We provide the best diesel engine maintenance services to ensure that you will never have a dip in power again.  

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