Diesel truck owners are used to their trucks taking care of them. Whether it is long-haul, farm work, transporting construction equipment or even getting you to the job site every day. Your truck is essential to your success.
That is why taking care of your truck should always be a top priority. If your truck goes down, the work stops. Understanding the warning signs of when a truck needs a new diesel engine is the first step to long-term care for it.
This guide details what to look for when it is time to replace an old engine. If your engine is new, check out our guide for the prevention of diesel engine repairs. But if the miles are starting to add up, this list might be the wake-up call your truck has been hoping for.
1. Oil Sludge Or Metal Shavings In Oil
Oil sludge can easily be identified by chaining of thickness in your truck’s engine. If you notice this issue, it means the engine’s components are not being lubricated properly. This is caused by wasted oil, grime, and even coolant getting mixed in with the oil. This is a primary sign of worn-out engines.
Another red flag is the appearance of metal shavings in the oil. As oil is pumped through the engine, it is easy for small metal pieces to be spread across components. If you can see metal shavings in the oil, then the likelihood the engine components are damaged is incredibly high.
2. Starting Problems
If the diesel engine is cranking without starting up, among the potential causes is low compression. Diesel engines are reliant on compression to start and run. Without the right pressure, the engine will fail to produce the internal explosions.
Aged components will wear out and cause problems in the seal of the chamber. This means that at least one piece in your combustion chamber is now faulty.
It could be a variety of different components. From a piston, cylinder wall or liners, to valves. If this is the issue for the starting problems, it will be worse after sitting or in extreme weather (high heat or freezing temperatures). This is not the only reason why a diesel engine might have starting problems, but a compression test will identify if it is.
Since starting problems can mean so many different things for a diesel engine, read our blog on what starting problems can mean for a better understanding.
3. Blue or White Smoke From Exhaust
Blue smoke coming from the exhaust is a prime indicator the engine is burning oil. This potentially means diesel fuel is flowing the wrong way and entering your crankcase.
If the smoke is white then it is likely coolant is leaking into the engine or that your fuel is burning off completely. If these early warning signs are not taken seriously, you will find yourself needing a new diesel engine sooner rather than later.
Though smoke from the exhaust is normal, familiarizing yourself with what different colored smoke means can lead to problems being caught faster.
4. Knocking Sound From New Diesel Engine
Having any new sound suddenly start from your engine is almost always a bad sign. For a diesel engine, a loud knocking that gets worse as you rev the engine could mean disaster.
Causes of engine knocking can be damaged liner seals, main bearing wear, a worn piston skirt or faulty fuel injectors. Diesel engines are normally loud, and for good reason, but if new sounds develop without a clear cause, then it’s likely time to get the engine inspected.
5. Loss Of Power
Something most owners will quickly notice, a significate loss of power. The engine might feel like it has a harder time taking off or take longer to get up to speeds. Though it is normal for engines to lose some power as they age, any drastic or rapid changes are a major red flag.
If you are losing compression or your turbo and related components start wearing out, there will be a noticeable change in power. If the truck doesn’t have the get-up-and-go that it once did, then replacing the old engine might be the remedy.
6. Worsening Fuel Economy
The cost of fuel is no joke. Keeping track of your fuel economy can help catch early signs of wear in a diesel engine. If you notice a shift in the trucks miles-per-gallon, it could be a sign of wear in the injectors or rings.
If fuel is leaking into the chamber, it can cause a variety of additional issues. With excess fuel in the chamber, the balance of combustion will be thrown off and the burn-off will not be complete.
If the rings are worn, they can allow fuel to enter the oil. You would notice a misfire or rough idle if this happens. These can all easily damage other areas of the engine, so they must be addressed as quickly as possible.
7. “Run-Away” – The Diesel Engine Continues Running After The Ignition Is Turned Off
We already covered how trouble to start can be a sign of a worn-out diesel engine. But if the engine doesn’t stop after the ignition has been turned, then it has a major problem.
This can be very dangerous, if you experience this problem, make sure you get the engine off safety.
If the diesel engine has worn-out pistons, rings or any other components that allow oil mist to enter the combustion chamber, the engine can run even if the key is turned off. If this happens, there is the potential for the engine to explode.
This is a definite sign that is it time to buy a new diesel engine.
Time For A New Diesel Engine
When it comes time to buy a new diesel engine, trust your truck to the experts. We can help you diagnose any problems, determine if it is time to buy a new diesel engine, and with the swap itself.
Give us a call at (916)652-9457 or visit our contact us page to get in touch