The Top 9 Diesel Engine Maintenance Tips

February 22, 2012

Diesel engines typically require fewer repairs than gas engines, but those repairs are more expensive. Find out how to keep repairs to a minimum.

Diesel Engine Detail

Diesel engine maintenance will offset the rising cost of fuel and assure you of a longer life-cycle for your vehicle in general and your engine in particular. Diesel engines are excellent and reliable engines if regularly and properly maintained.

Maintenance Tips

  • Regular inspection of glow plugs is very critical for the proper maintenance of a diesel engine. The ignition of this engine depends upon compressed heat but it often fails to produce enough heat for the fuel to burn. As a result the glow plugs are used to heat up the cylinder before the cold engine gets started. These glow plugs require frequent inspection especially during the winter season
  • The gaskets on the diesel engine call for regular monitoring as they work under very severe and harsh conditions. All the mounting bolts should be checked regularly to avoid leaks which can lead to other complications
  • The oil filter should be selected carefully as sulfur residue and carbon are created in the absence of completely burning the fuel. A good filter will exclude corrosive particles from the oil
  • Always make sure the engine is supported completely before unscrewing any of the mounting bolts, plugs or nuts
  • To maintain proper engine performance and prevent accidents, make sure to give fluids sufficient time to cool before draining or checking them
  • Take your time when doing maintenance on a diesel engine and never work on an engine while it is running
  • Due to its critical cooling system, an audible and visual warning system on the dash panel will alert you before the possibility of engine damage
  • Every time you fill the diesel tank, add a bottle of diesel treatment. This will prevent the diesel from getting mixed with impurities
  • Diesel engines require a complete maintenance check from time to time for a longer life. Regular oil changes, as well as changing the oil and air filters, are critical to proper engine performance

A Bonus Tip for Engine Longevity
Another way to increase the life of your engine is to use bio-diesel. It can be used in any diesel engine with few, if any, modifications. Bio-diesel is cleaner and can release deposits that have accumulated on the tank walls from previously stored diesel.

How to Perform a Diesel/Vegetable Oil Conversion

The process for converting your diesel vehicle into a biodiesel vehicle is fairly straightforward. If you have the know-how, you can do it yourself. Otherwise, there are a number of firms that will do it for you.

Acquire the Components
The first thing to do is get a conversion kit or the individual components to do the job. The basic components of a conversion job are a controller, an electric switching unit, an electric fuel oil heater, a heat exchanger, control electronics, a cable loom that has been pre-assembled and an optional second fuel tank. The second fuel tank is necessary to store the vegetable oil and an amount of diesel for ignition. The switching unit switches between tanks. The heat exchanger and preheater get the vegetable oil up to the temperature required for smooth, efficient fuel burning.

Fuel Conversion Kit and Second Tank
Either install the conversion kit or have a mechanic do it. Again, the conversion kit contains a controller for switching fuels, a heat exchanger and fuel preheater and a second tank. The second tank will be used to store the vegetable oil. The vehicle will continue to be started with diesel, and once the engine is warm you can switch to pure vegetable oil. Hoses will run from the radiator, through the heat exchanger, into the second tank to heat the vegetable oil before it enters the fuel injector.

Get Vegetable Oil
Whether you purchase it new or acquire it in a used form, you need vegetable oil to run your newly converted vehicle. Used oil can often be had for free by taking it from restaurants. This saves them the hassle and charge of disposing of it. Additionally, you have to use an oil filter to remove all food particles. Filter bags rated to 0.5 microns in thickness are what to use. Let the used vegetable oil sit for a few days until most of the particles float to the bottom. Then pump or scoop it into the filter bags over a clean container before you use it in your vehicle.

Diesel to Vegetable Oil Process
The vehicle is started with diesel, switched to vegetable oil once both the fuel and engine are warm, and switched back to diesel a few minutes before turning off the motor. If the vehicle has not been sitting for more than an hour, it does not require diesel to restart it.

A diesel to vegetable oil conversion is a great way to increase your fuel cost savings and burn a cleaner, nontoxic fuel in your vehicle. If you have the mechanical skill, the conversion can be done on your own. Otherwise, certified conversion mechanics will do the job for you.

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