Maintaining your diesel engine
THE STARTER - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - March 19, 2018 - 12:00am

I recently met a guy who asked me for some tips about his diesel powered Pick-up Truck that wasn't running for a few weeks.  He said his driver was somewhere in the South of Cebu when he called up and said that the pick-up was overheating.  Both he and the driver then decided to run the car to the city, stopping in intervals just to cool down the car. The owner said the car made it to the city, but barely, and the engine didn't sound good. They then decided to park it and look for a mechanic.

We decided to check out the car, and found out that the engine was spent.  It was knocking and metal shards were found in the oil that we drained. The engine was ruined.

This Pick-up was used mainly for utility work for two years.  It was acquired brandnew but had little to no maintenance work at all and was travelling long distances for the last few months.  It was now idle, with an expensive fix coming, much to the dismay and regret of the owner.

If your diesel vehicle is performing a variety of tasks, like carrying max loads and accumulating mileage fast, then you should be aware of how to maintain it. Most diesel engines can usually take the beating, but like any other mechanical thing, it needs a maintenance regiment that you need to follow in other for it to maintain its reliability.  Here are some important tips to keep in mind.

Monitor the Cooling System

Your diesel engine's coolant is one of its most important maintenance needs. The pick-up truck that I mentioned above had an engine coolant leak coming from a worn out lower radiator hose that only leaked when the engine cooling system was pressurized and the engine in operating temperature.

Have the Cooling System Hoses checked during Preventive Maintenance Service(PMS) Periods.  Better yet, have them changed when the PMS says so.  Flush out Coolant also during the required time. Coolant turns acidic over time and if allowed to remain acidic, it can rot out other parts in the vehicle's cooling system.

Religious Oil Changes  using the correct  Oil  Specs

Your diesel engine's oil changes should consistently follow the PMS schedule. It may need to be changed on a shorter interval depending on how you're using your vehicle. If your diesel engine is used for hard-driving with heavy loads, then it becomes necessary to change oil more frequently.

Use the proper oil indicated in the vehicle's manual.  Experimenting with cheap oil brands or different oil viscosities will lead to lubrication failure.

Note Fuel Filter Changes

Diesel is unrefined compared to gasoline.  It takes a toll on fuel filters more than gasoline engines. Fuel filters should be replaced on a routine maintenance schedule, approximately every 20,000 kilometers. Most modern diesel engines will have two fuel filters because the newer direct injection systems are more sensitive to dirt. They should both be replaced at the same time for optimum protection.

Check Air Filters  Regularly

The Air Filter are replaced based on the pre-scheduled intervals of the PMS but it should be inspected and replaced as needed.   Depending on the climate and environment that you're driving in, the air filters may go faster than they are scheduled to. Note that Original (OEM) filters are proven and perform so much better than the cheap replacements.

Keep the Engine Clean

Keeping your diesel engine clean is very important for its preservation. The easiest way to spot a leaking engine is by always keeping it clean. Always go to a reliable gas station to get clean fuel.

You can go to your reliable service center and ask for some tips on injector and pump cleaning/calibration as well as turbo cleaning and calibration if you have a turbo charged engine.  All these are also included in the later part of the PMS.

Remember, the performance of your diesel engine will be compromised when the maintenance is overlooked.  Always follow the PMS Schedule of your vehicle. The more religious you are with maintenance, the longer the road-life will be.

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