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Diesel Engine Problems

Published on:2009.03.10    Source:http://www.buzzle.com/articles/diesel-engine-problems.html

     What we know as diesel is actually only one form called petrodiesel. It is a derivative of petroleum. Petrodiesel is made by fractionally distilling petroleum at temperatures between 200° C and 350° C. Thus diesel is an unrefined fuel. The engine was in fact so flexible, that Rudolf Diesel tried out various vegetable oils to fuel the engine and they actually worked! The new form - biodiesel, is a continuation of the same idea that did not quite take off the last time. Other substances used to power a diesel engine include BTL and GTL.

A diesel engine enjoys a very high compression ratio and low fuel consumption per horsepower as compared to the gasoline powered engines. It also has better torque ratios. They don't have spark plugs for ignition and can ignite themselves. Moreover, they are quite accommodating and allow the use of bio-diesel.

Some Common Problems

Price
Well for starters, the engine is much higher priced as compared to its gasoline counterpart. This is because the diesel engine's design is inherently more complicated. It also involves a higher cost of maintenance.

Emissions
Diesel releases a lot of pollution as it is a crude, fractionally-distilled form of petroleum. Although research is being done on Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, emissions are still quite high.

Maintenance
The design itself is such that it entails high maintenance costs. Diesel engines need to be warmed up. They are warmed by using oxygen for oxidation, hence a diesel engine needs to have an air tank attached to constantly supply oxygen to the engine. It also needs an oil tank. An oil tank is very crucial to the working of a diesel engine as diesel is not a refined fuel. Hence, these will need to be changed regularly. Moreover, it is also going to need an intercooler that will reduce the temperature when the heat becomes too much for the engine. Also, the air filters and fuel filters will need to be changed regularly as they are extensively used to curb the emissions from the diesel engine. Glow plugs are also best changed after 2 years.

Low Temperatures
While a diesel engine is not troubled by a spark plug failure, it is going to be troublesome in the cold winter months. In cold temperatures, diesel changes into a gel, which is immobile. Immobile diesel will not enter the combustion area and causes the heat that gets the engine going. Thus, in winter most people face diesel engine starting problems.

Microbial Growth
Yes!! Hard to believe as this may be, diesel also fuels growth of microbes. Bacteria, fungus, yeast and mold are happily residing in your engine. This bio-degrade gets stuck in the fuel filters, plugging them. Hence, they need to be changed often.

Thus diesel engines have their own share of problems alright. Ignition, maintenance, price etc., are some of the problems you need to consider while making a decision regarding whether to buy a diesel-powered engine or a petrol-powered one.

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