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Diesel Engine Repair

What are Diesel Engines


The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to the mechanical compression (adiabatic compression); thus, the diesel engine is a so-called compression-ignition engine (CI engine). This contrasts with engines using spark plug-ignition of the air-fuel mixture, such as a petrol engine (gasoline engine) or a gas engine (using a gaseous fuel like natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas).


Diesel engines work by compressing only the air. This increases the air temperature inside the cylinder to such a high degree that atomized diesel fuel injected into the combustion chamber ignites spontaneously. With the fuel being injected into the air just before combustion, the dispersion of the fuel is uneven; this is called a heterogeneous air-fuel mixture. The torque a diesel engine produces is controlled by manipulating the air-fuel ratio (λ); instead of throttling the intake air, the diesel engine relies on altering the amount of fuel that is injected, and the air-fuel ratio is usually high.


The diesel engine has the highest thermal efficiency (engine efficiency) of any practical internal or external combustion engine due to its very high expansion ratio and inherent lean burn which enables heat dissipation by the excess air. A small efficiency loss is also avoided compared with non-direct-injection gasoline engines since unburned fuel is not present during valve overlap and therefore no fuel goes directly from the intake/injection to the exhaust. Low-speed diesel engines (as used in ships and other applications where overall engine weight is relatively unimportant) can reach effective efficiencies of up to 55%.


Diesel engines may be designed as either two-stroke or four-stroke cycles. They were originally used as a more efficient replacement for stationary steam engines. Since the 1910s, they have been used in submarines and ships. Use in locomotives, trucks, heavy equipment and electricity generation plants followed later. In the 1930s, they slowly began to be used in a few automobiles. Since the 1970s, the use of diesel engines in larger on-road and off-road vehicles in the US has increased. According to Konrad Reif, the EU average for diesel cars accounts for half of newly registered cars.


The world's largest diesel engines put in service are 14-cylinder, two-stroke watercraft diesel engines; they produce a peak power of almost 100 MW each.21

What are the characteristics of Diesel Engines?

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The characteristics of a diesel engine are


Compression ignition: Due to almost adiabatic compression, the fuel ignites without any ignition-initiating apparatus such as spark plugs.

Mixture formation inside the combustion chamber: Air and fuel are mixed in the combustion chamber and not in the inlet manifold.

Torque adjustment solely by mixture quality: Instead of throttling the air-fuel mixture, the amount of torque produced is set solely by the mass of injected fuel, always mixed with as much air as possible.

Heterogeneous air-fuel mixture: The dispersion of air and fuel in the combustion chamber is uneven.

High air ratio: Due to always running on as much air as possible and not depending on exact mixture of air and fuel, diesel engines have an air-fuel ratio.

Diffusion flame: At combustion, oxygen first has to diffuse into the flame, rather than having oxygen and fuel already mixed before combustion, which would result in a premixed flame.

Fuel with high ignition performance: As diesel engines solely rely on compression ignition, fuel with high ignition performance (cetane rating) is ideal for proper engine operation, fuel with a good knocking resistance (octane rating), e.g. petrol, is suboptimal for diesel engines.

What happens in a complete Diesel Engine cycle?

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The diesel internal combustion engine differs from the gasoline powered Otto cycle by using highly compressed hot air to ignite the fuel rather than using a spark plug (compression ignition rather than spark ignition).


In the diesel engine, only air is initially introduced into the combustion chamber. The air is then compressed with a compression ratio typically between 15:1 and 23:1. This high compression causes the temperature of the air to rise. At about the top of the compression stroke, fuel is injected directly into the compressed air in the combustion chamber. This may be into a (typically toroidal) void in the top of the piston or a pre-chamber depending upon the design of the engine. The fuel injector ensures that the fuel is broken down into small droplets, and that the fuel is distributed evenly. The heat of the compressed air vaporises fuel from the surface of the droplets. The vapour is then ignited by the heat from the compressed air in the combustion chamber, the droplets continue to vaporise from their surfaces and burn, getting smaller, until all the fuel in the droplets has been burnt. Combustion occurs at a substantially constant pressure during the initial part of the power stroke. The start of vaporisation causes a delay before ignition and the characteristic diesel knocking sound as the vapour reaches ignition temperature and causes an abrupt increase in pressure above the piston (not shown on the P-V indicator diagram). When combustion is complete the combustion gases expand as the piston descends further; the high pressure in the cylinder drives the piston downward, supplying power to the crankshaft.


As well as the high level of compression allowing combustion to take place without a separate ignition system, a high compression ratio greatly increases the engine's efficiency. Increasing the compression ratio in a spark-ignition engine where fuel and air are mixed before entry to the cylinder is limited by the need to prevent pre-ignition, which would cause engine damage. Since only air is compressed in a diesel engine, and fuel is not introduced into the cylinder until shortly before top dead centre (TDC), premature detonation is not a problem and compression ratios are much higher.


The p–V diagram is a simplified and idealised representation of the events involved in a diesel engine cycle, arranged to illustrate the similarity with a Carnot cycle. Starting at 1, the piston is at bottom dead centre and both valves are closed at the start of the compression stroke; the cylinder contains air at atmospheric pressure. Between 1 and 2 the air is compressed adiabatically – that is without heat transfer to or from the environment – by the rising piston. (This is only approximately true since there will be some heat exchange with the cylinder walls.) During this compression, the volume is reduced, the pressure and temperature both rise. At or slightly before 2 (TDC) fuel is injected and burns in the compressed hot air. Chemical energy is released and this constitutes an injection of thermal energy (heat) into the compressed gas. Combustion and heating occur between 2 and 3. In this interval the pressure remains constant since the piston descends, and the volume increases; the temperature rises as a consequence of the energy of combustion. At 3 fuel injection and combustion are complete, and the cylinder contains gas at a higher temperature than at 2. Between 3 and 4 this hot gas expands, again approximately adiabatically. Work is done on the system to which the engine is connected. During this expansion phase the volume of the gas rises, and its temperature and pressure both fall. At 4 the exhaust valve opens, and the pressure falls abruptly to atmospheric (approximately). This is unresisted expansion and no useful work is done by it. Ideally the adiabatic expansion should continue, extending the line 3–4 to the right until the pressure falls to that of the surrounding air, but the loss of efficiency caused by this unresisted expansion is justified by the practical difficulties involved in recovering it (the engine would have to be much larger). After the opening of the exhaust valve, the exhaust stroke follows, but this (and the following induction stroke) are not shown on the diagram. If shown, they would be represented by a low-pressure loop at the bottom of the diagram. At 1 it is assumed that the exhaust and induction strokes have been completed, and the cylinder is again filled with air. The piston-cylinder system absorbs energy between 1 and 2 – this is the work needed to compress the air in the cylinder, and is provided by mechanical kinetic energy stored in the flywheel of the engine. Work output is done by the piston-cylinder combination between 2 and 4. The difference between these two increments of work is the indicated work output per cycle, and is represented by the area enclosed by the p–V loop. The adiabatic expansion is in a higher pressure range than that of the compression because the gas in the cylinder is hotter during expansion than during compression. It is for this reason that the loop has a finite area, and the net output of work during a cycle is positive.

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What is the Efficiency of Diesel Engines

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Due to its high compression ratio, the diesel engine has a high efficiency, and the lack of a throttle valve means that the charge-exchange losses are fairly low, resulting in a low specific fuel consumption, especially in medium and low load situations. This makes the diesel engine very economical. Even though diesel engines have a theoretical efficiency of 75%, in practice it is much lower. In his 1893 essay Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Motor, Rudolf Diesel describes that the effective efficiency of the diesel engine would be in between 43.2% and 50.4% , or maybe even greater. Modern passenger car diesel engines may have an effective efficiency of up to 43%, whilst engines in large diesel trucks, and buses can achieve peak efficiencies around 45%. However, average efficiency over a driving cycle is lower than peak efficiency. For example, it might be 37% for an engine with a peak efficiency of 44%. The highest diesel engine efficiency of up to 55% is achieved by large two-stroke watercraft diesel engines.

Advantages of Using Diesel Engines

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Diesel engines have several advantages over engines operating on other principles:


The diesel engine has the highest effective efficiency of all combustion engines.

Diesel engines inject the fuel directly into the combustion chamber, have no intake air restrictions apart from air filters and intake plumbing and have no intake manifold vacuum to add parasitic load and pumping losses resulting from the pistons being pulled downward against intake system vacuum. Cylinder filling with atmospheric air is aided and volumetric efficiency is increased for the same reason.

Although the fuel efficiency (mass burned per energy produced) of a diesel engine drops at lower loads, it doesn't drop quite as fast as that of a typical petrol or turbine engine.

Diesel engines can combust a huge variety of fuels, including several fuel oils, that have advantages over fuels such as petrol. These advantages include:

Low fuel costs, as fuel oils are relatively cheap

Good lubrication properties

High energy density

Low risk of catching fire, as they do not form a flammable vapour

Biodiesel is an easily synthesised, non-petroleum-based fuel (through transesterification) which can run directly in many diesel engines, while gasoline engines either need adaptation to run synthetic fuels or else use them as an additive to gasoline (e.g., ethanol added to gasohol).

Diesel engines have a very good exhaust-emission behaviour. The exhaust contains minimal amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Direct injected diesel engines emit approximately as much nitrogen oxides as Otto cycle engines. Swirl chamber and precombustion chamber injected engines, however, emit approximately 50% less nitrogen oxides than Otto cycle engines when running under full load. Compared with Otto cycle engines, diesel engines emit 10 times less pollutants and also less carbon dioxide (comparing the raw emissions without exhaust gas treatment).

They have no high voltage electrical ignition system, resulting in high reliability and easy adaptation to damp environments. The absence of coils, spark plug wires, etc., also eliminates a source of radio frequency emissions which can interfere with navigation and communication equipment, which is especially important in marine and aircraft applications, and for preventing interference with radio telescopes. (For this reason, only diesel-powered vehicles are allowed in parts of the American National Radio Quiet Zone.)

Diesel engines can accept super- or turbocharging pressure without any natural limit, constrained only by the design and operating limits of engine components, such as pressure, speed and load. This is unlike petrol engines, which inevitably suffer detonation at higher pressure if engine tuning and/or fuel octane adjustments are not made to compensate.

Diesel Engine Repair and Maintenence

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Here are the 6 main components of a diesel engine:
1. Engine Block – The Engine Block is made of plates and castings which are welded both vertically and horizontally to increase strength and lend more support to the engine cylinder liners, crankshafts, and heads.

2. Bedplate – This is a metal plate that forms the foundation on which the diesel engine is built. The design and construction of the bedplate must be stable and durable enough to provide support to the engine and the crankshaft.

3. Cylinder Liners – A type of bore where an engine piston moves back and forth and is made of material strong enough to handle high heat and tremendous pressure.

4. Valves – These are located on the cylinder head and are responsible for the diesel engine’s smooth functioning. It does this by regulating the flow of air/fuel mixture inside the cylinder and by exhausting gas outside the cylinder.

5. Valve Guides – A cylindrical-shaped piece of metal that conducts heat from the combustion process by processing it out of the exhaust valve and into the cylinder head.

6. Piston – This diesel engine component compresses the air/fuel mixture then converts fuel energy into mechanical energy. The power is then transmitted to the Crankshaft.

5 Point Diesel Engine Maintenance Checklist:
1. Check Your Coolant – A coolant is a substance that mixes with water and protects the radiator from overheating or freezing. If the coolant is not replaced, it can become acidic and can erode the radiator and other components of the vehicle’s cooling system.

2. Clean Your Engine Frequently – If dirt, dust, and grime to accumulate, it can damage a diesel engine, its component parts, and consequently affect the car’s performance.

3. Change Your Fuel Filters – Diesel engines have 2 fuel filters and it’s recommended that both fuel filters be replaced every 16,000 to 24,000 kilometres.

4. Replace Air Filters – The frequency of replacing your vehicle’s air filters will depend on the environment and climate of the areas you’re driving in. A new and/or clean air filter will help maintain the performance of your diesel engine.

5. Change Your Oil As Needed – Generally, diesel engine oil needs to be changed every 8,000 kilometres. However, if your vehicle is regularly pushed to capacity, it’s best to change the oil more frequently.

If your engine is showing serious problems like smoke etc. Contact us for service and our experienced team will solve the problem in no time. Diesel engines requires precision in services so if you find a problem with your engine it is better to call a repair service like us, we will solve your issue with satisfaction.

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Service Request

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