Views: 0 Author: by Cummins Inc., Global Power Technology Leader Publish Time: 2023-03-27 Origin: https://www.cummins.com/news/2023/03/24/frequently-asked-questions-about-diesel-engines
The topic of advanced diesel engines can quickly become overwhelmingly technical and turn a simple question into a deep-dive analysis. Our team at Cummins wants to make this and surrounding topics as digestible as possible, which is why we have put together this page of common questions we have run into surrounding advanced diesel engines.
Diesel engines are robust machines that have longer lifespans than you might expect. The lifespan of an average diesel engine is anywhere from 400,000 miles to 1,000,000 miles, while the average lifespan of a gas engine is around 200,000 miles. Why is that? Diesel engines are designed differently from petrol engines, meaning they have more room within the engine for more oil to move freely. This allows the components of the engine to run longer at optimal levels. Other key factors in the durability of diesel engines are their overall design, and their application uses compared to other engines.
Diesel engine problems can significantly impact longevity. There are common diesel engine complications that you may run into during regular operation. The most accurate method of diagnosing engine trouble is to contact the engine manufacturer to get their insight on solutions. Beyond that, here are a few common diesel engine problems.
Black Smoke: A common feature of the old locomotive engines, black smoke is a clear sign of a serious problem with your diesel engine. There are several causes for black smoke, like a faulty injector pump, a bad EGR valve, or something as simple as low operating temperatures. Cleaning out the air system is an excellent first step to combat this, but ultimately you should consult with a specialist.
Hard Starts: Colder conditions can commonly lead to hard starts for diesel engines. The weather is only a catalyst that leads to the issue of hard starting the engine. A hard start or no start can be caused by faulty glow plugs, defective battery, or a problem with the fuel system, to name a few.
Contaminated Fuel: Due to its higher viscosity, diesel fuel has a higher chance of becoming contaminated. Water, soot, and other debris are common fuel contaminants. Refueling is a simple fix, but if you cannot catch this problem early enough, you will need to bring the engine to a professional to be fixed.
These diesel engine problems and solutions are difficult to manage on your own. Any time you can identify a serious issue with the engine, it is advised to take it to a specialist or contact the manufacturer. Engines can be fixed, but only correctly by professionals. For industry trusted professional, consider taking all your diesel engine troubles to Cummins. Our engines and service are best in class.
Depending on the performance of the engine, how often it needs to be serviced will vary. A safe practice would be to have a diesel engine serviced every six months. At the very least, it should be looked at once a year to make sure everything is in working order. This is not a concrete rule, as the type of diesel engine and what it is used for will have a significant impact on how often it will need to be serviced. Cummins’ service manual is a great resource that provides maintenance schedules based on product type.
One other key aspect for servicing a diesel engine is variation. For example, a long-haul truck that works for several hundred miles a day would have a different service/maintenance need than the personal car with diesel engine that would only need to be serviced once every six months.
Another example of this variation would be for mining trucks. They haul amazon loads, almost all day long, for weeks and months in very dirty environments, so their maintenance/service needs would be again very different than that of a long-haul truck or an everyday commercial car.
We can give you a hint, you’re reading one of their blogs right now. Our very own talented team at Cummins is one of the world’s leading manufactures of diesel engines. In 2018, Cummins supplied the most Class 8 diesel engines. There were 309,701 diesel engines used in Class 8 trucks that year, and Cummins was responsible for 38.3% of them.
Diesel engine types are most commonly designated by size. There are three types: small, medium, and large diesel engines.
Small: Small diesel engines are classified as outputting at most, 288 horsepower. These are also either direct injection, in-line, four- or six-cylinder engines. Due to their relative size and power, they are most commonly found on smaller trucks or automobiles. Of the three types, this is the most common diesel engine produced.
Medium: Medium diesel engines are a step up from small ones. They can produce up to 1,000 horsepower. Some V-8 and V-12 engines belong to this group. This engine type is commonly used in heavy-duty trucks.
Large: At this level, we are discussing serious power. Large diesel engines are used to power trains, ships, and other large vehicles or equipment. They operate at an excess of 1,000 horsepower.
While diesel engines are known to pollute by emitting fumes and soot during use, they are cleaner than you may think. A positive by-product of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations is that diesel engines are cleaner than they have ever been. Due to healthier and more efficient engines being manufactured, they could last 30 years or more. While no internal combustion engine (ICE) is operating 100% clean, the concept of clean diesel has been in the works at companies like Cummins for some time. Biodiesel is just one way in which we strive to create cleaner alternatives. Cummins, in common with all other engine manufacturers, only certifies engines to meet the prescribed EPA (or other local regulatory agency) registered fuels.
Before we detail some of the disadvantages of using diesel engines, we feel that it is important to clarify some of the benefits first. The two most glaring advantages they provide are diesel engines are more durable and reliable than petrol engines. They do not require spark plugs to ignite fuel. Diesel engines also have better fuel economy than petrol engines. With that being said, diesel engines are used in vehicles, machines, and other projects where petrol engines simply would not be able to perform the tasks.
A major glaring disadvantage of using diesel engines that most people associate with them is its environmental impact. The EPA comments that “ Emissions from diesel engines contribute to the production of ground-level ozone which damages crops, trees and other vegetation. Also produced is acid rain, which affects soil, lakes and streams and enters the human food chain via water, produce, meat and fish.” This is why Cummins is constantly at work with new initiatives to create a cleaner future for diesel engines.
While diesel engines are the preferred option under specific circumstances, there are still some drawbacks to using them. For one, diesel engines, on average, cost more to fuel than petrol engines. Above, we mentioned how these engines could last for more than 30 years. That means these engines will be working longer and harder than its counterparts, which will then result in costly services to keep them in good working condition.
The advantages and disadvantages of petrol and diesel will more or less come down to the needs of the individual or organization's practical use. For large-scale operations, having large diesel engines at your disposal is necessary in most cases. In either case, working with a manufacturer like Cummins will ensure that you receive the best engine for your needs.
An easier way to answer this question would be to frame it as "can diesel engines run on renewable diesel?" In that case, yes. Renewable diesel is suitable for use in diesel engines. We announced compatibility with select renewable diesel fuels for our B6.7 and L9 engines. This type of fuel is an excellent move in the right direction to combat the disadvantages associated with using diesel.