The engine is the heart of every piece of heavy equipment. Keeping it in good shape is essential to maintaining peak performance, minimizing downtime and the cost of repairs and part replacements, and maximizing the life of the machines in your fleet. So, we want to offer some tips for diesel engine maintenance that will help you in all of these respects.
Diesel Engine Maintenance Tips
- Stick to the recommended maintenance schedule in the OEM manual, including the recommended daily and weekly engine checks and part replacement intervals.
- Consider factors that may necessitate more frequent checks, maintenance, or part replacements. For example, if a machine is operating in a highly dusty environment, monitor the air filter closely; it may need to be replaced more often than specified in the OEM manual.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the type of fuel, oil, and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) you use.
- Follow fluid management best practices for your heavy equipment, including the engines.
- Check that DEF tanks and fill necks are clean and free of contamination with other fluids.
- Use regularly scheduled oil sampling so you know when the engine oil is degrading and needs to be changed.
- Be careful when power washing heavy equipment and engines. Newer engines in particular have a significant number of electrical components that can easily be damaged by the water spraying at high velocity.
- Make sure you’re using the right coolant and that there’s enough airflow across the radiator or heat exchanger to help prevent an overheated engine. Keep them clean, too.
- Monitor the diesel particulate filter status and perform requested regenerations. Don’t just repeatedly override the warnings for a passive regeneration; this can lead to an engine shutdown. If you can’t do it immediately, run an active regeneration by the end of the day.
- When heavy equipment sees a significant amount of idle time or low-load conditions, at the end of a shift, run the engine at full load for at least 30 minutes to be sure the diesel oxidation catalyst reaches the appropriate burn-out temperatures.
- Pat attention to any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Address them right away with the appropriate maintenance, repairs, or part replacement. This is an essential part of diesel engine maintenance that helps prevent much costlier repairs and replacements.