Diesel Engine Maintenance Tips

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One of the biggest reasons for ship callouts is failure of diesel engines. Luckily, most of the diesel engine maintenance can be solved with the right spare parts and a bit of knowhow of the underlying mechanisms. In many cases, you can identify a problem before it gets worse or results in a breakdown.

In this blog post, we shed light on a few important tips to avoid marine diesel engine problems:

Conduct Regular Maintenance

As a ship owner, you probably understand the importance of checking oil, water separators and cooling water regularly.

Never miss out on the basics of maintenance. Even though we have become used to vehicles that don’t require regular maintenance, when it comes to marine diesel engines, the case is not the same.

Inspect The Engine For Problems

We don’t like to discover issues with our marine engines when it is too late. Avoid this by proactively looking for issues in the first place.

Take the example of black dust that appears around the water pump drive or alternator. This typically indicators accelerated belt wear that is due to lack of enough tension or excessive rust on the inner sides of the pulley. If you are heading out for a 20 minute cruise, this may not be a significant issue. However, for longer routes, it is better to replace the belt on the first signs of black dust.

Similarly, look for signs of other common issues and make necessary repairs/replacements even before a problem arises.

Learn To Listen To The Engine

The sound of the engine and its exhaust reveals a lot about its condition. For example, does one cylinder catch up with a slower thump? If so, there could be a serious problem causing the delay in the cylinder firing up.

Also note the sound of the exhaust. There is a prominent difference between the sounds of a good wet exhaust and a dry one. A dry exhaust could indicate poor flow of cooling water.

Keep An Eye On Marine Engine Instruments

It is a well-known fact that even where all instruments like temperature and oil pressure gauges are present, very few owners are aware of the normal ranges of values for these parameters. To make things easier, mark the warning parameters with permanent markers so that you can identify potential issues at a single glance.

Check Exhaust Smoke

The right engine wouldn’t give out much smoke from the exhaust, but in case it does, inspect the color of the smoke closely.

  • Dark black smoke indicates partially combusted fuel oil. It could be due to a blocked air filter, failure of turbocharger or even carbon deposits.
  • Light white smoke is normal due to the presence of water vapors in the exhaust. However, excessive white smoke could indicate water leaking into the engine compartment. Other problems include inappropriate injector timing or lack of compression.
  • Blue smoke means the engine is burning fuel oil. This is typically due to excessively worn piston rings or cylinder bores.

Use these diesel engine maintenance tips to make sure that your diesel engine remains functional at all times and keeps providing clean power. Get in touch with us and explore our online marine spare parts collection to make engine maintenance easier.

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