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Troubleshooting the Diesel Engine

July 31, 2016
By Jeffery White

When you drive a diesel truck, you can be relatively sure that the engine is going to keep going for as long as the rest of the truck does, as long as you are properly maintaining the vehicle. However, that’s not to say that you won’t occasionally have problems when you are out on the road, or when you are starting up the vehicle to head out in the morning. The following are a few simple tips that can help you troubleshoot the engine. In some cases, you might be able to make a quick repair on your own, but for anything other than a minor repair, you should make sure you take the vehicle in to be serviced.

What If the Diesel Truck Won’t Start?

Naturally, the first thing you need to do is check to make sure you have fuel in the vehicle. You may also need to replace the fuel filters. You should also check the battery to make sure it is connected. When the engine won’t start, you can also check the starter, the fuel lines and pump, and the air filters. Dirty air filters can be problematic for diesel engines, so you will need to change them often.

The Engine Is Smoking

This is generally a very bad sign, but you can usually tell what’s wrong by the color of the smoke. If the smoke is blue, it will often mean that the valves, piston rings, or the cylinders are worn and need replacement. If the smoke is black, it could mean that you have dirty air filters. Those are quite easy to change. However, it could also mean that you have bad injectors, a turbo problem, or that there is not enough fuel getting to the cylinder. If the smoke is white, this is often an indicator that the compression in the diesel truck engine is low, or that the engine timing is off.

Overheating Engine

When you are hauling a lot of weight, it puts stress on the engine. One of the common problems that truck drivers will face is a radiator that has blocked airflow because there are too many bugs blocking the flow through the grill. In the winter, ice can build up and cause the same problem. You will also want to check the belts, the engine fan, and the oil. Make sure that there are no oil leaks. Here’s another tip for your diesel truck: You can turn off the A/C when you are on steep grades when it’s hot out. This will help to lower the temperature of the engine.

Get the Vehicle Serviced

As mentioned, if you have anything other than a simple and minor repair, your best course of action is to take the diesel truck in for servicing. The professionals can look at the vehicle and let you know what’s wrong and then make the repairs for you. The last thing you want to do is run the vehicle into the ground, and if you don’t know much about diesel engines, you don’t want to make a costly mistake trying to fix it on your own.

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