Maintaining Your Diesel Engine to Keep It Running at Its Best

While diesel engines are not unlike gas engines in many ways, some differences require some specific maintenance items to ensure the engine runs correctly. A Cummins 6.7 engine, for instance, is one of the larger diesel engines available, and it comes with plenty of horsepower to be extremely dependable as long as you keep it serviced. 

Air Breathers

A diesel like the Cummins 6.7 engine does not require the same electrical support through a coil or spark plugs as a gas engine. These engines use a glow plug system to heat the cylinder and get the combustion started, then the heat in the engine and the combustion pressure keep it running. 

Air is a critical component of any diesel engine. If you are not getting a good flow of air through the air breathers, you may find the engine running rich or getting too much fuel which can cause detonation inside the engine and a drop in power and performance.

Keeping the air filter in the breather clean allows the engine to get all the air required and can significantly impact engine performance. Air becomes even more critical with turbocharged diesel engines, so check the owner's manual in your diesel truck or car and check the requirements for air filter maintenance, or take the vehicle to a local diesel shop and have them service it regularly. 

Fuel System Maintenance

Diesel fuel can be dirty and is often filtered through several filters before the fuel gets to the injector pump on your engine. It is not uncommon for larger diesel engines to use two filters that look like oversized oil filters, so filter the oil through two different stages to ensure there is no particulate in the fuel. 

Dirt left in the diesel fuel can clog the fuel injectors, the injector pump, and the feed rails that carry the fuel to the individual injectors on the engine. The result is fuel starvation and decreased performance. 

In extreme cases, the engine may stop running if there is too little fuel getting to the injectors. Injectors that have a lot of particulate passing through them can start to be a problem because the material can enlarge the orifice in the injector's nozzle and allow too much fuel to be dumped into one cylinder while another may be blocked completely.

Keeping the fuel flow constant in your engine is often just a matter of changing the fuel filters regularly and using the best quality filters you can afford. Use filters that have ultrafine screens to remove the smallest particles from the fuel before it gets to the pump, injectors, or any part of the fuel system.