6 Ways to Get More Out of Your Diesel Truck Engine

Diesel Truck Engine
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If you love putting your diesel truck engine through the wringer, you need to make sure your vehicle has everything it needs to repair and replenish itself after every ride. High-duty diesel fuel systems are much more complex than gas engines, which means they usually require more care and maintenance. Use these tips to get the most out of your diesel truck engine. 

Use Diesel Fuel Injection Cleaners

Diesel engines tend to suffer from what’s known as carbon buildup more than gas engines. The federal government mandates that gasoline refineries add special detergents to reduce carbon buildup, but that doesn’t apply to diesel fuel. 

Some engines are more susceptible to carbon buildup than others. The diesel injector fuel spray usually goes right into the cylinder, but most carbon deposits form on the back of the intake valve. High pressure common rail fuel systems have also increased engine deposits in recent years. Carbon deposits will also build up if you use low-quality fuel, drive short distances in the winter, idle the engine for long periods of time or forget to change the oil. 

These deposits can gunk up crucial components of your diesel engine, including the fuel injectors, intake valves and piston heads. This leads to less engine power, poor fuel efficiency, a spike in nitrous oxide emissions and even permanent engine damage.

That’s why it’s important to use diesel fuel injection cleaners. These products clean the entire fuel system, washing away harmful built-up carbon that can ruin your engine. 

Experts say it’s best to use fuel injector cleaner every 1,500 to 3,000 miles. Check it off your list when you get your oil changed so you never forget this important step. You can also use specific fuel injection cleaners based on your driving style and how cold it is outside.

Install a New EGR Cooler

The factory EGR cooler on your diesel engine probably won’t last the test of time. Most manufacturers use thin EGR coolers with flimsy walls that can break down over time, especially when exposed to excess temperatures. If your cooling system fails, your engine will produce more nitrous oxide. Overheating will also sap fuel efficiency and damage crucial engine components. 

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The EGR cooler works by taking heat out of the exhaust gas before it gets recirculated into the intake valve. This lowers the temperature of the combustion chamber to prevent internal damage and excess pollution.

Many factory coolers will fail after a certain number of miles or heavy towing. Install high-quality EGR coolers to prevent wear and tear. They come with thicker walls for transferring heat away from the combustion chamber so your fuel system doesn’t get too hot.

Use Diesel Engine Tuners

If you want your diesel engine to prevent everyday wear and tear, use a programmable engine tuner. These devices function as a minicomputer that connects to the main vehicle control system. It will help regulate key functions of your fuel system, including the turbocharger, coolant levels, RPMs, air flow and fuel rail pressure, giving you a comprehensive view of how your engine is performing at any given time. The tuner will automatically adjust these components to increase fuel efficiency, torque and engine power. 

Some programmable tuners will even offer driving tips to help you avoid certain problems on the road. The computer may ask you to slow down, avoid riding the brakes or stop revving your engine for improved engine performance. Changing your driving habits can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 37 percent.

Replace Air Filters 

The air filters in your diesel engine will fill up with dirt and debris. The engine needs access to air to run, but the filter is designed to keep pollutants and debris out of the fuel system. If the filter gets clogged, the combustion chamber won’t be able to suck up enough air for the system to run. This reduces power and fuel efficiency.

Remember to replace the air filter often, usually every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. You can also use aftermarket air filters to keep the air flowing. They are designed to maximize performance without letting contaminants slip through the cracks.

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Check Your Turbocharger

The performance of a modern diesel engine is highly reliant on the proper operation of its turbocharging system. A modern turbo diesel engine gives it up to three to four times the power output of a naturally aspirated diesel engine. Considering the proportion of power that your engine gets from its turbo, it is important to ensure that the turbo is working properly.

If you are experiencing any power loss, one of the first things you should check is your turbo systems for any damage to the turbo exhaust impeller, which is the component that drives the forced air blower.

Oftentimes, damage to the turbo exhaust impeller is actually caused by contact with the turbo housing. This is caused by a lack of oil or degraded oil due to inadequate oil change frequency. So, to get the most out of your diesel engine, one of the best things you can do for both your turbo and your cylinders and pistons is to change your oil at the recommended intervals and ensure that it stays at appropriate operating levels in between.

 Regularly Inspect and Clean Your Diesel Engine

Don’t make the mistake of not looking under the hood. You should get in the habit of inspecting your fuel system on a regular basis. Watch out for overly dirty or clogged parts that may break down when you least expect it. It’s important to wash and replace your diesel fuel parts as needed. 

Watch out for potential warning signs, such as blue smoke coming from under the hood, rough idling, white exhaust smoke, problems with the turbocharge and other strange events. Visit your local mechanic for help in diagnosing the problem before it gets any worse.

Using the right diesel engine parts can help you make the most of your engine. A few aftermarket parts can make all the difference in the world. It’s just about making your engine work smarter, not harder.


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