Diesel engine is essential for the nation’s transportation and boating activities. Unfortunately, diesel engines can be more vulnerable to various problems than gasoline-powered ones. Common problems of diesel engines may include poor emissions, deposits and incomplete combustions. Accumulated deposits in combustion chambers, on valve and on injectors could be detrimental on the performance of car and boat. Diesel fuel with ultra-low sulphur content could have much reduced natural lubrication performance. We should also be aware that some diesel fuel could have gelling problems during very cold condition. Diesel fuel could have various potential problems, such as microbial infestation, water buildup in the storage tank and oxidative breakdown.
Diesel cars are more common in Europe, compared in the United States. Obviously, diesel engines offer a number of advantages compared to gasoline engines. In general, diesel engines are more efficient and they rely on compression instead of spark plugs for ignition. Diesel engines are also more durable. Because diesel engines last longer, they are preferred more for industrial applications. However, any diesel car users are also aware of specific problems. One common issue with diesel car is that diesel fuel is dirtier than gasoline. It means that diesel fuel doesn’t burn as cleanly as typical gasoline fuel. In general, diesel fuel is consisted of heavier hydrocarbon molecules.
The larger the hydrocarbon molecule, the higher energy it contains. More heat energy is released when more carbon atoms break apart. However, because diesel fuel molecules are more complex, the higher the chance that it doesn’t combust properly and completely. Deposits could accumulate in the combustion chamber. When enough deposits present, they will be significant enough to change the volume of the combustion chamber and consequently, the minimum cetane rating of the diesel fuel will increase. Proper volume of combustion chamber is essential to ensure maximum fuel burn and dead center combustion.
The same problem also applies in gasoline engines, but gasoline is cleaner and it burns better than diesel fuel. Deposits in combustion chamber could work as fuel sponges and insulators. When enough deposits accumulate in the cylinder, the rate of heat that escapes the cylinder will change. This will trap more heat inside the cylinder and the temperature will become higher. When it happens, the condition can be rather bad for the overall air quality. Excessive deposits in the cylinder could absorb duel and disrupt ideal combustion. Proper airflow inside the cylinder could also be disrupted. Typically, deposits may develop in the piston bowl.
More fuel can be absorbed when deposits in the chamber are porous enough. There could be various crevices and cracks that work like sponges. That being said, slowly accumulating deposits in the combustion chambers could have real effects on the overall engine performance. This will have an effect on mileage. Vehicular studies have shown that we can experience lower fuel economy when we let more deposits to accumulate in the combustion chamber. We should ask mechanics on how to properly improve the condition.