The heads on your commercial or fleet diesel are one of the most integral parts of your engine. The heads are comprised of the valvetrain, exhaust ports, intake ports, and injector ports. In essence, a head’s purpose is to regulate and time the intake of fresh air, the release of exhaust, the compression of fuel and air that provides combustion, and the entry point for fuel into the cylinder. The head is where all the complex aspects of engine operation occur...without it, you just have a chunk of metal with pistons in it, and no way to make them move. Here’s what you need to know about your heads, from Larry's Automotive in Newburgh, IN.
Obviously, the heads are essential. But more importantly, it should be noted that heads are under constant stress - heat, compression, carbon buildup, and valves that open and close thousands of times a minute all contribute to potential head problems.
Large, commercial diesel engines are particularly prone to head damage. Prolonged use, high compression, high mileage and hours, and the sheer amount of work a typical diesel engine is subjected to make conditions ripe for head problems to arise.
Warping, cracking, and carbon buildup are the most common head issues an engine will experience. Depending on the severity, these issues range from barely noticeable to an incapacitated engine. A warped head will leak oil, coolant, and compression. A cracked head may cause all three, in addition to poor running conditions as a result of vacuum loss and fuel delivery issues. Carbon buildup prevents effective airflow and valve operation.
So, what can you do about these issues? Carbon buildup is the easiest to correct; the carbon just needs to be removed, and any issues causing excessive buildup should be corrected. If warping is caught early, sometimes the head can be machined back into specifications, before it becomes so severe the entire head needs to be replaced. The same goes for cracking; often, the cracks are so small they are difficult or impossible to see with the naked eye, and a trained professional who knows how and where to look is invaluable. Most of the time, depending on severity and location, cracks in the head can actually be repaired and machined back to normal.
If you’re experiencing head issues, and for all your other maintenance needs, look no further than Larry's Automotive. For the best fleet and commercial diesel service shop in Newburgh, IN, call or stop by today.
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