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Dirt In Fuel System


Many diesel engine operating troubles result directly or indirectly from dirt in the fuel system. That is why proper fuel storage and handling are so important. One of the most important aspects of diesel fuel is cleanliness. The fuel should not contain more than a trace of foreign substance; otherwise, fuel pump and injector troubles will occur. Diesel fuel, because it is more viscous than gasoline, will hold dirt in suspension for longer periods. Therefore, every precaution should be made to keep the fuel clean.

If the engine starts missing, running irregularly, rapping, or puffing black smoke from the exhaust manifold, look for trouble at the spray nozzle valves. In this event, it is almost a sure bet that dirt is responsible for improper fuel injection into the cylinder. A valve held open or scratched by particles of dirt so that it cannot seat properly will allow fuel to pass into the exhaust without being completely burned, causing black smoke. Too much fuel may cause a cylinder to miss entirely. If dirt prevents the proper amount of fuel from entering the cylinders by restricting spray nozzle holes, the engine may skip or stop entirely. In most cases, injector or valve troubles are easily identified.

Improper injection pump operation, however, is not easily recognized It is more likely caused by excessive wear than by an accumulation of dirt or carbon, such as the spray nozzle is subjected to it in the cylinder combustion chambers. If considerable abrasive dirt gets by the filters to increase (by wear) the small clearance between the injector pump plunger and barrel, fuel will leak by the plunger instead of being forced into the injector nozzle in the cylinder. This gradual decrease in fuel delivery at the spray nozzle may remain unnoticed for some time or until the operator complains of sluggish engine performance.

Although worn injector pumps will result in loss of engine power and hard starting, worn piston rings, cylinder liners, and valves (intake and exhaust) can be responsible for the same conditions. However, with worn cylinder parts or valves, poor compression, a smoky exhaust, and excessive blow-by will accompany the hard starting and loss of power from the crankcase breather.

Published by SweetHaven Publishing Services
Based upon a text provided by the U.S. Navy

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