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Proper Diesel Engine Installation

Saturday, February 1, 2014

One of the largest challenges of the engine remanufacturing business is often associated with improper engine installation. We all know that everyone reads all of the literature that comes with each reman engine – right? Even after reading all of the paperwork technicians still seem to find creative ways to damage the engines performance and longevity. Enough humor – this article will discuss basic diesel engine installation and how you can prevent premature engine failures.

Imagine the most beautiful remanufactured diesel engine that you have ever seen arrive at your dock in a crate that is packaged to perfection. A technician unwraps the engine and sets it on the ground that is covered in oil dry. He takes the gasket box and sets it on an oily workbench where he was just machining a steer axle. So much excitement – he gets the intake manifold that was laying next to the glass bead machine and gets ready to prep the engine for install. The old oil and fuel filters were just replaced on a PM fifteen hours before the engine failed so the technician decides to re-use them. It’s a shame to throw them away they still have life left in them. All that’s left is the can of dirty off-road diesel that will be poured into the fuel tank with a funnel that was laying on the floor covered with oil dry. She’s ready to fire! Hopefully you understand the shop humor - but sometimes this is not far from the truth. Here is a list of critical installation points. Remember that this is a list of basics and intended to be used as a guide.

  • Check for freight damages and get setup in a clean area with the engine specifications supplied by your remanufacturer.
  • Check to ensure that the engine’s application is correct prior to bolting on accessories. Bolt patterns on the block and crankshaft flange, crank shaft snout, PTO setup, oil galley and freeze plugs, oil pan configuration, etc.
  • Clean both manifolds and check for cracks and warpage when applicable. Do not overtorque. Do not glass bead!
  • Clean and flush the fuel filer housing and lines. Dirty fuel/components can instantly clog the fuel injectors and cause black smoke on startup.
  • Check fuel lines from tank to pump for cracks or crimps.
  • Check transfer or lift pump for proper pressure if not supplied by your remanufacturer.
  • Replace all air, fuel, oil and crankcase filters.
  • Clean the air filter housing and hoses. Check for cracks and for proper sealing of the air filter.
  • Flush or replace the oil cooler if applicable. Ideally you should replace the oil cooler because it is difficult to be sure that all oil
  • contaminates are removed.
  • Recore or replace the radiator and test.
  • Replace the oil pressure sending unit.
  • Adjust the clutch to the proper free pedal before starting.
  • Check the crankshaft end play before and after installing the transmission.
    • It is up to the technician to prevent thrust bearing failures. Excessive main bearing thrust wear can be caused by the following:
    - Clutch not adjusted properly
    - Pilot shaft or torque converter interference with the crankshaft
    - Blockage and/or restriction of the transmission oil cooler
  • Replace the belts, hoses and motor mounts.
  • Service and inspect the starter, alternator, etc.
  • Install and properly torque flywheel bolts. Over torquing can distort the crankshaft flange on one piece rear main seal designs. Do not use an impact.
  • Upon startup NEVER use engine starting fluid. Check oil pressure and coolant flow in the radiator. If oil pressure is not found in ten seconds of startup stop the engine and inspect the oiling system.
  • Prior to starting the engine - follow the procedures outlined in the engine’s service manual to prime the fuel system. Operating the injection pump dry can cause pump failure.
  • Bleed all of the air out of the fuel system by cracking the injector lines.
  • Run the engine at throttle and at no load until it reaches operating temperature.
  • Verify that no leaks are present and that the cooling system is working properly.
  • Runaround and load test the unit.
  • After the engine has heat cycled check the valve lash and re-torque the cylinder head bolts if practical.
  • Finish assembly of the truck and it’s ready to ship

Don’t ruin that ReMaN. Follow these simple steps and you will have quicker and more profitable diesel engine installations. If you would like to discuss this topic, need engine
specifications or have any ideas for future articles please feel free to give us a call 877/303-LIFT(5438) ext 2.