Winter! Always just around the corner! And with it often comes problems with your car, truck, boat or machinery – particularly when it has a diesel engine. An often-occurring problem during the colder months is hard cold starting – the engine takes longer and longer cranking to finally fire up. Not only that, once it does finally kick into life, it’s most likely also blowing white diesel smoke out the exhaust and running roughly until it warms up. Incidentally, white diesel smoke at start up is an obvious sign that things are not right, and if left untreated can become a much bigger problem.
This hard start condition is very often due to engine deposit build-up. Over time, internal engine deposits continually build up and very often have an adverse effect on engine performance. These deposits are usually a result of ‘not ideal’ types of operation, including excessive idling, short run times, light work load and city-type driving. Additionally, postponed or neglected maintenance leads to increased deposit build-up, all of which does not allow efficient combustion of fuel, be it either diesel or gasoline.
Frequently, deposits build up in several critical areas within an engine –
Piston rings. Hard carbon deposits on piston rings and grooves cause rings to ‘stick’, which reduces crucial cylinder compression essential for optimum starting.
Cylinder bores. Fine hard carbon build-up fills the cylinder bore cross hatch making the bore glassy smooth and reducing cylinder compression and increasing blow by. This build-up is referred to as cylinder glaze, or glazed cylinder bores. Low compression is a result of glazed cylinder bores
Injector tips. Fouling of fuel injector tips seriously affects optimum fuel spray atomization, as well as distorting the critical fuel spray pattern. Incorrect fuel delivery is a major cause of hard starting.
Combustion and exhaust spaces. Hard carbon build-up in combustion spaces, especially on piston crowns interferes with efficient mixing of the fuel spray with intake air. Exhaust deposits, particularly on exhaust valves and turbo chargers, reduce the engine’s ability to breathe efficiently.
Piston rings, grooves and lands. Sludge and gummy deposits often form on these critical areas of pistons. Apart from increasing internal drag, which adversely affects cold cranking and efficient lubrication, severe loss of compression also results.
That’s the bad news…
Here’s the good news – Rather than carrying out expensive, time consuming mechanical work to physically remove, clean or replace affected parts of engines and fuel systems (effectively overhaul), all the above-mentioned deposits can be removed safely and effectively by chemical means, and with minimal downtime. In fact, much of the clean-up occurs during actual, normal driving or operation.