Five Ways to Murder your Diesel

The song says there must be 50 ways to leave your lover, and there are probably just as many ways to kill your diesel engine. Today we focus on the top five steps that you can take to ensure your diesel doesn’t end up in an early grave.

You can contact Torquepower to purchase a new DPF Diesel Particulate Filter, or to clean your existing DPF for both LIGHT & HEAVY AUTOMOTIVE application. Call 0732778277, email or see us at 170 Beatty Road, ARCHERFIELD QLD. 

Although many see themselves as diesel experts, bad maintenance practices abound. Often these are “easy to fix” mistakes for a real expert, and Torquepower’s recent trip to Port Moresby to resuscitate non-operational relatively young machinery, illustrates this point well.

Aside from the obvious technological barriers where specialist training and equipment may be necessary to support modern and complex engine systems, there remains a core service level that is appropriate for any diesel engine if it is going to last the distance.

Common failures include: insufficient access to good (or any) information; limitations in local mechanical skills or experience; parts availability, incorrect parts applied or the correct parts applied incorrectly; close attention to a proper maintenance program. Factors as simple as the proper application of correct lubricants can lead to expensive and unnecessary maintenance expenses – especially in remote regions.

Torquepower’s field service technician Neil Bird says, ” The PNG local technicians are willing and helpful people but lack the experience that we take for granted back in Australia.”

There’s no doubt good qualified servicing can dramatically lengthen the life of the heart of your truck. Robert Dellman of PNG Concrete Aggregates has the last word, “ We now have a detailed report and a step by step plan to ensure the D65 and the excavator are functional and productive in the very near future. There are many opportunities for Torquepower in Papua New Guinea.”


So, here’s our five top Tips:


  1. Change your Fuel Filter on schedule.

Fuel is not just fuel. It is also a lubricant and coolant, transferring heat away from the injection components and back to the fuel tank (from where it is often cooled). As fuel however, it requires good access to the fuel pump and injectors. A clogged fuel filter will at best result in a loss of power and increased fuel burn. A filter that becomes breached will allow contaminants into the fuel system resulting in costly and time consuming loss of operation. Do not extend fuel filter life.

  1. Service your Air Filter

As you read in our previous column, fuel economy suffers with a clogged air filter. If the filter subsequently fails as it can when overloaded, dust will eagerly enter the engine causing serious damage to turbochargers, valves and cylinders within a very short time. If you elect to clean the filter rather than replace it make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions as many do not recommend the practice at all. New air filters can be the cheapest part of your engine maintenance in the long run.

  1. Respect your Oil and Oil Filter

Clean oil to an engine is akin to clean blood in your body. The oil filter is the kidney. Oil provides vital lubrication, cleaning and cooling services to an engine and oil filters remove contaminants collected by the oil during the engine operation. Both the oil and the filter have a useful service life beyond which, if they are not replaced, each is capable of abetting damage rather than preventing damage. Contaminated oil is poison to an engine and a blocked filter will either stop oil flow or will allow a bypass valve to supply unfiltered oil to vital engine components – all with catastrophic, expensive consequences. Best practice is to change your oil and filter in strict accordance with the engine manufacturers recommendations and to sample your engine oil at every scheduled service interval. Oil analysis can provide a great insight into your engine’s health without the expense and inconvenience of major surgery. We can talk more about oil analysis in a future Torquepower Tips. The key here is to treat your oil and oil filter with the respect they rightly deserve.


  1. Reading Smoke Signals

As the Native American Indians in our favourite old westerns taught us, smoke can communicate – and smoke from diesel engines is not excepted. Diesel engine smoke comes in three kinds: White, Blue and Black – or a mixture. A healthy diesel engine will not emit noticeable exhaust smoke so it should be one of the daily checks that you make. White smoke relates to poor combustion; Blue relates to oil being where it is not supposed to be; and Black is too much of a good thing – more fuel than can be burned in the oxygen that is available.

Don’t assume that an exhaust smoke problem will get better of its own accord. Talk to your engine expert before it is too late. The earlier exhaust smoke is detected and reported the less costs will be associated with the repair or adjustment that has caused the smoke to appear.

  1. Cooling your Heels

Cooling system importance is older than the diesel engine itself as the high temperatures generated by the engine’s combustion processes need to be controlled. The days of using “just good old tank water” in the radiator, are gone. Modern engines require more. Today, special coolant chemistries that include elements designed to protect the engine in a more highly stressed environment than before, are commonplace. Where once operating temperatures were controlled below 76degC, today’s engines typically operate at 90 degrees and above. This places more thermal load on all engine fluids not least the coolant itself. To that end, coolant packages come in sealed containers and are used to fill the cooling system. “Water” is not required nor should it be used for top-up. Cooling system chemistry can be checked periodically (say, at every lube service) by using test strips marketed by the filter or coolant suppliers. Adjustments to that chemistry are available as product is consumed or lost in the course of the service interval. The coolant filter plays an important part in this process. Failure to manage your cooling system correctly can have expensive consequences ranging from cavitation, erosion and overheating. So make the time to look after your cooling system.

Torquepower can assist you with specific advice on policies and procedures that will help you keep your engine alive longer.

You can contact Torquepower to purchase a new DPF Diesel Particulate Filter, or to clean your existing DPF  for both LIGHT & HEAVY AUTOMOTIVE application. Call 0732778277, email or see us at 170 Beatty Road, ARCHERFIELD QLD

Cleaning your Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

As with any filter, the job is to ‘filter’ or trap pollutants, and your DPF needs to be cleaned regularly, through a process called regeneration. Often this will require no action from you, the driver or operations manager, until the maintenance intervals, which may require a clean; or an exchange unit.

You can contact Torquepower to purchase a new DPF Diesel Particulate Filter, or to clean your existing DPF for both LIGHT & HEAVY AUTOMOTIVE application. Call 0732778277, email or see us at 170 Beatty Road, ARCHERFIELD QLD.

The regeneration of a Diesel Particulate Filter is the process of removing harmful diesel exhaust soot particles regularly from a diesel engine to maintain performance, through active, passive or forced regeneration.

Passive Regeneration occurs when the vehicles duty cycle and exhaust temperature drive the continuous oxidation of carbon. This typically occurs when the vehicle is driven at highways speeds under normal load. No actions are required by the driver in these instances. In linehaul operations, passive regeneration is expected to occur approximately 95% of the time.

Active Regeneration is required when duty cycles don’t generate enough heat to convert all of the carbon being collected in the DPF. The Engine Control Module will initiate an Active Regeneration in these cases by injecting a small amount of diesel into the exhaust stream which generates heat as it enters the filter. This additional heat ensures that excess carbon oxidises without any driver intervention, and will occur more frequently in vehicles with low speed, low load or stop and go duty cycles.

Lifecycle of your DPF. In linehaul operations, the maintenance intervals on your DPF could be up to 500,000km or 250,000 litres of fuel burn. Your engine will perform an Automatic Active Regeneration every 96 hours to clear any build-up of soot in the filter. When you notice that regenerations occur more frequently, this is an indication that your filter is approaching the cleaning maintenance interval. The filter will need to be removed from the vehicle for cleaning. Torquepower are also able to provide exchange units for a quick turnaround.

Initiating a Manual Active Regeneration can be triggered via a dash mounted switch in the cab. This is required on rare occasions (usually parked) due to unusual duty cycle conditions or when the DPF lamp lights to indicate the soot loading is increasing. There are occasions where a driver will switch off automatic active regenerations. This might include driving in off highway conditions that could cause a fire, or due to excessive engine temperatures when climbing steep terrain under heavy loads. This may result in the need for a Manual Active Regeneration at a later time.

For further assistance, Torquepower’s technical team are happy to be of service.

You can contact Torquepower to purchase a new DPF Diesel Particulate Filter, or to clean your existing DPF for both LIGHT & HEAVY AUTOMOTIVE application. Call 0732778277, email or see us at 170 Beatty Road, ARCHERFIELD QLD. 

Torquepower has specialised in Cummins genuine parts and servicing since 1978