Diesel Engine and Generator Component Failure: Cause or Effect?

When an engine or generator fails, it is easy to believe that one part malfunctioned and was the cause of the failure. However, many times it is an indication of another problem. For example, while it is possible for a fuel injector to fail because of a manufacturing defect, most fuel injector failures are a result of dirty or low-quality fuel or water in the fuel.

Here are some other examples of diesel engine and generator component failures and their causes:

  • Although oil leaks occur when a gasket is blown, the problem can sometimes be traced to adding too much oil to the engine rather than a faulty gasket. Overfilling an engine with oil can clog the crankcase breather filter resulting in excessive crankcase pressure which forces the oil out through the gaskets or turbo oil seals.
  • A failed starter may be caused by repeated start attempts with a weak battery or compromised connections.
  • On Tier IV engines, a clogged DPF or DOC filter is rarely the fault of the catalyst. The cause can be bad injectors, oil burn due to an internal oil leak, or operator error such as running the engine with too light a load or allowing excessive idle times.
  • If your engine derates due to an exhaust after-treatment code, contaminated diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) could be to blame. DEF that has been exposed to high temperatures or sunlight for too long can crystalize and will clog the dosing nozzle. Read More
  • If a generator is producing erratic or unstable voltage or has no output, it is an indication of an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) failure. AVR failure can be caused by unstable engine rpm, which can be caused by a fuel supply problem such as clogged fuel filters.

To avoid repeated problems, consider if there are any other problems that could have caused the part to fail rather than simply replacing the part.


Jordan Good



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