diesel engine

Diesel Engine: How it works and what are the most suitable tools

Find out what distinguishes a gasoline engine from a diesel engine and what are the best tools to work on it.

An efficient and quality intervention on a diesel engine requires high-quality tools.

If you are studying or training to become an auto mechanic, or if you manage your own business and want to know what the best equipment for a mechanic shop is, you may be wondering which set of mechanical tools will be most suitable for working with diesel engines.

As important as choosing the best set of tools to work on these engines, is to know how the diesel engine works and how it differs from the gasoline engine. It is only by knowing both that you can actually do a good job and offer good results to your customers.


What is the difference between a diesel engine and a gasoline engine?

Even though electric motors are gaining ground, gasoline and diesel vehicles still dominate the roads.

Both engines have been a reality for many decades, but some consumers still wonder which of these two is the best choice when buying a new car. To find the best option, you need to know first how they work and what distinguishes them.

It is common sense that, when choosing a vehicle, the type of fuel has a very large preponderance. On one hand, a gasoline car is cheaper and has lower maintenance costs; on the other hand, there are those who believe that diesel engines have a more balanced performance, in addition to the fuel cost being cheaper.

In fact, the differences go far beyond these issues and there are other factors to take into account when choosing the vehicle.

Regarding their functioning, both convert the energy stored in the fuel – the chemical energy – into mechanical energy through an explosion. The process that triggers this explosion is what differentiates the 2 types of engines.

In a gasoline engine, the explosion is triggered by a spark plug. In a diesel engine, the explosion is triggered by the increase in pressure and the consequent increase in temperature, which is verified by the compression of the air inside the cylinder.

This “small” difference is a differentiating factor in the way in which the engines develop the explosion cycles and this affects their entire functioning.


Petrol Engines

  • Intake Stroke: Fuel is mixed with air. That is, when the piston moves from the top to the base of the cylinder, it allows air to enter and the mixture occurs;
  • Compression Stroke: The piston now makes the reverse movement inside the cylinder. The piston begins to increase the compression on the mixture of air and fuel;
  • Combustion Stroke: The fuel / air mixture explodes through the spark generated in the spark plug. This explosion depends most often on the temperature of the engine and the fuel itself;
  • Exhaust Stroke: The piston rises again and presses the gases, which are released through the exhaust valve.


Diesel Engines

Intake Stroke: The intake valve opens, air enters and the piston descends. In this type of engine it is important to take into account that the pressure inside the cylinder is higher than in the gasoline engine. One of the injector’s functions is to print enough pressure in the fuel so that the piston can enter;

  • Compression Stroke: The piston rises and the air is compressed. This compression phase is determined, above all, by the weight of the engine structure;
  • Combustion Stroke: Fuel is injected, ignition occurs and the piston goes down. In other words, fuel and high pressure air (compression) ignite in the combustion chamber;
  • Exhaust Stroke: The piston rises and presses the gases, which are released through the exhaust valve, just as in the gasoline engine.


What are the main advantages of the diesel engine?

Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines and emit less CO2, which is less harming for the environment.

But there are more advantages of a diesel engine, when compared to a gasoline engine, such as:


1. Economy

Due to the increased fuel economy of diesel engines, it is possible to make more kilometers with a full tank of diesel than with a gasoline tank.

In addition to being cheaper vehicles at the time of purchase, diesel engines are even more economical than hybrids.


2. Pollution

It may seem a surprise, but in fact diesel engines pollute less than gasoline engines. With the technological evolution that has occurred in the last decades, in which this type of engines are already equipped with particulate filters, catalysts, AdBlue injection, among others, the emission of pollutants in diesel engines is lower than that of gasoline engines.


3. Longevity

Diesel engines are generally more robust than gasoline engines, as they need to withstand higher compression ratios. This translates into greater longevity.


4. Fewer parts

Diesel engines do not have as many parts as gasoline engines and do not require tuning or spark plugs.


5. Great for long distances

In the long run and for long distances, diesel engines perform better in terms of power (torque) and consumption.


Tools for working on a diesel engine

Now that you have a better understanding of how the diesel engine works and what the difference is between this engine and the gasoline engine, here’s a short list of the ideal tools for working on these engines.


1. Ratchet wrenches

Despite being a simple tool, a set of quality ratchet wrenches are essential to access the various components of the engine.

1/2″ Reversible Ratchet 1/4″ Reversible Ratchet 3/8″ Reversible Ratchet


2. Diesel compression test – Pressure gauge

The diesel engine pressure gauge is a device for efficiently measuring the pressure in the cylinders of diesel engines.

3. Current test for injectors

Current testing for injectors allows you to quickly and easily test electronic fuel injection systems.

4. Diesel injector pressure test pump

Used to adjust the opening pressure of the injector nozzle and to perform the leak spray test and characteristic shake tests.

These 4 tools are definitely very useful to be able to do a good job on a diesel engine.

However, as you work, it is natural that you feel the need to acquire others.


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