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Heavy equipment diesel engines: Clean air makes all the difference

Heavy equipment diesel engines: Clean air makes all the difference

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It’s a fact that heavy equipment such as construction and farm machinery break down. Mechanical failures often come with the territory of that rugged, heavy duty work.

Still, some failures are preventable. A diesel engine doesn’t have to fail because of a dirty air filter that hasn’t been cleaned, for example. In fact, when it comes to diesel engines, clean air can make all the difference – and save machinery owners a significant amount of money in maintenance and repair costs.

Why a diesel engine needs clean air

To appreciate why a clean air filter is so important, both owners and operators should understand why clean air is critical to a diesel engine in construction equipment, farm machinery or other large equipment.

First, diesel engines work by compressing air to high pressure and hot temperatures. Then, they inject a small amount of fuel into the compressed air. That higher temperature allows the injected fuel to evaporate and mix with hot air in the combustion chamber. In its evaporated state, the fuel reaches an auto-ignition temperature and burns. This releases energy.

Clean air is essential to making sure this process – and the engine itself – continues to run as efficiently and for as long as possible. A clean air filter is what makes that possible.

Clean air reaching an engine will result in more powerful engine performance. The increase in air flow improves overall performance, reduces maintenance costs and extends the life of the engine.

Don’t forget about the benefits to the environment thanks to cleaner air in the engine. Heavy equipment uses less oil when operating with a clean air filter. The engines then burn cleaner, creating less pollution and meeting the tougher government regulations on fuel efficiency for these types of machines.

How heavy equipment diesel engine air filters work

Not only is the air filter what makes a diesel engine running on clean air possible, but it’s also the first line of defense against contaminants that could cause mechanical failure in other engine components.

Today’s air filters for machinery that might be used in farming, construction, forestry or mining keep harmful particles out of the engine block with a two-stage filter. And let’s face it: heavy machinery and equipment working in each of those settings are surrounded by dusty air.

The larger, outer stage catches particles and keeps them out of the engine block of equipment operating in those industries. The inner stage, which is smaller and, as the name suggests, inside the first stage, is the backup in case the primary filter fails.

How dirty air harms heavy equipment engines

Without going too far into the detailed anatomy of a diesel engine, all that air passes around and through many parts of the engine. If the outer and inner stages of an air filter both fail, then that spells trouble.

Contaminated air, filled with damaging dust, debris and particles, will reach the engine and disrupt the combustion process as described above. Filter failure leads to a whole mess of issues that can cause damage to engine rings, cylinders and other critical engine components.

All that damage creates stress on engines and very quickly results in failure, requiring expensive repairs and similarly if not more expensive down time for that piece of equipment or machinery.

Keep an eye on equipment air filters

It does not take long for air filters to become overly dirty in dusty environments like construction sites or farm fields. That’s why operators need to keep an eye on the filters of each piece of equipment in a fleet.

Operators and mechanics should know that some dirt on an air filter is in fact a good thing. A film of dust on the filter’s media will actually serve as an additional barrier to other particles. Eventually, though, the build up does become too much and engine efficiency will decrease rapidly from there.

One of the best ways to know how an air filter is doing its job is to use an air filter gauge. These gauges monitor air intake and circulation and will signal when there’s a problem. Air filter gauges are often found inside the cab of the machinery and often come pre-installed on newer models.

Still, there are certain occasions when a visual inspection is the better way to determine if a filter needs cleaning. Dirt and debris doesn’t take long to affect the engine.

Know when to clean an air filter

That’s why it’s key to keep an eye on air filters and the performance indicators of equipment. Once performance and efficiency decrease, which an operator could very likely be alerted to by a gauge, it’s time to clean the filter.

That’s where Filter Blaster’s proven performance comes in handy. Our air filter cleaner takes dirty heavy equipment air filters and rejuvenates them without damaging them. By giving the filter new life, operators will see improved performance of the engine and save money compared to if they had purchased a brand new filter.

That improved air filter performance also decreases the need for engine maintenance, by the way. It truly is a win-win no matter how you look at it.

Better fuel economy equals more savings

Outside of the engine's components lasting longer, clean filters in heavy equipment diesel engines also offer better fuel economy. Because the engine is operating more efficiently, it will consume less fuel.

That very quickly translates into savings that can be put toward other investments in your fleet or overall business.

Filter Blaster is a proven product

One of the primary concerns of some air filter manufacturers that warn against cleaning, is that some products out there will damage the filters.

Not Filter Blaster. We have designed our cleaner to prevent damage. Our product regulates low air pressure for safe cleaning, has a tall lid with multiple edges to prevent horizontal movement and has a light rotor that will fail before damaging the filter should the user strike the filter.

Other products can’t say that. That’s why you can feel comfortable purchasing our products and knowing it’s not only safe to use, but a wise decision, too.