Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Diesel Mechanic Books & The Importance Of Knowledge

Diesel Mechanic Books are the lifeblood for any Mechanic looking to increase his or her knowledge and efficiency. I have always depended on up to date information to reduce the guessing game when troubleshooting and repairing diesel engines. You will learn something new everyday and hopefully that new found knowledge will be in a positive light.

Knowing exactly how to disassemble and reassemble a diesel engine or adjust a fuel injection pump gives you the instant confidence you need to succeed. There is a difference between studying a book compared to a CD. Everyone has their preference. If you don't have access to a computer the book option is right for you.


Knowing torque specs & parameters along with a diagnostic procedure will save time and headaches. There are thousands of diesel engine books covering specific diesel engines and fuel injection systems that is an essential tool for the conscientious Mechanic who prides himself on the doing the job right. If you go into a job blind you're looking for trouble, the complexities of a modern diesel engine far exceeds the engines from 20 years ago. Emission Controls are computer driven and have to be respected using the right tools and know-how.

My First Diesel Engine Rebuild Story
When I was a greenhorn apprentice in my 2nd year I was instructed to rebuild a Cummins NTA 350 Diesel Engine (N = series T = Turbocharged A = Aftercooled). YIKES! Here I was 19 years old tearing down a truck driver's engine with his livelihood depending on me. This was my first rebuild so that Cummins overhaul manual went home with me every night. I studied that until I had it memorized. It would have been a losing proposition if I never had that diesel mechanic book by my side.

These engines were straight mechanical, the fuel injection timing was checked with 2 dial indicators. One on the injector cam lobe and the other on the piston. The timing was altered with shim / gaskets for the cam followers according to the dial indicator readings. The counterbore also had to be cut with a manual cutter where each cylinder wet sleeve fit into making sure there was the proper protrusion above the block surface to allow proper sealing for the head gasket.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to do this job without an engine manual. What an adventure that would have been!


In conclusion... having a reference to follow is essential when tackling a big job that you haven't performed yet or just need some torque specs. Most repairs on diesel engines are time consuming and could end up costing a bundle if one step is missed or a component isn't torqued down properly. It sounds easy pulling a head off an engine but each manufacturer has designed their diesel model differently with various procedures unlike any other engine on the market.

Each diesel engine running on the road today is unique with their stand-alone design and fuel injection system.  Diesel engine books will save your butt if you use them and follow the guidelines. Thousands of hours of research go into these would only take a fraction of that time to look up a spec or procedure that could inevitably save your reputation. 

Please leave your comments, feedback & questions below.


Anonymous said...

very cool advice. i see too many people i work with that wing everything. i hate that. i walk away without knowing the correct way to do a procedure.


J. E. Whelan said...

TKS for the comment Bill,
It's like shooting in the dark without the proper manual. Start guessing and it's going to cost you...

Diesel Mechanic Jobs said...

Books are really the big sources of learning and the diesel Mechanics books play vital role in understanding the basic concepts of the engines.

Anonymous said...

Howdy John, I have a 2000 International 4700 truck, automatic tranny, with a DT466E engine. I need a rebuilt engine, and I was wondering what years would just simply bolt in where mine come out of. Hope you can help this "OLDER than dirt tow truck owner out with your insight?

Thanks for any help.....Rick

John Whelan said...

2000 International would accept a certain range but I would talk to a savvy salesman or parts man who can cross the engine # and VIN and see which years are compatible.