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Getting the most out of your industrial engine rebuild

Diesel engines can be found in a wide range of industrial machines, including materials handling equipment, cranes and agricultural apparatus like crop sprayers. After years of wear and tear, operators can give these machines a new lease of life by renewing the engine’s major components. Here Peter Hutyan, Product Manager for Energy and Transportation at Finning UK & Ireland, explains how operators can get the most out of their industrial engine rebuilds.

Most diesel engines have a lifespan of 10,000 to 30,000 hours and after this they require a major overhaul so that they can continue to supply the required hydraulic and rotational power. As the engine reaches the end of its working life, it may be tempting to simply replace the engine with a new model because of the convenience.

In a perfect world, this approach allows for a straight swap between old and new. In reality, running the engine until late in its life is risky — it can increase operating costs, decrease productivity and lead to unplanned downtime when the machine eventually breaks down, because it is difficult to predict exactly when this will be. Rather than running equipment to failure, operators can now rebuild their engines before they reach the end of their lifecycle, gaining a like-new engine at a lower cost than buying new, while avoiding the risks of running an engine near the end of its life.   

Choosing the right partner

The first step in an engine rebuild project is choosing a partner. This involves assessing the rebuild packages the company offers — including whether they suit your requirements and are commercially viable — and working together to come up with a tailored lifecycle strategy.

The hallmark of a strong partnership is commitment. When choosing a partner, ask questions about post-rebuild support. Will they transport the engine back to the site, reinstall and service it at regular intervals? Can the partner’s engineers assist with preventative maintenance? Ideally the company will be able to schedule regular fluid analysis and integrate machine telematics to monitor engine condition, to give you total peace of mind.

Choosing a repair strategy

Often, the choice of rebuild comes down to budget and power restoration requirements, rather than the application. Most industrial engines are mechanically similar so there is little difference between, say, a crusher on quarrying site and a crop sprayer.

If a business is looking for the most budget-friendly option, they may opt for a value repair that will recondition the cylinder heads, liners and piston rings. This option is useful when the machine is experiencing slightly high fuel consumption, or it requires a short-term fix before the next scheduled service.

In the event of loss of power, operators can select a mid-range option that will also replace slower-wearing parts, such as the lube oil, water pumps and piston pack groups.

The most thorough option is a complete overhaul, where the engine is transported to and reconditioned at a specialist workshop. The partner’s engineers will carry out a complete strip and inspection before renewing all major components along with the gaskets, seals, filters and bearings. Added benefits include renewed exhaust system hardware, new hoses, a repaint and fresh decals. Finally, post-rebuild dynamometer performance tests will ensure that the rebuilt engine’s performance is reliable and efficient.

Industrial machines are true workhorses, essential to keeping sites running well. A rebuild strategy tailored to the engine and the business can keep your operations running smoothly for years to come.

By partnering with Finning, you can benefit from working with Cat® certified engineers that will thoroughly inspect your engine and replace all its major components with genuine Cat parts. Worried about downtime? Finning has engineers across the UK and Ireland so it can support with proactive maintenance. To find out more, visit the engine rebuilds section of the Finning website.

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