If you have a diesel engine in your truck then you know how reliable they are, but they may still give you some problems just like any other engine. If you're having trouble with your truck's diesel engine, note a few things that might be wrong so you know where to check or what to expect from your mechanic.
Not starting in cold weather
Diesel engines don't use spark plugs like petrol engines, but they often do have what are called glow plugs. Diesel engines use heat to start and in cold weather, these glow plugs provide that small bit of heat to get your engine to turn over. These glow plugs are powered by a relay and timer, and the timer should tell the relay to shut off after just a few seconds, when the plug is warm. However, any problem with the relay or timer will mean the glow plug will quickly burn out.
You may not notice that a plug has gone bad when the weather is warm since your truck won't rely on it for starting, but when the engine doesn't start in cold weather, the glow plugs are the first thing you should check. Without their small bit of heat, your diesel engine won't crank even if the engine, battery, and other parts are in good working order.
Intermittent starting and performance problems
If your truck's diesel engine starts on occasion but isn't reliable, and if you notice that the engine seems to lag or lose power while on the road, this is very often due to fuel problems and not the engine itself. Diesel fuel is different than standard petrol in that it may turn a bit waxy in cold weather; all fuel has hydrocarbons, but the heavier hydrocarbons in diesel fuel may tend to break down more easily in colder weather, creating a waxy consistency to the fuel. In turn, it may not be delivered smoothly to the engine when you're starting it or on the road.
Bacteria may also be more present in a diesel fuel tank, as there are microbes that love diesel fuel more so than standard petrol. This bacteria can form a type of slime or other residual along the tank and fuel lines, causing insufficient delivery of fuel when it's needed. Cleaning your diesel engine and fuel tank with an additive, as often as recommended by your engine's manufacturer, can kill that bacteria and keep your truck's fuel system clean.
For more information of assistance, contact a supplier of diesel engine spare parts.