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Diesel engine & very cold air

  1. Jan 23, 2008 #1
    We are looking at placing a normally asspirated diesel engine in a few cold climate. The engineroom will normally be heated. When the engine runs there is a ventilation system that will start up and draw outside air and also expel air from the engine room to outside, this is necessary otherwise the engine will get too hot without air flow about the block. A thermostatic control is not allowed on the ventilation.

    Note: The fuel is good for this temp.
    No doubt with such cold and hence dense air the engine will produce every hp it is rated for.

    My concern is wether or not there is any thing special to do for a diesel engine that maybe drawing -30C intake air.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2008 #2


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    I can't see any reason why you would have any other issues with cold weather than anyone else. Even though it is in a heated room, I would still make sure you have the ability to plug in a block heater.

    Is your fuel tank inside or outside? If it is outside, be cautious with letting the level stay low for too long of periods.
  4. Jan 24, 2008 #3


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    Being as diesel engines require heat of compression for proper operation, it would be good to bring the air from outside, thru an enclosure of some type and take advantage of the heat of the exaust system. Would that be possible?
  5. Jan 24, 2008 #4
    Are you suggesting if the intake air is too cold then the compression temp maybe inadquate?

    Fred: We have a block heater also. Fuel tank is to normally be at least 2/3 full.

    Should have said: The engine is being located in Antarctica
  6. Jan 24, 2008 #5


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    I had kind of figured that based on your temp, and yes the air coming in will affect the performance. If you have ever noticed big trucks that run in cold weather will have canvas covers that cover the radiator almost 100%, this helps keep engine heat up to offset the cold air that comes through the intake, and also prevent radiator freeze up.
    The break down of lubricating oil at high temp, is one reason that these engines are not allowed to run at a much hotter temperature.

    A good set of books to refer to is "The Internal-Combustion Engine in Theory and Practice" Volume 1&2 by Charles Fayette Taylor
  7. Jan 24, 2008 #6


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    A few issues I've seen in cold climate Diesel installations:

    - Fuel freezing/gelling, either in storage or in lines
    - Freezing of crankcase breather systems
    - Freezing of condensation in exhaust system
    - Over-ventilation of enclosure causing excessive cooling of engine
    - Starter battery failure
    - Starter motor failure
    - Freezing of jacket water system
    - Overcooling of jacket water radiator preventing engine from reaching operating temperature

    Not saying you'll suffer with all of these, but they should be considered.
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