Diesel Engine Troubleshooting

Diesel Engines Cylinder Head Top Clearance

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Top clearance, or the piston-to-head clearance at tdc, is critical. Unfortunately, the position of piston crown varies somewhat between cylinders because of the stacked tolerances at the crankshaft, rod, piston pin bosses, and deck (which might be tilted relative to the crankshaft centerline). No two pistons have the same spatial relationship to the upper deck. Resurfacing, or decking, the block lowers the fire deck 0.010 in. or more with no better accuracy than obtained by the factory.

Most manufacturers arrive at top clearance indirectly by means of a piston deck height specification. Either of these measurements must be made when

• the block is resurfaced.
• the manufacturer supplies replacement head gaskets in varying thickness to compensate for production variations.

The geometry of some engines (flat pistons and access to the piston top with head in place) invites direct measurement of top clearance. The cylinder head is installed and torqued, using a new gasket of indeterminate thickness. The mechanic then removes No. 1 cylinder glow plug and inserts the end of a piece of soft wire, known as fuse wire, into the chamber. Turning the flywheel through tdc flattens the wire between the piston crown and cylinder head. Wire thickness equals top clearance, or piston deck height plus compressed gasket thickness (Fig. 7-37).

top clearance Diesel Engines Cylinder Head Top Clearance

Scrupulous engine builders sometimes make the same determination using modeling clay as the medium. Upon disassembly the clay is removed and carefully miked. This method applies equally well to flat and domed pistons.

The more usual approach is to measure piston deck height with a dial indicator. The procedure involves three measurements, detailed as follows:

1. Zero the dial indicator on the fire deck, with the piston down (left-hand portion of Fig. 7-38).
2. Position the indicator over a designated part of the piston crown, shown as A in Fig. 7-38.
3. Turn the crankshaft in the normal direction of rotation through tdc. Note the highest indicator reading.
4. Repeat Step 3, taking the measurement at B.
5. Average measurements A and B.
6. Repeat the process for each piston. Use the piston with the highest average deck height to determine the thickness of the replacement head gasket.

piston deck Diesel Engines Cylinder Head Top Clearance

Written by Ed

February 18th, 2011 at 2:43 am

Posted in Cylinder Heads

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