The Head Component: Cooling System
I choose to talk about analysis and maintenance of a truck cooling system on the head component, from my assignments one. I believe that good maintenance of any cooling system is ever important in any machine. As more innovations arise today, faster and much power consuming engines have brought the need to maintain and even improve the cooling system. Actually it is even more important to maintain the cooling system properly to avoid serious damage or total failure of the engines.
In the early days when internal combustion was mostly used, people used to apply different ingredients to keep the coolant from overheating during summer and from freezing when winter came. It is a surprise to many to know that people used to add different ingredients such as sugar, molasses and honey to the water in the coolant for the purpose of maintaining the cooling system. In the year 1972, Presetone innovated an all seasons coolant and antifreeze.
It was made of ethylene glycol that is an odorless weak toxic fluid. It is actually colorless and sweet. When mixed with water, the viscous fluid increases the boiling point and lowers the water freezing point. (Johnson, J. H., & Chiang, E. C. 1984)
This fluid lasted for up to a year when mixed with the appropriate amount of water. It offered a whole year protection and it became the best choice to many the fact that it didnt require to be changes seasonally made it a better choice and it led to the innovation of the pressurized cap of the radiator. Ethyl alcohol based coolant slowly would evaporate from the unpressurized systems. It contained water pump lubricants and corrosion inhibitors.( Sortor, M. 2003)
Today, engines and other machines generate more energy and heat than before. This makes it require a strong and the right cooling system on top of everything. This is due to the fact that there is no protection on shutdown in the first apparatus in case the engine heats too much. The National fire protection association (NFPA) 1901 made a require met to have automotive fire apparatus with an aim of protecting the firefighter at the end of the fire hose on the scene. A cooling system that has been compromised can actually affect the vehicles durability as well as its fuel economy. According to (Jane Clark,2017),Over 40% of most engine complications and issues are due to cooling system failure.(Lehner, C., Parker, G., Arici, O., & Johnson, J. H. 2001)
The cooling system has a major role to do as far as the effective running of the engine is concerned.One of its major roles is that it has to provide heat transfer effectively and prevent overheating. It also provides freeze protection and inhibits corrosion.
Todays market provide a large variety of coolant types that help prevent corrosion as well as ensuring smooth flow of heat transfer as well as freeze protection. It is up to the user to check on the aspects, quality and to be able to select the right one for good cooling operations.
However, there are strategies and steps to be followed to ensure proper maintenance of the cooling system and to avoid issues that are most likely to happen due to negletion.The very first step in the cooling system maintenance program is to be sure that you have the appropriate type of coolant that meets all the requirements needed by the engine. In case the user is not sure of which coolant to use, it is recommended that they should consult the engine provider or refer to the Technology & Maintenance Councils Recommended Practice on coolant maintenance (RP-365).
It is important to know that every coolant has its specific inhibitors and thus it is not advisable to mix different products because that can affect the performance of the whole system or the engine component. (Person, F. 1999).
The next step after selecting the appropriate cooling system with all the requirements is it to keep testing it regulary.This will help to ensure the right level of additives .The Technology Maintenance council recommends that the user should check the color,clarity,freeze point and the SCA.Regular checking ensures minimum problems with both the coolant and the engine system. (Sortor, M.(2003)
By checking the color of the coolant not only enables you to figure out the type of the cooling system in the vehicle but also it helps to identify if there is anything wrong with the coolant or the cooling system. A dark colored coolant might be a sign of a major problem especially if there is also an odor on the coolant. In this case, it is advisable to troubleshoot the problem or take an immediate action of replacing the coolant. The coolant can also be cloudy and have some debris on it. In this case the user should try to check the coolant and fix it immediately. If not, they might need to replace the entire coolant.
In order to have an optimum freeze protection, the coolant requires an average mix of water and and antifreeze depending on the level of concentration. The TMC states that the inhibitors in the coolant are the protectors of the components. The user should use test strips to test protection levels and required adjustmensts.
Maintenance strategy of the cooling system prevents the cooling system from a variety of including wet cylinder cativation, hard water scale, rust and drop outs from the silicate. If neglected the results of these problems could be serious.
With a good coolant and good maintenance, the user is able to safe the cost of fuel used by the vehicle.
The engine control module (ECM), available in most trucks today and it helps the driver to know the status of the engine as well as that of the cooling system. It warns the driver to shut down the engine if it overheats or incase there is an issue. This is a better maintenance method as it will give the driver enough time to stop the truck and check the problem. The major reason this method was implemented is to prevent the engine from fatal damage and reduce the cost of damage.
There is a condition called the coolant aeration caused by air rupture into the cooling system. It is identified as foam or a soapy coolant showing out in different areas inside the cooling system. Technicians need to be serious when with this issue as it can be a big problem to the cooling system. It is also important to make sure that the acid levels are on the right level .Sometimes the sulphates may enter the cooling system and create layers that might cause damage on the cooling system. If the PH goes below 7 then it means it can cause corrosion and mostly on the aluminum parts in the cooling system. It can as well be a threat to the aluminum layers in the cooling system.
There is a lot of evolvement in recent years and manufacturers have implemented new measures to protect the engine. Some of the coolants are designed to last for a specific period of time like two or three years and up to 36,000 miles. Others are long life coolants that can last up to 5 years, 600,000 miles or more. (Lehner, C., Parker, G., Arici, O., & Johnson, J. H. 2001)
Maintenance personnel should be keen on when and how to to keep the engine safe by ensuring that the cooling system is safe as well. It is therefore important to note that the role of the cooling system is critical to the life of the engine .The user should carry out pressure tests in the cooling system regularly to check the health of the coolant.
Per forming this procedure regularly will help preventing unnecessary risks and safe on cost.
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Lehner, C., Parker, G., Arici, O., & Johnson, J. H. (2001). Design and Development of a Model Based Feedback Controlled Cooling System for Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Applications Using a Vehicle Engine Cooling System Simulation. SAE Technical Paper Series. doi:10.4271/2001-01-0336
Person, F. (1999). TRUCK COOLING SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. doi:10.4271/580091
Sortor, M. (2003). Vehicle Cost Reduction Through Cooling System Optimization. SAE Technical Paper Series. doi:10.4271/930153
Xu, Z., Johnson, J. H., & Chiang, E. C. (1984). A Simulation Study of a Computer Controlled Cooling System for a Diesel Powered Truck. SAE Technical Paper Series. doi:10.4271/841711