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What Causes Engine Failure

In this post on what causes engine failure, we will discuss about the causes of Engine failure. This post will be helpful to the renders in diagnosing the faults in engine failures and the necessary corrective action to restore the engine after failure.

In the light of past experience it has been observed that the main cause of engine filures is due to the listed below reasons.

Failure After overhauls maintenance (What Causes Engine Failure)

Most of the failures have been observed after the overhaul or maintenance of the Engine. Before maintenance, the engine has been running in normal condition. But after the maintenance, many failures like engine parts showing symptoms of heating have been reported. Most important reason for Cause of engine failure.

In many cases, the problem was due to the wrongly assembled the components like bearings and improper tightening of the studs and bolts. Improper tightening has been the main cause of fatigue failure or tensile overload.

In few cases the improper assembly of bearing caps and the wrong assembly of pistons, piston rings, and parts in cylinder heads.

There have been also cases of improper grinding of the crankshaft that have also caused major failures.

A start-up without proper pre-starting checks has also caused the failures of the lubricating system and another system of the engine.

Poor quality control of the refurbished parts like Governor, Cylinder Liners, and lubricating pumps have also caused many engine failures after the maintenance.

 After the maintenance, the failure due to the improper cleaning of the crankcase and leftover clothes and cleaning rags have been the cause of major engine failures.

Replacement of wear-down parts with non-genuine parts has caused the engine failure after the maintenance.

Improper fitment of sealing parts on the improperly cleaned surfaces has also created major leakages and engine failures and the reason for ( What Causes Engine Failure

What Causes Engine Failure
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A list of components and other failures is produced below.

  1. Lubricating oil failure
  2. Engine cooling system failure
  3. Vibrations in the machine
  4. Over speeding of the engine
  5. Hydraulic lock in the engine
  6. Governor failure
  7. Piston seizure
  8. Valve drop

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Due to the wrong design and material failure– What Causes Engine Failure

Wrong material and wrong design is the reason of failure in many cases. But in the majority of cases, it has been reasoned out that the failure was not due to the wrong design of the material. It was the major contribution of the running condition of the machine with the use of wrong Lubricating oils and fuel oils. Selection or use of lube oil with parameters not as per the manufacturer’s recommendations has caused the major failure of crankshaft and bearings.

The use of wrong fuels has been the reason for the improper combustion and leading to the major failures of a machine.

Not maintaining the cooling water parameters and overlooking inhibitors’ incorrect quantity have also caused serious problems in the engine. Abnormal scaling and corrosion on the components due to the negligence/ ignoring of cooling water maintenance.

The wrong design of installation engineering has caused a high level of vibrations in the engine and the associated systems causing major failures.

But notwithstanding the above points, the improper material and wrong design of the following components have caused major engine failures.

  1. Injection nozzle failure
  2. Camshaft timing gear failure
  3. Alternator and engine coupling failure
  4. Turbochargers
  5. Governors
  6. Piston and piston rings
  7. Inlet and exhaust valves
  8. Cylinder liners

Reported failure of Cylinder heads with abnormal cold corrosion,

Sealing parts like sealing rings, O rings mechanical seals, etc.

Operational Failures ( What Causes Engine Failure )

Prolong operations at low load have caused the accumulation of heavy carbon deposits and cock in the system. Fouling of exhaust pathways is the main cause of high exhaust failures. The operation of the engine under such circumstances has been the reason for the Scavenge fires. Overheating of the other working components and rise in temperature of the cooling media have contributed to the engine failure.

Overloading of the engine is the main cause of major components like crankshaft and piston failures due to overstress.

Starting the engine without following the correct starting sequence has caused serious damages to the engines. In many cases, the attempt to engine with the ingress of fluids in the combustion chambers has caused the hydraulic locks. Blowing through the engine with air is the reason to detect any accumulation of fluid in the combustion chamber.

Loading the engine before the attainment of proper working temperature has been the cause of running components in an engine.

 On many occasions, engines were started without pre-lubricating the engine components have cause serious failure due to the seizure.

Sudden stopping of the engine without proper cooling down the engine supplying of cold cooling media after the sudden stoppage has resulted in the cracking of cylinder liners and Cylinder heads.

  1. Overloading of the engine
  2. Engine cylinder head and other safety devices failure
  3. Fire in Engine
  4. Engine starting line failure
  5. Crankcase explosion
  6. Scavenge fire

Electrical and instrumentation failure

Failure /malfunctioning of an electronic instrument may cause a serious breakdown and leading to unplanned stoppage of an engine.

At many occasions due to the prolonged vibration may cause a breakage in sensor connection leading the open circuit creating unresolved issues in an engine.

Machinery external control may malfunction and can cause machinery failure.

Few serious failures are listed below.

  • Motoring of Engine
  • Stray currents/Eddy currents travelling to the engine crankshaft

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Translated from a popular German reference work, this English edition sheds light on determining engine failure and remedies. The authors present a selection of engine failures, investigate and evaluate why they failed, and provide guidance on how to prevent such failures. A large range of possible engine failures is presented in a comprehensive, readily understandable manner, free of manufacturer bias.

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Conclusion;- I hope the post on What Causes Engine Failure has been useful to the readers.

Good Luck!!

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