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Engine Rebuild Vs Engine Replacement What Should You Choose

For many, their vehicles are more than just a means of travelling from one place to another, they are passion projects, prized possessions and memory makers. For others, diesel vehicles such as tractors and trucks are a way to make a living and an integral component of their business. Perhaps a vintage car has been in your family for years, or you’ve finally invested in your dream truck, either way, diesel vehicles can be great investments.

No matter what purpose your diesel vehicle serves, one thing is certain: faults and issues are always inconvenient. In the event of a vehicle malfunctioning, owners are faced with a few different options. If the problem is more serious, you may find yourself weighing up the choice of rebuilding your engine versus replacing it. Both of these have their own merits, but it is a decision that is worth researching and considering fully.

Here is Welham Group’s guide to engine rebuilds and engine replacements.

How Do Diesel Engines Work?

Before diving into the options available in the event of engine problems, it is worth having a rough understanding of an engine’s basic function. Put simply, diesel engines differ from traditional petrol engines as they use heavily compressed air to ignite the fuel source, rather than spark plugs. Using compression to turn the diesel to a fine mist means it is much easier to combust, making diesel engines highly efficient. Aside from this difference, a diesel engine works much the same as any other combustion engine with the four main stages of intake, compression, power and exhaust.

Common Problems With Diesel Engines

As efficient and durable as diesel engines are, they are not faultless. As with any vehicle or mechanical device, prolonged use can lead to malfunctions and breakages. Whilst there are a number of problems that can affect a diesel engine, there are a few primary culprits when it comes to engine failures. Common problems with diesel engines include broken thermostats and water pumps, clogged heater cores, low oil levels and old, unlubricated oil. Different parts of the engine can become damaged depending on the problem your engine has encountered, so it is important to identify the source before making any decisions.

Once the source of engine failure has been determined, an informed decision will be made as to the best course of action. This may be an engine rebuild or a full engine replacement.

What Is A Diesel Engine Rebuild?

Essentially, an engine rebuild consists of a trained mechanic taking the engine out of the vehicle and taking it apart piece by piece. When the engine has been fully disassembled, it is thoroughly cleaned and inspected to identify damaged parts. The faulty components are then replaced with working replacement parts. Next, the engine is put back together. This often involves using brand-new lubricants, seals and gaskets.

In many circumstances, an engine rebuild is a viable solution as it allows the problem to be identified and rectified.

Benefits Of An Engine Rebuild

There are a number of pros associated with the rebuilding of a diesel engine. Aside from fixing the initial issue and restoring your engine to its former working condition, a full rebuild will increase its lifespan significantly. Replacing old lubricants, faulty seals and broken gaskets will breathe new life into your engine, no matter its age. What’s more, rebuilding your engine is nearly always cheaper than a full engine replacement, making it a much more cost-effective solution to faults and malfunctions.

What Is An Engine Replacement?

In some instances, an engine rebuild may not be a viable or cost-effective solution. This may be due to irreparable damage to core components or simply that it is not worth the effort and time it will take to fix. At this point, in order to keep your vehicle running, an engine replacement may be required.

As the name suggests, an engine replacement involves removing the entire engine system from a vehicle and swapping it for a new one. If your goal is to keep an old vehicle running or improve its performance, such as a classic car or truck, this option may be for you. If, however, you simply need a car for transport and hold no attachment to the broken vehicle, it may be more cost-effective to simply buy a new car.

It is worth noting that replacing an engine is no small task. It requires time, effort and the knowledge of expert mechanics.

Benefits Of Engine Replacement

As mentioned above, the benefits of replacing an entire engine are usually associated with keeping a vintage car running or upgrading an existing vehicle. For example, if you own a vintage truck or bus and wish to upgrade its capabilities for the modern world, an engine replacement will give you the best of both worlds, a classic aesthetic with an efficient internal system.

Moreover, an engine replacement can give your vehicle a lot more power and even increase your fuel efficiency. In the right circumstances, an engine replacement can definitely be a good choice, but it is important to consider all of the options available.

Recognising Engine Faults

Of course, engine failure is something that casual drivers and car enthusiasts alike hope to avoid. It is costly, time-consuming and really inconvenient. However, it is better to be safe than sorry and being able to identify the symptoms of an engine failure early on can save you time and money in the long run. Below are a few common signs of engine failure in diesel vehicles.

Poor Fuel Economy

A clear warning sign of a failing engine is a noticeable difference in your vehicle’s fuel economy. If you notice your vehicle is going far fewer miles per gallon of fuel used, it is worth taking it to a garage for a service or check-up.

High Oil Consumption

Furthermore, if your diesel vehicle is using a lot more oil than usual, it could be symptomatic of an oil leak somewhere in the engine. While it may sound like a relatively minor issue, this can have serious consequences for your engine health. Insufficient oil levels can cause your engine to corrode and, subsequently, fail.

Loss Of Power

Another sign of imminent engine failure is a significant loss of power to your vehicle. If your vehicle is taking a lot longer than usual to get up to speed or is demonstrating dramatically reduced torque, this may be down to a loss of cylinder compression. If this problem persists, it will eventually lead to full engine failure, so it is crucial to get it checked as soon as possible.

Dirty Smoke

Dirty blue, white or black smoke is also something to keep an eye out for. If you notice a significant amount of smoke coming from your vehicle’s exhaust or engine, it might mean that it is burning its own oil. This, again, is one step closer to complete engine failure.

Ignition Problems

Finally, perhaps the most obvious sign of engine failure is problems with your vehicle’s ignition. If your car, truck, bus or van is having serious trouble starting, it could be due to issues with the engine’s compression. While there are a number of issues that can cause start-up difficulties, it is worth getting it checked by an expert to avoid greater problems developing.

Welham Group: Engine Rebuild Services

When faced with the decision between an engine rebuild and replacement, it is crucial to use the services of trusted and experienced mechanics as they will advise you as to the cause of engine failure and the best course of action. If you suspect your diesel vehicle may be in need of an engine rebuild or replacement, look no further than Welham Group for expert advice and engine rebuild services. With over 70 years of industry experience, you can be sure that your vehicle will be in the hands of trained professionals with a wealth of knowledge and passion.

From vehicle servicing and repairs to full engine rebuilds and diagnostics, our friendly team are always happy to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements or ask us any questions.

Call us today on 0116 276 6831or send an email to