3 Mistakes To Avoid When Doing an Engine Rebuild For Your Heavy Duty Truck

Have you just started rebuilding your engine, and your head is already hurting? Or maybe you'd rather play it safe and study as much as possible before embarking on such a venture?

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Doing an Engine Rebuild For Your Heavy Duty Truck

Have you just started rebuilding your engine, and your head is already hurting? Or maybe you'd rather play it safe and study as much as possible before embarking on such a venture? Because of the necessary labour, engine rebuilds leave little room for mistakes. In most cases, there are no second chances. Making mistakes often results in more labour costs or disastrous failure. 

There are many reasons why you may find yourself facing an engine rebuild. It might begin with overheating caused by a burst head gasket or the accumulation of heat and friction over time. Regardless of the cause, a proper engine repair requires time, patience, a budget, and a well-kept workplace. Fortunately, education is available and may help you save time, money, and frustrations. We've developed a list of the most frequent errors encountered during engine rebuilding with the hopes of simplifying the task for you. 

1. Failure to take accurate measurements

You know what they say, measure twice, cut once. While there may not be cutting exactly with diesel engine rebuilds, the idea remains the same. The heart of any complicated undertaking, particularly an engine rebuild, is in the minor details. Taking precise measurements is essential for ensuring that everything comes together and functions properly when reassembling the engine components.

Even the smallest components must be measured with care and accuracy. This includes cylinders, crankshafts, bearing clearances and ring end gaps. Cleaning and inspecting all components for abrasion, cracks, flaws and abnormal or excessive wear is the best practice.

After these preliminary inspections, it's time to proceed to the next step, which requires the use of numerous gauges and micrometres, as well as patience. Patience is required since it’s ideal to measure multiple times in order to double-check the numbers. Why? Because irregular wear will substantially influence the measurements, so you may be required to gauge at different points or angles.

2. Dirty or unorganized workspace

When rebuilding a diesel engine it’s not uncommon to have stacks of components and parts and pieces strewn around. This, however, may increase your chances of wasting time looking for a component, tool, or another element. Or worse yet, losing something critical to the engine. So where do you keep all your tools and parts when in the middle of an engine rebuild?

It’s a good idea to take some time at the start of the project to carefully plan out your workspace. Assign specific storage locations for each sort of tool you may use (i.e.power tools, compressors, keys, sockets, drivers, etc.). Then, get into the habit of returning those tools to their original location immediately after the work is completed. Many mechanics are astonished at how seldom this time-saving behaviour is practiced.

As a result, you may be sure that even little tools will not be misplaced or, worse, forgotten in critical areas such as engine internals. Yikes! Rolling carts or toolboxes are ideal because they put everything in one convenient spot that is easy to access.


Any corded tool no longer in use should be disconnected and returned to its original storage location. If the workstation floor is littered with wires, sockets, drills, and other trash, there is a considerable danger of harm.

Fluids are also something that needs to be considered in the workspace. It’s unavoidable, eventually, something will spill. Engine oil or coolant. Whatever the situation may be, any such fluid should be cleaned as quickly as possible. Forgetting about an oil puddle might be both hazardous and costly. This is because if it spreads, it might cover tools or other components.

Depending on the kind of floor and the amount of fluid spilled, the ultimate effect might be very slick and dangerous. Of course, Murphy's law will have it that this will most likely happen when you are carrying something heavy. Cleaning up after each day or job is recommended, including removing trash from the floor, returning all tools to their proper locations, and inspecting for missing components. Simply said, this makes life a lot simpler.

3. Not taking a video when dismantling your engine

Gone are the days when you had to labour night and day to put everything back together without losing a nut, bolt, washer, retainer, or another component.

With so many readily accessible articles and how-to videos, life is simpler on the technical side. However, it is more time-consuming since there are so many jobs to do and so little time... so why choose the difficult route? Not to add that contemporary engine designs have far tighter tolerances than older engines, leaving little to no room for error when rebuilding an engine.

When dismantling intricate pieces taking a video of the process has shown to be quite effective and helpful during the rebuild. The reason for this is that humans can only remember so much information, and with today's army of screws, covers, fasteners, wires, connections, and gaskets, it's easier than ever to get overwhelmed and forget something. Not to mention that certain trucks feature engines that are meant to be small, with some components serving dual purposes, necessitating that disassembly and reassembly be done in a specific sequence.

Final words

Make sure you don't commit any of these mistakes when you work on rebuilding your diesel truck engine. It will help you to get the best results at the end of the day. 

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