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Got an engine to overhaul? Get started here

11/14/2013 @ 11:39am

With internal combustion engines of every size, make, configuration, and fuel type employed on the farm, there will come a time when some of them will require a major repair or overhaul. 

To this cause, I created a series of articles appearing in Successful Farming magazine and on Agriculture.com covering key topics on hiring engine machining and repair services. It is not my intent to make you a machinist, but I will provide the knowledge to guarantee that your investment in these services returns quality and reliability. You’ve heard horror stories about – or maybe even experienced – expensive engine repairs that were not done correctly in a shop and resulted in loss of productivity. 

Remanufactured route is better

Most manufacturers do offer a factory line of remanufactured  (reman) engines and components. When available, going with reman products is usually the best approach to an engine replacement. There are times when factory-backed reman engines or parts for older machinery are not available, and this is when you need to turn to a reputable machine shop for its services.

As an aside, the knowledge you will glean in this series of articles can be used to query an engine manufacturer about its services and procedures to confirm that the knowledge and service is reputable.

Challenges abound

The quality of machine work is dependent on three things: the equipment employed, the steps taken, and the skill of the operator. A shortcut in any of these areas will impact the performance of the final product or its longevity. 

Many shops that offer machine services for agricultural engines use antiquated and out-of-tolerance equipment and also may skip many important steps.

For example, they may not resize both ends of the connecting rod, check the line bore on the block, or accurately set the installed height of the valves and spring pressure on a cylinder head.

In any of these cases, the engine will run – but not much more can be said about the investment you made. Simply put, details make the difference. A properly remanufactured engine should perform like new with no compromises. 

Gas, diesel coverage 

The procedures discussed in this series of articles will be applicable to both gasoline and diesel engines with application-specific exceptions. 

As an example, most – but not all – agricultural heavy-duty diesels employ cylinder liners, while light-duty diesels and gas engines usually do not. The information in these articles can be applied to any engine you employ. 

Successful Farming magazine is proud to work with the staff and students in the agricultural and engine building programs at the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) at their campus in Lima, Ohio, in producing this series of machining articles.

The school has a dedicated staff familiar with the needs of the agricultural community. Backed by the most advanced equipment on the market, many of the UNOH staff are also actively involved in farming. 

The best-case scenario is you never need to buy engine machine services. If that day does come, however, this series of articles will help you to shop around and find high-quality services that will give your engine a second, long life.


The Engine Machining Series


About the Engine Answerman

Ray Bohacz has engine grease and field dirt under his fingernails from a life spent repairing vehicles and running a farm in New Jersey with his wife, Charlotte. His how-to articles also appear in Diesel Power, Engine Professional, Hemmings Motor News, and Speedway Illustrated magazines. Contact Bohacz via email at SFEngineman@earthlink.net.

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