Diesel generators are manufactured devices but however efficient, productive, and irreplaceable they may be, like all manufactured products, they are also subject to a variety of ailments. One of the primary concerns of a diesel generator is overheating. Overheating can be caused by mechanical problems, improper use, and insufficient coolant.

If the diesel generator starts overheating, the alternator will overheat, and it will burn out the windings affecting their insulating properties. The winding insulation will begin to soften, and then they can either melt or catch fire. When the slip rings and brushes are exposed to such a high temperature, they can unsolder themselves.

Other problems you might encounter include:

  • Damaging of radiator core
  • Expanding exhaust valves can damage the valve guide.
  • Rotor warping.
  • Cylinder head overheating could crush the head gasket resulting in restricted coolant flow to the cylinder.
  • Melting of bearings.

Consequences of Overheating:

  • Replacement or repair of damaged parts - which may cost more than a new diesel generator.
  • May lead to genset shutdown, which leads to loss of power which has a direct impact on productivity and profits.
  • Reduced lifespan of genset which means unplanned expenditure.

Common Causes of Overheating in Diesel Generators: -

  • Low coolant levels, that can eventually result in loose clamps or leaking gaskets.
  • A collapsed soft hose that will reduce the optimum circulation of coolant which leads to restriction.
  • Heavy accumulation of grease and dirt on the surface of the diesel generator that will prevent dissipation of heat.
  • More fuel than required is used.
  • A broken cooling fan or improper fan belt tension.
  • Clogged diesel injectors that will make the system overwork and thus overheat. Clogged air filters can also cause the unit to overheat.
  • Damaged exhaust, overload, and low oil levels.
  • A faulty gauge that fails to trigger the cooling system.

External Environmental Factors: -

  • In high altitude areas, air pressure drops, thus reducing air density. With low air density, heat dissipation is not efficient.
  • In a high temperature environment, there is lower air density. So, the engine will push itself to deliver the same amount of power - causing it to overheat.
  • When humidity is high, heat will not dissipate properly.

Internal Environmental Factors: -

  • If the diesel generator is in the basement, lack of airflow can lead to overheating.
  • Other equipment in the same room as the generator can emit heat as well - this will affect the genset’s cooling system.
  • Sometimes, the exhaust may be blocked preventing the generator from cooling itself.

Prevention of Overheating: -

Apart from regular servicing, here are a few other things you could do:

  • Avoid placing the diesel generator in the proximity of other heat-emitting equipment.
  • Keep coolant and oil levels at correct levels. Use quality fuel and coolant.
  • Install the diesel generator in a secure and well-ventilated area.
  • Monitor the exhauster. Ensure it is clear.
  • Never overload the diesel generator. If need be, replace it with a more powerful one.

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