Excessive Idle Running of Diesel Engine and the Effects

Excessive Idle Running of Diesel Engine and the Effects

While idle running is unavoidable and even essential to a certain extent, excess idle running is always dangerous for the engine and the environment.

By Bhaskarudu Peddakotla
Many people, particularly operators, have their own myths on idle running of engines of the machines they operate, such as idling is essential to warm up the engine before loading the engine (moving with or without load); idling is good for the engine and there will not be any load on the engine; keeping engine running in idle is better than frequent switch off and switch on. But the facts are entirely opposite as given below:

Idle running: Keeping the engine running at low idle without any work by the machine. Low idle RPM will normally be between 650 to 750 RPM

The allowable idle run: Normally, 15 to 20% of total run hours is allowable idle run. This provision is given to take care of the safety of the turbocharger and certain unavoidable working conditions like waiting at loading machine, waiting at dumping yard, momentary stoppages on haul roads during crossings, giving passage to loaded vehicles coming in the opposite direction, vehicles climbing gradients etc.

Excessive idle running: Any idle running beyond 20% of total run hours or >5 minutes in a single stretch is considered as excessive idle running. There are incidences of 60% idle running of machines in some worksites.

Effects of excessive Idling of engine: In a compression ignition engine, the cylinders are designed to be hot and maintain adequate temperature to burn the injected fuel completely. But during idle running, due to low reciprocating speed of piston, the compression inside the cylinder will not be as effective as during high piston speeds. Due to this, the temperature generated inside the combustion chamber will not be at the desired level, which will lead to the following issues:
  • Piston rings do not expand adequately, causing insufficient sealing between piston ring and liners which again leads to leakage of compressed gases
  • Incomplete burning of injected fuel and leaving unburnt fuel in the combustion chamber, and passing the unburnt fuel to engine sump through the gap between piston ring and liners
  • When fuel starts passing through the gap between the piston ring and the cylinder walls, the fuel washes the piston rings and cylinder liners and dilutes the lubricating oil. This action gradually develops a glazing/shining surface on the liners, eroding the crosshatch marks provided for lubricating oil retention
  • Glazing not only loses oil retention in liners but also slowly erodes the oil film which leads to accelerated wear of piston rings and loss of compression. This further increases the gap between the liner and the rings causing severe leakage of compressed gases into the crank case, leading to excess blow-by
  • Excess blow-by means loss of compression pressure, loss of power and time to overhaul the engine. Further continuation of running with same status leads to throwing lube oil through exhaust gases (lube oil passing into the combustion chamber through the increased gap between liner and rings)
  • Improper burning or poor compression leads to excess carbon formation in piston rings grooves, piston crown, ring band, cylinder head, valves, injector tips etc
  • Excess carbon formation leading to stucking of piston rings in grooves, leakage of gases between valve and valve seats, improper fuel spray due to blocked injector spray holes and ultimately aggravating all issues mentioned above and loss of power
  • Diesel dilution in engine causing drop in lube oil viscosity and washing out bearing surfaces, dropping lube oil pressure, killing oil film and making metal to metal contact of moving parts and ultimately faster wear of bearings and journals and premature overhaul of engine
  • Diesel mixing with lube oil also leads to faster wear of lube oil pump components and reducing pump efficiency
  • Improper combustion of gases emits lot of harmful substances like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matters etc., through exhaust gases causing health issues to public
  • Wear rate of diesel engine during idle running will be 60% more compared to normal operation
  • Further idle running of engine means burning the fuel for no work and increasing operating cost unnecessarily
  • For every litre of burning of diesel 2.65 kgs of carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere
  • An engine which may give life of 20000 hours may come for overhauling even at 8000 hours due to excess idling of engine
So, excess Idling of engine leads to many issues like premature overhauling of engines i.,e increasing operating cost and downtime, unnecessary burning of diesel again leading to increase in operating cost and polluting the atmosphere with harmful exhaust emissions.

However, certain amount of idling is necessary for the engines. For example a turbo-charged engine has to be kept idle for 60 to 180 seconds before shutting down and after starting, i.e before accelerating. Also, while waiting at loading areas and other miscellaneous jobs.

Excessive Idle Running of Diesel Engine and the Effects

How to control or minimize idle running
  • Utilize the data from machine, downloaded through electronic tool and remote monitoring devices, as all present generation machines are equipped with electronic devices to monitor the operating practices
  • Analyse the reports and identify areas of improvements which can be done machine- wise or even operator-wise
  • Gaps may be in synchronization of loading machines with hauling machines, waiting machines at refuelling area, unloading area, communication between supervisor and operator, electrical problems like self-starter, alternator, batteries etc., and sleeping of operator inside the cabin- all of which are avoidable
  • Follow good maintenance practices of all the auto electrical components by keeping a ready stock of all the consumable parts
  • Allocate the right number of dumpers to loading machines with proper work planning
  • Educate and guide operators and other staff associated with the operation and maintenance in plugging the gaps and keep monitoring performance with periodical reviews
  • Create ownership among all the stakeholders at site and recognize and reward best performers
Case Study
At a site where 10 dumpers and 3 loaders were deployed, the idle running of dumpers was 56% and the loaders was 45%. Fuel consumption during idle running of dumpers is 5 LPH and loaders 7 LPH and average utilization of each machine is 3000 hours per year. Imagine the savings from the fuel if this site can bring down the idle running to 20% maximum on all the machines. The savings will be 66,000 ltr of diesel per year, which amounts to Rs. 48 lakhs. Imagine the savings if the fleet size is large and has higher capacity machines. It is not only saving money through the diesel but a lot by protecting the engine from premature wear and protecting the environment from pollutants.

NBM&CW October 2020

Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please fill in your details, we will contact you as soon as possible
Choose Title from the listPlease let us know your name.
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please brief your query.
Our other value-added services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Equipment & Machinery
Invalid Input
Building Products
Invalid Input

ECHELON Paving at Delhi-Mumbai Expressway with VÖGELE Super 1800-3 Pavers Impressively Wide Incredibly Accurate

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is one of the most prestigious expressway projects in India, currently. It will start near Gurugram at Sohna and terminate at Mumbai (JNPT). With a total length of 1353 km, the Expressway is divided Read More ...

AMMANN ARX 91 Articulated Tandem Roller passes tough test

Indian contractor Prakash Asphalting & Toll Highways India tested an AMMANN ARX 91 Articulated Tandem Roller on a jobsite and was extremely pleased with the results. “The AMMANN ARX 91 was able to achieve the desired compaction Read More ...

Surelia Engineers Innovative Vibratory Roller Attachment for Backhoes & Excavators

Surelia Engineers has introduced an innovative Vibratory Roller which can be attached to any Excavator and Backhoe loader. This attachment is used as a compactor for Slopes, Unreachable or difficult to reach areas where Read More ...

Ammann: Green Roads for India Initiative Towards Swatch Bharat

The success of Ammann Asphalt-Mixing Plants is driven by innovation, backed by massive investments in R&D for developing sustainable and cost-effective solutions for the road building industry. For instance, the company Read More ...

Fleet of HAMM Compactors help build Komaravelli Mallana Sagar Reservoir

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is a gigantic project around the Godavari River in the state of Telangana. The aim is to supply this region, which has been extremely short of water for years, with a reliable source Read More ...

Lubricants: Storage & Handling Practices for Reliability of Equipment

Lubricants play a vital role in the reliability of any equipment. It is not only the oil quality but, most importantly, the oil storage and handling practices that enhance the reliability and life cycle cost of machines Read More ...

Lintec & Linnhoff re-enters India market with a new global business strategy

Lintec & Linnhoff has announced its re-entry into the Indian market, which has been one of the Group’s stronghold markets for the Linnhoff brand for over two decades. Under a brand-new global business strategy, the Group Read More ...

Fleet Management Through Remote Monitoring

Equipment users need to utilize remote monitoring facility at project sites and get regular reports on the machine’s operations to find out areas that need improvement in order to minimize operating cost and increase Read More ...

Wirtgen Cold Milling Machines Solve Big Challenge

North of Sacramento, a W 210i and W 2100 precisely milled the spillway chute of the Oroville Dam, the highest dam in the USA. In this process, the milling contractor also benefited from cold milling specialist Read More ...

CASE Releases SiteWatch Telematics Platform with New Design, New Dashboard and Simple Navigation

CASE Construction Equipment launches the next generation of its SiteWatch telematics platform with an all-new dashboard, more intuitive navigation and new overview sections that spotlight critical information without Read More ...

MOBISCREEN EVO screens in action

The MOBISCREEN EVO Mobile Screens are being manufactured by the Wirtgen Group in India at its local production and assembly plant in Pune. The mobile screening plants in the MOBISCREEN EVO line are successful all over the world Read More ...

Condition Monitoring - Oil Sampling Analysis in Construction & Mining Machines

Bhaskarudu Peddakotla, Consultant – Construction and Mining Machinery, suggests that machine owners should implement condition monitoring and thereby become self-reliant in maintaining their assets and enhancing Read More ...

Condition Monitoring Through Data Downloading

Leverage technology, educate and motivate team members, and minimise operating cost, advises Bhaskarudu Peddakotla, Consultant for Construction and Mining Equipment. Equipment availability is critical for profitability Read More ...

WIRTGEN Slipform Paver SP 1600 – the world’s largest paver - comissioned for construction of Vadodara-Kim Expressway

The world’s largest concrete slipform paver was comissioned at Patel Infrastructure on February 25th, 2020 for the construction of 8-lane Vadodara-Kim Expressway, a part of the Mumbai-New Delhi Expressway. The SP 1600 Read More ...

Skid Steer Loader: Scoring high on versatility and applicability

Manufacturers of skid steer loaders are banking on the versatility of the equipment and foresee its growing demand as an efficient application-driven machine NBM&CW reports. Though the skid steer loader market in India Read More ...

Preventive Maintenance through Condition Monitoring – Mining and Construction Equipment

The present competitive business environment demands higher utilization of equipment to the tune of 6000 hrs per year unlike the olden days of 2500 – 3000 hrs. To meet the present utilization level, machine availability has Read More ...

New Building Material & Construction World

New Building Material & Construction World
MGS Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week