Huuuuge Diesel Engines

I hadn’t really thought about it, but the giant ships that transport all our goods across the ocean run on diesel engines. Now this isn’t your standard 5 or 6 liter engine found in a Dodge or a Ford. And it’s not the same 12-15L engine you’d see under the hood of a big rig rolling down the street.

No no, these things are MASSIVE. Check out this picture of a Wartsila diesel engine:

That’s the crankshaft. The crank journal is bigger around than the guy standing next to it! If you look closely it looks like there are ladders built in to climb down under the crank too.

I’m not sure what a mechanic has to do to be qualified to work on that, but sign me up!

There’s a lot more info about these crazy ship engines here: if you want to see more pictures like the one above.


Do I need to go to diesel mechanic school?

Diesel-powered machines consume less fuel and are longer lasting than a typical gasoline-powered machine. But they are also more complicated. While many people can learn to work on cars on their own, if you are interested in becoming a diesel journeyman, your best bet is to get formal training. Enrolling in one of the many schools across the country offering diesel technician classes will provide you with the highest probability of receiving a good paying position as a diesel technician.

Diesel power plants are already widespread in buses, trucks, and other places. They are also starting to be more and more common in passenger cars because they are more fuel efficient. It’s no surprise the news says that job opportunities are expected to be good for diesel mechanics.

After graduating from one of the best diesel mechanic programs, you will be ready for a wide range of diesel mechanic jobs working on cars, light duty trucks, and class 8 tractors. Graduating from studies at one of these specialty programs will teach you about all the advanced systems specific to diesels. This will include learning about turbochargers, air brake systems, heavy duty suspension, and much more. This instruction will also prepare you to become ASE certified, an important step in your life as a diesel mechanic.

Diesel technician programs can be quite different. The development programs can range from around 42 to 75 weeks in length. This is usually broken up into multiple sessions so you can have a break from your studies. Almost all schools will have both class room and lab sessions. This allows you to learn important theory and also to practice the actual mechanic techniques on real vehicles.

Many diesel mechanic schools will provide the opportunity to specialize in what is most attractive to you. Some technician programs will make available advanced manufacturer-specific courses so you can learn about Daimler Truck diesel engines, Caterpillar engines, International engines, Cummins engines, and others. Other programs may give you the chance to learn advanced trouble shooting and diagnostic techniques for diesel generators or other expertise needed to become a diesel mechanic service manager. These manufacturer-specific lessons can be a key factor for your career. It is also important to choose a school that teams with companies for the basic training. This way you can guarantee that you are learning the methods most important to be successful as a diesel mechanic.

Why is Diesel so Special?

You may be wondering what makes diesels so special and why they get their own mechanics.

Diesel engine mechanics service the diesel engines that power many types of vehicles. Diesel engines are everywhere in our country’s buses and trucks and are becoming more prevalent in other vehicles, such as pickups, passenger cars, and other vehicles. Some diesel technicians work with tanks, big rigs, or mining equipment. Typically technicians will perform many kinds of repairs. Working on diesel engines is more difficult than ever as more electronic subsystems are used to control the engine.

Diesel mechanics have to adapt to industry needs and emerging technologies. On-board computers now manage the fuel system and control the engine to limit emissions. New regulations could require mechanics to retrofit engines with new emissions components, such as DPFs and urea injection, to meet emissions regulations. Some of the time, diesel service specialists will use laptops to identify issues and improve engine reliability.

Technicians working for organizations that service their own vehicles spend most of their week performing preventative maintenance. During a typical maintenance appointment, workers use a checklist that includes inspecting tires, turbochargers, brake systems. During a check-up, mechanics fix parts that do not work within spec or swap out pieces that cannot be repaired.

Diesel technicians typically work in a garage, but they occasionally visit vehicles on the road or on the jobsite. Mechanics may be part of a team or be assisted by an apprentice or helper when doing heavy work, such as changing tires. Most people work a typical 40-hour week, but they can work unusual hours, particularly if they are running their own shop. An increasing number of shops have modified their hours to speed repairs and be more convenient for customers. Several truck and bus firms provide maintenance and repair service all day every day.

A diesel mechanic might do a variety of diesel engine repairs. Others specialize in rebuilding engines or in repairing starting systems. Some also repair large diesel powerplants used for generators and other industrial equipment.

A diesel technician should be able to do any number of things on the job. These include checking electrical systems and transmission parts, replacing engine parts, inspecting the engines and detecting malfunctions.

A diesel technician should have adequate written and verbal communication skills.

If you need any more information about diesel mechanics and their job description, I recommend Diesel Mechanic Info at

Army mechanic

An army mechanic hard at work. A lot of the vehicles the army uses are diesel, so diesel mechanics are in high demand.

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