Truck Engine

Truck engines are internal combustion engines that are usually diesel fueled. Diesel is desired for large vehicles because it has the highest thermal efficiency of any fuel currently used. This means that diesel converts to energy more efficiently than other fuels. Diesel truck engines are manufactured in two stroke or four stroke variations, much like cars or motorcycles. The main difference is in the size of the engine, as a truck engine must have a larger combustion chamber to supply the power necessary to haul large loads.

Truck Engine Components and Function

A diesel truck engine contains many of the same components as a gasoline powered engine within a car or motorcycle. Pistons, a cylinder block and head, and a crankshaft and valve train are all present within a diesel truck engine. The components that are used in large truck engines are usually much higher quality than components used in smaller non-commercial vehicles. This is because large trucks are often intended for long-term daily use and because materials must be used that can handle the excessive temperatures necessary to begin the power cycle in a truck engine.

The way that the engine fires is slightly different than a gasoline powered engine. Compressed hot air is used to ignite the diesel fuel, whereas a spark plug is used to ignite the fuel in a gasoline powered engine. This compressed hot air is created in the combustion chamber, and then the fuel is allowed in by a valve.

The power cycle works much the same as a gasoline powered engine. The ignition of the fuel causes the pistons to move up and down in the cylinder block. The valves open and close, allowing air and fuel into the combustion chamber to allow the cycle to continue. The motion of the pistons triggers the motion of the crankshaft. This motion is translated through the transmission and to the wheels, setting the truck in motion.

Diesel Truck Engine Emissions

In recent years, the emissions expelled from the exhaust of diesel powered truck engines have caused environmental and public health concerns. The Environmental Protection Agency has put effort into researching and implementing cleaner diesel fuel standards. The development of cleaner fuel by refineries in 2006 has allowed manufacturers of new engines to utilize new technologies that further reduce emissions. Diesel exhaust has shown to have adverse effects on the health of those exposed to it. Reduced emissions in the diesel exhaust should help to significantly reduce these health hazards, as well as air pollution.


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“Tools and Resources Regulatory Standards.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Feb 2013. Web. 13 Oct 2013. <>.