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Old 07-15-2020, 02:24 AM   #1
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Old diesel engines - what made all the noise?

I do not know this as my 1st diesel was a 2012 Ford.

What I want to know is about the old Cummins and the especially the old International (Ford) 7.3. This engine sounded like it was coming apart.

What made all that clicking and clacking sound?

If I had to guess I would say the valves hitting the valve seat.
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:03 AM   #2
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Detonation, the exploding of the fuel under high compression.

Many of the older diesels had pre-combustion chambers. The fuel was injected into a small chamber to ignite and then spread to the main area. They were noisier.

That's how diesels work.

Why would the valves make anymore noise then gas engine valves ?

https://www.dieselhub.com/tech/idi-vs-di.html
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:25 AM   #3
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Hard to believe, but the single loudest sound in the mechanically injected diesels prior to common rail was the injector closing after injection. As you phased in between pure mechanical pumps and electronically controlled mechanical pumps you could really hear the difference under deceleration. Under deceleration you could hear the injectors cease. As your speed would slow to match engine rpm where there became a demand for power to resume you could actually hear the injectors start to function again.

As mentioned above the earlier generations of diesels in cars and trucks were IDI (indirect injection) motors but they went away from Ford in 95 with the DI (direct injection) powerstroke line and GM went DI with the Duramax. B Series Cummins in the Dodges were DI from the start. The DMax was a common rail motor from the beginning, but the powerstrokes and B series Cummins transitioned into CRI during their life cycles. The CRI engines are eerily quite compared to the previous generations.


I really miss the IDI motors. They weren't power houses by any means, but I liked their sounds, simplicities and their efficiency was much better.
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Old 07-15-2020, 05:52 AM   #4
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Years ago we were at a RV Park in Minnesota. I heard a diesel engine start up and it was loud, clanking, etc. It was a 1950's motorhome (Flxible Starliner?) and the cloud of blue smoke on start-up was amazing. The sound of that old diesel was like music! LOL!

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Old 07-15-2020, 06:02 AM   #5
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I have an old david brown tractor, 3 cyl diesel,, rattle ..click clack...
I just re did valve lash now you can hear injectors and just the clacking of firing... dang thing never stops starting or running... No battery, bump it she firs on one spin of rear wheel...
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:08 AM   #6
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My friend had a late 90's F-250 farm truck with the 7.3. He needed to warm it up and said it built power slowly. While it was warming up we had to move away from it to talk or else we had to scream at each other to hear.

I think the 7.3 was the clickiest and clackiest engine I ever heard. And probably why I never owed a diesel. They sounded like crap.

I take it that diesel engines never had a carbuator like 60's and 70's cars?
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:35 AM   #7
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The Cat engines of the 70s were amazing. At idle you would be thinking it was terminal. Lots of clatter. A little throttle and they would smooth out and run like silk.
On hills they would get into the torque band and stay there. An amazing engine.

The feeling at the time was that the 318 Dietroit was good for 250k miles before a major rebuild. Cummins, 500k. Cat, until you got tired of pouring oil into them which was usually around the 75k mark.
Spent many happy hours with them.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:53 AM   #8
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1693PCTA, and 3408PCTA best engines ever made.
It was called fuel knock.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:42 AM   #9
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My 1993 F350 IDI Turbo Diesel is my daily driver. Love the 'old diesel sound', but have to admit on long road trips I sometimes wish it was quiet like the new Powerstrokes. Especially when pulling a load up long steep grades at 3k RPM in 3rd gear, you definitely know I'm coming. The fan is load enough I sometimes think it is pulling me up the hill!

But I really like the cheap maintenance, reliability, and easy repairs. And I just can't bring myself to spend the stupid amount of money the new trucks sell for.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:52 AM   #10
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I read a technical explanation once regarding diesel clatter. It had to do with burning of fuel off the surface of the injection droplets. Kind of the bottom line - the larger the fuel droplets the more noise. Current diesels have multiple injection events and smaller droplets. Pretty simplified explanation.

Regarding the Cummins. The redesign went with a quieter block casting and hydraulic lifters. My 04.5 Cummins is noisy at idle. Oddly enough, the noise is greatly reduced when I use Optilube XPD fuel lubricant. I can hear the difference when my fuel is dry or lubricated.
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Old 07-15-2020, 08:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Detonation, the exploding of the fuel under high compression.
Quote:
Originally Posted by L.C.Gray View Post
Hard to believe, but the single loudest sound in the mechanically injected diesels prior to common rail was the injector closing after injection.
BOTH were major contributors !

Modern "common rail" systems still have some of the same noise even though they do not have mechanical injectors. Multiple injections help both noise and emissions.
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Old 07-15-2020, 08:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
I take it that diesel engines never had a carbuator like 60's and 70's cars?
Nope, no carbs. Most don't even have a throttle plate. Intake wide open at idle of full song, no vacuum.
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Old 07-15-2020, 08:14 AM   #13
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The Cat engines of the 70s were amazing.
Probably was the A series engines like the 3406A popular in the Semis. The A's were painted white while the B's and on were painted yellow. The big difference with the A's were they were Indirect Injected whereas the B's and on were Direct Injected. The 3406A's had a lot of devoted truck drivers but as parts got thin they became disciples of the 3406Bs. Many drivers still want to drive the "big yellow motor" and seek out older trucks.
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Old 07-15-2020, 08:20 AM   #14
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the larger the fuel droplets the more noise.
There is truth to this... If you ever had a drooling injector you'd think you had a rod about to throw. I once was about to change an engine thinking it was doomed. Happened to run out of fuel and after bleeding system out and restarting all was fine. I guess on a no fuel start with governor wide open it blew out whatever obstruction was holding the nozzle open and cleared itself. Really had me fooled to the point I was about to spend a lot of time, labor and money for mothing.
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