A piston is a metal cylinder connecting the engine cylinder during the combustion cycle and linked to the engine crankshaft by a linking rod.
The piston sucks air into the cylinder as it goes down. This air is subsequently compressed when the piston rises. This increases the air temperature, resulting in air feeding to the cylinder.
The fuel’s exposure to the compressed air at high temperatures and the associated ignition generates the engine’s power. A piston also helps create a low-pressure zone against the increased air pressure outside the cylinder.
Pistons serve as the combustion chambers button section in a diesel engine, collecting the heat generated by combustion and channeling it out of the metal temperature to maintain the heat at safe limits. However, this piston can melt while serving its purpose for various reasons.
Can an engine piston melt?
Yes, Piston engines can melt for several reasons, but in most cases, the piston can melt due to excessive heat in the engine compartment. Other reasons for piston melting include a limited number of air conditioners, like a clogged air filter, and incorrect setting of fuel delivery.
Generally, a piston can fail due to excessive heat in the combustion chamber.
The primary cause can be pre-ignition or detonation. Denotation happens when the pressure and temperature in the cylinder rise beyond the octane fuel rating.
Rather than igniting as the spark plug fires, the fuel or air spontaneously ignites like a diesel engine creating multiple flame fronts within the combustion chamber that hammer and collide with the piston’s top, generating a metallic knocking noise known as a spark knock.
On the other hand, pre-ignition happens when a hot spot forms in the combustion chamber that ignites the fuel-air mixture before the firing of the spark plugs.
3 causes of a melted piston
1. Abnormal combustion
Abnormal combustion can result in a melted piston. Abnormal combustion in an engine can be spotted by a gnawed-off bowl edge.
Poor display pattern by injection nozzles, incorrect injection pressure, and delivery rate of nozzles. Abnormal combustion can result from various factors like too rich the fuel lar mixture in the combustion chamber.
When the mixture in the combustion chamber is high can be a sign of reduced air supply, incorrect fuel delivery setting, or stiff nozzle. A clogged exhaust gas system can also lead to abnormal combustion in the combustion chamber resulting in the melting of the pistons.
2. Misfiring or delay in ignition
When there is misfiring or delay in the ignition, the piston will melt. Misfiring can be caused by incorrect fuel or one with a poor cetane rating.
The other reason could be that the diesel is mixed with gasoline. Other causes include leaky valves, a too-small protrusion, and defective prewarming.
3. Piston overheating
An overheated piston can result in melting. This can be identified by signs like a damaged combustion bowl’s pattern on the piston top. A bent cooling oil nozzle causes these high temperatures in the piston crown, or the nozzle is detached. Too long periods between oil changes are also a cause, but also contamination in the gasket.
Where would you see a melted piston more often?
Melted pistons are more commonly seen in diesel cars than in petrol ones because diesel engines often produce a higher amount of torque. Due to this, the pistons are likely to melt due to the high amount of heat produced.
How do you know if you melted a piston?
If you see a thick white, bluish, or gray smoke coming out from the exhaust pipe, this is one symptom to alert you that you have melted a piston.
Such kind of smoke will be a result of burning oil inside the combustion chamber. One more thing, a melted piston will result in a loss of compression pressure in the engine, and the engine power will be lost.
In such a situation, when the piston ring faulty is at the critical level, the acceleration will be lost. You will see signs of melting only on the top of the piston.
At what temperature do pistons melt?
Excess heat in the composition chamber of fewer than 1200 degrees Celsius or 2192 °F can melt the pistons.
Can you drive a car with a melted piston?
Yes, you can drive with a melted piston; however, your car will have some discomforts while moving. A piston that has suffered from excess heat is a problem, just like any other issue that can affect it, and therefore, driving with a melted piston expects reduced engine power, exhaustion of thick smoke through the exhaust, loss of combustion power, and low acceleration.
Can a melted piston be fixed? Or it should be replaced?
A melted piston will have different features such as a hole, imbalance, and weak parts. This would mean it can not perform its role. A melted piston cannot be fixed; instead, it should be replaced entirely.
How much does it cost to replace a piston?
Starting from purchasing a new piston or its rings and labor, it will cost between $1000 and $5000 to replace it. Labor will cost between $1000 and $4000, and the cost of the piston ring is more than $40.
In addition, the price, replacement cost, and labor will vary depending on the car model and region. Fixing this issue is costly and requires skill.
High temperatures in the engine caused by the poor cooling system and high torque can lead to pistons melting. Although there could be other issues, engine temperatures rising to around 1200 °C or 2192 °F can also melt the piston.
Replacing pistons is expensive as you may pay up to $5000. Therefore always inspect your can and avoid what may be a threat to your pistons.