"Technicians are still going to have to do basic diagnostics, they're still going to have to be educated in how things work," cautions Atkins. "These scan tools are not a fix-all or substitute for actual knowledge of how the system operates. The scan tool may lead them to something, or they may need to do a static test, like a fuel pressure test, which the scan tool cannot perform. So training will always be required, and it does get more complicated with these newer systems, but in general the new systems are more diagnostic than ever before, and this does for the most part help the technician rather than hinder him."
"Depending on the application, there's going to be a different bleed method to get the air out of the system," says Weiss. "That's a very common issue with diesels: restarting once air has been introduced into the system. I know specifically on the new Jeep diesel application, they've got a primer built right into the fuel filter assembly, so they've alleviated some of those hard start issues that occur after breaking open the fuel system."
"Duramax is the same way, too, where their engines have a primer pump that's on the side of the fuel filter housing to help bleed that air out of the system," Atkins says.
IT'S ALL IN THE APPLICATION
To the experts, the question of maintenance comes down to application. A light vehicle with a newer, smaller diesel engine should not require any more service and maintenance than a comparable vehicle with a gas engine.
"Now you're going to have a larger quantity of oil, and you're going to have a larger quantity of coolant, because the diesel engines require that," says Atkins. "But it's all about being consistent: both will have fuel filters that need to be replaced.
"Larger quantities of coolant and oil in a truck make a substantial difference in cost if you're changing that out all the time, but it all depends on your specific fleet service interval," Atkins concludes. "A lot of fleets like to spend more on maintenance, because they feel they will get more durability out of their engines, and I think for the most part that's true."
New engines mean new training challenges.
Course designed to meet demand for improved fuel efficiency.