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Machining of a valve seat at Metric Automotive Engineering’s facility.

Machining of a valve seat at Metric Automotive Engineering’s facility.

When customers look for engine remanufacturing services, they should audit the status and suitability of the remanufacturer’s equipment to determine if it is capable of machining these new generation engines. This is because new generation engine components require far tighter machining tolerances and advanced machining methods during the remanufacturing process, Andrew Yorke, Operations Director at Metric Automotive Engineering, says.

The benefit of quality engine parts and skilled engineering is seldom seen in the first thousand hours of a vehicle’s operation. This only becomes evident later, when the engine starts to log extended machine hours. Coupled to this is the fact that modern engine designs are more complex than ever before, in the quest to achieve improved fuel efficiency and higher emission standards.

“The engines currently being installed into new vehicles are highly sophisticated, not in their major elements, but in the minor components that are so critical to performance and emissions efficiencies,” Yorke notes. “Although the primary elements have stayed the same, when it comes to engine rebuilding, machining tolerances and clearance tolerances have become a lot tighter.

“This necessitates far higher skill levels among remanufacturing engineers, even compared to the recent past, as well as more accurate equipment because there is a great deal less room for error.” Yorke points out that some fleet owners, plant managers and foremen are unaware that the major engine OEMs share basic engine designs and simply adjust these to suit their own requirements.

“It cannot be assumed that because the engines look the same, the same parts can be used. Certain engine models are being shared by up to five different OEMs. The engine block is the same, but there are small size variations in the componentry, with subtle variations even within a single OEM’s range of engines,” Yorke says.

Engineering and artisan machining skill levels are also critical. When remanufacturers outsource certain elements of the process because they lack the necessary equipment or skills in-house, it can affect quality and turnaround time, as well as adding to the overall cost and even impact the warranty terms.

“Remanufacturers must have access to the correct engine parts,” Yorke adds. This means that such companies must have critical information such as the engine serial number, model number and VIN code on hand. Although differences in parts may not be obvious, fitting the incorrect parts will affect performance significantly,” Yorke warns.

“An engine is not just an engine anymore. Remanufacturers can no longer supply a part simply because of its similarity to the original part. There are critical differences, and if you do not work within these parameters, the engine will never run as it is intended to. There are no more quick fixes in such a scenario because once the vehicle is back on the road, it will be extremely difficult to identify why it is not running optimally,” Yorke says.

Metric Automotive Engineering provides world class IPD engine cover parts for its Caterpillar® customers in particular. “Our highly skilled in-house engineers understand the latest generation engines and have the knowledge to install correct parts that are of an appropriate standard. We are familiar with the subtle differences between engine variants, ensuring that the customer receives the correct parts first time round,” Yorke concludes.