Pistons: the power behind your engine

The pistons are the beating heart of an engine’s combustion system and they have to be able to withstand considerable explosive forces - and staggering temperatures of up to 1,000 °C. Our pistons are made from cast aluminium or iron alloy and each has carefully designed combustion bowls, which ensure a precise match with the fuel injector. This lowers your engine’s fuel consumption and enhances its power output.

The pistons drive the engine’s crankshaft, which transfers the power through the gearbox to the working parts.

The piston itself undergoes a 4 stroke cycle per revolution. This covers:

  1. Intake/suction stroke, during which the piston moves down as fresh air is drawn into the cylinder. This downward motion creates a partial vacuum within the cylinder that draws in the air. At the end of the intake stroke, the valve closes.
  2. The compression stroke follows. During this phase the air is compressed to between 1/12 and 1/22 of the original volume and this creates an immense amount of heat –both the inlet and the exhaust valves are shut at this stage.
The cylinder is the source of power for the engine
  1. At the end of this stroke a fine and precisely calculated mist of fuel is squirted into the cylinder chamber. Diesel engines have no spark plugs and instead rely on the heat caused by the compression of the air within the cylinder to spark the fuel coming into it. The ensuing combustion makes this known as the power phase and the force of this explosion drives the piston back down again, allowing the crankshaft to move.
  2. The exhaust stroke deals with the gases left by the combustion of the diesel fuel. It is now at a high temperature and a high pressure. These gases, which will also include unburnt fuel, will contain harmful substances such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. They leave the piston chamber via the exhaust valve, which has now opened.

During its life the piston will travel many millions of times. Our pistons are made from cast aluminium or iron alloy, according to the specification of your engine, and each has carefully designed combustion bowls to ensure a precise match with the fuel injector. This lowers your engine’s fuel consumption and enhances power output.

Our pistons are designed to run, often almost continuously, for years without major overhaul if the servicing patterns are strictly followed. Occasionally, however, they do go wrong so it is useful to know that they can be replaced if that should happen.

 


Fast facts

Your pistons are always at work in a 4 stroke cycle:

  • Intake
  • Compression
  • Power
  • Exhaust

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