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Common Rail Diesel [CRD] Overview

Common rail diesel systems operating pressures can in exceed 2,000 bar (29,000
psi) and offer a number of benefits over conventional diesel systems.

These high pressures improve the atomisation of the fuel thus improving ignition and
combustion within the engine. In addition to the increased pressures, the electronic
control significantly improves the flexibility of the system over older mechanical fuel
injection systems – for example, during a single combustion stroke the injector may
inject up to seven times per cylinder per stroke.

The strict control of fuel injection,

1. Reduces Exhaust Emissions.

2. Increases Engine Power Output.
3. Results in Quieter Engine
4. Reduces Fuel Consumption

CRD Safety
• Common Rail Diesel systems produce high operating fuel pressures as a
result demand greater electrical energy to actuate fuel injectors.
• Injector control voltages can exceed 150 volts with 20 Amp current draw.
• CRD systems utilise single use fuel pipes. That is, once the pipes have been
loosened, they must be replaced as it is not possible to reliably reseal them
due to the very high system operating pressure.
• Engine and Ignition must be switched OFF before removing fuel system
• Always follow manufacturers recommendations when working with Common
Rail Diesel Systems
Common Rail Diesel Problems
CRD systems like an EFI petrol systems, rely on engine input sensors to the ECU
to control fuel injection, timing control etc. These sensors may fail causing similar
symptoms to an EFI petrol system, but, in many instances somewhat different too.

• Air mass meter

• Intake air pressure sensor
• Crankshaft sensor
• Camshaft sensor
• Coolant sensor
• Throttle position sensor
• Pedal position sensor
• Air / Fuel sensor
• Vehicle speed sensor

Diesel Particulate Filters [DPF] are

used to filter soot i.e. Diesel
Particulates from entering the
atmosphere. Generally, DPF fault codes appear more frequently with vehicles used
in short stop-start driving conditions. DPF equipped vehicles need to be driven
regularly at higher speeds to allow regeneration to occur. Regeneration refers to a
self-cleaning process which is generally managed by the engine control unit. Briefly
explained, a differential pressure sensor[s] signals the Engine Control Unit providing
information about the pressure difference across the DPF. If the pressure difference
exceeds the Control Units acceptable operating position a fault code advising DPF
malfunction is stored in the engine control unit. As a result the DPF warning light
illuminates on the instrument cluster advising of a DPF malfunction. If a vehicle with
a DPF malfunction requires attention the following items should be considered during

• Use a scanner to initiate DPF service regeneration

• Check DPF pressure differential sensor before and after DPF regeneration
• Check engine oil level and condition before and after DPF regeneration (high
oil level can indicate the oil is fuel contaminated)
Note: The DPF can heat up to in excess of 600 degrees Celsius during the
DPF regeneration cycle.
• Always follow manufacturers recommendations

EGR systems become contaminated with soot causing blockages and/or EGR
valves to leak.

• Evaluate using scan tool, identify if fault code stored denotes High Nox.
Emissions problem.
• Check EGR system pressure differential sensor.
Hard starting problems

• Check glow plug operation

• Check for excessive injector return flow
• Engine Mechanical condition

Injector replacement

• Check if the new injector requires coding with scan tool. Refer to
manufacturers specifications.
• Replace sealing gaskets/washers and high pressure pipes, these items
are classified as “Single Use Items”
• Thoroughly clean the injector area ,ie fittings, injector cylinder head area,
before starting work to reduce the risk of contaminating new injectors.