Charge Air Coolers - All You Need to Know About Maintenance

The longer a truck runs, the higher the temperature gauge rises. The diesel-operated truck engines often run hot its standard operating temperature is about 220 °F that is below two degrees of the boiling point of water. The charge air coolers (CAC) or intercoolers are crucial heavy-duty truck parts, act as a middleman between turbochargers and an engine. It performs a significant function – controlling and keeping the engine’s temperature down and ensuring it functions at peak efficiency. In simple words, the CAC act as a guard against heat inside the truck.  

However, due to certain reasons, if the engine’s temperature rises or stays above the normal means, fault in the cooling system can damage or potentially lead to engine failure. Therefore, monitoring and considering cooling parts is vital to save you from costly repairs or tossing the engine into a dumpster.  

Common Symptoms that Show Charge Air Coolers need maintenance  

The cooling system is an integral part designed for hard work and long service life. It makes sure the compressed air coming from the vehicle’s turbocharger is adequately cooled before entering the engine.  

The truck’s Charge cooler is located in the front of the engine, which means having a high chance of getting damaged after working long hours. If you find CAC is not working optimal, watch out for the following symptoms:  

Leaking Coolant  

Just like any other heavy truck parts, CAC and turbocharges can also fail or damage. One of the possible causes of its damage is an air cooler leak. If you feel the constant heat and the coolant under the truck continuously filling coolant, it indicates a leak. A slight air leak can reduce the engine horsepower up to 50%.  

Coolant Contamination  

If you see rust present in the cooling radiator, it might damage or reduce the efficiency of the vehicle’s engine system. When the rust or corrode combines with the coolant, it forms thick sludge-like material that can lead to engine corrosion. The corrode engine can often not perform a basic operation, leading to exhaust overheating and even fires. That is why the experts recommend flushing the radiator periodically to remove all the unwanted contamination.  

Over Heating  

Over 40% of all charge air and truck after coolers show faulty signs after a year or two. It is because the cooling radiator can be impacted by external debris in the fins as well as by internal circumstances like coolant contamination and corrosion. If you find that the radiator is working fine, the excess temperature is likely because the coolant package is exhausted, damage in the engine thermostat, or an issue in the water pump within the cooling system.  

Preventative Maintenance Tips For CAC  

A vehicle’s cooling system acts as a front line of defence against heat generated by turbo compressors. By following a few preventative steps shown below, you can eliminate the risk of engine damage.  

Check Temperature Guage   

Making a habit of monitoring the truck’s engine temperature gauge can significantly reduce future damage of parts. Once installing the temperature gauge, look closely at what the gauge shows as a standard temperature for the engine. You should observe carefully or prepare a mental note to check temperature variations. Opting this way can help detect a sudden variation so that you can take immediate action on time.  

Inspect Coolant Leaks  

As mentioned above, leaks are a common reason behind cooling system damage. Leaks have two types – air leaks and fluid (coolant) leaks. Over the years, the truckers have been using coolant with the same bright green colour and a very-sticky sweet smell. The colour of the coolant doesn’t matter as long as you detect it correctly on the right spot of the cooling system. The leaking coolant fluid can cause engine to overheat. Therefore, detecting it in the early stages can help to avoid paying hefty repair bills.  

Look for Air-pressure Leaks  

As the system is leaking air pressure, not any liquid material, it is hard to identify leaks in a specific area before it’s too late. Anything that enables an engine’s temperature to rise can typically harm the vehicle system or cause severe damage – even a slight breach can turn out big after a time. Conduct a pressure test to inspect the possible leakage; this will help identify the source of the leak so you can perform maintenance immediately.   

Perform routine maintenance  

It is essential to keep your truck parts and components in good working order so that the engine does not overheat. This makes sense! You can prevent more than engine heat problems by adequately maintaining and monitoring your vehicle. It is good to act immediately once the indicator shows the problem in the truck’s cooling system. You can take the help of an expert mechanic to identify cooling system parts that need immediate repair or replacement to avoid any mishaps on the road. 

Possible Consequences of Bad Air Charge Coolers  

For optimal performance of an engine, the air that enters inside it from the turbocharger should be cool. Unfortunately, the compressed air from the turbo compressor generates heat due to a lack of oxygen molecules, which negatively impacts engine performance and affects power, torque and emissions. A bad CAC can cause significant problems for a truck, including:  

Reduced Fuel Efficiency  

On average, a trucker drives around 6-miles in a single day. However, if the air coolers don’t work optimally, it would cost more than $4000 per year only for fuel in a single truck. As a consequence, your business will start losing revenue.  

Loss in Engine Performance  

The combustion engine works best with cool air. The cooler the air, the more oxygen is accountable for improving combustion quality and engine efficiency.  

Ageing of Engine Components  

Heat isn’t suitable for your engine components. It can cause premature wear on your pistons, rings, valves, and any connector hoses and clamps. If the CAC stops functioning, it could cost much higher than extra fuel charges. Replacing engine components is expensive. Protect them by making sure your charge air cooler is functioning ideally.  

Surya Truck Parts – One Stop Shop for OEM Specified CAC Parts 

At Surya Truck Parts, we provide parts with the best quality and durable charge air coolers for all heavy-duty engines. We, as an expert, recommend you replace the cooling system immediately if it shows any signs of a leak and over-heating.  

Besides truck aftercoolers and charge air coolers, we deliver online the best quality truck and trailer parts, including wheel and hub bearings, clutch parts, drivetrain parts, condensers, lights, radiators, seals and many more at budget-friendly prices.  

Visit us and shop the top-quality aftermarket cooling systems and engine parts for your truck or fleet to get free delivery.  

Contact our experts at: 780 479 6600 | 1-877-767-2897