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MAINTENANCE - LIGHT LOAD OPERATION article

LIGHT LOAD OPERATION & STANDBY GENERATING SETS

If an engine is operated on a load less than 25-30% of its rated output, certain symptoms will be observed which may give cause for concer. The usual results of this operation are heavier than normal lubricating oil consumption, and oil leaks from the air and exhaust manifolds. This condition is particularly evident on standby generator set applications, where a weekly exercise on no load is common prctice.

These phenomean are due to the fact that:

  1. Turbocharger oil seals are not fully effective on light load, which results in oil being delivered together with the air into the engine air manifolds.
  2. The cylinder temperatures are too low to ensure complete burning of all the fuel delivered.

 This results in an unsightly drip from the exhaust manifold junction glands. A further result is that of abnormal carbon build-up on the valves, piston crowns and exhaust ports. Thus the normal service interval of 2500 hours between top overhauls may be reduced. Fuel dilution of the lubricating oil will also occur.

It is therefore recommended the following precautions are observed:

  1. Running on light load should be avoided or reduced to the minimum period. If weekly exercising on no load is carried out, the running period should be kept down to say, 10 minutes, or unitl the battery charging rate returns to normal.
  2. Every year the engine or generator set should be run on full load for four hours, to burn off accumulations of carbon in the engine and exhaust system. This may require the use of a 'dummy load'. The load should be built up gradually from zero over the four hour run.

On standby sets, air cleaner elements should be changed annually. Lubricating oil and fuel filter elements should be changed every six months. The fuel injectors should be checkd every 2 year.

There is absolutely no danger of failure or breakdown resulting from light load operation, providing the above recommendations are followed.




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