Telltale Signs of Rocker Arm Failure in Diesel Engines

valve covers

In diesel engines, the rocker arm is a reciprocating lever that transfers pushrod motion to a valve stem. And in the event of rocker arm failure, it’s not uncommon for the engine to frequently stall or completely stop working until you replace the damaged rocker arm. 

Rocker failure is typically caused by improper heating treatment and faulty manufacturing, making it susceptible to brittleness, cracks and stresses. Consequently, you need to find a repair shop specializing in diesel engines. 

At Choate Engineering Performance, our diesel engine experts provide repair and maintenance services, while our manufacturing branch offers reverse engineering, short blocks, long blocks, full runner engines, and diesel engine parts. 

 

What are the most common signs of rocker arm failure?

Here, we list the most common telltale signs that your rocker arms need replacement so you can prevent poor engine performance and failure. 

 

Poor performance and acceleration 

A faulty rocker arm often causes the engine to experience decreased power and poor acceleration because it prevents the valves from opening and closing at the right time. 

In extreme cases of wear and tear, the engine may even suffer from frequent stalling while driving before it completely stops working until you replace the damaged rocker arm with a new one. 

 

Clicking noise 

Most people describe the unusual noise as something similar to a sewing machine (ticking or clicking), which is caused by the valves struggling to open and close at the right time. Consequently,  have your engine inspected and diagnosed once you hear any strange sound.

Aside from rocker arm failure, any clicking or any unusual noises in the combustion chamber and its surrounding parts may be caused by insufficient lubrication between moving parts, damaged camshaft lobes and worn valves. 

If the rocker arm looks normal on visual inspection, your diesel technician may recommend troubleshooting to find the cause of unusual noises. 

 

Wear and tear 

If you see cracks, warping or any sign of wear and tear during a visual inspection, you need to replace the rocker arm asap if you don’t want your engine to suffer from reduced power, poor acceleration, frequent stalling or complete failure to start. 

To conduct a visual inspection, a diesel technician will remove the valve cover and looks for signs of wear and tear that commonly affect the moving parts below the rocker arms because they grind against the valves and pivot points. 

Once there is a visible sign of wear and tear, a rocker arm needs to be replaced even though there are no other symptoms, such as poor engine performance, stalling, etc., rather than wait for them to appear (because they will, sooner rather than later). 

 

Engine light signal 

Diesel-powered vehicles can also detect weak engine performance and warn owners by lighting up the check engine light, a signal that must never be ignored. 

Meanwhile, you can use a diagnostic scanner to check for stored codes. For example, some DTC-related codes for rocker arms include the P2662 (rocker arm actuator system stuck on bank 2), the P2647 (rocker arm oil pressure switch), and the P2646 (rocker arm actuator system performance), just to name a few. 

 

Rocker arm failure final words 

The right rocker arm replacement depends on the type of vehicle. For instance, high-performance and load-carrying trucks need stronger rocker arms typically made from cast iron or forged carbon steel. 

Visit Choate Engineering Performance if you need diesel engine repair and maintenance services, reverse engineering and high-quality engine parts. You can also call us at (901) 553-9847 to learn more about our products and services. We’re excited to hear from you soon.

To prevent rocker arm failure on your 6.4 Powerstroke, take a look at our valve covers with an integrated oiling system.

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