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English
IV

January
8, 2018

Diesel Mechanics and Technicians

Throughout
the world of vocational careers, many people choose the path of a diesel
technician. “In The United States, approximately 257,906 members of the
population are diesel mechanics.”(EMSI) These people have dedicated their
careers to the maintenance and repair of vehicles that possess an engine that
burns diesel fuel. “A diesel mechanic is involved in tasks related to
maintenance and repair of industry equipment and heavy vehicles. All equipment
running on a diesel engine is primarily maintained by these individuals. This
may include power plants, farming equipment and oil rigs as well.” (mindspark).

Many
people may ask themselves, “What does it take to become a diesel mechanic?” The
Advanced Technology Institute writes, “Students who aspire to be diesel
technicians can expect to attend nineteen months or around seventy-five weeks
to complete a high quality, rigorous course in diesel technology from a good
school” (Advanced Technology Institute). Many people who become diesel
mechanics usually gain their credentials from a technical or vocational school.
These diesel technology courses most often offer students with a fair balance
between hands-on training and classroom time, allowing every student a equal
opportunity to learn. According to www.rmw.org,
“The average cost of in-state tuition is $2,740. There are 2,375 automotive
programs offered in the United States, which makes it the most widely offered
program of the ones offered by most trade schools. These programs teach students
how to diagnose, maintain and repair many different kinds of vehicles, and
provide hand-on experience with relevant automotive technology. The wide
availability of diesel mechanic programs, and demand for graduates, is most
likely keeping tuition prices down”(Sorrentino).

Diesel
mechanic wages vary around the country and are affected by many factors such as
state minimum wage laws, company salary, and position of employment. According
to www.bls.gov, “The median annual wage for diesel service technicians and mechanics
was $45,170 in May 2016. Many diesel technicians, especially those employed by
truck fleet dealers and repair shops, receive a commission in addition to their
base salary. Most diesel technicians work full time. Overtime is common, as
many repair shops extend their service hours during evenings and weekends. In
addition, some truck and bus repair shops provide 24-hour maintenance and
repair services” (U.S. Department of Labor).           

The
jobs of diesel mechanics and technicians differ greatly from the jobs of
regular automotive mechanics simply due to the fact that workers in each career
field specialize in a different type of engine. Diesel engines are profusely
different from normal engines, not only because different fuel is required to
run each motor, but also because the two engines have different parts and use
different forms of combustion. “Gas and diesel engines are the two engine
configurations that rule the road. While both are internal combustion engines,
meaning that the fuel and air mixture is compressed internally through the
engine’s cylinders, there are some differences in the mechanics between the two
engine types, and aspiring automotive and diesel technicians need to understand
the difference. Both diesel and gas engines use an internal combustion method.
This means that no matter if you have a diesel engine or a gas engine, your
fuel in the engine’s cylinders will ignite and drive your pistons up and down,
thus turning the crankshaft that leads to your vehicle’s transmission and
wheels. This cycle repeats quickly, with the fuel and air being compressed and
ignited internally, allowing your car to move. While the overall goal of both
engine types involves turning your wheels, there’s a difference in the
mechanics of getting to that point when you look at diesel compared to gas.
While gas engines use spark plugs to ignite the gas when the fuel and air is
compressed, diesel engines don’t use a spark plug at all. Diesel engines use
extreme combustion methods to generate copious amounts of heat so the
compressed air and fuel essentially spontaneously combust on their own, known
as a compression ignition. This type of combustion is harmful for gas engines,
but diesel engines use it to their advantage” (Automotive Training Center).

Throughout
the business world, there are a profuse number of places where a diesel
technician could become employed. These places include, but are not limited to:
vehicle manufacturing companies, towing services, and autobody repair shops.
These are the most common businesses that hire diesel mechanics.

From
the styles of diesel engines, to the different techniques used to make these
engines run, vehicle manufacturing companies such as Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet,
differ greatly from one another. Diesel engines that are manufactured by Ford
Motor Company are usually engines that are known as  “power stoke” engines, where as diesel engines
that are manufactured by Dodge are engines that are recognized by the name of
“Cummins”, and Chevrolet manufactures a diesel engine that goes by the name of
“Duramax”.

“Chevrolet
(GMC), Ford and Ram each offer a diesel engine option in versions of their
light trucks. All manufacturers claim superiority over the others from
different perspectives: maximum horsepower, maximum torque, best in-class
horsepower, best in-class torque, 0 – 60 acceleration times, 1/4 mile times,
fuel economy, and on. Each of the three diesels are excellent engines, well-engineered,
reliable, and powerful. The current version of the Duramax, known as the LML,
produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Upgrades to the latest
specification include the use of super-fast-reacting piezo-controlled injectors,
allowing owners to use fuel blends with up to 20 percent biodiesel without
voiding their warranty or risking damage to the engine or fuel system. The
Duramax LML 6.6 liter V-8 engine is rated at 397 horsepower (296 kW) at 3,000
rpm and 765 lb-ft (1,037 N·m) of torque at 1,600 rpm” (Gearheads).

According
to www.gearheads.org, “The 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel I-6 is available in
three versions for Ram trucks. The lowest-powered is paired with Ram’s
six-speed manual transmission, which delivers 350 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and
660 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. The second option matches the Cummins to
the Chrysler six-speed automatic for 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm with 800
lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. Third, the Cummins 6.7L High-Output Turbo
Diesel is paired with the  Aisin
six-speed automatic transmission, the most powerful Cummins generates
best-in-class torque of 865 lb.-ft. at 1,700 rpm. The Cummins 6.7L High-Output
Turbo Diesel is rated at 385 horsepower (287 kW) at 2,800 rpm and 865 lb·ft
(1,173 N·m) of torque at 1,700 rpm” (Gearheads).

Compared
to those two engines, the Power Stroke engine differs greatly. “The all-new
Power Stroke V-8 engine, made its debut in 2011 models. The upgraded 2015 6.7L
Power Stroke engine produces 440 horsepower and 860 lb.-ft. of standard torque.
The Power Stroke 6.7L V-8 Turbo Diesel is rated at 440 horsepower (328 kW) at
2,800 rpm and 860 lb·ft (1,166 N·m) of torque at 1,600 rpm” (Gearheads).

Most
towing companies usually have a fleet of diesel technicians at their disposal.
According to www.rita.dot.gov,
“Diesel-powered vehicles accounted for about 3 percent of total auto sales in
the United States” (Chambers and Schmitt). While that statistic may not seem
like much, the number of vehicles sold year round in the United States is
considerably high, requiring these businesses to be prepared in order to repair
any vehicle. Other than these towing companies, most diesel technicians find
employment at the profuse number of auto body shops nationwide.

 

In
conclusion, being a diesel mechanic is a wise career choice in the United
States. The amount of diesel technicians employed in the U.S. this year is
almost the highest its ever been. However, aspiring diesel mechanics have their
work cut out for them. Students must attend a technical or vocational school
for usually around nineteen months before they can become certified diesel
technicians. Those students have to learn many things other than just how to
fix something wrong with a diesel engine. They have to learn how a diesel
engine works, the different types of diesel engines, and how to fix those
different types of engines. Upcoming diesel mechanic students must be
physically and mentally prepared for the long road ahead of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

MindSpark.
“Diesel Mechanic Schools” , Mindspark Interactive Network, Inc.(2018). ·
http://www.excite.com/education/colleges/diesel-mechanic-schools

Sorrentino,
Johanna. “How Much Does Trade School Cost”, QuinStreet Inc.
https://www.rwm.org/articles/how-much-does-trade-school-cost/

EMSI.
“Occupation Reports: Mechanics(2009-2012)”,

Occupation Report: Mechanics (2009-2012)

Automotive
Training Center. “The Difference Between Diesel and Gas Engines”,
http://www.autotraining.edu/blog/the-difference-between-diesel-and-gas-engines/

Advanced
Technology Institute. “How Long Is Diesel Technician School? What Can I
Expect?”,

How Long Is Diesel Technician School? What Can I Expect?

Gearheads.
“Power Stroke Selected as Best Diesel over Cummins and Duramax”,
https://gearheads.org/king-diesel-cummins-duramax-or-power-stroke/

Matthew
Chambers and Rolf Schmitt. “Diesel-powered Passenger Cars and Light Trucks”
https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/bts_fact_sheets/oct_2015/html/entire.html

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