Why Did My Diesel Engine Valves Break? 

Have you recently experienced a valve failure? Are you left wondering what caused that valve to break?

You need your valves to operate as intended to keep your diesel engine running great. If there's something wrong with the valves, you'll probably notice a decrease in engine performance, as well as other issues with normal engine operation.

There are a number of factors that could lead to a damaged or broken valve in your diesel engine. The type of failure you experience can depend on the engine you're running and the operating conditions. We're going to take a look at how you can know if your valves are failing and what might have caused your issues. 

Want to know more about diesel engine valve failure? Check out our video:



If you need parts for your diesel engine, we can help! Our ASE Certified Technicians can help you get the right parts for the job.

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How Do I Know My Valves are Failing? 

Diagnosis is key to getting your engine fixed right. So, how can you tell if it's your valves that are giving you trouble?


diesel engine popping sounds exhaust | Highway & Heavy Parts


If your valves are failing, you might notice a few different things going on. Because the valves are critical to proper combustion, if they're not working properly, you'll likely have problems with engine performance. You could be experiencing low power, or you might have an engine misfire. You also might be hearing a popping sound coming from the intake or the exhaust. You could even have a no-start. 

Have you noticed damage to your turbo? It's possible that this could be an indication of valve failure as well. 

Don't ignore the signs of valve failure. Be sure to get to the bottom of your issue and get your engine running like it's supposed to!

If you're looking for more information on what can cause valve failure, check out our Valves Failure Analysis.


What is Chordal Fracture?

One big problem you might have with your valves is chordal fracture. This is especially true of high performance engines that generate more heat and pressure than is standard. These harsh operating conditions can be too much for a standard valve, leading to chordal fracture.

As we mentioned, the high temperatures generated by higher performance engines are too great for the standard OEM valve. When you look at a valve with chordal fracture, you can see that a whole section of the valve is completely gone. 


diesel engine chordal fracture | Highway & Heavy Parts


The valve fractures on what they call a chord, or section of the valve. That whole section usually breaks off completely. 

This issue is due to mechanical fatigue of the valve under severe operating conditions, acidic corrosion, or thermal stresses. 

If you're having these problems with your cylinder head and valves, it might be time for you to upgrade your head to one with inconel valves installed. Inconel is a stronger combination of alloys designed to handle the higher temperatures and harsh operating environments of your high performance engine. Inconel valves are available on our Stage 2, 3, and 4 performance line cylinder heads for your CAT 3406E, C15, or C15 ACERT. 


cat cylinder head upgrade stages inconel valves | Highway & Heavy Parts


If you're running an engine with increased horsepower, inconel valves aren't a frivolous upgrade, they're a smart investment.

Want to know more about inconel material? Read our article, What is Inconel Material in Your Diesel Engine?, for more details.


Need replacement parts for your diesel engine? We have ASE Certified Technicians on staff who can help you find the right parts the first time. Give us a call at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online!