An elementary engine alarm system is described which may have had some effect in reducing cylinder head damage. The claim is advanced that many problems encountered with the early system in reality contain hidden beneficial aspects, but the certitude of this is left unresolved. A more complex system is described which can monitor oil levels and contains fault-detecting circuitry.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PAPER is to describe the results obtained during some attempts to gain extended engine life by means of warning and information systems. The primary impetus for this was a belief that engine cylinder head failures on the Iron Range of Minnesota were excessive. While the primary cause of cylinder head failure is believed to be overheating the secondary cause-the basic reason for the overheating condition-is generally more diffuse in nature.
Data will be presented on cylinder head mortality rates since the introduction of the initial rudimentary alarm system. No claim is made that the alarm system was the cause of the correlated decreasing head mortality rate. The alarm system is simply one of many factors, some mundane, that make up the complex goal of increasing equipment life span.
Experience gained from problems encountered with the elementary systems has led to an examination of the purposes and limitations of monitoring systems as applied to earthmoving equipment. This in turn has led to the development of a second-generation system which, it is hoped, will overcome some of the deficiencies of the elementary system without introducing major problems of its own.