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How aftermarket EGR coolers can save your engine

Exhaust gas recirculation coolers — or EGR coolers — work to lower the temperature of exhausted gas in your vehicle. If too hot, this exhaust gas can impact combustion performance and even affect parts of your engine. The aim of an EGR cooler is to lower the combustion temperature of this gas as much as possible.

Diesel engines recirculate up to 50% of combustion gas through their intake system. Because of this, diesel engines typically have much larger EGR coolers than gas engines.

It’s important to know if your EGR cooler is working correctly as an undetected fault could lead to serious engine damage. This can result in a blown head gasket, corrosion of the intake manifold or damage to the turbocharger.

Natrad has a huge range of aftermarket EGR coolers ready to be fitted in your vehicle. Nip into one of our workshops today.

What happens when an EGR cooler fails?

Warning signs of EGR cooler failure can be hard to notice, and include:

  • Gradual loss of coolant with no apparent leaks
  • White smoke or steam at the exhaust

A sign of extreme high temperatures in the EGR cooler can be “puking” from the overflow reservoir. This is because coolant entering a very hot EGR cooler can boil inside the unit. The sudden expansion of gas creates pressure which will force liquid coolant into the overflow reservoir and leave air pockets in the engine block cooling channels. These prevent the engine from cooling.

Whenever a cooling issue is detected, it is important to have the entire cooling system checked for failures or restrictions. A problem component can produce issues with downstream parts, especially when coolant flow is restricted.

Why do EGR coolers fail?

An EGR cooler can fail in 2 main ways — it can get blocked or it can develop a leak.

Blockages will restrict the exhaust flow and also raise the intake temperature because the EGR cooler works like a radiator in reverse with heat from the exhaust gas flow being transferred to the engine coolant. EGR coolers may use a “tube and shell” or a “stacked plate” configuration and may even have more than one coolant loop.

The coolant typically flows to the EGR cooler after it has previously passed through other heat exchangers such as the oil cooler. If these upstream devices are restricted, it can reduce coolant flow to the EGR cooler and cause problems. Blocked EGR coolers may be able to be cleaned and returned to service.

Leaking EGR coolers can be very serious if action is not taken quickly. This can introduce coolant into either the exhaust system or the intake system. Coolant entering the exhaust will be heated to become steam and be expelled. On its own, this will not cause much damage. However, as the coolant level in the engine is reduced, the ability of the cooling system to operate effectively becomes compromised and overheating can occur.

Even more serious is when the coolant enters the engine intake, turbocharger and intercooler. This can cause corrosion and lead to premature failure of these major engine components.

What are the benefits of aftermarket EGR coolers?

Replacing your faulty EGR cooler with a new one can have untold benefits for your vehicle. The primary benefit, as discussed earlier, is to lower the temperature of your EGR system. Otherwise, there isn’t really any point in having an EGR system at all.

EGR coolers also improve the performance of engines. With cooler gas temperatures, comes greater gas density. This allows more air to enter the cylinders of the engine. In turn, this can lead to more power and greater performance.

What kind of EGR cooler should I choose?

There are two main types of EGR coolers available on the market:

  • For some engines, an EGR cooler will be a simple pipe that provides some heat relief
  • For larger engines, an EGR cooler can take the form of a long rectangle that fins to improve heat exchange, which is cooled by liquid.

If you need help deciding what the best aftermarket EGR cooler is, get in touch with Natrad. Natrad has quality aftermarket EGR coolers to suit a variety of truck models and popular engines including IVECO, DETROIT, CUMMINS, HINO, VOLVO & SCANIA.

As cooling system specialists, Natrad HDS can check your vehicle and identify the best aftermarket EGR cooler solution for your application. Visit us today to get the best national warranty support.