Why Diesel is a Danger to Our Ears

Why Diesel is a Danger to our Ears

Why is diesel equipment so loud? You could say a dinosaur doesn’t have much choice. If you want to get technical, however, there are plenty of reasons why this outdated equipment causes such a racket.

Construction sites are infamous for the many sources of high-volume tools, which make jobs a headache for workers and the surrounding area. We examined the potentially harmful impact of site noise in a previous blog post, and today we zero in on one of the worst offenders. Here’s why diesel equipment causes such a cacophony, and why the building site of the near future will be a much quieter place.

Deconstructing diesel

Diesel noise pollution comes from the following factors:

  • Blowdown – The “blowdown event” is a term applied to the opening and closing of the exhaust valve. This transition occurs more rapidly in a diesel engine due to higher internal pressure and results in high levels of sustained noise with greater sound density. This sees diesel engines operating at around 80 decibels: a sound level, which can cause serious auditory injury over a single working day.
  • High compression – The combustion process of a diesel engine creates higher pressures than a gasoline one. Slamming pistons and clattering crankshafts need to be heavier and tougher to handle the strain. These chunkier components mean more noise as the engine runs.
  • Combustion and diesel knock – Cylinder pressure can also result in a loud sound commonly called a “diesel knock”. This occurs when the initial amount of fuel which kick starts ignition is ignited, mixing air and fuel vapor. This results in a rapid increase of cylinder pressure and the resulting knock sound effect.
  • Turbochargers – This component of a diesel engine generates a shrill, piercing whistle as the engine is gunned for acceleration. Heavy-duty diesel vehicles often need a lot of torque to pull their loads around. The engine’s internal compressor speeds up as the vehicle gets faster and the turbo whistle begins to rise.
  • Fans – From a whistle to a roar! Diesel engines typically run very hot. They require fans to keep them at operational temperatures. Since these big, clunky pieces of machinery are running hot with heavy work all day, those engine fans need to go into overtime. The harder the fans work, the greater the roar/rush sound they generate (even electric fans).
  • Chain and belt drives – These are older components, but you’ll still find them out there on many sites. These can cause a variety of loud sounds from rattling to grinding.
  • Vibrating the air itself – Diesel engines vibrate to such a degree that they can make the air around the engine/vehicle do the same. These shaken air molecules create their own adverse noise. This vibrational energy may seem like a relatively small sound disturbance, but when considered cumulatively across many diesel engines over a prolonged period it becomes more significant.

Hearing damage aside, diesel is also a financial pain for those firms who rely on it. The Environmental Protection Agency literally classifies noise as an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Violators can face serious punishment in the form of fines of up to $50,000 a day or two years in prison. Diesel engines are more expensive to produce and their leaks, spills, and noxious fumes damage people and property. This can result in further hefty fines from entities like OSHA and local and state authorities.

It’s no wonder that the World Health Organization has condemned diesel for years, placing it in the same category as mustard gas. This kind of risk is music to no one’s ears. If you start paying attention to the buzz coming from the electric market, however, then your firm can cash in on the quiet revolution.

Battery-powered equipment dramatically reduces noise pollution

Sherpa mini skid steers combine physical strength with a powerful reduction in noise pollution. The Sherpa 100ECO and 2Speed mini skid steer holds a silent battery instead of a diesel engine, and instead of an 8-hour working day ending with diesel-damaged ears, that time can be spent in an overnight recharge making your Sherpa ready for the next shift.

Many construction firms may pause when evaluating the initial cost of battery-powered equipment yet will happily continue running outdated diesel vehicles that not only leave them open to huge fines but eat them up in maintenance fees and repairs. These only worsen over time. Why not invest in breaking the diesel cycle? Eliminating fuel expenses and a safer, healthier working site are reason enough to give battery a try.

A few minutes spent on our Cost Calculator will reveal the huge savings a Sherpa can create in a very short time. It all has a knock-on effect, which begins with healthier, happier workers, leads to increased savings and ultimately, more contracts secured as you transition into a low-volume, eco-friendly firm.

For more information about Cratos Equipment, please call our Cratos Team at 954-978-3440 or send an email to We look forward to getting your questions answered.

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