Engine Failure Investigation and Analysis     


I.D.# C1344Printable Description
Duration: 2 Days
April 6-7, 2017 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ) - Detroit, Michigan  
September 21-22, 2017 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ) - Troy, Michigan  

Hotel & Travel Information

Engines can and do experience failures in the field in a variety of equipment, vehicles, and applications. On occasion, a single vehicle type or equipment family will even experience multiple engine failures leading to the inevitable need to determine what the most likely cause of one or all of those failures was. This comprehensive seminar introduces participants to the methods and techniques used to determine the most likely cause of an individual engine or group of engine failures in the field.

The seminar begins with a review of engine design architecture and operating cycles, integration of the engine into the vehicle itself, and finally customer duty cycles and operating environments. Special emphasis is placed on the number and type of subsystems that not only exist within the engine (diesel and gasoline) but are used to integrate the engine into the overall vehicle package. Following this review, participants learn about failure types, investigation techniques, inspection methods, and how to analyze the available evidence using their own knowledge of engine and vehicle operating characteristics to determine the most likely cause of an engine(s) failure. The seminar concludes with a review of actual engine failure case studies that were investigated and resolved using the same process and methods taught during the course.

Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Analyze engine failure claim narratives
  • Analyze and interpret engine and/or vehicle warranty data
  • Determine what physical evidence to gather and review when investigating
    an engine failure claim(s)
  • Evaluate the physical evidence associated with an engine failure claim(s)
  • Reconcile the physical evidence with the narrative and warranty evidence
  • Determine the most likely cause of engine failure based on the available evidence

Who Should Attend

This course has been developed for engineers and technical professionals in all fields related to the investigation, analysis, and root cause determination of engine failures in various types of vehicles and equipment used in both on road and off road applications. In addition, this course can be valuable to individuals involved with handling and processing customer warranty and insurance claims for engine related issues.

Individuals directly involved in the investigation of engine failure and failure related issues will benefit most from this material. Please note that this course is not intended to provide an in depth discussion of individual component failure modes within the engine. The focus of the course is the process used to gather and analyze the information and evidence necessary to make a determination as to the cause of an engine failure in the field.


  • Professional technical certification or 2 year technical degree is highly recommended
  • Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering is recommended
  • A basic knowledge of and familiarity with engine operation, design, and vehicle installations is required
  • A basic knowledge of vehicle operational environments and duty cycles is recommended

Topical Outline


  • Engine Design Overview
    • Operating Cycles - compression ignition and spark ignition
    • Architecture
    • Subsystems - Turbo/supercharger, oil supply, cooling, emissions
    • Subsystem crossover and interaction
  • Vehicle Integration and Packaging
    • Mounting
    • Fuel supply
    • Air supply
    • Emissions
    • Cooling
    • Controls
  • Operational Profile
    • Climate
    • Environment
    • Duty Cycle
    • Operator Specific Habits
  • General Failure Classification
    • Thermal
    • Lubrication
    • Fuel/Air Combustion
    • Mechanical
    • Diesel Runaway
  • Failure Points
    • Joints and Gaskets
    • Vehicle Systems
    • Subsystems and Components
    • Evidence and Indicators


  • Investigation
    • Reviewing the claim
    • Service history/fleet maintenance
    • Warranty histories
    • Data mining
    • Peer group comparisons
    • Manufacturing related history
  • Analysis
    • Customer Duty Cycle vs. Manufacturer intent
    • Manufacturer specifications and process's
    • Analysis without inspecting the failed engines
    • Vehicle package and integration review
    • Developing a conclusion
  • Case Studies
    • Single engine
    • Multiple engines
    • Turbo Diesel engines

Instructor(s): Robert Kuhn
Mr. Kuhn is currently a Managing Engineer for JP Research where he manages a technical consultancy for a variety of clients including automotive OEM’s and suppliers. Prior to becoming a consultant, Mr. Kuhn worked for both Ford and Chrysler in a variety of positions that included engine related projects including single failures, multiple failures, class action suits, and individual engine operational and reliability issues, as well as engine testing and development, fleet testing of prototype engines, vehicle chassis and engine packaging, and overall vehicle platform development including engine systems. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in Automotive Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan Dearborn and is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

Fees: $1370.00 ; SAE Members: $1096.00 - $1233.00

1.3 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

To register, click Register button at the top of this page and submit the online form, or contact SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (724/776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at CustomerService@sae.org.

For a quote on bringing this course to your company site, fill out a Corporate Learning Solutions Request Form