A cracked engine block can spell disaster for your vehicle. Depending on where it's located, the crack may allow coolant, oil or combustion gases to leak. Leaks such as these can cause secondary problems, such as overheating. While you can always replace a cracked engine block, though, another solution is to use a cylinder sleeve. Cylinder sleeves offer a cost-effective alternative to replacing a cracked engine block.
What Are Cylinder Sleeves?
Also known as cylinder liners, cylinder sleeves are protective sleeves that are designed to seal the walls of cylinders. You can find them in different materials. Most cylinder sleeves are made of an iron alloy containing nickel, chromium, silicon and/or manganese. Regardless, they live up to their namesake by consisting of sleeve-like parts that fit into the cylinders of an engine block.
How Cylinder Sleeves Work
Cylinder sleeves work by forming a mechanical seal around the cylinders with which they are used. Engine blocks can crack in different locations. One of the most common locations is the inner walls of the cylinders. As combustion gases heat up the cylinders, the walls may begin to crack. Of course, it only takes a single crack in a single cylinder to destroy the engine block.
When placed into a cylinder, the cylinder sleeve will seal it. The cylinder sleeve will fit snug against the walls of the cylinder. Even if the cylinder itself is cracked, the cylinder sleeve will seal it. Cylinder sleeves will essentially form a new wall over the cracked wall. The crack will remain in the cylinder, but the sleeve will cover and seal it so that it doesn't cause issues with your vehicle's engine.
Benefits of Using Cylinder Sleeves
If your vehicle has an engine block that's cracked in one or more cylinders, you may want to use cylinder sleeves. Cylinder sleeves are available for about $150 to $400 apiece. You don't have to install them in all cylinders. Rather, you can install them only in cracked cylinders. When compared to buying a new engine, using cylinder sleeves will undoubtedly save you money.
You can also use cylinder sleeves to protect your vehicle's engine from damage. In other words, you don't have to wait until a cylinder cracks to install them. You can take a proactive approach by installing cylinder sleeves before cracks develop in the cylinders. With cylinder sleeves inside of them, the cylinders will be less likely to crack.