A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine and works quite similarly to a gasoline engine, but it isn't exactly the same. There is enough of a difference that you can't switch gas and diesel in the same engine without causing serious problems. Part of the reason for that is because diesel is a denser fuel than gas is. It doesn't combust in the same way. You can actually toss a lit match into a pool of diesel and nothing is really going to happen because of diesel's chemical makeup. So, what is part of the difference between a diesel and a gasoline engine?
One of the differences between the diesel and gasoline engines is the way that the fuel combusts. In both engines, it happens in the cylinders after the fuel has been sprayed into the cylinders. First, the piston rises up and causes compression, the fuel is sprayed in, and it combusts. In a gasoline engine, that happens because the spark plugs sparks. That spark catches the aerosolized fuel on the fire, which pushes down the piston, moving it along to the next stroke and creating power in the engine. However, since diesel fuel doesn't combust that way, there are no spark plugs in the diesel engine. Instead, it takes the compression that happens when the piston pushed the air up in the cylinder. That compression creates a lot of pressure and a lot of heat. That pressure and heat cause the diesel fuel to combust, which pushes the piston down and the engine to work.
Another difference in the engines is that diesel engines often have heaters in them that will preheat the fuel before it makes it to the cylinders. Preheating the fuel will do two things. One of them is that it will help the fuel to combust because the piston won't have to work quite as hard. Another thing that it will do is to help keep the fuel from gelling. One of the problems with diesel fuel is that it gets when it gets cold, which means that the fuel won't flow the way that it should. The heater will help to keep the diesel fuel in a more liquid state which keeps it moving.
While both diesel and gasoline engines are internal combustion engines, they have some differences. Those differences are very important when it comes to the way that the engine works. Stop by an auto shop in your area for Ford diesel repair services.