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This article discusses the failure of cylinder clamping rods in single cylinder diesel engines. The AISI 4140 hardened and tempered steel clamping rods were failing after 200 to 250 h of operation. The fatigue failures initiated at the root of the last thread on the clamping rod that was engaged in a blind hole in the cylinder block. The failures were caused by loose tolerances on the threads that resulted in a non-uniform distribution of load. The load was concentrated on the last threads to engage, thus causing fatigue crack nucleation at the thread root and propagation until the rod broke by overload. Changing the tolerance on the threads virtually eliminated the fatigue problem.

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