Acoustic methods are among the most useful techniques for monitoring the condition of machines. However, the influence of background noise is a major issue in implementing this method. This paper introduces an effective monitoring approach to diesel engine combustion based on acoustic one-port source theory and exhaust acoustic measurements. It has been found that the strength, in terms of pressure, of the engine acoustic source is able to provide a more accurate representation of the engine combustion because it is obtained by minimising the reflection effects in the exhaust system. A multi-load acoustic method was then developed to determine the pressure signal when a four-cylinder diesel engine was tested with faults in the fuel injector and exhaust valve. From the experimental results, it is shown that a two-load acoustic method is sufficient to permit the detection and diagnosis of abnormalities in the pressure signal, caused by the faults. This then provides a novel and yet reliable method to achieve condition monitoring of diesel engines even if they operate in high noise environments such as standby power stations and vessel chambers.