Get the Inside Scoop on Diesel Emissions System Maintenance

Since the inception of emissions regulations, DPFs have been loathed and blamed for the exponential increase in the costs of truck maintenance… but do emissions systems really deserve all the blame? As we grow and evolve as a species, technology is playing a huge role in the transformation of society, with the trucking industry being no different. And as it relates to our responsibility to both grow in innovation and steward the resources of our planet, one only needs to take a quick look at other industrial nations like China and India to see the impact of emissions on the health of people.

From this perspective, it’s important to take into account the long term health savings overall when considering the present day “cost” of emissions systems. It’s also important to note that diesel emissions systems actually help to increase the fuel efficiency of diesel trucks. Emissions systems are here to stay, for the better. So how do we navigate the sea of misinformation around diesel emissions system maintenance? Get the inside scoop from REP on what you need to know to lower the costs of DPF and emissions maintenance.

confessions of a DPF tech

The Truth About On-Truck Regen

Emissions System OEMs have designed filters to be able to use the heat from the engine on the truck… (and sometimes a chemical reactant) – to burn up particulate matter & soot, which is captured within the DPF. Their position is that this “on-truck regen” is sufficient to burn up the soot… and that filter cleaning is only needed between 200,000 and 300,000 miles – or 4,500 hours – whichever comes first. But experienced emissions technicians know this is only true under perfect conditions, which don’t really exist in real world application.
While OEMs claim that DPFs are mostly serviced on the truck through “on-truck regen”, aftermarket manufacturers of DPFs AND diesel shops with emissions experts actually recommend having your DPF cleaned every 50,000 to 70,000 miles – or 1,000 hours, whichever comes first – to help prevent breakdowns due to emissions failures.
These conflicting recommendations contribute to huge losses in profit for fleets & operators, way beyond the cost of regular maintenance or even parts & labor for a breakdown.

The Reman Myth of Emissions Systems

Did you know Cummins used to recommend replacing clogged filters with remans, but has since discontinued their reman DPF program? WHY? Because of the confusion around this term in the emissions industry.
DPFs cannot be “reconditioned” or “remanufactured” in the way the heavy duty industry applies that to other parts. A DPF labeled “reconditioned” or “reman” has simply been cleaned. So buying a reman DPF is actually buying a USED unit that has no history of duty cycle attached – whereas an aftermarket DPF is a brand new, OEM-equivalent replacement that comes with full warranty.

When to Clean DPFs

On-truck regen alone will not keep your DPF healthy. Stop & go traffic, excessive idling and other conditions cause on-truck regen to not be as effective as OEMs suggest.
For cleaning DPFs… the de-ash & bake or aqueous methods are required to bring the unit back as close as possible to the original condition. So… while you don’t have to replace a dirty DPF…. not having them cleaned often enough WILL cause excess build-up of ash, which hardens the cells of the filter, called “sintering”.
Sintering restricts the flow, which damages the DPF and creates backpressure, resulting in engine related issues. Sintering can be prevented with regular DPF and engine maintenance. So when your diesel shop recommends cleaning your DPF every 50,000 to 70,000 miles, they aren’t just blowing smoke.
Another factor in the cost of diesel emissions relates to the truck itself. Truck dealers receive in engines and emissions systems at factory default settings, but DUTY CYCLE plays a HUGE part in the efficiency of the whole system working in tandem. Having your engine and emissions system calibrated for its specific duty cycle ensures that your truck will operate at its highest performance and lowest cost available.

In The Know

As a diesel parts distributor, the more you know about diesel emissions systems, the more you can successfully support your fleet and operator customers. Being aware of these contradictions and knowing what maintenance to recommend goes a long way in helping them curb costs. Helping them save money means you have loyal, happy customers. Whether you choose to offer emissions parts as part of your lineup or not, understanding how emissions system preventative maintenance plays into the overall health and functionality of diesel trucks IS your business.

Diesel Emissions Systems Made Easy 

With Redline Emissions Products®, diesel parts distributors can add to their product line, increase sales, and solve a huge pain point to make diesel emissions systems easy for their customers.

Curious about what’s involved with supplying diesel emissions systems and replacement parts? Reach out to  Wayne Cochrane, National Sales Manager for REP to find out more or call 888-295-4670.

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