What’s bad for DPFs and why you should care?

All 2007 and newer on-road diesel vehicles and 2010 and newer off- road vehicles are manufactured with diesel particulate filters (DPF). Many older vehicles have been retrofitted with DPFs. Tight emissions restrictions have caused diesel vehicle manufacturers to turn to after-treatment devices like DPFs for emissions reduction.

What is it?
A diesel particulate filter is a device designed to remove unburned particulate matter (PM), or soot, and other solid matter from the exhaust stream of a diesel engine before it exits the vehicle tailpipe. By trapping and physically holding the soot within the DPF, the exhaust smoke emitting from a diesel tailpipe is reduced to a clean stream of hot gases, and becomes almost invisible.

Once the DPF collects enough soot to become sufficiently restricted, it cleans itself by removing the soot. This self-cleaning process, called regeneration, is programmed into the engine management system of the vehicle. It’s done automatically as the DPF becomes full of soot. One common method of DPF regeneration involves injecting a small amount of diesel fuel into the exhaust stream in order to “super-heat” and burn off the excess soot.

DPFs don’t like low speeds.
Although the DPF is designed to self-clean excess soot without failure, there are a few problems that disrupt its ability to do this. Extensive low speed and stop-and-go driving can disrupt the DPF’s cleaning ability. This problem is especially prevalent in diesel vehicles with frequent stops (city driving) and a lot of idle time such as school buses and garbage trucks. For a successful DPF regeneration, highway speeds that generate an increased volume of exhaust flow in conjunction with higher temperatures ensure proper cleaning of the catalyst system (e.g. 60 mph/97 kph for 20 minutes). Extensive low speed driving inordinately loads excess soot onto the DPF and creates more soot accumulation than it was designed to hold. Without the high heat and increased exhaust flow to burn and disperse this soot off, the DPF eventually gets plugged, which can result in automatic power reduction and the need for service.

East Coast Diesel has the best preventative maintenance solutions for your DPF system–a combination of equipment to clean the system, computer software to properly diagnose and the experienced technicians. There are very few situations we cannot solve. Your trucks are a investment for your business and keeping them on the road and generating revenue is key to the success of your business. Our success comes with your success, and we work diligently to assist you however we can.

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