In November last year, in the U.S. more than 500,000 diesel-powered pickup trucks had their emissions systems completely disabled, according to a report by the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency.
That number is about 15 percent of the total sales of these trucks.
Diesel engines have evolved and since around 2007, have been equipped with some complicated emissions systems, including diesel exhaust fluid injection, liquid-cooled exhaust gas recirculation, and particulate matter filters.
All of these systems are expensive to maintain and repair, and when things go wrong they can drastically reduce performance and fuel economy.
Diesel owners want to eliminate some or all of these components, so a major industry has sprung up to assist them.
Along with that, there is the redneck infection, where small computer interface devices are plugged into trucks to create billowing clouds of black smoke, known as “rolling coal tailpipe” by the idiots that employ them.
Just about any truck that rolls coal has had the particulate filters bypassed as a result of the rich air-fuel mixture created by these devices.
What is a Diesel Exhaust Fluid System?
A diesel exhaust fluid system is a collection of components that allow the engine to burn diesel fuel.
It consists of the cylinder head, the intake manifold, the valves, the injector, the EGR valve, the turbocharger, the radiator, the coolant, the oil filter, the oil cooler, the transmission, the air filter, and the exhaust pipe.
These parts work together to provide the essential services required to burn fuel.
There Is More than Simply Removing Parts
If you are thinking of skirting your diesel emission controls, remember that it is highly illegal and the fines can be very steep.
The consequences are costly, but the chances of being caught are low.
Extreme exhaust-gas temperatures can shorten the lifespan of the engine itself if an exhaust pipe is installed to eliminate the particulate filter.
To get rid of the DEF system, you have to install a plug-in chip, which fools the engine computer into thinking the DEF is still operational, and so it keeps the engine running.
Check the System Before Buying
If you are shopping for a pre-owned late-model diesel from a private seller, never put your cash down until the emissions system is up and running.
If you buy a money pit, you may be buying a time bomb. If you have to replace a particulate filter, you might want to power-clean it first.
A filter replacement job can start at more than $2,500 and go up from there, while chemical power-cleaning services run less than $500.
What Happens If Your Diesel Cleans Itself?
Diesel use by casual-commuting drivers in stop-and-start traffic has led to a rise in the number of plugged filters.
Frequent and regular highway driving can keep them trouble-free.
If you take the time to understand how their self-cleaning systems work, you can avoid interruption of an automatic regeneration cycle.
The engine’s computer will increase the amount of fuel injected and help burn off particles during these periods.
There is more to owning a diesel than knowing which pump to use at the gas station.
Can I Run a Truck Without DEF?
Without the DEF, modern trucks will not run. Diesel truck owners need to check their fluid levels frequently. Everyone’s goal should be a reduction of emissions.
DEF consumption and emissions would be reduced if your vehicle was maintained.
How Does DEF Fluid Get Contaminated?
When the DEF is purchased at the pump, it is usually contaminated. It is corrosive when added to the diesel tank and can cause serious damage to the fuel system.
It’s usually necessary to replace the fuel filters, high-pressure fuel pumps, and injectors if you have bad contamination.
What Happens When You Overfill DEF?
Damage to the DEF system can be caused by overfilling the DEF tank. Under these higher pressures, the DEF system is not designed to be refilled.
Serious damage to the vehicle can be caused by the flow rate of these pumps. There is a tank for Diesel Exhaust Fluid in vehicles with a diesel engine.
How to Identify If a Diesel Exhaust Fluid Is Bad?
Looking at it is the easiest way to spot bad DEF. The fluid is clear so if it appears cloudy or colored, it’s likely old or contaminated.
Small particles or larger rocks or dirt can be easily seen. Do not try to use DEF if it has gone bad.
Where Can I Buy DEF?
You should not be fooled by the idea that you can buy DEF just anywhere. DEF is usually sold at truck stops with jugs of multiple gallons of the stuff.
DEF can be found at some gas stations, but don’t count on it if you are in a bind. If you don’t refill an empty DEF tank, the engine will automatically shut down.
You don’t want to be stranded somewhere with an empty DEF tank because it’s not sold everywhere.
TravelCenters of America, Walmart, Target, Love’s Travel Shop, SAPP Brothers, Flying J Truck Stops, Petro Stopping Centers, and Pilot Travel Centers are some of the places where DEF can be purchased.
Will Diesel Exhaust Fluid Lower Fuel Mileage?
It’s natural to think that any EPA changes to the diesel engine are bad, but it’s not the case.
The major diesel manufacturers discovered that they can fine-tune the engine and allow the SRC and DEF to remove the particulate.
The engines are built with performance in mind first, and then the SRC, DPF, and DEF remove what is needed as an afterthought.
According to manufacturers, engines with SCR technology tend to get better fuel mileage than other internal systems.
There is an added source of elements to burn when fuel and SCR are mixed. Fuel mileage can be improved by as much as seven percent.
Truck driver by profession, automotive lover by heart. Ricky is the main publisher and editor at Truckile.com sharing his life-long knowledge and experience in the auto industry and truck driving!