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Todd Dills

DPF ash cleaning retread

| June 04, 2014

clean-meUntitled-1-300x191Fairfield, Calif.-based Chipman Relocations dispatcher Tina Pastore (you may recall her “Driver’s Night Before Christmas” from the 2012 season) says the situation for some owner-operators running with the company, a United Van Lines agent, has gotten tough given the equipment decisions the California Air Resources Board forced on some of them in recent times. Pastore says the situation is “awful,” in her words, for operators now running 2007-09-emissions-spec engines. Following a trade that often came with a monthly note to the tune of up to $2,000, she says, “almost every one of them has had a breakdown that has cost the driver over $5,000, and they still have breakdowns after that huge repair.”

Every breakdown, she adds, “is due to the PM filter,” or diesel particulate filter.

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Careful DPF maintenance will boost both your uptime and bottom line.

In addition to other problems with the emissions systems, Pastore notes some operators apparently didn’t get the necessry message from truck/engine dealers that an ash cleaning is needed at long mileage intervals in such trucks, a subject covered here in Overdrive from time to time. Trucks with DPF systems come with a warning light alerting the operator to the need for a cleaning — distinguished from more frequent DPF regeneration events — but, as John Baxter wrote in this story from 2011, “most experts believe you shouldn’t wait for a warning light. They advise a more pro-active approach that anticipates the need for cleaning.”

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There’s no need to panic when a DPF light signals routine regeneration — at least in most cases.

Pastore notes an interval of 200,000 miles to “have the filter cleaned out by having it removed and put in an incinerator and the particulate matter burned off.” Baxter quoted representatives of engine manufacturers noting that, now that most are operating with oil in the CJ-4 category, most 2007-09 trucks operating in ideal, over-the-road conditions may get to 300,000 miles before a cleaning is needed.  

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While the diesel particulate filter itself requires little maintenance, proper attention to related systems will help avoid problems.

Pastore describes what happens if this isn’t done: “The tractors start slowing down and get slower and slower until they just shut off and the drivers have to pay a huge towing cost to get it to a place that knows about these filters.”

With many 2007-09 engines now out of warranty, the operator is stuck with the repair bill, too, of course. If you’ve recently made the move to a truck with a DPF system, take the time to read up on good DPF maintenance procedures. Follow the links throughout this post for more. 

If you’ve been through a round or two of ash cleaning yourself, what intervals have you found are necessary?

Loaded up for Cali
Speaking of relocation, I had to grab a shot of this F350, loaded up with the contents of a neighbor’s house here in Nashville, Tenn., yesterday. The family set out off down I-40 bound for Denver this morning, ultimately for Northern California, where they’re relocating. I don’t imagine you’ll miss it if you happen to come across it on the road. Tell ‘em I give ‘em my best if you see them, or a friendly pull a horn if you pass them should do the trick. 

Angie Rig to Cali2

 

Angie Rig to Cali

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