Article by Jim Sutherland
In a recent article I wrote, Why Timely and Proper DPF Cleaning is Important, I briefly touched on the question of how often a DPF will need to be removed from the vehicle and cleaned. The reality is that the factors that contribute to DPF cleaning intervals are many. They include obvious things like mileage, gallons of diesel burned, quality of fuel used and the number of hours the motor has been running.
However, in this article, I would like to focus on how the state of tune of the motor can significantly impact DPF cleaning intervals. When a motor is running out of tune, the DPF will clog with particulate faster and the result will be that the operator gets notification that filter regeneration is needed more often. While passive and active regeneration will help alleviate immediate back pressure issues, regeneration does not remove ash that is building up from the filter. The end result will be the ash building up at a faster rate and the DPF will need to be removed for a thorough baking and cleaning.
Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency in their Technical Bulletin called Diesel Particulate Filter Operation and Maintenance states;
“It is important to properly maintain vehicles and monitor fuel and lubrication oil consumption. A bad fuel injector or increase in oil consumption may be masked by a DPF. The DPF may be damaged by a poorly maintained engine. When a DPF is removed for cleaning, it may be useful to check the opacity of the vehicle to determine if a potential engine problem exists. Maintaining service records is advisable to track potential concerns or changes in operation.”
Essentially, how your motor is operating has a great deal to do with how often your DPF will need to be cleaned. As a result, if you find that you are being notified that regeneration is needed more often or that your DPF cleaning intervals are getting shorter, this can be an indication of a motor that needs work. You should have a mechanic thoroughly check the things that impact the overall tune of the motor. Most shops offer relatively inexpensive opacity testing. Not only will this benefit the operation and maintenance intervals of your DPF, it will also likely make your vehicle operate more efficiently.
To learn more about DPF cleaning intervals and understanding the proper procedures to clean and care for a DPF, please contact a professional shop in the CDS Network today. Our network is the best informed resource for DPF related technical support available in the industry.