Pollution control has come a long way in a short time. Superior control and emissions technologies, including particulate filters and catalytic converters have resulted in far cleaner engines. Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Dioxide, and particulate matter have been cut drastically, while the performance of the average diesel engine, in terms of fuel efficiency and power relative to displacement has skyrocketed.

These changes are excellent in the fight against greenhouse gases and other pollutants that diesel engines have historically been known to produce. With more diesel trucks on the road worldwide than ever before, these reductions are imperative in the fight against climate change.

These additions to diesel engines aren’t without their challenges, however. In order to reap the benefits of decreased fuel costs and lower emissions, these systems need to be maintained regularly. System failures can be very expensive, and can often damage other engine components, sometimes catastrophically.

If the engine as a whole isn’t in tip-top running condition, the emissions equipment is susceptible to damage. Leaking coolant can damage the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and foul the catalyst in the converter, which can cause engine failure. Fuel and oil leaks can physically damage the filter substrate in the DPF, which will need to be repaired.

This new equipment places new demands for maintenance on the driver. An additional tank for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) must be checked and filled. If this fluid is mixed with fuel, in either tank, it will lead to an expensive repair.

Drivers require training to deal with the demands of the new systems. The importance of proper filling of the DEF tank, and the response to a failure on the road, need to be underlined. Drivers need to take a zero tolerance approach to warning lights. Gone are the days of ignoring a fault indicator until service is convenient. Today’s systems require immediate response.

In addition to changing technical requirements, there are new legal requirements to consider when planning the maintenance of your aftertreatment equipment. In Manitoba, vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating over 4500 Kg are now inspected for the following compliance items:

Exhaust Gas Recirculation – A failure will result if any part of the EGR system is missing, modified, or malfunctioning.
Catalytic Converters – The inspection will be failed if the unit is cracked, perforated, or otherwise leaking, or if it’s been tampered with.
Diesel Particulate Filter – failure if not functioning, removed, or tampered with.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid – A damaged or missing storage tank, a missing filler cap, or a level 2 leak at any location will result in a failed test.

Maintenance needs for these systems are different. Each manufacturer of aftertreatment equipment publishes a maintenance and troubleshooting guide designed to help operators with maintenance. A good maintenance provider should be knowledgeable about all types of aftertreatment equipment, and able to help you design the service plan that suits your equipment’s needs.

Fleet operators are encouraged to cycle their trucks into over-the-road use when possible, as long hauls create the best conditions for regeneration of the DPF. The use of a front grille cover in cold weather is discouraged, as well, as they can cause confusion with the aftertreatment system with false temperature readings, and lead to problems.

Questions about your emissions control equipment? For repairs to all of your diesel equipment, come to Western Turbo & Fuel Injection Ltd. Our facility is located at 325 Eagle Drive. Contact us online or by telephone toll-free at (800) 665-7556