Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

Four Important Things To Know About Maintaining The Diesel Particulate Filter In Your Truck

Nicolas Denys

If your diesel truck contains a diesel particulate filter (DPF), then it is important to remember the filter is a maintenance device and will need regular monitoring and care. Damage to the DPF can be costly, and you also run the risk of causing engine damage or violating air quality standards. Below are some important things to know about DPF maintenance and what you should do to keep it running smoothly:

Prevent engine lubricating oil from entering the filter

One of the most important things you can do to protect your truck's DPF is prevent engine lubricating oil from entering the filter. Lubricating oil can plug-up the filter and also cause excessive ash generation. While it is not unusual for diesel engines to consume oil to some degree, it is vital to keep oil consumption to an absolute minimum. Here are some practical ways to prevent oil intrusion:

  • Monitor the amount of oil consumption - Keeping careful maintenance records will help you track the volume of oil that passes through your engine. It's not enough to change oil on a regular basis; you should also measure engine oil amounts at frequent intervals. If the volume of lost oil exceeds the amount indicated in your vehicle manufacturer's specifications, then the truck will need to be taken into the shop for diagnosis and repair.

  • Use a recommended oil -  Since some small amount of oil will pass into the filter, you should use an oil brand and type that contains a low amount of ash. American Petroleum Institute-rated CJ-4 oil is designed for use with your DPF and low-emission systems, making it a good, safe choice.

  • Do not add unapproved additives to diesel fuel - never add engine oils or other unapproved additives to diesel fuel. These substances will ultimately cause the DPF to clog or fail and result in expensive repairs. If you believe you have a need for fuel additives, consult the DPF manufacturer for assistance in finding additives that are in compliance with their standards.

Keep engine operating at its rated duty cycle

Before a DPF is installed in a heavy truck engine, the vehicle is attached to a computerized duty cycle monitor that measures its usage patterns during everyday operations. Duty cycles can be defined by a variety of parameters: engine operating duration, average speeds, load weights, number of starts and stops and other variables relating to use are measured and recorded. After the duty cycle is established, a DPF system matching the duty cycle parameters is fitted to the truck; as long as the truck is operated within the normal duty cycle, the DPF will perform well.

However, if you operate a truck that undergoes a change in duty cycles, then you can expect the DPF to operate poorly and suffer from premature breakdown and failure. For example, if a truck used for over-the-road operations is placed in short-run hauling service, then the specific DPF will need to be replaced with an appropriate unit that better matches the new duty cycle.

Understand how your DPF regenerates

Depending on your particular DPF type, it will dispose of unburned soot via either passive regeneration or active regeneration. Passive regeneration depends upon the ordinary operating temperatures found within a DPF, and there is no need for supplemental heating to burn the soot. Active regeneration requires an additional source of heat to burn soot; the heat source can either be from injected diesel or auxiliary electrical heaters.

Regeneration is sometimes a hands-free process on the part of truck operators, but it often requires the driver to perform a certain task related to regeneration; for example, you may need to plug-in an electrical heater that burns off soot. The DPF will provide the driver with regeneration status via a series of colored lamps found on the dash, and understanding what each lamp indicates is vital. Ignoring the lamps can cause the DPF to fail, so be sure to understand the specific functions and operation of the regeneration system on your truck.

Properly clean the DPF filter element

The last step in keeping your truck's DPF working properly and for as long as possible is to clean the filter element inside the unit. The filter element is constructed of porous ceramic materials and will require that non-combustible ash be removed from its tiny pores.

The DPF should be cleaned according to established guidelines by your particular manufacturer, and it should always be handled with extreme care. The expensive ceramic element is easily-broken if dropped or exposed to blows, and it can also be damaged by improper cleaning techniques.

If you're looking to purchase a used truck with a DPF, inspect it carefully to ensure these maintenance steps have been followed. For more information about used trucks in your area, visit sites like http://www.arrowtruck.com/


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About Me
Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

Hello, my name is Valerie. Welcome to my site. I am here to help you better understand the importance of vehicle maintenance. Cars, trucks and vans all require an adequate amount of maintenance to remain in good operating condition. The maintenance tasks revolve around renewing moving parts and lubricants used throughout the vehicle. Although the bulk of the maintenance starts in the engine, the transmission, brakes and suspension components require care too. In fact, even the interior and exterior pieces in your vehicle require ongoing care. I will use this site to help you learn how to maintain your vehicle for years to come. Thanks.