00:00 00:00


3 Myths About Diesel Emissions Systems

Learn about some of the myths surrounding diesel emissions systems, and the facts you need to know about them.

Episode 220: We interviewed Daniel Simon from Dorman Products in episode 181 and we talked about DEF Supply Modules. The response to that interview was huge. But Daniel and I saw 3 myths about diesel emissions systems being repeated in the comments and we wanted to address them today.  

Daniel Simon is the Category Manager of Dorman Products.  In this episode, learn about some of the myths surrounding diesel emissions systems, and the facts you need to know about them.

Daniel Simon is the Category Manager of Dorman Products.  

Guest Website: DormanHDSolutions.com

Watch the Video Version

Disclaimer: This content and description may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, The Heavy-Duty Parts Report may receive a small commission.

Sponsors of this Episode:

  1. Want to look up parts but don’t have a part number or the VIN? Download Diesel Parts for free on Desktop or on your Apple or Android device.
  2. Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Visit AMBACInternational.com/Aftermarket

Buy Parts:

Are you looking to purchase heavy-duty parts and get your commercial vehicle repaired? Get access to one of HDA Truck Pride’s 750 locations across the United States and Canada. Visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com/BuyParts.

Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You’re listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.

We interviewed Daniel Simon from Dorman Products in Episode 181. He’s a returning guest. He’s been on the show several times, but that specific Episode 181, we talked about DES supply modules. And the response to that interview was huge. It’s one of the most listened to episodes in the history of our show. Our TikTok video alone got over 50,000 views. How awesome is that?

But some of the responses were, I guess we could say from a wide spectrum of responses from positive to people, very adamant about their feelings about diesel emission systems in general and Daniel and I, when we reviewed some of the comments that people were making, we kind of saw three myths emerge from that you could kind of put into three separate buckets and we wanted to address those specifically today.

So Daniel, welcome back to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report today. You are hailing from Brazil, so this is probably the farthest away I’ve ever had a guest recording, a podcast interview. That’s pretty cool.

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me again, Jamie, always a pleasure to be here.

Jamie Irvine:

So let’s talk a little bit about the response that we got to your last time on the show. First of all, huge response for the trucking industry.

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. You know, that’s really no surprise to me. Right. You know, the diesel emission systems, how do I put this lightly, generate some strong feelings? We don’t mandate them. We don’t design them. We didn’t build the trucks the way they are. We’re out there trying to make available aftermarket replacement parts to try to make that repair easier. But I think there’s no question from, you know, about 2003, really 2007 on, these bandaid emissions control systems certainly do generate a ton of strong feelings.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. And I mean, in Episode 181, we were even talking about a remanufactured product that you’re bringing to market. So it’s like, you’re not even designing that product. You’re just remanufacturing it and trying to enhance it and make it work better for people. So let’s get right into it.

Myth number one, diesel emission systems are a government-sponsored cash grab and they don’t work on purpose. Now, where did we get that myth from? Let me just read you some of the comments. So Just another Karen 2020 says,” what’s the main purpose of DEF”, and this was an honest question. It wasn’t meant to be kind of derogatory in any way. It was like, I really don’t get it. So I think that kind of is surprising to me, but then there are people out there who still don’t seem to fully understand the systems.

CJ says,” it’s a cash grab. That’s why”, in response to Just Another Karen 2020’s question. Manny Singh says, “DEF, a product forced on truckers and is responsible for 75% of the repairs in a truck”. Malcolm Farrell935,” best DEF system is the one in the dumpster behind the shop”. So you know, people are not happy about these systems and there’s this feeling that, you know, like I said, it’s just a government-sponsored cash grab and they don’t work and that’s on purpose. What are your thoughts to this feedback that we get?

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. So maybe take that as sort of in two directions here. So one, you know in terms of a government cash grab, right? So the emissions control to be clear here, maybe to clarify one myth here, the emissions controls, you know, with the EPA and they wrote this from the clean air act.

The mandate was for a reduction level in both particulate matter and did NOx emissions, EPA didn’t mandate how that was to be accomplished, right? They just sort of laid out that it had to be done. Now, if you go back, um, this will probably generate some strong feelings here.

When I, when I say this, you know, this word here, when you go back to the Max Force engine, they’re trying to do emissions control without using the SCR and DES systems. You know, we see what happened there as well.

And they were able to try to do that because their feeling was, we could control to the, the mandated levels without actually using an SCR or DEF system. So the control is there for a pollution level, but there’s certainly not a preference for one system over another. Now all the heavy duty trucking has gone to using these D and S systems. So really across the board, um, frankly, because they’re effective now, they’re effective at reducing the NOx emissions.

They are certainly not without their challenges as well. You know, sort of an interesting story, you know, when you understand, when you start to think about why the system designed the way it is, it wasn’t a brand new technology for trucking. You know, there’s a push, you know, as you came out of the nineties for clean coal, right, as coal was really coming back or trying to remain in favor from power generation for stationary power plants, there’s all this talk of clean coal.

You know, there’s not some magical coal that we’re mining, right? All clean coal technology really was just putting particulate matter filters and a similar NOx scrubber system directly onto the power plants themselves from those coal burners. The only difference between that technology there and what’s on heavy-duty, trucking is on the power plant side.

They use ammonia, they inject that directly into that exhaust stream, over a catalyst. You know, it wouldn’t necessarily be very safe to be running trucks with ammonia tanks directly on them. And then you would get into issues of, you know, bridges tunnels, where you can’t necessarily be carrying.

So what they realized was we can use DEF in this case, it’s, you know, the material DEF it’s just diesel emissions fluid, it’s a aqueous solution of urea. And what happens is urea relatively harmless, it’s caustic. So it breaks down the system over time, but it’s harmless, but at high temperature in the exhaust stream, it near immediately actually breaks down to ammonia.

And so to the question of what’s the purpose of DEF, you know, it is the fluid that generates ammonia, which is the catalyst for the reaction itself. There’s a chemical reaction that happens in the exhaust stream at the SCR itself, which is a catalyst. And it does that to convert NOx, which is a primary pollutant. It’s the primary cause of smog and acid rain. It’s, you know, contributor, cardiovascular disease, asthma, etc.

And it converts that NOx emissions into just nitrogen, which is one of the most common gases in our air we breathe anyway, totally harmless, and a non-pollutant, the systems themselves while they’re effective can certainly be failure prone.

I mean, let’s be honest here, we’re talking about an exhaust stream that can be, you know, at very, very high temperatures, you know, up to a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you are in the exhaust stream, that temperature fluctuation can be very high.

Daniel Simon:

You’ve got multiple different materials, right? The DEF pumps, you know, the pump itself got plastics and rubber gaskets. And like I said, you know, the DEF itself is caustic and then your sensors and everything plugs into this exhaust stream directly where you’ve got soot and exhaust and high temperatures.

And God forbid you have a cooler leak upstream. That’s flowing down here as well. So it certainly is a lot more challenging to maintain, but I think it’s important to understand it’s not just the DEF we gotta maintain. It’s more critical than ever that we maintain the entire vehicle.

So the days of carrying around a jug of coolant and just topping off your coolant and every once in a while, cause you’ve got a leaks where, you know, unfortunately those days really are gone. Um, because that coolant now, instead of just working its way to the tailpipe is getting there through other stuff. It’s gonna plug up your DPF itself. I certainly understand where the frustration is but I don’t think it’s in the material itself.

Jamie Irvine:

Right, right. So, okay. I think it was a lot so I wanna break that down. So number one, the government mandated a reduction in emissions, especially nitrous oxide. That was the big one that they were targeting. So that’s what the government mandated. They didn’t tell the manufacturers how to get there.

So the government is responsible for the mandate to reduce emissions. The manufacturers are responsible for the systems that were produced. So we need to keep those two things separate in our mind, although there is a correlation, the system that got generated is not directly mandated by the government.

So when you have an issue with something in your diesel emission system, you know, yes, in a macro level, the government mandated the change, but it’s really the designers of the system that were like, okay, how are we gonna do this? They came up with this technology and it is what it is.

One thing you mentioned is you were talking about the relatively harmless diesel emissions fluid or DEF fluid. I’ve heard people say that all the vegetation on the sides of the highways are now dead because of DEF fluid. Is that a myth?

Daniel Simon:

That’s definitely a myth.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. Because the actual composition of DEF fluid is not toxic or caustic.

Daniel Simon:

Correct. And if you’ve got a leak, right. If you were actually leaking DEF fluid, you know, DEF is used at a quite low rate as compared to actual diesel, right? So if you were, it’s a relatively small tank, you’re not filling it up every time you fill up your diesel tank either. So when you imagine there’s a very low amount of DEF actually moving through the system.

So if you had a leak that were causing it to leak into the environment, you would know, because you’d be, you know, out of DEF fluid immediately, and that’ll shut your truck down. Right. You know, there’s a sensor, that’s checking the fluid level in your DEF tank. And if that’s low, right, that’s gonna ultimately eventually put you into, into D rate, right.

And even some of the systems, if it’s throwing too much DEF and then, you know, going out through the truck, depending on the manufacturer, some of the systems actually have a sensor to pick up additional ammonia at the end of the system to reduce the rate that it’s putting DEF in so that it doesn’t have any additional material coming out of the tailpipe emissions.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. And the second part of this myth about the fact that the truck manufacturers made the DES system to not work on purpose. Now, we can’t speak for the truck OEMs, but you work for a manufacturer, is that real? I work for a manufacturer. I’m gonna tell you my experience in a minute, but from your perspective, do you think that that makes any sense at all, that a truck OEM would actually make a system that doesn’t work on purpose just to screw over their customers.

Daniel Simon:

It’s the same kind of myth I think you hear of, you know, in your phone, you’re gonna put out software updates that are gonna intentionally make your iPhone become, or, you know, whatever your phone device is obsolete and slow to get you to buy a new one. I don’t believe, and again you’re right, Jamie, I can’t speak for the OEMs. Right.

So I don’t believe that anybody out there is doing it inherently to just generate a spend. And frankly, if one OEM were, you’d think from a competitive advantage reason, another OEM would go make a better system and market that, right. And say, Hey, buy our truck because we….

Jamie Irvine:

We don’t do that.

Daniel Simon:

Correct. And they would be very aggressive on that, on that marketing campaign. You know, I think the reality, what happens is with the OEMs, I think, and again, this is just my opinion. What I think the OEMs are really doing is focusing on their primary customer, which for a lot of the North American market is a sort of a tier one type fleet. That’s using a vehicle for a certain period of time. And then often selling that asset. Um, you know, anywhere between year let’s call it like three and six.

And when you look at most of these systems, the high primary failure rates and the DEF supply model is a great example. The primary failure time usually is occurring at about year seven to 10. So the first owner of these vehicles is minimizing their maintenance on the after-treatment system itself.

But then when you get into the second, third and owner operator, you know, the systems themselves now are starting to have their first failure, but the truck itself is also aging. So while a DEF pump may have lasted seven to 10 years, the first time, if some of the failure was because you had a mild oil leak causing, you know, additional soot and oil to flow through the system, if you haven’t caught that and actually changed and, you know, repaired the system upstream when you replace that DEF pump, the replacement part, isn’t gonna last dearly as long.

And these, um, you know, I think that’s becoming, starting to become pretty clear, right? Total maintenance of your vehicle is critical. And as the vehicle ages, right? Like anything maintenance expense, what it’s gonna take to maintain that vehicle is only gonna increase.

And this is a brand new system, right? We go back to 2010 is the first time that these systems really started. So those trucks are just 11, 12 years old now, really into that prime replacement age as we speak. And it’s a spend from a maintenance perspective that nobody had before. So I can certainly understand where that feeling comes from, but directly answer your question, no, my opinion, right?

Speaking of just my experience is that this is not intentional just to get, you know, cash. This is the OEMs complying with the mandates that are out there to have these emissions-controlled devices.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. As someone who worked for a manufacturer at one point in my career as well, I’ve just never seen a manufacturer go to their way. You know, you bring up the cell phone issue and what seems like planned obsolescence inside of our devices. But, you know, one thing people don’t know is they don’t know that there’s something like 300,000 new viruses that are made, I can’t remember if that’s daily or weekly or what the interval was, but it’s some ridiculous number that are produced.

And the manufacturers of these devices are constantly having to do major updates just to keep up with some of the security risks attached to the use of that device. So does that mean every couple of years, your phone probably needs to be upgraded? Yeah. Is that the manufacturer of the phone’s fault?

No, not really. It’s, it’s actually the people who are trying to, to take advantage of those systems. We have a situation where our society has told our representatives that we want action on emissions. We want action on what is perceived to be the cause of climate change. And therefore the government has come along and said, you’ve gotta do this trucking industry.

And the truck manufacturers had to respond. So I know that that probably doesn’t ease the pain of some of the listeners who are facing these, these costs that they’ve never had to deal with before. But the reality is that’s just the way it is. It’s not because of the government or because of a truck manufacturer trying to screw you over specifically. It’s just the nature of the beast of what we’re dealing with in this issue.

So that moves me onto the second myth though, because it’s like, okay, fine, even if a truck owner says, you know what, Daniel, you know what, Jamie, I accept everything you just said. I get it. Thanks for clarifying those that, that first myth, myth number two, the best solution is to delete your diesel emission system.

Now my own father-in-law believes this, he’s told me in the past, like all of their pickup trucks, they have a water, well drilling company, all their pickup trucks. They’ve had trouble with it. All of their big class eight trucks they’ve had trouble. And he knows that it’s not the right choice, but he just sometimes thinks, I think we should just delete this, because I cannot get this thing to work properly.

Jason G he says, “I deleted my DEF, DPF and EGR crap on my 2022 Pete 389 only 2 days after I bought it, no issues or breakdowns for me and an extra one and a half miles per gallon, fuel efficiency.” Oli says, “cat loaders are unusable with all the pump issues, unless you rip it all off”. And user 67 73947705617 says, ” a delete is like three to $4,000, no brainer for a delete when it’s off warranty.” So this is a big range of opinions.

You’ve got someone who bought a brand new truck, deleted it two days later, someone who says, wait till the warranty’s off. And then you’ve got other people that are stuck in the middle. Like even my father-in-law who knows it’s not the right choice, but is sometimes tempted to do it. So what do you have to say about this? Should people be deleting these systems?

Daniel Simon:

Well, you know, look, I mean, obviously I’m never gonna say, and not because it’s a cash grab for us either. Right. But because of just, you know, the reality of what the law is, right. I’m never gonna say yes, you should delete it. It’s illegal. Right.

Yeah. And there’s not only financial, but there’s criminal penalties as well. Um, you know, these are, are mandated emissions, controlled devices, it’s against the law. There’s both financial and criminal penalties to, um, you know, to change the emissions control devices in any way, from the way they were designed and built from the OEM.

Now, one of the things I will say to that as a caveat is the EPA has been very clear and all enforcement action, very clear that the goal is to enforce people that are attempting to deviate from the emissions controlled devices, working the way they’re supposed to. There is no intent to go after anybody that are trying to sell or make available replacement parts to make it easier or more affordable to repair and maintain these systems.

Jamie Irvine:

So when you say that, what you mean is, I wanna make sure I understand this just in case there’s confusion. What you’re saying is that if somebody came along with, with a enhancement in the aftermarket to one of these systems that was able to clearly show it wasn’t trying to get around these emission standards. It was actually just trying to make a better mouse trap. That would be okay.

Daniel Simon:

So we walk sort of a very fine line here. If we’re trying to say, make the part more durable, right. So that the part maybe eliminates the failure mode, but is functioning exactly the same. But we’re not gonna modify the emission system in terms of how it functions, even if it were to still comply with the emissions regulations.

Jamie Irvine:

So deleting it is modifying it at the maximum level because you’re ripping the whole thing out and you’re trying to go around it. So that is where we have gotten, if you do that, it’s illegal and it’s not recommended.

Daniel Simon:

Right. And on top of that to go back to Jason G’s comments, right. He took a brand new truck that’s two days old that has probably a three year, you know, warranty on it. And that’s certainly not covered by any warranty now, plus it’s a, you know, ticking time bomb from any kind of you know, criminal or, or, you know, civilian penalties from doing so, you know, for modifying.

But we will, you know, go back and see like when we did the DES modules on the remanufacturer, if we could improve any of the kind of failure components, internal to make them more durable to make the product last longer, we’ll look at doing that.

But the way the pump works itself, the way the, the system works, we’re not changing any of that. If you were to create a NOx sensor that, you know, somehow is, you know, a better technology, it’s more durable, you know, that would be a great, you know, and there’d be no enforcement on it. But if you’re creating a no sensor that has software on it is designed to just cheat the system, no, that’s, that’s illegal and will certainly come with its own ramifications.

Jamie Irvine:

I was just gonna say, enforcement is an issue here because like in Canada, certainly in the states, from what I’ve heard, the enforcement is much more stringent than in Canada. It seems like in Canada, we have all the laws, the same laws, but the actual enforcement is lacking.

And therefore it’s kind of like everything is legal unless you get caught. So in Canada, I think people are more bold about deleting their systems than in the states because of enforcement. But regardless in both countries, the laws are pretty much the same, which is it is illegal to do this.

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. I can’t speak to counter enforcement, but I’ll say on the US side, I mean and you can go on just Google, like EPA, you know, DEF enforcement or anything like that. And you’ll see EPA actually published the website of all their enforcement actions.

And there’s been a lot of focus, especially on manufacturers or resellers of parts designed to cheat these systems but there’s also been plenty of enforcement against fleets, etc, who have either been importing illegal vehicles or modifying vehicles, to not comply with those emission requirements, and actually just, I wanna say it was last week.

So two weeks ago there was a pretty big announcement, of someone that now actually included criminal penalties and that there was a year in prison, um, based on selling parts to take light duty diesel trucks.

These are mostly pickup trucks, diesel pickup trucks, and modify them, delete the DPF, EGR and SCR systems. And it was a repeat offender, you know, I’ll sort of leave it there. You can go out and find it. There was a, you know, pretty big announcement, but it’s an issue here too, right? I mean the EPA estimates, I think from that article about a half a million vehicles are out there that do not comply.

And as we go forward into the future, I only expect that enforcement, at least here in the US to get more stringent, because again, you know, you’re talking about pollutants that are the primary cause of smog of acid rain. You know, it’s shown to be a precursor for asthma and cardiovascular disease. These are primary pollutants and, you know, as a father, young kids I understand why we want cleaner air.

I appreciate it. I also, you know, appreciate the difficulty of maintaining these systems. You know, then like this is the shameless plug side here, right?

So this is one of the reasons why Dorman and companies like Diesel Laptops are so in front of this, trying to make it clear to the end user, whether that’s fleets or owner-operators, they can look up the repair themselves. They can diagnose the cause of the fault. They can do the upstream diagnostics as well to find the root cause of their problems. And they can go to the aftermarket and buy the parts.

You don’t have to go back to the dealer. You know, this is a spend that didn’t exist about 10 years ago. And for a lot of fleets, we get it, right? We’re talking about the number one spend now, right there with diesel and tires, right.

Diesel’s probably a little higher right now with the current environment, but in general, you take a spend that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and it’s now a number one spend, that’s a huge pain point. And about 95 to 97% of that spend is estimated to be back at the dealer and so it is, I think really prudent on fleets and owner operators to learn that they can do the diagnostics themselves here.

They can understand these systems. Once you understand something, it’s easy to do the work on it and the parts are available. And that book of parts is expanding really rapidly here. As everybody works, to try to increase the amount of parts to service the owner operators and the fleets out there, um, with these vehicles as they age.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. So don’t delete, it’s illegal. It’s a bad idea. Don’t delete, but get educated about how these systems work, expand your knowledge about that. Make sure that you’re maintaining upstream, downstream, looking at the entire system, not just the diesel emission part of it, and also take advantage of the aftermarket options up to, and including companies like Dorman Products that make the parts. And of course companies like Diesel Laptops that provide you with the tools and equipments. You need to do this, even if you’re not a diesel technician.

We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account.

Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability.

Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. We’re back from our break. And before the break, we were tackling a couple of the big myths around diesel emission systems. We’ve got one more Daniel myth, number three, you should use water instead of your DEF fluid. Now we’ve already touched on that, DEF fluid is not killing the vegetation on the sides of the highways. That is a myth.

Let’s talk about this idea of using water now. Patriot meme 2.0, “what would happen if you just used water instead of DEF fluid”, that was the question posed. And then there was a bunch of comments after that. Christopher Bay says,” ours fails every two months”. Steve Thiles449, “why so many have been running water in place of DEF”. ThatsmyDodge says,” water in the DEF tank, every three to four months has kept my DEF trouble free for over a million miles.”

Well, first of all, congratulations on a million miles, whether or not the water strategy was the reason you got a million miles we’ll see, and Melody and, and, you know, she must be from a Northern climate because she says, “DEF freezes, tanks and lines need heaters. Some genius decided to run these heaters off of 22 gauge wire, the connectors melted.” So you know, we got a range of different things happening to people. They’re having different experiences. They’re coming to the conclusion that water is a good replacement. Is that a myth?

Daniel Simon:

Oh, it’s definitely a myth. Right? And I think there’s three in here. Maybe we tackle ’em one at a time. The way the system works, there’s a NOx sensor, a nitrogen oxide emission sensor at the very end of the system at the tailpipe, right before it leaves, you know, the exhaust stack. And that’s gonna pick up the actual NOx emissions coming out of the end of the system.

Without the DEF itself in here, the conversion cannot have happen effectively. There is a catalyst in the SCR, the selective catalytic reduction. It’s sort of like a DPF or like a catalytic converter, but the efficiency is very, very low on it, right. It relies on the DEF fluid itself to make that chemical conversion from NOx to nitrogen. Okay.

Jamie Irvine:

So just I just wanna make sure. So what we’re saying is if you use water, you are putting a stress or like you’re stressing your SCR more than normal because it doesn’t have that chemical reaction from the DEF fluid.

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. So it’s sort of two things, right? One, water’s got a lot of impurities in it, right. Unless you’re putting di nice water in, so you could actually be causing damage. Right. As you know, if anybody’s lived in say a hard water climate, you know, we certainly know how, you know, shower heads get clogged up, etc. So you could be actually doing damage by putting any kind of impurities into the system. But the other thing is you’re not gonna get rid of the NOx emissions with water. It relies on the DEF itself. So, diagnosing from afar.

My opinion is likely people saying, I just put water in my tank have probably deleted a lot of the system, or they’ve probably put software in, as part of a delete that says, I’m not gonna look at the actual NOx emissions coming off of that NOx sensor, because the fact is without DEF your NOx emissions is gonna be out of compliance.

It’s gonna be higher than the EPA mandate. And the way the trucks are designed, the way that emissions controlled devices are, are designed, if it recognizes that higher then allowed NOx emissions level, ultimately that truck is gonna go into D rate and it’s gonna shut you down on the side of the road.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. So this is not a good strategy. You’re saying that that chances are, if someone has been quote-unquote, successfully doing this it’s it’s because in addition to using water, they have done something else to the system to modify it so that it doesn’t force the engine into D rate. And what about like, like my first thought, as soon as I saw this, that people are putting water, as I thought, well, even if they’re getting away with that, somehow it’s gonna freeze.

Like, so, I mean, I guess if you’re in the Southern states and you’re never gonna have cold temperature, you’d be okay, but the minute you head up to the Rockies or come up north you’re gonna have an issue right away. So to me, this is just gonna do more damage than it’s worth.

Daniel Simon:

Okay. Again, unless you’ve deleted the system, right. Unless you have done things to make either the vehicle not look at the system where you’ve got, you know, parts deleted and software to change how it’s gonna look at it, it’s a bad idea all around.

And again, deleting the system’s a bad idea all around as well. And if you ever go to bring it back into compliance, you’ve likely damaged a lot of these very expensive components, right? You think the heated lines and the DEF pumps and the injectors are expensive, that’s nothing compared to replacing the actual SCR itself.

So, you know, unfortunately, you know, it’s like, like the old adages, stitch and time saves nine, here, you know the less we do the damage that can happen, the incremental cost gets really expensive really quickly not to say that the maintenance expense itself is inexpensive as well but it’s gonna get the, pain’s gonna get a lot worse

Jamie Irvine:

Pay me now or pay me later.

Daniel Simon:

Yeah. Pay me a lot later. Exactly. Yeah. And on the freezing side, you’re right. But I will say like DEF also does have issues in cold weather climates. So in addition to the potential for freezing sort of what happens first is it crystallizes and those crystals are pretty sharp and they cause all kind of problems. So you can get clogged lines, you can get damage to gaskets and seals and injectors.

So the one user that was mentioning, you know, the problems of cold climates with heated lines, etc, that’s true. And we actually see some seasonality in cold weather climates to failures because this system may seem like it’s working fine in the summer, the heating elements, all those other important components might have broken, but the system’s not trying to turn it on.

So most vehicles have an ambient temperature sensor somewhere, right, usually involved in the engine to optimize how the engine efficiency is, you know, recognizing the ambient air temperature coming into the engine, and the systems will pick that up and say, Hey, if I’m below freezing, I’m gonna turn on these heaters. And then if those heaters don’t work because you know, they’ve broken or they’ve burned out or connector melted out then in that case, right, the system’s gonna throw codes and say, Hey, there’s something I’ve gotta fix. A lot of patents around those systems.

So we continue to try to work, to make more and more of those parts available in the aftermarket but yes, there is challenges with cold weather climates, but emissions control is important in all climates as well and frankly smog is you get these inversion layers in the wintertime. And in a lot of ways, smog is even a bigger challenge in cold weather climates in cold weather times.

Daniel Simon:

So it’s a fair point that the challenge sort of props up here in cold weather, the systems do have, um, you know, either running off the engine coolant or running off electric heaters inside the pumps and the tanks and the lines up to the injectors, and they can be failure prone as well.

But again, I think the aftermarkets gonna react to try to make as many of those parts available and companies, again, like Diesel Laptops are out there trying to make the diagnostics as available as possible. So you don’t have to go back to the dealer just to find out the cause of the problem.

Jamie Irvine:

So we’ve tackled three big myths around diesel emission systems. Daniel, what is the main takeaway listeners need to remember when they are maintaining and operating trucks with diesel emission systems?

Daniel Simon:

I think for me, the big takeaway is education and knowledge. And you know, maybe that’s become a bit of a refrain here in the industry, but it’s true and it’s critical. Once you understand the systems, like truly understand them, it becomes a bit of a logical play, right? I’m seeing this happen downstream. I should look for these things upstream.

If I’m seeing a lot of soot or I’m seeing, you know, a lot of material on my sensors downstream, you know, then I need to look upstream in the system at the engine. Do I have a coolant leak somewhere? Do I have an oil leak what’s causing this failure downstream and getting educated in tools. You know, again, we talked about Diesel Laptops, this has products out there as well as others, understanding what is available and that you can do the diagnostic work yourself and the replacement work yourself. You know, these parts don’t require reprogramming. You’re not at risk of enforcement.

If you’re using, you know, legitimate parts, even in the aftermarket to do replacement and repairs and maintenance on the systems, they are maintainable almost all of this is all plug and play, but that just takes education and knowledge to understand, you know, how the systems work, how do I diagnose challenges and problems, and how do I do the actual maintenance repairs myself.

Jamie Irvine:

This has been a really great conversation. Daniel. I think I want to conclude myself by saying that I understand why some people have kind of believed some of these myths and how they have experienced financial pain related to maintaining and repairing these systems.

We get that, and we’re not trying to be in any way insensitive to that, but you can actually make things a lot worse if you fall prey to some of these myths. So I’m glad that we were able to debunk them, give people some good quality information.

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And we’ve been speaking with Daniel Simon from Dorman Products. To learn more about Dorman Products, visit DormanHDsolutions.com, links are in the show notes. All the way from Brazil today, Daniel, thank you so much for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report once again.

Daniel Simon:

Thanks Jamie. Like I said, always a pleasure. Thanks for having me again.

Share this:


Receive a weekly email with links to the latest episodes.

North America’s largest most trusted independent provider of parts and service.

Find Heavy-Duty Truck Parts Fast. VIN decoder included.

Fuel Injection for
Heavy-Duty Applications