00:00 00:00

Podcast

Is Your DPF Really Clean?

How to make sure your DPF is being cleaned properly, its impact on environmental standards, cost savings, and valuable advice for starting a DPF cleaning service.

Episode 288: Prepare to get an inside look into diesel emission systems maintenance and repair with our returning guest Wayne Cochrane, National Sales Manager of Redline Emissions Products. Ever wondered how to know if a filter is genuinely clean? What should you be doing after getting your filter back from the cleaners? Wayne explains the dangers of running a poorly cleaned filter and how you can make sure that it’s done right. Keeping a clean filter isn’t just about environmental standards, it also saves in cost and performance.

Are you thinking of getting into the DPF cleaning business? You’ll want to hear what Wayne has to say. First, we talk about how Redline Emission Products was able to maintain its inventory despite supply chain issues. Then, you can distinguish yourself from the competition by giving attention to an often-overlooked aspect: packaging. Finally, some helpful advice for people looking to start their own DPF cleaning service. Whether you’re a fleet owner, a parts provider, or just curious, this episode is packed with insights and expert advice that you are sure to find useful.

Redline Emissions Products logo wiht their Filterthem DPF Cleaning Equipment.

Links

Sponsors of this Episode 

FinditParts: Are you looking to purchase heavy-duty parts and get your commercial vehicle repaired? Get access to the largest source for heavy-duty truck and trailer parts in the United States and Canada. Buy your parts from FinditParts

Visit FinditParts.com/100days Use coupon code HDPR5 for 5 additional entries to win big.

SAMPA: Looking for suspension, steering, and 5th wheel parts? Buy now from SAMPA.com

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 commission. 

Transcript of Episode

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and this is the place where we have conversations that empower heavy-duty people. Welcome to another episode of The Heavy Duty Parts Report. Today we’re going to talk about a subject that gives a lot of owner operators and fleets heartburn because it is an issue that keeps coming up.

It’s an area of maintenance and repair that has grown exponentially in cost over the last 15 years. Just from that little bit of a tidbit, maybe you’re already realizing I’m talking about diesel emission systems.

Our guest today is a returning guest. Wayne Cochrane is the National Sales Manager of Redline Emissions Products. They also manufacture and sell the Filtertherm brand of DPF cleaning equipment and he’s got some deep expertise and some insights into specific problems that he’s seeing in the market.

We’re going to address one of them today and we’re going to talk about the solution in terms of what fleets can do and then if you’re in the parts business or if you’re in the parts and service business and you want to get involved in providing this solution to your customers, we’re going to talk about how you can do that.

I will mention that unfortunately the neighbors are away at Wayne’s house and the dog is barking, so you may hear a dog in the background. We like dogs at The Heavy Duty Parts Report, so we won’t hold that against their neighbors too much. Wayne, welcome to back to The Heavy Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here again.

Wayne Cochrane:

Thanks Jamie. Always good to see you. Glad you didn’t blame my dog in all of that barking, but yeah, such just life.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, as a new dog owner Wayne, I know how they become very quickly parts of the family and I know there’s listeners right now driving down the highway in their semi-trucks with their best friend sitting on the seat beside them. Alright, well the subject today is DPF filters and the cleaning of DPF filters, but we’re going to talk specifically about one thing that you’re seeing in the market.

So I saw a social media post you did recently. It was very well received, a lot of people talked about it. You showed a couple pictures of a clean DPF filter. Tell us a little bit more about that situation. What was going on there and what’s the root problem?

Wayne Cochrane:

I was speaking to a gentleman that was interested in purchasing some of our Filtertherm DPF cleaning equipment, and through conversation I just asked, are you on volume? And he had indicated that he’s currently having this filter cleaned by an outside source and I just casually asked who that might be and he gave me a name out of curiosity, I visited their website and I was shocked that they had photos of before and after and the after photos had what appears to be black spaghetti poking out of the holes.

Now if you’re not familiar with DPF cleaning, you may not realize what those actually are. It’s actually unregenerated soot that is still in the cell walls. To us that’s definitely not a clean filter. It’s one that needs to be baked at least one more time. But again, this was someone who is professionally cleaning DPFs and showing that as a clean filter.

My concern is how many other shops are out there without the experience to understand what a clean DPF looks like and how many fleets receive DPFs back without really checking, was it Ronald Reagan that always said, ‘trust but verify’. There are steps that you can take when a filter comes back from a cleaner to verify that it is truly clean and not one that needs to be sent through the process again.

Jamie Irvine:

Well, I think the situation with the diesel emission system really in general for many years is it’s been a bit of a wild, wild west. There are so many conflicting ideas out there about what constitutes a good cleaning program, what methods you should use, what is a clean filter, what isn’t, and I think to your point, I see a lot of those misconceptions are really just an issue of not having access to good quality information.

So first of all, let’s give people that good quality information. We’re going to show pictures, if you’re watching the video version of what Wayne was talking about, we’re also going to show you some pictures of what a clean filter actually looks like.

But Wayne, if you don’t have a clean filter, if you have that unregenerated soot coming through like spaghetti after a cleaning has been done and you install that back in your vehicle, what’s the impact? What’s the big deal with that?

Wayne Cochrane:

You’re not going to get any reliable service life out of that filter before it needs to be pulled again and cleaned. And if you go back through your records and say, well, the filter’s been cleaned, I’ve put it on, driven a month, it’s plugged again, do I have engine issues? Do I have a bad DOC?

It causes all sorts of questions to be raised when really the root cause is the original filter was not cleaned properly, so then you’re digging into your engine, et cetera, et cetera, trying to figure out what might be wrong when really it’s just the service provided was not correct.

Jamie Irvine:

Well, and the minute that you’re doing exploratory diagnostics, all I’m hearing is cha-ching as that dollar goes up and up, right, downtime, you have to pay the mechanic to do it. I mean it’s just unnecessary cost. What kind of performance issues do vehicles encounter when they have filters that are beginning to be plugged or plugging prematurely because they weren’t clean correctly?

Wayne Cochrane:

Well, first of all, the engine’s going to start regenerating or ask for manual regenerations more frequently. You’re going to get performance issues. High back pressure can cause turbo problems, EGR problems, all sorts of issues. So having a clean filter on your vehicle is pretty important.

Jamie Irvine:

When I hear all of that, I just think of you had this situation where really at the end of the day you just had a filter that wasn’t cleaned properly, and if it’s left unaddressed and you keep using that service, I hear that that leads to actual problems with all these other systems and we know you’ve been on the show before, you’ve talked about the absolute necessity to identify upstream issues, so you’re just opening yourself up to a whole bunch of trouble.

Wayne Cochrane:

Exactly.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. So if this person who owns the truck and is getting their DPF cleaned, what intelligent questions should they be asking of their DPF cleaner to kind of gauge whether or not this person knows what they’re doing?

Wayne Cochrane:

Look for documentation. Many of the DPF equipment manufacturers such as Filtertherm, have software packages that allow you to track DPF cleanings and report on what you’re seeing when the DPF comes through the door.

For example, most people will do either a flow test of the filter or a weight test of the filter before it’s cleaned and then again after it’s cleaned and then we do a pin test where you take a 005 welding rod TIG rod and insert it down several of the channels of the filter just to check on the depth, but you weigh the filter before the cleaning, it flow tests it, and then you do the same process at the end of the cleaning, you should see a notable increase in flow and obviously a decrease in weight.

Most weights are done in grams because the ash is a very light material and the difference is not that great in the number of grams reduced.

Jamie Irvine:

So when it comes to the, you said the weight and or flow, should a shop really be doing both? Is there an advantage doing both?

Wayne Cochrane:

Yeah, there is because sometimes we’ll clean a filter and we’ll see an increase in flow, but no change in weight and we realized at that point with PIN testing et cetera, that there may be soot like those spaghetti rods that’s allowing the flow to get around the filter, but there’s still restriction in the filter.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, makes sense. So when it comes to somebody that has a number of vehicles, let’s say they have a fleet, it doesn’t have to be a mega fleet, how many units before maybe they should start thinking about doing their own DPF cleaning themselves?

Wayne Cochrane:

It varies. I’ve had school fleets with 12 buses that have been interested in cleaning their own DPFs just to be able to get their arms around the process and make sure that the vehicles are serviced when needed and they’re not waiting in line behind a bunch of other people. And also to have control over the process. Maybe they’ve been bitten in the past by people that are in the cleaning business but don’t really understand what a clean filter looks like.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. Was that a bit of a Freudian slip ‘bitten in the past’ with that dog barking in the background?

Wayne Cochrane:

A little bit. A little bit.

Jamie Irvine:

Wayne, let me ask you something. If somebody wants to explore whether or not doing their own DPF cleaning is a viable economic option for them, tell me about what’s on filtertherm.com that will enable them to really quickly get an understanding not only of what type of cleaning machine and package they should look at, but how they could discern whether or not it makes sense economically?

Wayne Cochrane:

Yeah. Filtertherm is chockfull of information filtertherm.com, I should say, is chockfull of information. One of the better tools we have is our ROI or Return on Investment tool. It allows you to play with numbers, how many filters in a week you may figure you’re going to be cleaning, what type of savings you’ll have from cleaning from outside sources.

Average across the country is somewhere between $250 and $350 per cleaning, and then the equipment cost. You pour those numbers into the calculator and it will spit out how quickly you can pay for the equipment. And most people are very pleasantly surprised at how quick that number will pay for itself.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. So if you’re in the situation where you manage a lot of fleets and you want to take a look at this, head over to filtertherm.com. Links are in the show notes. Check out that ROI calculator. We’ll also put a link directly to that calculator so you can take a look at that. When we come back from the break, we’re going to talk about the other side of the cleaning.

Maybe you are a parts house or you do parts and service and you want to offer this as a service to your customers. To the ones who don’t have fleets big enough to justify investing in the equipment themselves, this is a great business opportunity. We’re going to talk more about that when we are right back.

Commercial Break:

This episode of The Heavy Duty Parts Report is brought to you by Find It Parts your ultimate destination for heavy-duty truck and trailer parts.

Discover a vast range of parts at finditparts.com. Don’t spend hours a day looking for parts. Instead, visit finditparts.com and get them right away.

Parts availability and quality have a big influence on fleets and owner operators’ total cost of operation. If they can’t find a part, it means more downtime. If they install a low quality part and it fails, it means even more costs like tow bills, hotels, meals for the driver, and lost revenue.

That’s why we recommend Sampa. They manufacture a wide range of advanced parts for commercial vehicles. Their website has an intelligent product search engine and broad coverage of suspension, steering and fifth wheel components. Expect more. Expect Sampa. Visit sampa.com today.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re back from our break. Before the break, Wayne, you did a great job of talking about the issue of whether or not the DPF is actually clean, what to look for, what we should be asking our DPF cleaners before we just accept that product back. We also talked about what it takes to really from an economic perspective, would it be wise to invest in DPF cleaning equipment yourself?

Now we’re going to talk to the parts house, the distributor who wants to sell diesel emission system after treatment parts, but they also want to maybe offer DPF cleaning as a service. So let’s talk about that. When you get into the business of selling after treatment and getting involved in DPF cleaning, how important is it to have a product that’s packaged well? That also is a product that is manufactured here in the USA?

Wayne Cochrane:

Well, we saw through Covid what the implications are of relying on offshore sources. We were able to maintain our inventory levels and service our customers all throughout covid. So we felt we were very fortunate, but perhaps in hindsight, we were just smart with building the US. Packaging, that’s an odd question. Most people sort of scratch their head, but we feel packaging is very important.

Many of our competitors will sell you gaskets or clamps, and they’re thrown into a large box or shrink wrapped to a piece of cardboard. They get thrown in a parts truck, they get thrown on a shelf, stuff gets put on top of them, and they become destroyed or missing parts, especially in the clamps, the little T bolts, et cetera, go missing.

So at Redline, we’ve experienced all those problems in the past with similar products, and we decided that we were going to try to fix that problem by packaging everything possible in a corrugated box that protects the product, makes sure that when it gets to the end user, it’s usable and fully functional for that application.

Jamie Irvine:

So you want to partner with someone who can provide you with a quality product, but this packaging component is important. Let’s talk about the data, not only cross-reference information, but also the actual product data that shows up on that packaging.

Wayne Cochrane:

Yeah, again, with our packaging, we are able to label every single part and we’ve gone the extra step. Yes, there’s a Redline Emissions Products part number, but beyond that, we’ll put on our label that if it’s for a Volvo application, that it’s a Volvo application, and then the corresponding cross-reference numbers.

In this industry, there’s many, many super sessions and we try to include as many of those as we possibly can. So when you push a part across the counter to your customer, he’s come in and ask for a Cummins number. He sees on that package that the Cummins number appears, and that’s immediate confirmation that he’s received the exact part he’s asked for.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, it’s excellent for the customer experience. If you’re on the parts counter, what tool is available to help people with cross-reference information?

Wayne Cochrane:

Well, we have gone and spent an awful lot of time and money creating a cross-reference tool on our website. Even our competitors compliment us on the tool because you put in a Cummins number, a competitors’ part number in most cases, and it pops up with the Redline Emissions Products part number. Additionally, it shows corresponding parts.

So if you’re looking for a DPF part number, you put it into the tool. It comes up with our part numbers, some of our competitors part numbers, but it also shows what clamps and gaskets are required for that unit, which is very important information, especially on a parts counter when you’re trying to service your customer’s needs a hundred percent.

Nothing worse than sending someone away with a clamp and having them call back and say, oh, I needed the gasket. This allows you to plus sell or oversell to your customers.

Jamie Irvine:

As my mentor said, Jamie, ‘sell ’em what they need, not what they ask for.’

Wayne Cochrane:

Exactly.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. So, okay. So when it comes to wanting to get into the business of providing the cleaning service, what considerations do you sit down and talk with people about when they’re considering buying some Filtertherm equipment? How do you walk them through the process of deciding which packages they should buy, whether or not it’s something that they should even consider doing? What’s the really important information people need to know?

Wayne Cochrane:

It’s important to know what target audience you want to service. I talk to a lot of people that come in and look to buy the newest, greatest thing on the market. It’s not always the right fit for what they are doing. For example, you’re servicing a hundred percent heavy-duty. You’re not servicing vehicles inside your shop, and time is not of great importance. I mean, overnight service is sufficient. Our thermal package is perfect.

If however, you’re trying to service off-road, light duty, Ag, heavy-duty, then perhaps the aqueous package is better for you. Budget comes into play and we try to help people understand what options are available as well to best put together a package that fits their needs and fits their budget. The conversation is always important. I’ve had many people phone me up and say, Hey, I want an oven. And I’ll say, okay, what are you trying to accomplish?

They didn’t understand when they were looking at our website that an oven is just not sufficient to start up a cleaning business. They need other equipment, like an inspection table that we discussed earlier to actually understand whether the filter can be cleaned and then provide the information before and then after the service.

Jamie Irvine:

When you were talking about the importance of really thinking about who is it that you’re going to try to serve and who are you going to offer this service to? In our consulting business at the Heavy Duty Consulting Corporation, we work with a lot of different people and they always kind of have this very broad description of who they want to do business with.

And so we always tell though, we say, don’t go a mile wide in an inch deep, go an inch wide at a mile deep. And you know what? That advice works every single time.

Wayne Cochrane:

Yep, I agree.

Jamie Irvine:

I think why that’s so important too is because once you really understand your ideal customer, you start to really get a sense of their needs and you can start to build a service that is very difficult for others to replicate. And that’s really important because sometimes in the parts game, it’s really hard to find differentiation.

Wayne Cochrane:

Exactly. And if you’re in the parts game, cleaning filters is a natural extension to selling more parts. If you clean a filter and you understand the emission systems, you automatically know you clean a filter, bang, you’ve sold a set of gaskets if you’re knowledgeable, sold a set of clamps as well. So it’s just not the money that you make over the counter by cleaning a filter. It’s understanding all the service parts that are required and go along with that, that you can sell and make money at.

Jamie Irvine:

I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and we’ve been speaking with Wayne Cochrane, National Sales Manager at Redline Emissions Products, and they are also the ones that manufacture and sell the Filtertherm, DPF cleaning equipment.

We also had Wayne’s neighbor’s dog join us on the show barking incessantly through the entire interview. So thank you to all of you listeners for their patience, and thanks for your contribution Fido. Wayne, thanks so much for being on the show. Just one more time, if people want to learn about Filtertherm, where should they go?

Wayne Cochrane:

Well, they can call me or www.filtertherm.com.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. Links will be in the show notes for filtertherm.com. And if people are interested in looking at whether or not they want to sell the Redline Emissions products or they want to get into the DPF cleaning business, they should go to which website

Wayne Cochrane:

For the product line Redline Emission Products, it’s rep. direct, www.rep.direct.

Jamie Irvine:

Alright. And links will also be in the show notes. Thanks again for coming on the show, Wayne, and talk to you soon.

Wayne Cochrane:

Always a pleasure, Jamie. Thank you.

Share this:
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Email
Related:

FOLLOW THE PODCAST

Receive a weekly email with links to the latest episodes.

You Won’t Believe How Much You Will Save.

Your Complete Shop Efficiency Partner.

Provide Your Customers with Complete Parts Visibility.

The Heart of the Independent Parts and Service Channel.

Your Ultimate Destination for Heavy-Duty Parts.

Search