The time has come for many of the higher-mileage pickup diesels equipped with diesel particulate filters where a costly decision has to be made: replace, remove or refurbish the clogged DPF.
Yes, even though today’s heavy-duty pickups have DPF filter regeneration, they still need to either be replaced at some point in time, or professionally cleaned/refurbished to regain the exhaust flow needed for the engine to perform like it should.
(Deleting the DPF from the exhaust system is a federal offense.)
Replacement DPFs cost upwards of $3,000 (or more) depending on the truck and exhaust system. Refurbishing/cleaning, on the other hand, costs a fraction of that amount.
To R&R a DPF requires removing the filter from the exhaust system and putting it in a special cleaning chamber or chambers depending on how dirty the filter is from diesel exhaust particulates that have accumulated over the years.
One company that manufacturers DPF cleaning equipment is FSX Equipment (fsxinc.com; 360.691.2999). Their machines are used by companies around the world that offer DPF cleaning services similar to those of Clean DPF Exhaust.
FSX’s Drew Taylor says they instruct their equipment users to follow a basic refurbishing process for all DPFs
- The first stage uses highly compressed air to blow through the filter in an FSX specially designed machine. The filter is then flow-tested to ensure it meets the company’s stringent guidelines to return the filter back within original OEM specs.
- If the filter does not pass, it moves on to stage two: thermal cleaning. It is placed in a special kiln and backed for 12 hours, after which it is again subjected to the blow-out process. The burn-out is similar to what the new diesel pickups do on “regen.” The DPF filter is again flow-tested. This procedure takes about two days and costs around $400.
Taylor says all pickup DPFs have to be cut open to access the actual filter for cleaning, which can add a couple hundred to the refurbishing cost over the price of the bigger trucks.
There are other manufacturers, such as Donaldson, that offer DPF cleaning equipment, and a multitude of companies that use that equipment to offer customers DPF cleaning services.
A little web research and a phone call or two will save you a lot of money when that “replace DPF” warning shows up.
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Editor’s Note: Bruce Smith is a Senior Editor at Randall-Reilly