When you manage a fleet of heavy-duty trucks or long-haulers, your repair technicians need to be aware of several different engine components and functions, including derated diesel particulate filters (DPFs). This component works tirelessly to trap the particulate matter output of each engine. Not only does this filter meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, but it also monitors and ensures each engine runs at peak productivity.

Still, like anything in a heavy-duty diesel engine, the lifespan of a DPF is finite, and it requires regular maintenance and care. Triad Diagnostic Solutions has the right heavy-duty Jaltest tools for your techs to identify the issues related to the DPF and when to force a reset or let the system take care of itself.

Why DPF Needs Maintenance

The DPF works under extreme conditions, collecting the ash that results from burning diesel. The engine can derate when a needed regeneration does not occur. When an engine derates, it can cause downtime by leaving the vehicle in an undrivable state or “limping mode” where it’s only operable at low speeds. In such cases, a forced resetting of the DPF is essential, yet your techs should also be prepared for a full replacement or cleaning.

Regeneration of DPF

If you don’t want to find yourself with an ineffective DPF, then you’ll need to monitor this aspect of each heavy-duty truck regularly. Depending on your fleet’s level of usage, there are different levels of regeneration, each with their own purpose for keeping your fleet efficient and productive.

Passive Regeneration

When the aftertreatment system in your heavy-duty fleet is working effectively, a regeneration of the DPF will occur while the truck is in transit. This kind of regeneration occurs mainly in long-haul trucking since it requires continuous driving for the DPF to reach a temperature above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s at this temperature that soot turns to ash and is collected by the filter, which will eventually require a cleaning by your techs.

Active Regeneration

Active regeneration is a must for fleets that only drive local routes or don’t reach the high temperatures necessary for passive regeneration. During these instances, the engine undergoes a process to increase exhaust heat and create a chemical reaction that generates the high temperatures necessary for the DPF to oxidize particulate matter.

Forced Regeneration

If neither a passive nor an active regeneration occurs, then a forced regeneration is required to keep the DPF working effectively. A tech or a drive triggers a forced regeneration, and the process is similar to what occurs during an active regeneration, thus resetting your derated DPF.

Knowing When to Avoid Regeneration

For your fleet to run optimally and for you to avoid downtime in the shop, your techs must know when to avoid a regeneration. In some instances, not all fault codes point to a forced regeneration, but rather a cleaning or replacement of the DPF. The fault code could also be triggered by an entirely different component of the aftertreatment system.

The entire DPF system relies on a network of sensors working correctly, which means some fault codes that show up on your Jaltest tools could be an indication of a problem elsewhere. That’s why techs must read the entire fault descriptions before leaping to the conclusion that a forced regen is necessary. There are also aftertreatment checklists that your techs have access to that, when followed correctly, could help them avoid a forced regen. When your techs can avoid a forced regen, your trucks can stay out of the shop.

Furthermore, resetting a derated DPF with a forced regeneration could cost your company more money in fuel and component stress from unnecessary heat exposure and engine revolutions, as well as wasted drive time. If your engines are derated and not performing optimally, reading the codes related to the DPF is essential for proper repair and keeping your company up and running.

We’ve Got the Tools You Need

If you’re looking for diagnostic solutions that can give your drives and techs all the information they need about a derated DPF, then you need Jaltest tools. Triad Diagnostic Solutions has all the heavy-duty code readers and software you’re going to need. Check out our complete lineup of heavy-duty, agriculture, and off-highway tools on our website. Need more information? Contact us at (317) 939-3690.

Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash