Webinar Wrap Up - Solving Your Aftertreatment Systems Headaches (Part 1)

Solving Your Aftertreatment Systems Headaches is a webinar produced by Diesel Laptops, Diesel Emissions Service, and Diesel Force. In this blog post, we'll summarize the first half of the webinar which focuses on the evolution of aftertreatment systems and diagnostic/repair tips. Keep an eye out for part two where we'll cover how to maintain your aftertreatment system to keep it in tip-top shape! If you don't want to wait, you can watch a recording of the full webinar here: 

History of Aftertreatment Systems

The government started introducing legislation to reduce emissions in 1997. Here’s a quick overview of what has happened since then and what’s happening in the future:

  • 2004 – EGR was introduced
  • 2007 – DPFs and low-sulfur diesel fuel was introduced
  • 2012 – SCR and DEF were introduced
  • 2013 – Required OEMs to have on-board diagnostics for emissions
  • 2021 – Shifting focus to improving fuel economy by 24%

The Truth About Emission Deletes

Diagnosing aftertreatment issues can be so frustrating that you’re tempted to delete the emissions altogether. With the many myths and misconceptions that surround emission deletes, it can seem like a good idea. We went in-depth about these myths over in this blog post but here’s a brief summary:

  • Myth: There’s a loophole to make it legal to delete or tune your truck.
    • Truth: You can’t claim that your truck is certified for off-highway purposes and sign a waiver. The government or OEM has to certify that your engine is used for a different application.
  • Myth: There aren’t specific EPA officers to enforce these rules.
    • Truth: The way these laws are written, any law enforcement agency can enforce these rules, it’s not just the EPA.
  • Myth: Small companies have nothing to worry about because the EPA only goes after the big companies.
    • Truth: Companies with only one truck have been fined by the EPA.
  • Myth: California is the only state that actually cares about emissions.
    • Truth: States are making money by giving out fines and penalties so they’re more than willing to begin giving them out.
  • Myth: Deleting emissions will solve all of your problems.
    • Truth: Deleting emissions creates more problems because when something goes wrong, you’re not sure what it really is. Is it a tune?

Simple Tests to Check Your Engine

It’s important to remember that aftertreatment systems rely heavily on everything happening upstream so if your engine is having a problem, your aftertreatment system will have a problem too. Here are five simple things that are often overlooked that you should be checking:

  • Check fluids (oil, coolant, and DEF)
  • Check for fault codes relating to component failures rather than only looking at derate and disable codes
  • Perform a cold soak or a warm soak to verify aftertreatment system temperatures
  • Check for exhaust leaks
  • Perform a snap acceleration test to verify the DPF is working and to see what is coming out of your engine

DOC/DPF Inspection

Below are four common issues you may run across when inspecting your DOC and DPF. If you notice any similarities between these pictures and your DOC and DPF, it’s time to either replace or service it.

Technician Pop Quiz!

  1. What are the basic steps to troubleshoot an emission problem?
  2. What should you be looking for when watching the graphs on a DPF regen?
  3. What could cause a frequent regen on a truck?
  4. How do you test diesel exhaust fluid and what spec are you looking for?

Don’t worry if you or your technicians didn’t know the answer to these questions, it’s not your fault! The lack of training available for technicians combined with these constantly evolving emission standards makes it difficult to stay up to date. If you’re ready to learn more about diagnosing and repairing aftertreatment systems, Diesel Laptops offers a one-day, hands-on training class. To find class availability and your nearest training location, go to training.diesellaptops.com. We will also be announcing a new aftertreatment diagnostics webinar soon as well so be on the lookout for that as well!

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