I had a chance to attend a local Trucking industry trends conference last week, and to get a closer look at FSX. Portland Peterbuilt & GMC’s Diesel Service Unit [DSU] has invested $80k in some new diesel particulate filter cleaning equipment.http://www.dsutrucks.com/ Here are a few facts and numbers to share that can save money and time for drivers and carriers using this new technology.
First of all, it’s worthwhile to revisit the basics. The air scrubber technology has been around for awhile and made a practical debut in 2005 for me at Roadway (now YRC) on Volvo trucks. The main difference with the innovation being that instead of a conventional muffler or exhaust, units now are equipped with DPF (diesel particulate filters) are http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5176723.html inside of ‘ovens’ that regenerate the DPF’s by superheating the filters and causing soot to collect in a lower area than the main breathing apparatus. This oversimplification of a detailed process is neccesary to quickly gain the kind of understanding to deal successfully with the changing requirements and trends within this industry. I say this because most of the drivers didn’t know half of the half available to motor carrier managers at the time of this new technology’s inception. And, for my experience, many were denied the reference material that the new units arrived with (when the manuals were carried away to storage). The result is like showing up for the test after having ‘missed that day’, when the answers were given. Not all the drivers know to this day what the filter is; how it is made of serpentine-shaped, porous ceramic material, how it should last 1/4 million miles or until it gets filled up with particles, how neccesary a timely ‘REGEN’ (regeneration) is, how that affects fuel economy…or even how much one costs new. They are in fact about $2500.00, not nearly the price of tires, but expensive enough to keep well maintained considering that if you get yours past stage III, it needs replacement, and the computer onboard will shut the truck off whenever and wherever stage IV occurs. How it affects fuel economy is extremely important in this modern time. Especially in an economically challenged market where wages seem to stay frozen until we somehow dig ourselves out. Especially in environmentally ‘sensitive’ areas such as California where violations of newer and more regulations equate to state revenues or as truckers might say, ‘fingers in the pie’. Typically, an average rig will experience 5 to 6 MPG with a standard load on a standard route whereas it might drop to 4 as the DPF fills up. Other telltale signs are black soot at the output pipe. By the time you are inspected for this, it’s usually too late to avoid any fines and/or damage to the record shared by the driver,carrier, and equipment. Another definite consideration that we do not yet hear nearly enough about is the contaminated standard air cleaner, which feeds the air inside the engine. It is one more source of dirt and should be regularly replaced to keep the DPF from becoming prematurely clogged.
The affordable alternative to replacing a clogged or inefficient DPF is DSU at 555 N. Lagoon on Swan Island, who can clean your clogged, or nearly clogged filter for about $100, then will test the cleaned ones for specified parameters, the toughest clogs being then superheated in a kiln, and retested for additional C-note. Marked fuel economy and impunity to applicable fines and warnings become the reward for proper maintenance of these new systems.