DPF Explained: How to Get the Most Out of Your Diesel Particulate Filter

26 Apr

your HiLux runs on diesel, then it’s likely fitted with a DPF (diesel particulate filter) whose purpose is to reduce the emissions that are a result of the combustion process burning diesel fuel. However, what many people don’t know is that the HiLux DPF isn’t a fit-and-forget type of accessory. You need to maintain it and understand how to keep it in optimum shape. Improper care of your diesel particulate filter and engine can lead to engine malfunction, breakdown, expensive repairs and replacement parts, non-compliance with emission laws and voided warranty.

How to Clean Your DPF

Source: vehicleservicepros.com

How to Clean Your DPF

Your DPF filter needs to be maintained by removing and cleaning it periodically to remove the ashes gathered on it. While the filter has its own forms of regeneration, removing the ash is completely different. DPF cleaning involves heating the filter and using compressed air with a vacuum system to blow impurities, debris and ash. It’s important to use procedures approved by the filter’s manufacturer, otherwise you risk ruining the filter and exposing yourself to hazardous waste. You shouldn’t steam clean the filter, and you shouldn’t use a shop compressor in an open area to clean it. Furthermore, the HiLux DPF ash should be disposed of as hazardous waste. After cleaning the filter, you should make sure you install it correctly. Some people think that they can run their vehicles without the filter, but that’s one of the worst things you can do for yourself, your vehicle and the environment.



DPF Regeneration

Before I talk about DPF regeneration methods, you need to know that the DPF collects the soot coming from the engine exhaust gasses. The soot must be removed from the filter periodically, otherwise it will clog it. Removing soot is done through regeneration. There are two types of DPF filter regeneration – active and passive. Both involve increasing the temperature in your exhaust system for a specified period of time. Passive regeneration is when your HiLux gets hot enough to trigger the regeneration when you’re driving on the motorway. Active regeneration requires an outside source of heat, such as electricity or diesel fuel to burn the soot. This process may not require any action by you. Some filters automatically inject and ignite fuel in the filter to activate the regeneration. DPF filters equipped with electrical plugs feature heaters that are plugged into a socket for regeneration.

Overall Vehicle Maintenance

Source: veturilo.io

Overall Vehicle Maintenance

Your vehicle should be properly maintained at all times. Over-fueling or loss of lube oil can damage your DPF, leading to costly repairs. As aforementioned, the DPF gathers soot from the engine, which can conceal engine problems that were detectably before by noting the exhaust gas characteristics. It’s important to be proactive rather than reactive. You should consider replacing your fuel injectors at intervals specified by the engine manufacturer. Worn fuel injectors can result in over-fueling and more soot generation. Take care of worn-down hydraulic injectors to prevent lube oil leaks. Furthermore, consider replacing your air filters as specified by the manufacturer. A clogged or dirty air filter will result in more soot generation.

Lube Oil Consumption

Source: addinol.de

Lube Oil Consumption

Lube oil components can get into the DPF and cause plugging or break the catalyst. For that reason, you should make sure the engine isn’t consuming more lube oil than it has to. If the consumption is higher than the specified amount, your engine will need to be repaired. Additionally, higher lube oil consumption can lead to filter plugging and increased ash. This ash can’t be removed through regeneration, so you’ll need to clean your DPF more frequently, which can get expensive and time-consuming. For that reason, you should track lube oil usage at all times, and you should consider using low ash lube oil. Avoid putting additives, used or clean lube oil or unauthorised alternative diesel fuels in the fuel tank.

DPF Monitoring

Most vehicles, including the HiLux feature a monitoring system for the diesel particulate filter that includes a few indicator lights. You need to understand and know what these indicator lights represent so you can act accordingly should one of them light up. The indicator lights can vary between different manufacturers, so you might need to contact your installer or mechanic for clarity. Regardless, you should never tape over, disconnect or block your indicator lights, and you shouldn’t ignore them. Running your HiLux while one of the lights is signaling can derate your engine, damage your filter and void your filter’s warranty. If your filter can be actively regenerated, and the indicator light suggests it’s time to regenerate your filter, you should do it as soon as possible.

Caring for the Filter

While the DPF may seem very rugged, it’s generally made of ceramic, which is somewhat breakable. For that reason, avoid banging or taping it as that could crack it. Replacing the filter can be costly, and cracking it will definitely void its warranty. If you’re servicing your HiLux yourself, avoid welding any other parts on the retrofit system and cutting control lines.


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