SPECIAL REPORT: DPF DELETES
Jan 10, 13 | by: Bruce Smith
DPF Deletes: Crossing the Fine Line
EPA brings heat to aftermarket manufacturers of pollution-control defeat devices, programmers and software; products pulled from the market
By Bruce W. Smith, Editor/ProPickup
Manufacturing and the selling of aftermarket performance parts that replace or defeat the emission controls on late-model diesel pickups has hit the proverbial brick wall.
At least that’s how it appears as the crack-down on DPF Delete products by the federal government has shut down some performance aftermarket companies while costing others untold amounts in lost revenues and potential federal fines.
Prod a bear with a stick long enough and it’ll come after the antagonizer with a vengeance.
In this case the bear is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA – the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) its all-powerful claws and teeth.
Antagonizers are those who manufacture, sell, install and use devices that modify or replace smog-control devices found on late-model, street-licensed diesel pickups.
When those products are used on a registered vehicle it’s a clear violation of the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) – and the EPA doesn’t look kindly on such actions.
Historically, the phenomenon of DPF Deletes and related smog-control work-arounds surfaced just six years ago when the EPA mandated pollution-control systems on diesel pickups.
This immediately set into motion a small group of performance enthusiasts and manufacturers in the automotive aftermarket looking for ways to circumvent the restrictive components.
It didn’t take long before computer programs and exhaust system products designed for racing applications were in production and being installed on diesel pickups.
ADVANTAGES OF DPF DELETE
These products included parts to replace the DPF itself (DPF deletes), along with any other components that would impede exhaust flow downstream from the turbo, such as the muffler and resonator.
Some of the products also replaced or blocked the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system, and opened the door to the use of larger turbos and bigger injectors.
DPF Delete kits also required the engine control module (ECM) on these later-model diesels to be re-programmed so the removal of the pollution-control devices didn’t set off warning codes, trip “limp-home” engine-operating modes, and/or prevent the engine from running altogether.
For the computer wizards, re-writing engine code was almost as easy as making the performance exhaust components.
ABOUT TUNES AND TUNERS
Performance enthusiasts referred to these software upgrades that changed fuel delivery, timing, and other functions, as “tunes”; the hand-held hardware needed to upload them into the ECM through the diagnostic port under the dash, “programmers”; and those that write the programs, “tuners.”