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Reasons Why Diesel Vehicle Owners Are Removing The Emission Control Devices?

Image Source: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

As we come to the end of our series on diesel parts that are environmentally friendly, we’re concluding with a discussion on a controversial topic in the industry: the elimination of emissions control equipment. This is an issue that very few people, whether inside or outside the diesel sector, are willing to address. However, the removal of emissions control equipment, commonly known as “deleting,” is undeniably a major concern for all current and potential owners of modern diesel vehicles. The problem associated with emissions removal cannot be overlooked indefinitely. So, why not confront the issue of deleting head-on?

Given that we have previously presented you with enjoyable, legal, and eco-friendly ways to increase the power of your Ford, Chevy, or Ram diesel vehicle, this time we are discussing the reasons why many diesel owners remove parts from their trucks—and why you should not. We will also discuss the main drawbacks of deleting, dispel the most widespread misconceptions about factory emissions equipment, and remind you that major automakers have put in extra effort to ensure that the latest emissions control systems in heavy-duty pickups are more reliable than ever.

Why Diesel Vehicle Owners Delete: Reliability

It is widely known that the modern diesel vehicles’ exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel particulate filter (DPF), and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems have various points of failure. EGR valves get stuck, EGR coolers break, DPFs get clogged, pressure differential sensors malfunction, SCR doser valves stop working, DEF heaters fail, and the list goes on. From minor sensor issues to complete component failures, owners of these modern powerhouses, many of whom rely on them for their livelihood and possess impressive torque power of 1,000 lb-ft, understandably do not appreciate any downtime caused by an emissions equipment problem. Eliminating potential points of failure is the primary reason why emissions system deletions are carried out.

Why Diesel Vehicle Owners Delete: Fuel Efficiency

Another aspect influencing a diesel vehicle owner’s decision to delete is fuel efficiency. While removing the emissions equipment from a modern diesel vehicle can lead to a slight improvement in fuel economy, the difference is not as significant as it was during the 2007-2010 period. Back then, when only EGR and DPF technologies were used in diesel vehicles, fuel efficiency was extremely poor—reaching as low as 12 to 14 mpg for an empty truck. However, after the advent of SCR (starting from the ’11 model year for Ford and GM, and the ’13 model year for Ram trucks), as well as other enhancements in aftertreatment systems, the fuel efficiency received an immediate boost, with many ¾-ton trucks being capable of achieving 20 mpg when empty.

Common Misconceptions About Modern Diesel Vehicles

Many diesel vehicle owners believe that the DPF (diesel particulate filter) is a potential hazard. This misconception largely stems from the early stages of the technology when failures were more common. Additionally, a significant number of diesel vehicle owners believe that the DPF acts as a constraint that reduces engine power. This theory has been repeatedly proven inaccurate, especially in lower horsepower applications such as street-driven trucks. Another common misunderstanding is that the EGR system can harm the engine. While the carbon trap present in an EGR system can eventually impede performance, regular maintenance, particularly cleaning, greatly contributes to the longevity of its components and ensures that peak engine performance is consistently available.

Disadvantages of Deleting

First and foremost, removing emissions equipment is illegal. By simplifying the system and eliminating failure points to enhance reliability and gain some fuel efficiency, you inadvertently render your vehicle technically unfit for street use. Moreover, no manufacturer will honor the warranty of your vehicle upon discovering that essential hardware has been removed. Even worse, a dealership could utilize the absence of emissions equipment as grounds to avoid performing warranty work unrelated to the powertrain. If law enforcement identifies the absence of emissions equipment in your vehicle, you may be subject to significant fines and/or a corrective citation.

The Reality of Emissions Equipment

Despite not being flawless, contemporary diesel emissions control systems have greatly evolved and continue to enhance the environmental impact of diesel vehicles.

Components are more dependable than ever before. The EGR, DPF, and SCR systems, all of which must operate in tandem, are continuously enhancing. Each element within these systems is likely to have an extended service life. Proper maintenance significantly contributes to the durability of contemporary diesel engines, as mentioned earlier. It is crucial to adhere to specified intervals for timely DPF cleaning and EGR system cleanings, allowing regeneration periods to complete uninterrupted. Additionally, the choice of engine oil is vital due to the soot buildup in EGR-equipped engines.

Why You Shouldn’t Remove:

As mentioned earlier, the components enduring the harsh diesel engine exhaust environment are not flawless, but their durability has significantly increased since their inception. The improvement of stronger electric actuator motors, enhanced EGR cooling, higher quality DPF, and more precise regeneration mechanisms have made this progress possible. With proper maintenance, an EGR system can now last over 100,000 miles, and a DPF’s lifespan can double that. Moreover, for those enthusiasts seeking more horsepower, the DPF might not be as restrictive as commonly believed, particularly for engines under 650 hp to 700 hp.

The Future Of Diesel Performance lies in CARB E.O. Numbers:

When a manufacturer receives an Executive Order (E.O.) number from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), it signifies that their product does not contribute to increased vehicle emissions during usage. Since CARB imposes stricter emission standards than other states, if it meets CARB’s standards, it is sufficient for operation nationwide. The emission-friendly diesel parts series highlights that E.O. numbers are not limited to air intakes and tuners but extend to performance turbochargers, injectors, and fuel pumps, indicating that CARB E.O. numbers are pivotal for future legal diesel performance.

Off-Road: Where E.O. Numbers Are Irrelevant:

In the realm of off-road use, dedicated diesel sled pullers and drag racers designed for competition use without street licensing will continue to exist. These vehicles are exempt from emission regulations for the time being. However, it is important to ensure that your regular utility vehicle remains compliant with on-road requirements. Embracing new, environmentally friendly aftermarket diesel products will contribute towards the market’s growth.

Image Source: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

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