I come to you today with a serious problem that the EPA has created for people everywhere. It's a problem for us all but it's a problem which may only
effect a small % in a direct way. The problem, for those it effects, can range from annoying to maddening to downright fatal. It depends on a person's
perspective and need in life for the continuous and reliable function of a diesel engine.
The regulations mandated particulate filters into the exhaust system of heavy duty diesel truck engines. These are physical elements in the exhaust
stream that, to think of very simply, collect fine matter from the air flow onto a grid. The filters cannot be changed so, must be cleaned
occasionally by design. Otherwise, they'd become an obstruction to the exhaust flow and shut down vehicle operation.
I share a fair portion of this from direct personal experience, as the last truck I put about 150,000 miles onto, had the regenerative exhaust
filtering system. Here is a Diagram of how it works, roughly.
and what the warning signs inside a truck/heavy vehicle read:
The images above the text are what appear on the dashboard when the filter needs cleaning. The following is an instruction bulletin and page #2 is the
focus of interest. It describes Level 1-4 of the warning and shutdown process for exhaust regeneration of a truck.
is simply letting you know a cleaning is needed sometime soon. Parked Regen or just drive at 60+ Mph for awhile and it takes care of
is getting assertive about it and telling you to park and regen or get to interstate highway speeds and do it soon ...or engine power
will be reduced by what I figured was roughly 40%. It makes a responsive truck into something worse than a city bus.
is getting rude about matters. Engine power has been reduced at this point and now it's telling you to obey and park for a regen or
face the engine shutting OFF. Highway speeds are likely not a solution by this point, in my experience. It's too late in the computer's estimation.
is when the Electronic Control Manual has decided you're too big a child to trust with important things like exhaust filters for
pollution performance and so, you have a matter of seconds from this stage being indicated before the engine will, literally, shut off like turning
the ignition key. It doesn't matter of the truck is being driven at the time and being in motion makes no difference whatsoever.
The 4 Stages of Diesel Regeneration
Now again, I'm not reading this from a book and making assumptions. I lived this in driving an 18 wheeler nationwide. My most memorable experience was
in California on I-5. I came out of a spot in San Yasidro to pick up produce in Oxnard. Basically, San Diego to Los Angeles. There is *NO* truck stop
between San Diego and Los Angeles, along anything close to the direct route to take between those two places. Nowhere to stop legally or safely. At
least not without a local's knowledge of the streets and area, which few if any OTR drivers have.
Anyway, I never got Level 1. It started at Level 2 around Oceanside, which is short of half way. By South Orange County...and Specifically, of ALL
places, the Orange Crush (The convergence/interchange a few major freeways at once), it jumped from Level 2, to 3 to FOUR in a matter of a few
minutes. So I ended up coasting without power
across three lanes of that interchange on the Northbound approach, to sit for 45 minutes on the
shoulder of the road while my truck got it's regeneration done. It was about 4am....or it may have gotten people killed. Literally.
^^^ That is how serious and unforgiving the system is. Unnecessary in my view and another stupid idea about of an agency that lives on stupid ideas
like it was life giving food, but that's another thread.
Regeneration, for those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing a vehicle running through a cycle, is a very LOUD process....even in a high
grade, sound dampened modern truck. What regeneration does is take the RPM's from a parked Idle level to the level roughly equal to 60 Mph on the
interstate....while parked. If you've heard an idling truck suddenly get so loud that it sounds like the driver is putting the fuel pedal to the floor
to redline the engine? That's a regeneration. It's a fully automated, locked and computer driven process taking 20-45 minutes.
During this period, the exhaust coming out is hot enough to set grass on fire...which is what the manuals clearly and specifically warn about in
things being anywhere near the exhaust tip. Of course, when a computer determines it will kill power to the engine, on it's own timetable? You don't
always get to choose where these little things happen.
Such brings me to the story which caught my eye to begin with. The story of an AMBULANCE that had to force-stop for a regeneration. Remember, the
computer doesn't care. There IS NO STOPPING a shut down by level 3 into 4. It is GOING to turn off the engine. The only thing you can do at that point
is have the vehicle somewhere it won't kill anyone to have it happen with.
A D.C. ambulance rushing a gunshot victim to a hospital Wednesday had to pull over to avoid engine failure that fire officials blamed on an
emissions system required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Paramedics were performing CPR on Nathanial McRae, 34, when an indicator light signaled that engine failure was imminent. They waited seven minutes
for another ambulance to arrive, and McRae was later declared dead at Howard University Hospital. Deputy Fire Chief John A. Donnelly said the
ambulance delay did not impede McRae’s care.
In this case? It may actually have been that stopping that was the problem.
A warning light is supposed to flash and give the driver enough time to complete an emergency run before taking a scheduled break. Donnelly said
that didn’t happen Wednesday; instead, a more severe indicator came on warning of imminent
Yeah... I can attest to what is SUPPOSED to happen. I can also say, with personal knowledge, it doesn't always happen that way and when the Comp wants
to stop, it's gonna stop.
Sometimes the insane of what is being done in industry around the nation just doesn't make the news or convey out to people who aren't a part of the
industry like it probably needs to. The overall effect of insane
is what I think the main point is for regulation just becoming so outright
absurd as to literally begin with solutions that are WORSE than any imagined problem to start with.
These Filters came after many other engine schemes before it, for the same purpose. More, including Exhaust fluid (Yes...You read that right.. Exhaust
fluid. Thanks EPA :shk: ) have come after. The madness never ends.
They say the man in the ambulance didn't die from this, and his circumstances are not sympathetic otherwise..but I still wonder about the delay that
should never have happened, by force, by computer.
edit on 1-6-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)