Two months from now will bring my tenure in the motor industry to 49 years! I would like to think I have evolved in keeping up with technology, enabling me to provide a professional service, enjoying customer respect and integrity. The focus on my part has been one of a technical challenge, with my son David managing the commercial responsibilities.
This creates a wide role for me developing our training program, internal research and development, bringing the focus of this topic to technical and legal compliance.
My chosen subject diesel servicing and repairs, specifically particulate filtration and emission control. It’s a subject we have been passionate and vocal over for several years. it gives me no pleasure or satisfaction in seeing our prediction over the demise of diesel vehicles.
The future is now clear as to the changes our political lords and masters have in mind. This gives us a short time line to get our house in order, my intention is to advise, help and warn what will happen if we all continue to fudge diesel particulate repairs as we currently do!
upwards of 90% of independent garages will fall into this category. so How do, or should we service and recover diesel particulate filters? The choices are very simple!
- replace with a new o/e filter
- replace with a non-o/e filter
- clean & service off vehicle in factory controlled conditions
- clean & service off the vehicle in house
- clean & service on the vehicle
- remove the filtration system from the vehicle
Here is the problem we, as professional repairers are legally and financially responsible, and exposed for the advice and decisions we make. Even if the customer agrees and or instructs us on a certain course of action. Clear legislation is in place for the performance and fitment of diesel emission systems. Vehicle taxation is based on specific emission levels agreed with the manufacturers. I’m sure I don’t need to mention vw Audi, but I will bet their corporate accountants have regrets. How long do you think it will be before the government bean counters look at US? Let’s not fool ourselves enforcement will take the effect of stringent fines.
So what are we doing wrong? Pretty much everything.
Please remember my words, help, advice and not critique.
We are breaking the law in removing legally compliant systems. Mot examiners WILL lose their licence by passing unauthorised emission system modification. You will become the first unpaid enforcers.
we are further breaking the law in polluting the water course, by power cleaning, or rinsing out cleaning agents into the drains, utility companies have powers to set huge fines and often do.
We are also in breach of the clean air act by using some of the available cleaning agents that require the running of the engine whilst emitting all the contaminants back into the environment.
It’s quite possible at this point some of you are about to rip out the magazine pages and offer an alternative use for them, please reconsider, we are slowly killing ourselves.
Let’s as an industry get together, think ahead of the curve and get our house and process in order.
I recently visited CERAMEX in slough Buckinghamshire who specialise in DPF Servicing and cleaning. I have been aware of several companies offering off vehicle cleaning, pressure washing, thermal cleaning in an oven, and ultrasonic treatments. My problem has ALWAYS been, is the cat and dpf still fully functional and durable when refitted? How can we protect ourselves from future premature failure due to other indirect causes? Can we provide certification of test results?
Here is my opinion as to how we should address the blocked, cleaning dpf problem. Many of you will not agree, I don’t care, this is how it should and eventually will be done. Reflect on the vast changes in the paint refinishing industry before you cry never!
The dpf is initially visually examined bar coded & weighed, attached by means of bespoke plumbing to what is in effect a big dishwasher, sorry Marcus my words, then filled with water. A short pause here, some of you will know water damages and degrades the precious metal wash coat! The purified water has all the damaging trace elements removed and is only used to restrict the CLEAR dpf passages. Pressure waves, are then sent through the core, ‘XPURGE’ for several minutes. I did question if this was in effect an ultrasonic process? This is not the case, the water does act as a transport mechanism for the waste material, INCLUDING ASH, which is flushed out, into a waste tank. The water is filtered, for reuse and the semi solids captured in large skips for reprocessing. Its pure carbon it would make an ideal fuel source!
The dpf core is then placed in electric air dryers where apart from drying the core, measurements are taken for flow rates and back pressure, next a two-stage photograph examination is applied to detect face off & ring off cracking to the core. A second weight check is taken to ascertain the mass of soot ash removal. The next service is optional for small vehicle units, the cat and dpf are subject to a sample hot gas bench to establish the reduction of, CO/HC, finally being placed in a particulate bench where filtration is assessed and measured.
Certification and bespoke transport packaging completes the service. The recovery success is consistently above 90%. The cost is approx. half the cost of a new o/e unit. No environmental pollution so your grandchildren will thank you and may avoid the huge increase in paediatric respiratory illnesses.
You will earn profit from a professional repair, enjoy the respect and integrity it brings, however not all customers will agree or want to pay, and that is not our problem.
picture showing process of DPF Servicing.