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Exhaust Sensor issues – Gone with the Soot

Exhaust Sensor Malfunction                                 

Electronic sensors built into diesel exhaust systems by the OEM engine manufacturer are here to stay.  Practically every OEM engine built since 2007 has both pressure and temperature sensors designed into the Exhaust After-Treatment System (EATS) more commonly referred to as DPF or DEF emissions systems. They are used to control the active DPF regeneration cycle necessary to maintaining a properly functioning DPF/DEF exhaust system and preventing damage caused by reduced exhaust gas flow and subsequent overheating and engine damage.

Unfortunately these same sensors can be a frequent cause of “check engine” warning lights when they either malfunction or fail.  The issue can often be traced to impacted soot that can cause the sensor to either read incorrectly or fail prematurely. EnerBurn® does a great job keeping exhaust-side sensors clean.  This benefits the engine owner by preventing lost revenue from down-time and lost profits from expenses related to diagnosing and replacing bad sensors. When it comes to sensors a focus on preventive maintenance is a proven cost-effective strategy.

Larry’s Story:

“This is a pic of my turbo boost sensor (IMAP sensor) which gets carbon packed normally. You can see it is just fine, very little to almost no carbon build up after a year. Paccar recommends a yearly cleaning. But you usually break the sensor on removal and you end up just replacing it. So I’m going to push the cleaning/replacement out to 1 1/2  years. I was very surprised when I pulled it out for replacement and I didn’t break it this time.”

Larry Sullivan, Owner-operator

2011 Paccar engine

EnerBurn customer since October, 2015

Picture of turbo-boost pressure sensor after 1 year.

Bruce’s Story:

After Bruce acquired his 2013 Cummins engine he first had to address a DPF that was already clogged with soot. Then he found the carbon compaction problem in the EGR and Delta sensor housing which likely contributed to the problem of his DPF not regenerating properly.  The DPF was then replaced at around 276,000 miles. Bruce uses EnerBurn to keep the problems caused by soot build-up from recurring.  He also enjoys how much better his truck runs with EnerBurn.

Bruce Luke, Owner-operator

2013 Cummins ISX engine

EnerBurn customer since July, 2017

Picture of soot-impacted air passages in Delta pressure sensor housing from 2013 Cummins engine.

IMAP sensor from same 2013 Cummins after 4 months without EnerBurn but with regular use of other brand-name fuel additives.

Important Information for Users of EnerBurn

Did you know?

There are two things that can clog up a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), one of them is “soot”, the other is “ash”.  There is an important difference between the two.

Soot, also known as Particulate Matter (PM) is a form of incompletely combusted diesel and it contains mostly carbon.  EnerBurn® is extremely effective in eliminating soot build-up by completing its combustion to CO2 (a harmless gas) and water.  In plain language, EnerBurn eliminates soot by burning it out at temperatures normally achieved in the exhaust system.

What is “ash” and where does it come from?

Ash, on the other hand cannot be burned out.  This is because “ash” consists of mineral elements that do not combust either with or without EnerBurn®.

There are a couple of known sources of these mineral elements.

One of them is fuel.  Yes, that’s right, your diesel contains “ash”.  Whether you fuel with #2 ULSD or a biodiesel blend the ash is always present as a low level impurity.  These mineral impurities can slowly, over time build up in your DPF and cause restriction to flow of exhaust gases.  This is why engine OEM’s recommend either cleaning or replacing the DPF every 200,000 miles or so.

The other source of ash is your engine lube oil.  All petroleum based oils contain an “additive package”.  The additive package formula may contain various levels of metallic or mineral components whose role is to enhance lubricity and reduce friction.  Even a so-called “ashless” engine lube oil still contains ash, just lesser amounts.

How do I prevent my DPF from clogging with “ash”?

First and foremost, if your engine is consuming oil between oil changes, get it to a certified diesel mechanic as soon as possible so they can diagnose and fix the problem.

After that, my suggestion would be to find out what engine lube oil is recommended for your engine type.  You should also take into account the type of driving you do and the geographic region you cover that includes considerations such as extreme inclines and ambient temperatures.

I suspect that my DPF is clogged with “ash”, what now?

There is a good chance you can restore your DPF by having it cleaned at a shop with the proper cleaning equipment.  This DPF cleaning equipment is casually referred to as “Blow and Bake” or “Shake and Bake”.  The following YouTube video shows what you are looking for:

Thanks, I hope this is helpful.

Happy driving!


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