What Happens When A Diesel Runs Out Of Def?

To ensure that owners take their clean-air obligations seriously, the EPA requires manufacturers of new light-duty diesels to halt the engine’s usual startup sequence if the DEF runs out. To avoid leaving owners stranded on the side of the road, every diesel vehicle manufacturer gives plenty of notice when it’s time to add DEF.

Our Range Rover has a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine that gets its DEF from a 4.8-gallon tank under the floor beneath the driver’s seat. The fill cap for that reservoir is located under the hood, atop the left fender. A full DEF tank should last 6300 miles, according to the owner’s manual, however as we all know, mileage varies.

While our Range Rover lacks a DEF gauge (other vehicles now do), the driver may access the service menu in the display between the tachometer and speedometer to see how many miles remain until the fuel runs out. There’s a comment under the Next Oil Change header that says “DEF refill XXX miles” with the motor off.

We quickly learned that the first warning is transient and easy to overlook. The first notification, “Diesel exhaust fluid level low,” appears roughly 1500 miles before the no-restart Armageddon, according to Land Rover. We must have missed that notification since, 969 miles from the finish, one of our editors on a weekend excursion noted: “First DEF warning sighted.” The cluster display had no orange triangle, and an inattentive motorist would have missed it. I didn’t get a chance to photograph the notice before it vanished.”

Will a diesel engine run without DEF fluid?

SCR is quickly becoming one of the most critical components in diesel automobiles. With tougher pollution restrictions and regulations, diesel vehicle owners need make sure their SCR systems are in good working order.

It’s also critical to check that the diesel exhaust fluid level is enough. Without DEF, modern trucks will not run. As a result, diesel truck owners must check their fluid levels on a regular basis. Everyone should strive to reduce pollution. Maintaining your vehicle will also help you save money on emissions and DEF.

Q1: Where can I find DEF?

A: Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is widely available at most filling stations and automotive parts retail stores because practically all diesel-powered passenger cars and trucks made since 2010 are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and require it. A DEF pump is frequently located on the fuel island at truck stops. DEF is also available at key OEM outlets, such as Cummins dealers and distributors. Your fuel provider may be able and willing to deliver DEF directly to you if you have a large enough fleet and storage capacity to justify bulk purchasing.

Cummins Filtration has teamed up with Old World Industries to become the official North American manufacturer, packager, and distributor of Fleetguard Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

Q2: What’s the shelf life of DEF?

A: The shelf life of DEF is determined by the temperature of the storage facility. DEF should be stored between 12°F and 86°F, however if kept below 65°F, the shelf life is increased to two years. To extend the shelf life of DEF, keep it in a climate-controlled location away from direct sunlight.

Q3: What happens if DEF freezes?

A: While DEF does freeze at 12 degrees F, it has no effect on the vehicle’s start-up or operation. The SCR system heats the DEF tank and pipes as the engine starts up, allowing the DEF to thaw quickly and flow to the aftertreatment system regardless of the outside temperature.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid contains 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent deionized water in its formulation. DEF will freeze at 12°F (-11°C) in storage or when the engine is not in use. At this concentration level, the urea and the water freeze and thaw at the same pace — ensuring that you always have the exact amount of each. SCR engines are specifically tuned for optimal performance at this ratio, which is why it’s critical to use a high-quality DEF that complies with ISO standards.

There is one operational difference to be aware of: DEF expands when frozen, just like any other water-based fluid (by approximately 7 percent). When the vehicle is turned off in cold weather, the operator should wait 60 seconds before shutting off the batteries to allow the fluid to flow back out of the hoses and into the DEF tank.

Anti-gelling additives and freeze point improvers should never be introduced to DEF since they will obstruct its capacity to function properly and may cause harm to SCR system components.

Q4: How much DEF will my equipment use?

A: DEF consumption varies based on the environment, the equipment’s operation, and the duty cycle. DEF use accounts for 3-5 percent of total fuel consumption on average.

Because most DEF fill-ups occur at the same time as diesel fuel, it’s a good idea to look at utilization from that standpoint. It’s best to simply top off your DEF tank every time you refuel. Adjust your DEF refills accordingly and consider having an extra bottle of DEF on hand if you’re driving a car that sees very little actual activity or is stored in high ambient temps when shelf life is a problem.

Q5: What happens if my equipment runs out of DEF?

A: Like a fuel gauge, all EPA 2010 engines with SCR are equipped with a gauge that displays the DEF fluid level. Furthermore, they are fitted with a set of flashing lights that warn the operator when the DEF tank is running low on fluid. Vehicle speed will be limited if the DEF reservoir is not replenished and becomes low, but if DEF is injected, the engine will resume regular speed levels. A wise precaution would be to have a top-off gallon jug of DEF on each piece of equipment equipped with an EPA 2010 engine and aftertreatment system.

Engines built before to July 8, 2011 may function differently than those listed here. For more information, contact your local Cummins agent and request Cummins Bulletin 4971316, “Driver Tips For Fire And Emergency Vehicles.”

Can you bypass a DEF system?

If you’re considering circumventing any of your diesel’s pollution controls, keep in mind that doing so is extremely unlawful, and the penalties can be severe. Although the chances of being caught are slim, the repercussions are severe. Installing an exhaust pipe to bypass the particle filter can cause havoc with the EGR system and result in extremely high exhaust gas temperatures, which can shorten the engine’s lifespan. Of course, removing the DEF system necessitates the installation of a plug-in tuner chip, which deceives the engine computer into believing the DEF is still operating, allowing the engine to continue to run.

Is DEF delete illegal?

Clients who wish to perform emission deletes on their trucks send us emails, phone calls, and live chats every day. All of these customers have the same issue: their automobiles require frequent, expensive maintenance, and they are fed up with it. I truly sympathize with them; many of them have had traumatic situations and are simply searching for a way out. However, before we delve too far into the weeds, there are a few fallacies that we commonly encounter.

Myth #1 – Deleting or Tuning a Truck is Legal

There is no way around it; tampering with or modifying your truck’s emission system in any manner is completely unlawful. It is not a state or local law (though such do exist), but rather a federal law. The first thing clients remark when we discuss it is that “it’s only for off-highway use” or “it’s for tractor pulls.” They believe that by doing so, they will be able to avoid any laws, but this is far from the case.

Yes, your emission system can be lawfully removed from your vehicle, but it will require recertification by the manufacturer and the issuance of a new emission label and certification. You can’t just sign a piece of paper and declare that your engine has been recertified. You’d have to pay to have your engine re-certified by the original equipment manufacturer, which is a costly process.

Myth #2 – There are no EPA Police

This is technically correct. A federal emission law, on the other hand, can be uploaded by any state or municipal government. This misconception is similar to someone declaring, “There are no IRS cops,” despite the fact that the IRS can collect and enforce laws from a building thousands of miles away. The extent of testing and enforcement will differ depending on your state and county.

Myth #3 – The EPA doesn’t go after the little guys

Another prevalent misunderstanding among clients is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not target small enterprises. For your convenience, the EPA maintains a list of every single resolution filed against the Clean Air Act for cars, organized by year. Cases range from tuning equipment providers being taxed over $4 million to a single owner doing a DPF delete on a single car.

If you think you’re “too small” to be noticed or cared about, rest assured that you’re wrong. It only takes one employee or service provider to report the problem, and you’ll be in serious trouble in no time. If the removal/tuning has been done frequently or on a wide scale, the cases might be both civil and criminal.

The fines can quickly mount, as the EPA has the authority to levy civil penalties of up to $7,500 per day for major violations and $37,500 per day for minor violations.

Myth #4 – Only California Cares about Emissions

We get calls from county and state governments asking for a software solution to detect pollution manipulation on commercial trucks on a regular basis. We don’t have a response yet, but I can assure you that someone is working on one right now. There is a sizable demand for a device like this. The reason for this is that the fines are so high that a government agency might pay tens of thousands of dollars each month for that software and still make a profit.

California isn’t the only state with this problem. Several counties in Texas already require emission testing on commercial trucks, and states like Minnesota, as well as New York, are following suit. They’ll find a means to collect fines if there’s money to be made!

Myth #5 – Deleting my emissions will solve all my problems

This isn’t even close to being accurate. Your first task will be to find a competent “tuner” to assist you, and based on our experience, there are more incompetent ones on the market than good ones. To be honest, the truly outstanding tuners aren’t promoting because they know what they’re doing. In terms of technical expertise and capacity, the ones that do advertise are often at the bottom of the totem pole. They frequently clone one ECM software to another without thoroughly inspecting the intricacies.

So, what exactly does this imply? It indicates that if your engine is tuned by a bad tuner, you will have serious issues. Poor engine performance to your engine flinging a rod through the block are all possibilities. Inexperienced tuners, for example, will often remove the EGR on the PACCAR MX engine. The EGR, on the other hand, cools the combustion chamber. With the EGR removed, your head will shatter, and you’ll be dealing with a far worse problem. Modern engines are built to work in harmony with all of their components, and changing one component might lead to more serious issues. If you think it’s just MX engines, consider this Facebook user who had an ISX removed:

Aside from these urban legends, there are a few more things to consider.

Finding a Shop to Help You

You’ll have a hard time finding a franchised dealership to help you once you’ve removed your emissions. They don’t want to take on the risk of working on decommissioned emission equipment, and they can’t guarantee the work. That means you’ll have to find a qualified independent facility willing to work with you on your own. Even if the engine problem you’re having has nothing to do with your tune or delete, as most of you know, seeing them on the open road can be challenging at best.

Reselling Your Truck

If you ever consider selling or trading in your truck, you will almost certainly run into problems. If you sell it with parts removed, the individual who buys it or takes it in trade will have a legal case against you. You made an unlawful change without informing the customer, and now you’re facing legal (and financial) consequences. You will very certainly have to pay to restore all deleted components to their original configuration. Even taking your truck to an auction doesn’t exempt you from liability, as one forum user pointed out. Law enforcement frequently attends public auctions to guarantee that no illegal activities are taking place. Note:

Summary

There are two basic approaches for emission adjustment, according to the “economy.” The first option is to save money by learning to do it yourself. Because it requires downloading ECM information to your laptop/computer, updating the software, then pushing it back, you should have a foundation in computer science and how diesel engines work if you go this route. The actual “tuners,” who are subject matter experts, do exactly that.

These folks, on the other hand, are often hard to discover and are aware of the risks indicated above. They gain money in a different way, by selling the “tunes” to repair shops. Do you remember the guy who advertised on Facebook and Craigslist that he would do a tune for $1,000? That individual has no idea what he’s doing. He’s buying tuning files from real specialists, marking them up, uploading them to your ECM, and then walking away from you for good.

That’s all we know about eliminating and optimizing your engine. Our recommendation is to avoid it and instead work with a local, experienced repair shop that has access to necessary diagnostic instruments and repair information. You’ll be alright if your engine is well maintained and you can locate a qualified repair facility that can effectively troubleshoot emission difficulties. If you can’t find one, we recommend taking advantage of our hands-on aftertreatment diagnostics training class.

Is there a shortage of Def fluid?

You may have never heard of urea, but the chemical compound’s worldwide shortage may bring Australia’s supply chain to a halt in a matter of weeks.

The molecule, which is a vital ingredient in the diesel exhaust fluid AdBlue and a major component in fertilizer, is in low supply around the world.

The main cause of the scarcity is China’s prohibition on urea exports, which previously supplied 80 percent of Australia’s urea supplies. This is because the price of fertilizer has risen dramatically, and China wants to curb the rate of increase.

However, because urea is sprayed into the exhaust systems of modern diesel cars to lower emissions, which is a necessity for trucks, passenger vehicles, and tractors, this could inadvertently take many of Australia’s trucks off the road.

So, what is urea, and how serious is the supply chain disruption in Australia?

Is it bad to run out of DEF?

Vehicle makers must implement procedures to ensure that vehicles cannot run without Diesel Exhaust Fluid, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (DEF). The driver of a vehicle receives a succession of alerts on their dashboard displays before the DEF tank runs out (much the same way as if they were running low on diesel). In general, an amber warning bulb will illuminate when the DEF tank level drops below 10%, flashing at 5%, and solid amber warning light will illuminate when the DEF tank level dips below 2.5 percent.

The engine’s power is lowered, a solid red warning is displayed, and the vehicle’s speed is limited to 5 mph until the DEF tank is refilled if the truck is allowed to run out of DEF.

Should I delete my DEF system?

You can save money by deleting your DEF system. Plus, once you’re done, your exhaust might have a beefier growl. Before your exhaust is released into the environment, they filter away a lot of the particles. These filters can clog up and slow down your exhaust system over time.

What is a DEF delete?

A diesel deletion entails removing the DEF system, the catalytic converter, and the DPF, and replacing the exhaust with a new one. A tuner will also be required to reprogramme the vehicle’s ECU (engine control unit). The soot-clogging concerns are eliminated after a diesel deletion is performed.

What happens if you get caught with a deleted diesel?

It varies depending on the circumstances, but it might range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. A consumer truck owner convicted of this infraction, for example, will be fined at least $2500 and up to $45,268 per truck. A fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars could be imposed on a larger corporation. **

Civil fines for non-compliant vehicles or engines are up to $45,268 per day, $4,527 each tampering event or sale of the defeat device, and $45,268 per day for reporting and recordkeeping violations.

If you’ve been wondering what the EPA fine is for removing your DPF filter, it’s likely that you’ve been suffering decreased performance and higher fuel usage as a result of your DPF.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of having a DPF filter, as well as the potential penalty for not having one.