In a diesel engine, the diesel particulate filter (DPF) prevents debris from flying into the air when exhaust leaves the vehicle. This filter is usually located inside the exhaust system and surrounds its entire diameter. Cleaning such a filter is a great way to keep a truck running efficiently and get better mileage, and is often a preferable option to buying a new filter (though sometimes filters must be replaced).
Here are a few steps and tips from our truck service in Wytheville, VA to help you as you clean your DPF:
- Take out the filter: First and foremost, you will need to remove the filter from the system. You will likely need a screwdriver to take off surrounding plates and grills. Make sure you set these screws aside in a safe area so you will not lose them before you need to put them back in. Once the grill or plate is removed, you may also need to remove some o-rings. Keep the screws that keep those rings attached on the rings themselves, but set the rings aside.
- Test the filter: Remove the DPF from the vehicle, and conduct a quick visual inspection. How clogged does it look? If there is a lot of black soot and dirt and not a whole lot of chrome or white surface, it likely needs a good cleaning. You can use a pin to determine the extent of the clogging. Note the depth of the debris and gunk on the pin after you have pulled it out. If it is at all significant, you should proceed with the cleaning.
- Clean with compressed air first: Before you use water, use some compressed air to spray off the top layers of the debris on both sides of the filter. Make sure you are wearing a dust mask and leather gloves as you do this, because the material that flies into the air could be hazardous to your health.
- Rinse it off: After you have sufficiently cleaned the surface with compressed air, you can take a garden hose, stretch it out and attach a high-pressure nozzle. Spray down the DPF with a powerful, narrow jet of water and thoroughly clean it out, shooting water through both ends of the filter. You should see a steady stream of dirty water exiting the filter, which means the trapped particles are leaving.
- Use a chemical cleaner: There are two types of chemical cleaners, which can help make the cleaning process significantly easier. Fuel additives help to keep the system unclogged from inside as it’s being used. Meanwhile, spray-on systems work after you have already removed the filter and help to provide an even deeper clean, removing trapped particles that you couldn’t get with the hose or compressed air.
Once your filter is completely dry, you can set it back into place. It is then ready to operate once again.
For more tips and information about cleaning a DPF, contact Complete Truck Service, Inc. in Wytheville, VA.
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