A diesel particulate filter is a device that helps to remove soot and other particles from exhaust gas. Diesel engines produce a lot of soot as a result of combustion, and this soot can build up and cause problems with the engine.
The diesel particulate filter (DPF) traps the soot and allows the engine to continue running smoothly, allowing exhaust gas to flow through its porous walls.
The soot and other particles are caught on the walls of the filter, while the clean exhaust gas flows out. Diesel particulate filters may need to be periodically cleaned or replaced, as they can become clogged over time.
When this happens, the engine may not run as efficiently and may produce more pollution. As a result, it is important to ensure that your diesel particulate filter is in good working condition if you're experiencing diesel engine trouble.
DPF Issues on the 6.7-Liter Cummins Found In Dodge Ram Pickups
The 6.7's in Ram trucks didn't use diesel exhaust fluid for a few years, which meant it had to run on the rich side. This created the particulates that clogged up its DPF and caused emissions problems like dirty smoke or worse-- the aforementioned overheating and loss of power.
In 2013, Dodge began using diesel exhaust fluid to help with the issue. They also reprogrammed the engine computer to try and control the issue. Still, over time the 6.7-liter Cummins engine can develop a clogged DPF filter, particularly as the miles on the engine add up.
A qualified Cummins diesel mechanic can diagnose the issue easily by observing the symptoms and using advanced diagnostics, like computerized engine analysis. Analyzing the error codes generated by the engine's computer is required if you want to be sure that you have DPF problems.
Fixing the Issue
The DPF can be replaced on the 6.7-liter Cummins. However, it isn't cheap: a refurbished OEM DPF can cost a grand, and new filters can cost double that.
So, do you need to spend around $1,000 on emissions equipment?
Ram and Dodge owners have few options. Aftermarket higher performance diesel particulate filters exist, but they're still often over the $1,000 mark.
Also, some people manage by cleaning their old DPFs with a pressure washer. Or, they completely overhaul their exhaust system, which brings the pickup out of emissions compliance and may or may not be an issue depending on the location.
Reach out to a Cummins 6.7 engine technician to learn more.