Editor's Note

DPF DELETE: Fine or Fine?

By Bruce W. Smith, Editor 


More power and better fuel economy are near the top of the wish list of nearly every pickup owner I know.

Most of us who own gas-powered pickups know those two items are probably never going to happen because the efficiency of today’s engines are near maxxed out right from the factory.

Let’s face it, chips and programmers for gas engines do little more than make you feel good. If you really want more power in the typical truck V8 it’s going to take turbo- or supercharging, both of which are very expensive upgrades that’ll probably never be approved in most corporate circles.

Diesels are a different beast where more power and better fuel economy comes via some simple white-glove (electronic) hot-rodding. Plug in a programmer and off you go, smiling all the way.

The proof of that is in this issue’s installment on Big Red where we gained nearly 100hp just by using a Hypertech programmer. Good stuff – and perfectly street-legal.

But that’s not enough for a certain contingent of diesel owners who want to be kings of the road. Not only do they employ the latest white-glove magic under the hood, but they also get rid of those nasty smog controls that hold the engine back when it comes to overall performance.

It’s no secret removing the DPF and EGR components enhance torque and fuel economy and allow the electronic engine programming to make dramatic leaps performance.

But it’s also totally illegal for street licensed vehicles; tampering with or removing smog control devices is a blatant violation of federal smog laws that can, and will, be enforced.

The reality of incarceration and huge fines are staring the owners of companies that make such products in the face.

And the trickle-down could be just as bad for those who sell, install or own registered pickups running these products.

It’s not a scare tactic. It’s happening.

EPA has issued information requests to both Edge Products and H&S Performance LLC to get their sales records, that could very well include VIN numbers for the vehicles these products are on.

The enforcement arm of the EPA has also issued a notice of violation to H&S Performance for the sale of defeat devices, including the sale of tuning devices that allow the removal of a vehicle’s diesel particulate filter (DPF Deletes).

That’s why the H&S website says, “Due to our dialogue with governmental agencies within the United States, H&S Performance, LLC has decided to voluntarily suspend production of all tuning devices and EGR/DPF modification kits, effective immediately.”

When I asked my contacts at the EPA to elaborate on trickle-down prosecution, this is all they’d say:

“Regarding whether EPA has taken actions against retail establishments or individuals for selling/installing DPF Deletes, the Clean Air Act (CAA) prohibits the sale or installation of defeat devices, and provides for a penalty of up to $3,750 per device for violations.

“While EPA’s focus has been to eliminate the sales of these devices by prosecuting the manufacturers, EPA may enforce against any person who violates the CAA.”

It’s also costly to reverse the deletes with new DPF, mufflers, resonators and related diesel exhaust components, which may cost more than $3,500 to replace.

So take heed my diesel pickup-owning friends. Is removing smog control items for more power and better fuel economy worth the risk? If you own a company or are a fleet manager, I bet the answer is “no.”