Truck News


Diesel Cheaters Shouldn’t Prosper

Volkswagen has dug itself a huge hole. It’s quite clear that the European car maker used specially-designed software to fool the EPA into thinking that its diesel engines were USA-compliant. The scandal will no doubt cost VW billions, and may be wider than first perceived. Besides the EA 189 engine, a new report suggests that the EA 288 engine may also have been fitted with the manipulative software. VW previously admitted 11 million vehicles may be affected, but the number may be larger than that.

What’s heinous about this is that VW was promoting its diesels as an environmentally-friendly option. The software, in a sense, knows when the car was being tested, and scales back its performance during the procedure. When the customer gets back in the car, the perky little diesel opens up, (and exudes up to 30 times more of the bad stuff: particulates, NOx and soot).

It’s amazing they were able to keep this under wraps the whole time. But I recently found a story in Car and Driver that claims German parts supplier Bosch suspected VW was planning on cheating back in 2007..

Diesel is the dirtiest of the carbon fuels and the urge to cheat is a powerful one. Evidently it remains so in the truck tuning business. Way back in April of 2013 Truck News ran a couple of articles describing the “DPF Delete” syndrome and found the practice was widespread across Canada.

Looking around the Net these days it would appear the practice is probably even more prevalent. Big Rig Power in Edmonton will ship you DPF and DEF delete kits for Paccars, Cummins, Detroits, Mercedes, Macks and Volvos. Another big player in the “tuning” business, Diesel Spec of Montreal, boasts that it has 300 resellers across North America. I suspect this company is doing really well with this activity.

Back in 2013 I made the point that the practice was unethical, but I didn’t begrudge the hard-working driver with a lemon of a 2008 motor finding some relief. I suppose the poles shift when fleets are engaged in bypassing pollution controls, or a huge manufacturer like Volkswagen is party to such a massive conspiracy of obfuscation, so they can sell their cars in the US.

A few months after the story appeared in TN, I got a call from someone at Ontario’s ministry of the environment who wanted to know about my research. After that I didn’t hear anything and I don’t think that charges have been laid by any regulatory body in Canada for emissions tampering. It’s like the pot dispensaries in Vancouver: technically it’s illegal but nobody really cares.

Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio. With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude.
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4 Comments » for Diesel Cheaters Shouldn’t Prosper
  1. Bob Anderson says:

    In Saskatchewan now a power unit will fail the Safety Inspection if Emmission Systems are missing or appear to be altered.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the standard across the country, if it isn’t already. An independent will likely be able to find an Inspection Shop to overlook that, especially if the shop is supplying the delete kits, but a large fleet that operates it own shop doing it’s own Safeties will be in for a lot of hurt if it was caught installing the kits and then falsifying the inspections.

  2. John says:

    Have thought about deleting emissions but once VW gets huge fines and big retrofit costs someone is going to start looking at trucks as it will be a big income generater for governments so in time software will be used to detect DPF deletes and after spending big bucks to get it removed there will be bigger bucks in fines and repairs to correct it. I do not like all these emissions and I believe it would be a net benefit increasing MPG over emissions to the envoirment.

  3. I currently operate a diesel emissions company in Ontario and have a considerable background in engine and DPF warranty issues and failure analysis. Until now, I have been unwilling to wade into the shark infested waters by exposing emissions tampering , DPF deletes and OEM’s incompetence and strategy of downloading emissions related failure costs on to the end user. I’ve been to the water’s edge before with the EPA, CARB, Ontario Drive Clean and other agencies who’s feigned or willful ignorance soon turns into vitriolic rants questioning my intellect, character and motives by labeling or marginalizing my statements as anti emissions zealotry and a climate change denier when exactly the opposite is the case. Ask yourself this; with EGR cooler failure rates well over 50%, why has the EPA not issued a recall notice and in-use compliance order as is mandated under the law? How is that an OEM can get away with replacing a turbo and or EGR cooler under warranty and make the end user pay to replace the DOC and DPF which failed as a direct result of the EGR cooler or turbo failure. I know the answer to these and many other such questions and I refuse to remain silent on these issues any longer.

    I’ve had grown men and women stand before me and weep as they describe how failed emissions systems forced them into bankruptcy but last Sunday was different. You see, last week I ran into an old friend from high school. He’s been a second generation owner/operator since 1980. His eyes filled with tears and with shame in his heart he informed me that he had recently taken his truck back to the dealer and walked away from the payments after years of emissions and engine related failures, downtime and lost load income. He’s now driving for another company experiencing similar issues but at least he doesn’t have to pay for it. Well not so fast because unless he can get 4 weeks pay every month over the next three months he’ll lose his house as well. It’s a tall order when your truck is in the shop at least one week a month out of four. I’m no Edward Snowdon nor do I wish to be considered a whistle blower but I feel that owe it to my friend and others to be their voice and expose the incompetence and fraud that permeates the diesel emissions industry.

    Truck owners delete their DPF’s out of desperation to survive, not because they’re climate change denying, anti emissions heretics. Food for thought because make no mistake; the VW debacle is just the tip of the iceburg.

  4. Jim H says:

    it’s easy enough to tell if someone has been messing with the emission system on their truck. Just look at the end of the exhaust pipe. If it’s black then the system is not working. The truck I drive has 750000 km on it and the end of the pipe is still clean.

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