Tough conditions on the construction site don’t need to lead to severe engine issues or costly downtime. Knowing the best ways to maintain your construction equipment and prevent issues before they become huge problems makes all the difference and keeps your business up and running.

The Cenex® brand is here to help, and we’re answering some common questions about equipment regens, electronic control modules and diesel exhaust fluid.

What is a forced regen and how does it lead to downtime on your construction site?

The diesel particulate filter (DPF) is a critical component in the exhaust after treatment systems of diesel-powered vehicles as a means of controlling emissions. A forced “regen” — a forced regeneration — occurs when soot builds up inside the diesel particulate filter (DPF) to the point that the vehicle is no longer operable. To restore the equipment to an operational state, the DPF must be cleaned while the equipment sits, effectively out of use. This inoperability results in downtime.

What happens inside your construction equipment during a regen?

To prevent clogging, DPFs clean themselves by burning off accumulated soot at extremely high temperatures. This process is referred to as regeneration, because the DPF is working to “regenerate” itself to its original state.

The trouble begins when normal — or “passive” — regeneration is not enough to burn away soot. Passive regenerations may cause loss of power and fuel economy, but they do not require the construction equipment to stop operation. In the case of a forced regen, shutdown is required and engine power will be reduced. Failure to perform a forced regen when notified by your equipment’s indicator system can cause severe engine damage or loss, increased maintenance costs and downtime. When your equipment stops, business stops, costing your construction operation time and money.

Can I reduce the number of forced regens my equipment is experiencing?

Forced regens don’t have to be a recurring nuisance. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) design DPF-related equipment based on the complete combustion of fuel. If you are not using a premium diesel fuel with aggressive detergents and a minimum 46 cetane rating, like Cenex® Premium Diesel, then it is likely the system will not burn all the fuel in the combustion cycle. This will result in a reduction in fuel economy, and cold fuel (unburned fuel and carbon) will be pulled into the exhaust after treatment system, clogging the DPF.

Why does my electronic control module (ECM) continue to throw error codes?

The ECM senses the amount of nitrous oxide and particulate matter in the exhaust and is designed to control the distribution of exhaust. Poor combustion leads to cold fuel adhering to the exhaust gas recirculation valve, which prevents the system from effectively deciphering where to route the exhaust. When this happens, an error code comes up.

A proven way to prevent this is to use a premium diesel fuel. Cenex Premium Diesel has a high cetane rating and is built with a robust additive package that includes injection stabilizers, to prevent hydrogen extraction, and aggressive detergents to keep injector nozzles clean so fuel is burned effectively in the combustion cycle.

Why do I need to use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in new construction vehicles?

Since the implementation of DEF, particulate matter emissions have decreased from 470 pounds to less than a pound per 120,000 miles of equipment use. DEF is a mixture of urea and water that is sprayed onto the DPF to convert any remaining nitrous oxide to nitrogen. This is the final step of ensuring your construction machinery engine is clean and protected.

For additional construction equipment questions, talk with your local Cenex dealer. Your local representative can explain how using Cenex Premium Diesel can help you avoid downtime on your construction site. Discover more aboutCenex Premium Diesel.

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