The time of year when we prepare equipment for winter storage is quickly coming upon us. And if your heavy equipment or smaller machinery has a DPF/DOC system in place, it's critical that you schedule a proper cleaning before everything is buttoned up.
Often times we are asked how frequent you should clean your DPF to keep it performing at an optimum level. And although each situation is different depending on work load, application, and overall use, one thing is certain. If you are storing a piece of equipment for a significant period of time, it is highly recommended that you clean your DPF before storage and not after.
Here's the reason why. During long periods of storage, soot has a tendency to bond together over time. This bondage makes it more difficult, and in some cases nearly impossible, to remove the soot from the DPF. And although the EcoClean system has a higher chance of breaking up and extracting the soot, there is still a possibility it may never get totally clean.
(DPF/DOC system water cleaned today off of a bulldozer. Complete with new clamps and gaskets for winter fall maintenance.)
To better understand, impacted soot or ash in the filter channels tends to attract moisture or water. This will cause the particles to swell and expedite the bonding process. Leaving machinery or equipment stationary during times of high or low humidity can be a cause of bonding. According to Bryan Case, a DPF cleaning expert and cleaning machine designer, "if soot attracts liquid it can swell to 100% of its original size in the molecular state. If enough liquid is absorbed, it will break appart and become entrapped in the liquid molecule." What happens next is the critical component. "This liquid is now able to travel through the filter walls. Eventually the liquid will evaporate leaving the soot particles within the filters walls bonded to the particles around it."
The tricky part is that you may not notice the problem occuring the first year of storage. It may take a year or two, but there will be a gradual increase in backpressure. But don't forget, you are loosing performance and fuel economy once a filter is contaminated over 50%. And to tie everything together, water cleaning has the best chance of cleaning a filter properly as the surfactant encapsulates the debris. The good news is that with our EcoClean system a filter can be cleaned an unlimited number of times. If you choose the baking or air knife route, there is less likelyhood of the filter being saved, and you are limiting the lifespan of the filter significantly.