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Unread 11-07-2018, 03:23 PM   #1
Davy
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Diesel pickup with DEF system

Anybody drive one? I have a 2012 Dodge 3500 flatbed with the 6.7 Cummins. I'm at about 135 k miles now. Hasn't been a bad truck but for the past two years the engine light will come on for a few days, then go off for a month or so. This has happened over and over. Two times, I had the code checked and it said the Nox sensor on the DEF system was the problem. Other than that I ignored it since the light would go off each time.

Fast forward to last week. I was driving to the job, it's about 35 miles from home. I was almost to work when I heard "bong", the familiar sound when the engine light appears but this time the dash displays a note saying to have the DEF system checked by the dealer and then it noted that after 200 miles the truck would no longer start. And it has a count down, when I got home that afternoon, it was down to 164 miles. I drove it one more day while I made a few phone calls and it was down to 88 miles.

I called a local mechanic shop that works on a lot of trucks and they said to bring it in, so I did on Monday morning. After checking it out, they say there doesn't seem to be a problem with the sensors but that this truck did have a bulletin from Dodge, that's not a recall. Recalls are free. Apparently, a bulletin is more like a suggestion if a certain problem comes up. It says that if the computer ever gives a false reading then the computer needs to be re-calibrated. I'm in the process of having that done now.

I've heard bad things about DEF systems (Fords and Chevys too) and I'm thinking about parking this truck in someone elses driveway because of it. Now I read that the particulate filter (that's part of the DEF system) usually has to be changed out at 150 k- 175k. I've heard 3000 to 4000 bucks to replace that. I just made my last payment and I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Anyone else have any issues with these new emission systems?
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Unread 11-07-2018, 05:32 PM   #2
Karls tile Inc
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Delete your truck and you and your truck will be happier. I did my 2014 F250 and it completely changed the truck. Basically you remove def system and regen system. Program the computer and your good to go. Companies offer kits to delete your truck.
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Unread 11-07-2018, 05:42 PM   #3
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Delete it at 137,000 miles that truck is still a pup you’ll get many more miles out of it. Make sure if you get it deleted that you do a full def/egr delete. The egr delete is where you really do your engine a favor
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Unread 11-07-2018, 06:25 PM   #4
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Yeah, I've heard that from several people and I'm sure it's all true. One problem is that it's against the law. My son-in-law had an 07 Dodge Cummins and deleted what he could. It didn't have the DEF system but he had to put everything back on before trading it off. Y'all are right, that truck would really run.

I usually drive my trucks till the wheels fall off but these days I don't really need a big truck anymore. Back when I worked for builders I was always hauling sand and pallets of tile. I'm in my 60's and don't plan to work for builders any more. One shower at a time is enough for me so I'd really like to down size. For that reason I hate to remove anything since it would reduce the value if I trade it in. If I were planning to keep it for many more years then I probably would delete everything and take my chances.

When I bought this truck in 2012, I didn't do my homework. Even though I had heard about the DEF systems on some trucks, I didn't realize this truck had it. Back then the Dodge pickups didn't have it but the cab and chassis trucks did. They didn't tell me it had it until after I had bought it and I didn't check out the truck enough to find out, my bad. I just don't like the idea of a broken exhaust part being enough for the computer to shut the truck off. From what I hear, the Ford and Chevy trucks have a similar way of forcing you to fix the problem. The computer will put the truck in "limp mode", makes it stay in 1st gear so you can only go about 10-15 mph until you have the system checked. I sure liked the old Diesel trucks better.
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Unread 11-07-2018, 07:06 PM   #5
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Delete it it and save the parts. That what I did.
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Unread 11-07-2018, 07:25 PM   #6
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Karl, there once was a time when I loved spending my weekend under my truck or Jeep, installing a lift kit and large tires or working on my boat or motorcycle. As I get older, those things sound like work. It's funny how we change, these days a small block of wood and knife can keep me pacified for hours.
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Unread 11-07-2018, 08:38 PM   #7
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No worries Dave I get it. Time to kick back and chill
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Unread 11-07-2018, 09:57 PM   #8
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The DEF message appeared 2 weeks ago in my 2014. I made it home before the 145 mile warning expired. I drove around for a week to and from work, whittling it down to 103 miles. As its under warranty, I called the dealership and set an appointment for the next morning.

I spent some time on line searching the some cummins and Ram forums. The searching told me;

1- It could be a false alarm. If it is it will go away on its own after enough starts of the motor.

2- If anything, it would be the DEF pump, although this is rare.

3- It could be bad DEF, but this is rare.

4- Draining the DEF tank is very easy with a siphon. Replacing the (possibly) bad DEF with shiny new DEF, then starting the truck 10 or 20 times solves the problem.

I drained my tank, refilled, and drove around the next day, starting and stopping. By the end of the day the message went away and the error code was gone, as confirmed by my code reader. I cancelled my appointment. Drove around for another week (today) and the code has not appeared.
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Unread 11-08-2018, 06:56 AM   #9
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That's good to hear. I got my truck back yesterday afternoon so I'll see how it goes. They said they recalibrated the computer, whatever that means.

I was talking to a guy on the job that drives a company truck, it's a Ford. He said that the whole DEF system had to be changed out. He claimed the Nox sensors were bad but the computer never gave a warning so it screwed up the whole thing. He said it cost his boss 8 grand to have the dealer do it.
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Unread 11-08-2018, 08:39 AM   #10
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I've got an '07 Dodge 1-ton, and I plan on keeping it as long as I'm around. I won't need a dually, but it's paid for.

Any of you seen the Dodge Eco-Diesels? I've talked to two guys who own and swear by them. They get mileage in the mid-20s empty or towing. They are half-ton trucks. One of the guys put airbags on the rear springs to pull his 30-foot travel trailer. Says he still gets over 20 mpg. Mine got 18 when it was new. . . . empty.
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Unread 11-08-2018, 05:38 PM   #11
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I've only seen them on TV, John. I wonder who makes it for Dodge? Isn't it a V-6?

My old 02 Cummins is still on the road. I put 354 K on it, sold it to a friend's dad and he put another 100k on it. He sold it to a guy that is still driving it. I see it going thru our town every once in a while. They say it has 500 to 600 k on it now. That truck got 21-22 MPG every tank. Some highway driving, some city. I should have kept that truck.
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Unread 11-09-2018, 07:45 AM   #12
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As I recall your old truck was a 3/4 ton? I know it wasn't a dually. I've got the same Cummins engine, but they had five additional years to dumb mine down.

Yeah, the eco-diesel is a 3 liter V-6. They claim up to 27 mpg. I know it's a light truck, but that is still amazing to me. I'm thinking, though, God help us if something goes wrong and it's not under warranty. Here's a link:

https://www.ramtrucks.com/ecodiesel.html
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Unread 11-09-2018, 10:12 AM   #13
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Yes, it was a 3/4 ton. I added overload springs so it could haul two full pallets of tile without a problem.

I use to do a lot of reading about Diesel engines, comparing the differences between the brands and design differences between the inline 6 Cummins and the V-8's on the market. In my opinion, the inline 6 is a better design when it comes to Diesels.
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Unread 11-10-2018, 09:02 AM   #14
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I agree. In fact I never fail to ask a Ford dually owner why he needs 8 cylinders to pull his horse trailer when I can do it better with six. It's all about stroke with a diesel, the longer the better. It's much easier to build it into an in-line engine than a V-8.

I still like those eco-diesels, though.
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Unread 11-10-2018, 08:20 PM   #15
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I remember reading an article years ago, I believe written by an engineer. He was in the market for a Diesel pickup to pull his travel trailer. He didn't really care which truck he bought, so he started comparing the V-8's to the inline 6 Cummins. He explained it like this. He said a V-8 engine is only 4 cylinders long and of course the Cummins is 6 cylinders long. There's a lot more room in the longer engine to use bigger and stronger parts. For example, the connecting rods in a Cummins are right at 5 pounds each and the V-8's are about 2 1/2 pounds (all are made of forged aluminum). The main bearings are about 30% larger in the inline 6 and instead of 5, you have 7 bearings. It also allows for a longer stroke like JB said. Plus, with an inline 6, there is no timing chain. It's all gear to gear. His point was that they aren't being skimpy, they only have so much space to work with.

This was about 15 years ago and I know the engines have changed a lot and I didn't research to check his claims so I'm just going off memory.

From what I read, Ford no longer uses Cummins engines in any of their F-series trucks. But not many years ago you could get a Cummins or Powerstroke in the F-650 but all the F-750 trucks only had the Cummins engine.

And, before someone says, "Well, Ford owns Cummins". I read that at one time Ford owned 15% of Cummins but doesn't any longer.
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