DPF question - regen cycles

kylekai

New member
My previous vehicle was a RAM Ecodiesel. If I drove it around town and not the freeways, I'd get a DPF at 80% message, and it'd tell me to drive at highway speeds to remedy. While I drove, I saw the amount go down to less than 20% and all was well.

A few days ago I brought my 2017 Sprinter with 15K miles to a shop for an oil change. They told me the DPF was at 79% and should be serviced by a manual REGEN. I said OK. But later I thought, maybe the Sprinter would do a REGEN on its own when it go to 80% and the shop just happened to read it at right before the REGEN. Had I brought it into the shop a few days later it might have read 30%. Or was it better to have the shop do a manual REGEN? Just trying to understand how it all works.... TIA!
 

HKs00

Active member
My previous vehicle was a RAM Ecodiesel. If I drove it around town and not the freeways, I'd get a DPF at 80% message, and it'd tell me to drive at highway speeds to remedy. While I drove, I saw the amount go down to less than 20% and all was well.

A few days ago I brought my 2017 Sprinter with 15K miles to a shop for an oil change. They told me the DPF was at 79% and should be serviced by a manual REGEN. I said OK. But later I thought, maybe the Sprinter would do a REGEN on its own when it go to 80% and the shop just happened to read it at right before the REGEN. Had I brought it into the shop a few days later it might have read 30%. Or was it better to have the shop do a manual REGEN? Just trying to understand how it all works.... TIA!
I work on a decent size fleet of sprinters and we rarely ever do forced Regens, but all of our trucks see mostly highway driving. The truck only regens if you drive it at a highway speed for a certain amount of time so if you keep driving it around town and don't ever get all the perimeters ready long enough to complete a regen than it will never do it. I would recommend to drive the van on the freeway at least 2 to 3 times a week at highway speeds for at least 15 minutes after it warms up. The truck will handle it on it own.
 

kylekai

New member
That's what I thought. However, the Sprinter we have is an RV and rarely drive it around town, always a long way on freeways. Last trip was direct from Yuma, AZ to San Diego, CA. That's why it seems odd the DPF was at 79%, unless it was ready to do its own REGEN on the next freeway trip.
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
A Sprinter will regenerate driving around town on surface streets, I've watched it happen on mine many times (although the process may be more efficient when driving at highway speeds due to the higher exhaust volume and velocity.) Generally regen occurs at a fixed mileage basis (around 600 miles or so), or earlier if the differential pressure sensor indicates a need.
 

Bobnoxious

GONE FISHING

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ENMeyer

Active member
I don't even think we can force the manual regen, can we (OM651?).

I do like having the scan gauge, so you can tell when it's going to regen. Mine goes pretty close to 600 miles between regens. I think interrupting a regen isn't ideal, so with the scan gauge, you can keep driving to avoid the interruption.
 

Bobnoxious

GONE FISHING
I don't even think we can force the manual regen, can we (OM651?).

I do like having the scan gauge, so you can tell when it's going to regen. Mine goes pretty close to 600 miles between regens. I think interrupting a regen isn't ideal, so with the scan gauge, you can keep driving to avoid the interruption.
With proper scanner, manual DPF generations can be initiated. My experience, three DPF interruptions will throw a CEL. However, once the DPF has successfully re-generated the CEL will self extinguish.
 
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kylekai

New member
I don't even think we can force the manual regen, can we (OM651?).

I do like having the scan gauge, so you can tell when it's going to regen. Mine goes pretty close to 600 miles between regens. I think interrupting a regen isn't ideal, so with the scan gauge, you can keep driving to avoid the interruption.
So the REGEN occurs more based on mileage than DPF percent full?
 

smiller

2008 View J (2007 NCV3 3500)
So the REGEN occurs more based on mileage than DPF percent full?
I think so. The Sprinter seems to regenerate at approx. every 600 miles, probably because it's better for the DPF to regenerate before things get to the point that there is a significant pressure differential, IOW it may not be strictly necessary to regenerate at a fixed 600 miles but regeneration at lower loading values may be beneficial for maximum DPF life. However the system will also regenerate if pressure differential rises to above a certain value (i.e. in unusual situations where every 600 miles isn't adequate.)

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ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
So the REGEN occurs more based on mileage than DPF percent full?
Yes. Every 900 kilometers (which is about 560 miles). Or if the pressure difference before and after the DPF is too large - a proxy for the soot load in the DPF.

If you operate on the highway a lot, you'll hit the 900 km max before the soot load gets high enough to trigger a regen. A lot of in town driving generates more soot and will get you a regen before the 900 km mark.

Keep in mind that the soot load and the ash load are different things. The DPF traps soot and periodically burns it off in a regen. Burning soot leaves ash in the DPF, which accumulates over time. When there's too much ash, you need to replace the DPF. The factory calls for checking the calculated ash load at 100k miles, then every 10k after that until the DPF is full of ash and needs to be replaced (at least for 2013 models.)

I don't know if the DPF % full that you mention is the ash load or the soot load.
 

kylekai

New member
My Sprinter only has 15K miles, so I assume the soot load.

Anyone have any thoughts as to what percentage full the DPF is at the 600 mile mark? 50%? 80%? That's really my original question. TIA.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Anyone have any thoughts as to what percentage full the DPF is at the 600 mile mark? 50%? 80%? That's really my original question. TIA.
There's no way of knowing. Could be 10%, could be 99% (or whatever is just below the soot load trigger point). 900 km is a hard coded mileage limit. The soot load at that point doesn't matter.
 

ENMeyer

Active member
The ScanGauge will display the %, but I don't think that's based on actual pressure drop, because it's just too regular to be believable. At 580 miles, it's going to show very close to 100%, and once it does show 100%, it'll begin it's 15 minute regen.
 

kylekai

New member
The ScanGauge will display the %, but I don't think that's based on actual pressure drop, because it's just too regular to be believable. At 580 miles, it's going to show very close to 100%, and once it does show 100%, it'll begin it's 15 minute regen.
This leads to my original question. If a mechanic says "the DPF is at 79% and it needs a manual regeneration" couldn't I have instead waited until it's at 100% and then it'll do the regeneration automatically? In other words, if the DPF is at 79%, that doesn't necessarily mean the DPF needs a manual regeneration does it? It means the DPF is on its way to 100% and then it'll do a manual regeneration, right? I'm wondering if the mechanic told me this so he'd get an easy $100 for the manual regeneration.
TIA!
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
This leads to my original question. If a mechanic says "the DPF is at 79% and it needs a manual regeneration" couldn't I have instead waited until it's at 100% and then it'll do the regeneration automatically? In other words, if the DPF is at 79%, that doesn't necessarily mean the DPF needs a manual regeneration does it? It means the DPF is on its way to 100% and then it'll do a manual regeneration, right? I'm wondering if the mechanic told me this so he'd get an easy $100 for the manual regeneration.
TIA!
My understanding is that some diesels need a periodic manual regeneration of the DPF. In Sprinters, that's not necessary unless there is some unusual problem.

If your mechanic is a general diesel mechanic, he might not be familiar with the specifics of a Sprinter, and could be applying his more general knowledge to a Sprinter. That can be dangerous to your wallet. I'm not going to say your mechanic was wrong, because we don't know all that he knows about your vehicle. But my understanding is that a manual regen is not a routine maintenance or repair procedure in a Sprinter.
 

Thump_rrr

New member
This leads to my original question. If a mechanic says "the DPF is at 79% and it needs a manual regeneration" couldn't I have instead waited until it's at 100% and then it'll do the regeneration automatically? In other words, if the DPF is at 79%, that doesn't necessarily mean the DPF needs a manual regeneration does it? It means the DPF is on its way to 100% and then it'll do a manual regeneration, right? I'm wondering if the mechanic told me this so he'd get an easy $100 for the manual regeneration.
TIA!
I have an OM-651, it’s my second one.
My vehicles run in a major metropolitan city which is known for horrible traffic congestion.
They are service vehicles so they go from service call to service call all day.
I have never had to do a manual regen on either vehicle with one exception.
The NOX sensor on my 2014 gave out. It gave the 10 starts warning and I brought it to the dealership for repair. They told me that they did a manual regen after replacing the sensor.
Never had any other problem with that van till I returned it last November at the end of its lease.

Edit. When we leased our first Sprinter I came on the forums and started getting worried about DPF and swirl valves and a million other things. After a while I told myself that I wouldn’t allow myself to get nervous over our vans and if something occurred I would then deal with it.
The only things I have control over are how the vans are maintained and how they are driven.

My guys are instructed not to idle their vehicles so they have the H12 heaters if they want to eat their lunch in the truck in the colder months.
As for maintenance I follow the factory recommendations for fluids and filters at the recommended intervals.
 
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4wheeldog

2018 144" Tall Revel
So the REGEN occurs more based on mileage than DPF percent full?
My understanding is that it will regenerate based on mileage if it hasn't accumulated enough ash to call for one before that.
If you operate mostly at higher speeds and don't spend a lot of time idling or in stop and go traffic, it will likely only regenerate based on mileage.
 

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