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You Down With OPDD?

Let’s get this out of the way immediately, because I know you’re wondering: Are you indeed down with OPDD? If you’re considering or have already purchased a remanufactured DPF from your local dealership you are in fact down with Other People’s Dirty DPF (OPDD). I’m sorry if you’ve already gone down that path and God bless you for trying, but my goal here is to help the next driver avoid the OPDD trap.

Not all remanufactured parts are created equal. No doubt about it, there is a place in our industry for remanufacturing. Injectors being one of the first parts that come to mind. The complex tooling and machining required to build those fuel blasting buggers makes them a good fit for the reman market. Plus, the best of the reman parts out there come with iron-clad warranties to make you feel better about that purchase. Reman has its place, but that place is nowhere near your DPF.

By now, you know more about the DPF in your exhaust system than you probably ever cared to know. From dash lights to regeneration, DPF maintenance has become routine in trucking and a necessary evil in prolonging the life of your aftertreatment system. Trust me, given the high cost of replacement, from the expense of the parts to downtime for installation or cleaning, you want to do everything possible to prolong the usable life of your DPF.

I say “usable life” because the fact of the matter is that your DPF won’t last forever. How long it lasts is part effort and part luck. In a previous article I discussed the <Four Types of DPF Failure> which outlined the ways in which your DPF will ultimately fail and rest assured, it will fail. Like any filter in your big machine eventually you’ll need to replace the DPF. What you do from that point could dictate how much time you’ll have before replacing it again.

If you’ve ever had your DPF cleaned it’s likely you know the process. The most common form of cleaning is to run it through FSX Machine or similar system where the inlet and outlet are cleaned with an air knife. More extreme cases of ash plugged DPFs can be baked to loosen the solids which are then blown out with that same air knife. A good cleaning, even with the nearly 8-hour baking process, will remove approximately 70% to 90% of the plugged ash.

And this friends, is where the underlying issue with a remanufactured DPF starts to emerge. There is no other way to put it, when you buy a reman DPF you’re buying someone else’s dirty DPF. It’s been baked, cleaned and perhaps even “re-canned,” but at the end of the day its path to your exhaust system started on someone else’s truck. Knowing that even a complete and total cleaning can loosen, at best, 95% of the ash particles in your substrate, how much valuable life will you get with that reman? How many times was that DPF cleaned before it found its way to your exhaust? Each cleaning of a DPF reduces its “cleaning efficiency” by a factor of ten, so by the third cleaning you’re looking at a DPF that operates no better than 70% efficiency and could be as low as 50%. How does that low cost reman sound now?

Let us now talk for a moment about that “low cost.” In the illustration below (Figure 1) you’ll see the difference in two of the most popular DPFs on the road today - one for the Cummins ISX and one for the Detroit Diesel DD15. You can see for yourself that the reman DPF cost is comparable, or in the case of the Detroit Diesel, considerably lower than the new Roadwarrior. No hiding from the truth on that one. Of course, you’ve still got to pony up nearly $4000 and hope that your core passes muster. If all goes well and your core charge comes back, you’re doing okay with a DPF that already has 10% ash blockage in the substrate. Not the end of the world, but certainly not the best of it either.

Figure 1

Part Number

Retail Value

Core Charge

Gaskets Included?

Roadwarrior C0001-SA




Cummins 5283778CUM









Detroit Diesel





It’s easy for the company selling the new aftermarket DPFs to suggest that a new, North American manufactured and coreless option is your best bet. I’m fully aware of that big elephant standing in the corner, but it’s also hard to argue that for the money and the history, new truly is your best option. If nothing else, I hope that I’ve given you some useful information when faced with the decision of new versus remanufactured.

So, are you down with OPDD?

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