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  • Discuss DEF...

    Quoting Bill from another thread I didn't want to hijack.
    I hope others will chime in with what makes DEF such a hot topic?


    Originally posted by BZawlocki


    PS: What I don't like about the newer trucks is the need for DEF - I hate it with a passion.
    Our current truck has a diesel that uses DEF in the exhaust stream to reduce emissions. Since it's the only diesel I've ever had I think using DEF is just fine. Doesn't seem to be affecting how my truck operates and performs in any way.
    I see a lot of people say how much they hate DEF. Why is that? I'm sure it has to do with trucks that didn't require it, but what does the DEF do (or not do) that makes it such a hot topic?
    2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali 4x4 Diesel
    2017 Arctic Fox 22G.

  • #2
    I had a '96' Ram 1 ton with 12 valve CTD that had none of the current EPA treatments. LOVED IT. It was very reliable, efficient, and strong (800 ft. lbs. to the ground). But the body was rusting out, so after 330,000 miles we replaced her with a 2013 dually. Love the comfort and tech in the new truck. Not as much fun to drive, but gets us from here to there reliably. I have no issue adding the DEF. When I first got her I checked and I got about 1,000 miles per gallon of DEF, not towing. I now have a little over 165,000 miles on her and accept that very small pain to get better mileage compared to the 2012 Rams that didn't use DEF.
    2013 Ram 3500 Dually, Aisen, 3.73 gears.

    Arctic Fox wannabe

    Comment


    • #3
      DEF is a complete non-issue for me. I pump my own fuel, so adding 2.5 gal of DEF every 6-7 tankfuls is negligibly inconvenient. I can add a jug of DEF while that 6th tank of fuel is still pumping, so even if I'm in a hurry, adding DEF won't add a single second to my fueling time.

      I buy house-brand DEF from Walmart, and I carry what I need for a trip. It works perfectly, and at $3.15/gal, Walmart DEF only costs ~10% more than bulk truck-stop DEF. I avoid high-priced truck-stop fuel, so I can save money and conveniently add DEF on the road.
      2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
      Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 37K miles
      Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

      2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 126K miles

      Comment


      • #4
        DEF is a none issue when all is going well. Total expensive nightmare when is fails. None of the manufactures can seem to get it right, foreign and domestic. Truckers are buying Glider trucks to avoid issues. These are brand new trucks with older rebuilt motors to avoid the nightmare. If your non-Def diesel is working well for you KEEP it.

        Woods
        07 Fox 31WRB, Aria, AGMs, RPowerTwins, Heatpumps, Maxxfans, Sur eflow 57, 50amp, dualpane, Reese nocam trunnion, more.
        04 6.0L 4X4 Excursion. AirLifts, Vair, ARC, XCal3, EGRfix, 4A pillar Cobalts, AFE, MBRP, Hadley, Bilsteins, Brakesmart, Colorado's Monarch Pass Avatar

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nickel n Pepper
          DEF is a none issue when all is going well. Total expensive nightmare when is fails...

          Woods
          Can you describe what happens when the DEF system fails? Why it is an expensive nightmare?

          2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali 4x4 Diesel
          2017 Arctic Fox 22G.

          Comment


          • #6
            My 2016 Ram is my first diesel and so no comparison to non DEF for me. The Ram has been a great tow vehicle and adding the DEF is no problem and not very expensive. The emission controls mean that the exhaust is clean and that is good for my garage and the air around me. The only problem I have is throttle lag which I think is to protect the transmission from full torque when starting from a stop.
            2016 Ram 2500 4x4 Laramie
            2018 Arctic Fox 25Y
            2018 Arctic Fox 29L; Traded in
            *2001 Arctic Fox 29V; Sold
            South Lake Tahoe, CA

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hammster View Post

              Can you describe what happens when the DEF system fails? Why it is an expensive nightmare?
              There are many complicated DEF system components tied into your truck's computer system, that are mandated by federal law.

              If one part fails and signals the computer that the DEF system is malfunctioning, the trucks computer will start a progressive truck speed-limiter sequence.

              Since the computer doesn't know if it's a part or an owner trying to disable the system, the computer will force the owner to repair / reconnect the DEF system.

              If not, slowly the computer will cut the truck's speed (within 300 miles), from unlimited, to 65mph, to 55mph until speed of the truck can only go 4mph (enough for a tow to drive your truck onto a flatbed tow truck).

              We had our DEF fluid reservoir heater replaced under a recall a couple of years ago. The Chevrolet dealer mechanic told me that except for the heater recall, they rarely repair the DEF system, as long as it's not run dry / contaminated with bad DEF fluid.

              Luckily, our speed limiter didn't kick in, before we located a Chevrolet dealership in Hinton, Alberta, Canada (great dealership!).
              Travel Blog: www.rocklinroamers.wordpress.com

              2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

              2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.

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              • #8
                I know the speed limiter sequence will kick in after the DEF level gets below a certain level. It does the same as you mentioned. However, I know whenever I've refilled my DEF tank after getting the DEF low notice, the system resets. It didn't reset one time and I immediately took it to my dealer and they reset some sensor to fix it. No charge. I don't know if the DEF system is covered under a 50,000 mile emissions warranty but the dealer didn't charge anything to reset it.

                I'm hopeful Bill Zawlocki will chime in as to why he hates DEF with a passion and if Nickel n Pepper will also comment on what they meant.
                2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali 4x4 Diesel
                2017 Arctic Fox 22G.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RocklinDave View Post
                  We had our DEF fluid reservoir heater replaced under a recall a couple of years ago. The Chevrolet dealer mechanic told me that except for the heater recall, they rarely repair the DEF system, as long as it's not run dry / contaminated with bad DEF fluid.
                  I also had the heater recall service on a road trip. I had to delay a day to make the long trip home, since the fault happened on a Sunday when the small town's dealerships were closed. That overly dramatic speed limiting behavior can be a hassle, but it's a small price to pay for the excellent capability of a modern diesel pickup.

                  I know that the guys who drive commercial semis have their own concerns with emissions system reliability, but I think private pickups are a different story. Since we can't get glider pickups, the only way to get a non-emissions diesel is to get an old truck that was far less capable than a new truck even when it was new. No, thanks.

                  There's no way I'd give up the power, handling, braking, comfort, and convenience of a new emissions diesel just to guard against the possibility of a non-warranty emissions system failure. But everybody's different...

                  Coincidentally, I got a DEF 1,000 mile warning today. At my next fuel stop, I added a jug of DEF while I was waiting for the fuel pump to fill the tank. I took my time, and still I completely finished the DEF addition before the fuel tank was full.
                  2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
                  Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 37K miles
                  Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

                  2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 126K miles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yabbut View Post
                    ...There's no way I'd give up the power, handling, braking, comfort, and convenience of a new emissions diesel just to guard against the possibility of a non-warranty emissions system failure. But everybody's different...
                    I've read that diesel truck manufacturers have been able to fine-tune the engines, knowing the DEF system will compensate for any excess emissions... thus giving better gas mileage.

                    That better gas mileage more than makes up for a $11.00 box of 2.5 gals of DEF fluid every 1,000's of miles of use.
                    Travel Blog: www.rocklinroamers.wordpress.com

                    2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

                    2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RocklinDave View Post



                      That better gas mileage more than makes up for a $11.00 box of 2.5 gals of DEF fluid every 1,000's of miles of use.
                      I paid $7.88 at Walmart for the 2.5 gal bottle just yesterday.

                      2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali 4x4 Diesel
                      2017 Arctic Fox 22G.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry Dave, I disagree about the milage being better. I understand the emissions thing, but the DEF diesels get way worse milage than non DEF diesels. My 2003 Duramax got a consistent 11.5 mpg towing. The new truck gets 9.5 on a good day. Our TDI Passat gets only 38 mpg post EPA mandated emission update and got 44 mpg before. The older Passats-pre EPA- were in the 50+mpg category. For me the whole DEF thing is just one more thing to go wrong. See what happens and how much it costs when you accidentally contaminate your fuel system with DEF. Ask Kirk. I have often wondered what the difference in emissions would be with a well tuned non DEF diesel vs a DEF diesel. Not in terms of at the exhaust pipe, but real world emissions per gallon of fuel consumed. That said, I also hate to see the black smoke being blown by al lot of rigs in Montana where we have no vehicle inspection requirement. Guess I'll put up with the DEF.
                        Ken and Rita Madsen
                        2018 GMC 3500 Duramax, 2016 27-5L AF

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                        • #13
                          Ken, we get around 21 mpg on our 2016 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel not towing and 11-13 when towing and it's a DEF machine.
                          I'm thankful, although sometimes it's a pain, that the DEF filler in my truck is under the hood so no way to accidentally get DEF in the fuel tank. I've heard stories of DEF ending up in the fuel tank and, yeah, what a nightmare. But, that's not really a DEF problem as much as it is user error (and maybe a bit of redesign to eliminate that possibility). Best to take the user out of the equation since it's so risky.
                          It would be nice not to have to use a second "consumable" like DEF for emissions and maybe, eventually, the emissions systems will get redesigned and the fuel will get reformulated so there is no need for an additional product.
                          2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali 4x4 Diesel
                          2017 Arctic Fox 22G.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Depending on the year of truck you can go through a lot of DEF and it gets to be somewhat of a hassle. I try to plan ahead more now after finding I needed DEF and paying our $17. for a 2.5 gallon jug. When traveling long distances I carry and extra jug or two of DEF now. I look at my truck's exhaust pipe and it is clean. I look at my wifes 2017 Subaru and it is black. It sure seems the new trucks are overkilling the scrubbing. But the reason I traded in my 2005 F350 was for cleaner exhaust and reliability. So far, I have both. Now if the RV bay at the truck stops would have DEF I would be happier.
                            Peter and Fran
                            2016 AF 27-5L
                            , 50AMP, 4pt leveling, 10 Cu Ft Refrigerator, 15K AC + bedroom AC, Onan 5.5 generator, Progressive Dynamics EMSHW50C, Slide Toppers, TST 507 flow through with repeater, Cadet digital AC heater, 52" ceiling fan LED light, Dirt Devil CV1500 Central Vacuum, water filter system, 480 watt solar charger, 440 AH AGM battery bank, Magnum MS2012 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter/charger, TorkLift steps, SRE4000, 17.5" Alcoa rims, 7k axles


                            2017 F-450 Super Duty, B&W Companion

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                            • #15
                              I really can't tell what we get empty but think it's about 16mpg. I try not to drive the truck empty. We just did the annual migration-Montana to Yuma-of 1900 miles and averaged 9.3 mpg. I filled the DEF before we left and had a get DEF message around Prescott with the "I'm going to speed limit you in 500 miles" message at Quartzite. I just filled up this morning and could only get in 5 gallons at the pump. The tank is supposed to be 7.5 gallons I think so GM is a bit conservative with their estimates. Guess they really don't want you to run it empty. FWIW I usually tow with full water because we boondock when we can and we never know where that is. We also have a 4 door Wrangler strapped to the rear of the trailer so we're pretty long and heavy. I'd like to get more mpg, but 9 isn't really to bad for two vehicles and a house.
                              Ken and Rita Madsen
                              2018 GMC 3500 Duramax, 2016 27-5L AF

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