Cummins DPF: Best Practices for Proper DPF Care

Mar 22nd 2023

Cummins DPF: Best Practices for Proper DPF Care

Cummins diesel engines, like the ISX line, are some of the most technologically advanced, high-performance, and energy-efficient diesel engines available in the industry.

Diesel engines like these are also equipped with advanced diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems that both reduce diesel emissions and improve the performance of the engine.

Proper care and maintenance, however, are necessary to extract optimal performance from your diesel engine and its diesel exhaust aftertreatment system.

So we put together this short list that covers some important pointers for Cummins DPF maintenance.

Minimizing Idle Time

Minimizing idle time is one of the most important things you can do to improve the efficiency of your Cummins diesel engine, and to keep the DPF clean and clear. A good idle time is 20% of total engine operation time - or lower, if possible.

Idle time is not beneficial to the engine as low engine loads/speeds do not deliver the optimal temperature to facilitate regeneration within the exhaust aftertreatment system. Operating the engine for extended periods under low loads will result in the Cummins DPF becoming dirtier at an accelerated rate, which will require more frequent maintenance and cleanings.

Aftertreatment System Recalibration

Periodically, diesel engines should be recalibrated to improve or “tune-up” the performance of their aftertreatment systems.

If it’s been a while since your vehicle’s engine was recalibrated, contact your Cummins rep or get in touch with your OEM dealer. They’ll fill you in on how to proceed.

Time Between Regeneration

In order to ensure optimal diesel engine performance, time between regeneration should remain as consistent as possible.

Cummins diesel engines are compatible with INSITE software that monitors engine performance, including the diesel aftertreatment system, and can assist with troubleshooting errors.

If you believe there is an issue with consistency in terms of time between regeneration, please consult your INSITE logs to determine if there is a problem.

Contact your Cummins rep or OEM dealer if you have further questions or concerns.

Keeping Your Cummins DPF on a Maintenance Schedule

After minimizing idle time, likely the best thing you can do for the overall health of your Cummins DPF is to keep it on a routine maintenance schedule.

Over time, your diesel engine’s DPF will become full of soot and ash. Provided you run the engine at optimal loads and temperatures for long enough, the soot will eventually burn (mostly) away.

All that will remain behind is ash, which cannot be regenerated. Over time, your DPF will become clogged with ash, which will hamper the efficiency of the aftertreatment system, and the fuel economy of the engine, overall.

You should have your DPF serviced and cleaned on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer and keep an eye on your INSITE logs which can give you an indication of whether or not there is an issue with your DPF. This can help you prevent issues before they arise.

At the end of your DPF’s service life, you will also need to replace it with a suitable Cummins DPF replacement. However, a DPF can last many hundreds of thousands of miles when properly cared for and kept on a routine maintenance schedule.

How Often Does a Cummins DPF Need to Be Cleaned?

How often your Cummins DPF will need to be cleaned depends on engine usage. Engines used more heavily than others may need more frequent cleanings, but at the same time, frequent usage and low engine loads can result in accelerated soot accumulation.

In general, a DPF should be cleaned every 150,000 to 200,000 miles because by that time ash will have accumulated to the point that it needs to be removed.

Filter Service and Supply offers professional DPF cleaning services. If you have any questions about DPF cleaning, scheduling, symptoms of a blocked DPF, or anything else, please contact us at 780-455-0263.

              DPF cleaning services

Time Since Last Cleaning

As stated, keeping your DPF on a routine cleaning schedule is one of the keys to engine performance and longevity.

Never allow your vehicle to exceed the miles or hours or months associated with a scheduled cleaning/maintenance.

INSITE’s Idle Shutdown PowerSpec

INSITE software is equipped with certain configurable PowerSpec features and settings that enable you to optimize the performance of your Cummins engine. One of these is the “Idle Shutdown” PowerSpec.

Within the INSITE software, you can configure this feature to automatically shut down your engine at a certain time point if it is left idling for too long.

This helps prevent excess idle times that will result in accelerating soot accumulation within the Cummins DPF.

Be Cognizant of Fault Codes

There are more than 40 fault codes associated solely with your diesel particulate filter (DPF). These codes address a wide range of faults, from differential pressure, to intake pressure, to regeneration inhibition, to a filter that is missing entirely.

The system also has separate codes for other issues associated with other components of the diesel emissions aftertreatment system, such as the EGR temperature, NOx intakes and outlets, the hydrocarbon doser, and the diesel oxidation catalyst, or DOC.

These codes can give you your first insights into potential issues with the exhaust aftertreatment system and can help you pinpoint and catch a small blip on the radar before it becomes a major problem.

Never ignore fault codes. For a more complete list of fault codes associated with Cummins engines, as well as what they indicate, please consult the following compilation of “Cummins Tier 4 Fault Codes.”

             Cummins DPF

Need a New Cummins DPF?

We carry a wide range of Skyline Emissions Cummins DPF filters. These replacement Cummins DPF filters meet or exceed OEM specifications for the models they’re designed to replace and offer Exact-Fit design and exceptional quality paired with extensive testing to ensure performance.

They are new, replacement Cummins DPF filters, and are not rebuilt; we sell clamps and gaskets for them as well, cover them with 3-year warranties, and offer free shipping in the continental United States.

If you have questions about DPF specifications or compatibility, please get in touch with us at 780-455-0263.