The future of DPF servicing

Change can seem shocking at first, but is it the future?

By Frank Massey | Published:  08 May, 2017

Two months from now will bring my tenure in the motor industry to 49 years. I would like to think I have evolved, kept up with technology, enabling me to provide a professional service, enjoying customer respect and integrity. My focus has been the technical challenges, while my son David manages the commercial responsibilities.

This creates a wide role for me developing our training programme, internal research and development, bringing the focus of this topic to technical and legal compliance.

My chosen subject here is diesel servicing and repairs, specifically particulate filtration and emission control. It is something we have been passionate and vocal over for several years. it gives me no pleasure or satisfaction in seeing our prediction over the demise of diesel vehicles.

Diesel fudge

The future is now clear as to the changes our political lords and masters have in mind. This gives us a short timeline to get our house in order. My intention is to advise, help and warn what will happen if we all continue to fudge diesel particulate repairs as we currently do. Upwards of 90% of independent garages will fall into this category. How do, or should we service and recover diesel particulate filters? The choices are very simple!

1. Replace with a new OE filter

2. Replace with a non-OE filter

3. Clean and service off vehicle in factory controlled conditions

4. Clean and service off the vehicle in house

5. Clean and service on the vehicle

6. Remove the filtration system from the vehicle

Here is the problem; we as professional repairers are legally and financially responsible, and exposed for the advice and decisions we make. This is the case even if the customer agrees and or instructs us on a certain course of action.

Clear legislation is in place for the performance and fitment of diesel emission systems. Vehicle taxation is based on specific emission levels agreed with the manufacturers. I am sure I do not need to mention VW and Audi, but I will bet their corporate accountants have regrets. How long do you think it will be before the government bean counters look at us? Let's not fool ourselves enforcement will take the effect of stringent fines.

Everything

So what are we doing wrong? Pretty much everything. Please remember my words, help, advice and not critique.

We are breaking the law in removing legally compliant systems. MOT examiners will lose their licence by passing unauthorised emission system modification. You will become the first unpaid enforcers.

We are breaking the law further in polluting the water course, by power cleaning, or rinsing out cleaning agents into the drains. Utility companies have powers to set huge fines and often do.

We are also in breach of the clean air act by using some of the available cleaning agents that require the running of the engine whilst emitting all the contaminants back into the environment.

It is quite possible at this point some of you are about to rip out the magazine pages and offer an alternative use for them. Please reconsider, we are slowly killing ourselves.

Let's as an industry get together, think ahead of the curve and get our house and process in order.

Change

I recently visited CERAMEX in Slough, and before a handful out there suspect a paid endorsement here, I even paid my own travel expenses. I have been aware of several companies offering off vehicle cleaning, pressure washing, thermal cleaning in an oven, and ultrasonic treatments. My problem has always been, is the catalytic converter and DPF still fully functional and durable when refitted? How can we protect ourselves from future premature failure due to other indirect causes? Can we provide certification of test results?

Here is my opinion as to how we should address the blocked, cleaning DPF problem. Many of you will not agree, I do not care, this is how it should and eventually will be done. Reflect on the vast changes in the paint refinishing industry before you cry never!

The DPF is initially visually examined bar coded and weighed, attached by means of bespoke plumbing to what is in effect a big dishwasher (sorry Marcus my words) then filled with water. A short pause here, some of you will know water damages and degrades the precious metal wash coat. The purified water has all the damaging trace elements removed and is only used to restrict the clear DPF passages. Pressure waves, are then sent through the core, XPURGE for several minutes. I did question if this was in effect an ultrasonic process? This is not the case. The water does act as a transport mechanism for the waste material, including ash, which is flushed out, into a waste tank. The water is filtered, for reuse and the semi solids captured in large skips for reprocessing. It is pure carbon it would make an ideal fuel source!

The DPF core is then placed in electric air dryers where apart from drying the core, measurements are taken for flow rates and back pressure. Next a two-stage photograph examination is applied to detect face off and ring off cracking to the core. A second weight check is taken to ascertain the mass of soot ash removal. The next service is optional for small vehicle units, the cat and DPF are subject to a sample hot gas bench to establish the reduction of, CO/HC, finally being placed in a particulate bench where filtration is assessed and measured.

Certification

Certification and bespoke transport packaging completes the service. The recovery success is consistently above 90%. The cost is approximately half the cost of a new OE unit. No environmental pollution so your grandchildren will thank you and may avoid the huge increase in paediatric respiratory illnesses.

You will earn profit from a professional repair, enjoy the respect and integrity it brings, however not all customers will agree or want to pay, and that is not our problem.

Further information

Please contact Annette 01772 201 597, enquries@ads-global.co.uk for further information on upcoming training courses and events.

Related Articles

  • T.Q.I. or T.Q. WHY?  

    Here is an extract from the sixth edition of the Testing Guide:
    “E3 Ongoing Requirements: Testers should access their Test Quality Information (TQI) Reports via the MOT Testing Service (MTS), to compare their personal performance with the national averages. This is relevant to the tester as it is an ongoing requirement of authorisation.”
        
    Let’s explore what the DVSA want to achieve. The DVSA need to be accountable to Government for ensuring the MOT Scheme is well run and managed. They themselves cannot be in all places at all times, so by running a TQI comparison they are able to gain a structured insight on the performance of each and every MOT tester. They can then compare each individual MOT tester’s results against the national average and can use this system to identify any anomalies.  In essence, the DVSA need this information to prove they are managing the scheme and to identify where any weaknesses might be found.

    Insider information
    How can the DVSA use the information? As MOT testing stations we previously had this data available via an earlier version of the VTS software along with a scoring system. Now just because we don’t see the scoring system please do not think for one moment that the DVSA cannot see your scores.
        
    When a DVSA Vehicle Examiner (VE) is sat down the road from your garage, he is able to look at the TQI of each tester and arrive at your reception area armed with what could be termed ‘insider information’, although the information that the DVSA can see is the same information you can access via your TQI.
        
    Worse still if your TQI percentages are consistently too far from the national  average, a computer at the DVSA could alert your local DVSA office and create the need for a Vehicle Examiner to visit your garage unannounced.

    Review and manage  
    The DVSA have given us all the ability to be armed against any weaknesses in our TQI and via the new directive are actually forcing us to review and manage our own TQI. Let’s not forget the DVSA need to have a well-run scheme, so by forcing us to review and manage the TQI they are keeping themselves in good shape too.
        How often should you check your TQI? Let’s make this simple you should check it every month. What should you do with your TQI? Each tester (not your employer or AE) should check their own TQI each month. Once you have your TQI report, you should check your own averages against the national averages. If all of your TQI is close to the national average then you have very little to be concerned about, and the DVSA will also have no concerns here.
        Importantly, in order to remain compliant you should have a record of checking your TQI and be able to produce that record to the DVSA on demand. If you have checked, all is good, and you have documented this check, then well done.
        What if your TQI is bad? Two things can happen here:
    1. You are a BAD tester and you probably get found out, or...

    2. You are a GOOD tester with bad TQI who needs to put things right.

    The DVSA want us all to work to a quality management scheme (QMS). The DVSA want to see that we all manage our VTS correctly. They expect us to do this by continually checking and measuring ourselves against a set of standards. Now the DVSA are not silly and they know that there will be shortcomings and things that go wrong. In fact, they expect just that, and even encourage it. What the DVSA want is for all of our checking to be recorded, then they want us to find things that are wrong and record them. More importantly they want us to put those things right and record when they have been corrected.
        
    Returning to our bad TQI, it is safe to say that the DVSA will want to know that we have identified the issue and recorded that problem, then we need to supply a solution and document that solutions outcome.
        
    Finding a valid reason for your TQI differences is often down to unique circumstances, some real-world examples that come to mind are:

  • Walkabout: The Australian adventure 

    Having just spent three weeks touring New South Wales, while delivering two training events, firstly in Sydney then Canberra I thought it would be interesting to compare how our two different, but also similar markets operate.

    The visit began several months ago with an invitation from a good friend Bob Whyms, Australia’s prominent Porsche specialist in Sydney. The offer comes as part of a training group called Australian Aftermarket Service Dealer Network (AASDN). This is a group of totally independent service and repair independents across the whole of Australia.

     It was formed from disillusioned members from the Bosch Aftermarket Service Dealership Network, or BASDN. Around 70% agreed to form AASDN with the view of promoting mutual support and training across the whole of the continent. Members pay a subscription to a fund that provides venues and trainers across the continent. My understanding is they number about four per season.

    Mutual respect
    It is important to understand the incredible geographical constraints yet obvious bond they share for their independence and mutual respect. If I may reflect on our very own Autoinform event in Harrogate in November, where I am sure all attendees would recognise the same sentiments from the AASDN group.

    I was also privileged to visit several businesses in both Sydney and en-route to Canberra. The BWA Porsche specialist host and first training venue, based in the western suburbs, provides genuine expertise in depth from Bob and now also his son Craig. This ranges from servicing to performance upgrades.

    BWA provide a parts service across Australia importing directly from Germany. They also provide a comprehensive machine shop service, which supports their engine remanufacture and performance business. Bob and I had fun reflecting on Bosch D Jetronic and other early evolutions of fuel injection, grumpy old men and all that!

    I was then treated to a visit to a highly respected Mercedes tuning expert close to the airport. Then finally, a very talented young technician specialising in DPF cleaning. The focus on training included ignition diagnostic technique, common rail and direct gasoline injection.

    It was both a pleasure and privilege to share the enthusiasm from the entire audience, their knowledge and interaction was mutually appreciated.

    In a far too brief visit to Dubbo, my good friend Paul gave me an insight into the more remote reaches of the trade. I was equally impressed with the dedication and superb workshop facilities. I also experienced several near-misses from kangaroos!

    Special mention
    I should give special mention to  my incredible visit to the Bathurst 1000 race. It is an institution among fans and an incredible two-mile hill town circuit, constructed from urban roads. AASDN host a VIP lounge for their members.  Imagine that at Silverstone! It only takes commitment and support with a little cash.

    One week down, heavy rain and in the good company of Alan, a diesel shop owner, we travelled down the coast, whale watching in Huskisson Bay. Then onto Canberra, via AASDN committee member Alan. Despite having just lost his home and all his possessions from a bush fire, Alan remarkably still provided accommodation in his temporary rental home.
    Our hosts in Canberra, Derek and Ros, operate a large high-end diesel specialist shop. The second training event was a mirror image of Sydney, supported by a second incredible array of AASDN members. Incredible not just for their knowledge and confidence but their interaction over the three days.

    The evenings from both events was spent socialising in steak houses chatting over mutual challenges. From my experience the vehicle market share was quite diverse, lots of Asian cars, and a remarkable number of VWs. It was a surprise to learn that that both Ford and Holden have ceased production in Australia due to a lack of competitive pricing. I was told of a delegate who attended the Canberra event who heard of my visit two days before the Friday start, purchased a flight, closed his workshop and travelled from Perth to attend. It is a 3,000km journey. To put that into some local UK context, I once had a conversation with a parts distributor in Kent several years ago, when a training event had to be relocated from Canterbury college to Ashford, 17.5 miles away. He cancelled the whole event without asking the delegates. The reason? He said, “they won’t travel that far.”
    I see little differences between our two cultures. I find the same dedication and passion. Sadly for the UK, they seem to have more of it.




  • Is the knowledge gap closing?  

  • Would you like to know a secret? 

    The focus of my article this month is how to swing the scales in your favour for 2019, turn good into great, great into brilliant, or brilliant into OMG technically this year we’ve nailed it!
        
    Read on and I’ll share our secrets of the garages we work with, and how they reduce their diagnostic time whilst increasing their first-time fix.
        
    Have you ever thought: “Is there a recipe for technical success?” Equally, have you also asked yourself, “Why is it that some garages can fix vehicles others can’t?”
        
    These questions are worth pondering. In fact, they’re questions that if you’re serious about your first-time fix rate (in a timely manner) are worth getting to the bottom of. I’ve discovered the answers, and the great news is, that almost anyone with the will to achieve this, can. How come I’m so confident? Well, I’ve been guiding technicians through the maze that is career development for longer than I care to remember, and enjoyed watching hundreds of them achieve success.

    Are you successful?
    what makes a great technician and what is success? While I could produce an endless list of the specific attributes and skills that a super tech would possess that might be considered a prerequisite for success,
    I think the answer is more straightforward and can be summarised in three points regardless of their technical level.

  • Classic move 

    All my recent writing has involved modern cars and techniques, but this month I have decided to write about my main passion of classic cars. The classic car market is huge and people are now seeing a lot of classic cars as an investment.

    All my recent writing has involved modern cars and techniques, but this month I have decided to write about my main passion of classic cars. The classic car market is huge and people are now seeing a lot of classic cars as an investment.

    Recently I set about scouring eBay and Gumtree for a restoration project or ‘barn find’ as people like to classify anything that has stood unused for a length of time. The reason for the project is that it is my Dad’s 70th birthday was just before Christmas and what better present than a dusty and rusty old MGB GT? The British classic is top of my shopping list. Dad used to have a white MGB GT and I have always wanted an affordable classic so I have come to the conclusion that the MGB fits the bill perfectly.

    Luckily I have found the perfect car. A lot of money can be lost due to poor bodywork issues. Welding is definitely not my forte, but luckily this particular MGB is solid underneath. That said, the interior needs a good clean and some repair and the engine requires a good service and tune up. The previous owner hadn’t used the car for over seven years but the little 1.8 litre engine ignited just fine. Admittedly it was running slightly lumpily, but it was drivable and solid for well under £1,000. In my eyes it was an absolute bargain.

    As I write this I haven’t yet unveiled the car to Dad but I have ordered the parts catalogues with a view to what this ‘blank canvas’ can become. I am keen on a Sebring kit and Minilites. While getting a complete respray, the exterior paint is as dull as a wet February day. However, I keep having to remember that it is a present and not my car. I will certainly push what I think is best for the car.

    Connection
    Over the years I have restored and re-commissioned plenty of vehicles.  It is something I thoroughly enjoy doing and means you can really implement simple engineering techniques such as turning the mixture screw on a carburettor. I always feel that when a classic car comes in for work that the owner has a closer connection with this vehicle rather than their everyday one. I enjoy communicating with the owner in how they would like to restore the car, cars such as the iconic British Mini and MGB can be customised without losing their vintage style. Parts are so plentiful for most classics that there isn’t that time delay when restoring.
        
    The MGB GT I have purchased comes with a thorough and plentiful file full of receipts mounting up to tens of thousands of pounds, and this certainly is not uncommon. Classic cars are a great chance for escapism in this modern world where an OBD port is the most commonly used part of the car. Instead I get to  enjoy being able to tune an engine with just a flat head screwdriver.





Most read content


Search

Sign Up

For the latest news and updates from Aftermarket Magazine.


Poll

Where should the next Automechanika show be held?



Facebook


©DFA Media 1999-2019