A Diesel Particulate Filter (or DPF for short) is now common place in Diesel powered vehicles and installed as a part of the Emissions system. Diesel Particulate Filters aim to cut up to 80 per cent of a diesel’s particle emissions during city driving in stop/start conditions.
Located in the exhaust of your Sprinter or Vito van, the DPF’s purpose is to remove particulate matter (otherwise known as soot) from exhaust gasses by passing these gasses through a filter. These particles are trapped in the Diesel Particulate Filter and prevent them from exiting into the atmosphere around you.
Cleaning a DPF
Like all filters, eventually they get full of the particles they are filtering and need to be emptied. However, rather than removing the filter and replacing it every time it is nearing capacity (like we would for an oil filter change or air filter change), the DPF is designed to have the particles trapped within it ‘cleaned out’ and burned off through a process called “regeneration”.
DPF regeneration happens when the DPF reaches a high enough temperature that the soot burns. This happens by driving your Mercedes Benz Vito van and Sprinter at speed for a reasonable period – such as a freeway drive – which brings the exhaust temperature up high enough for burning to take place naturally.
However, a lot of our customers do short city trips, meaning that the exhaust cannot reach a high enough temperature to naturally clean the DPF. That’s why, for modern Sprinters and Vitos, your van’s ECU will detect when the DPF is reaching capacity and will inject extra fuel into your exhaust to increase its temperature and burn it off (they can get up to 600C while doing this!).
There will always be cases where the type of driving means that it is not suitable to complete a DPF Regeneration, which can cause a DPF to fill up completely and block.
Symptoms of a Full DPF
If your DPF fills up completely, it will essentially block your exhaust flow. This can lead to the following:
- A check engine light
- Your van going into limp mode
- Reduce your speed and acceleration
- Increased fuel consumption
- Seeing the following error on your dashboard: “Mercedes Diesel Particulate Filter. The soot content of the particulate filter is too high for regeneration”
If you continue to drive with a blocked or full Diesel Particulate Filter, your van may develop turbocharger problems or even cause the failure of the turbocharger, as it relies on the flow of exhaust to operate properly. You will also have trouble driving your van to its usual potential and hauling capacity.
Fixing a blocked or full DPF
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms with your Sprinter or Vito, it’s time to book in with us at Eurostar Diesels. We have two locations on either side of Melbourne for your convenience.
It is very important to have trained Mercedes-Benz Van technicians carry out a fault diagnosis to see if your problems are related to a full or blocked Diesel Particulate Filter. We will potentially save you thousands of dollars by diagnosing this issue correctly.
A blocked DPF can be manually ‘regenerated’ or flushed by the team at Eurostar Diesels using our latest Mercedes-Benz software tools. We place your van in a suitable operating environment, and then request for your van’s computer to carry out the regeneration knowing it is safe to do so.
This is a cost effective exercise that can be carried out and get you back on the road quickly, saving you thousands over the cost of a new DPF system.