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Old 08-08-2016, 10:00 AM   #1
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DEF Tank Issues

This is a question for all Diesel owners. I have a new 2015 Legacy with the DEF tank system....so far not one issue and I fill only with DEF from the pumps at the truck stops...

Friend has a 2015 Newmar DP that for the 3rd time has had issues with his DEF system. He has had the tank removed, cleaned and tested. This past weekend as we traveled from Nashville back home to PA his lights began to light up....but the tank showed full and in fact we tested it and it was. The small red light on the tank was lit. When we pulled into a Walmart in Winchester VA the RV again went into stop engine mode...

My question is he has in the past used boxed DEF and also runs his tank down very low where I refill when it shows 50% left...is there anything that can be done to clean the tank or is this a issue I am going to have to deal with?
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:14 AM   #2
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What needs to be determined is when it was removed and cleaned, what was found to be the issue. Then, I think you will have a better basis to determine causes. Do you know what the service techs found on those remove and clean, replace service.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:22 AM   #3
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DEF

the first time it was a Cummins shop in Virginia....said the system needed reprogrammed...did so and in 50 miles same problem happened..

Once it made it to York PA they sent it into the Freightliner shop and they removed the tank and cleaned it they said with warm soap water and such...now less than 750 miles later...same problem...
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:27 AM   #4
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My 2015 2500 HD I have only used the box DEF. No issues and 133k miles. Granted it's a truck but should be the same right?
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:27 PM   #5
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Make sure you check the date on the boxed stuff. Urea doesn't have a very long shelf life.

I've also read it's not a good idea to run the DEF down very low. I'll probably fill my tank around the halfway mark (I have a new 2016 RAM 2500 and am still on the original tank).
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:13 PM   #6
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Here is what I'm thinking; since you had different service types for the issue, you need to make sure the def tank itself is properly sealed. I say that because it appears the integrity of the fluid might be "caking" which in turn will restrict the flow to the pump/ injector. You need to talk to the last service tech (phone) and ask him if upon removal and inspection before cleaning, did he notice any caking. Def, is basically 1/3 urea and two thirds water in solution. If you have ever spiled any without cleaning the area, you will see the residue, which is a white crystalline substance when the water is evaporated off. You need to make sure you're not getting evaporation.

One other issue might be a faulty pump/injector problem, that is causing the main engine computer to read it as low def. Clearing the problem, and or cleaning might be masking another issue, but thats a guess. Thats my arm chair guess.

I know on my MB, the injector was redesigned to try and mitigate unexpected temperature drop, causing the ceramic portion of the NOX sensors to prematurely crack. But that is occuring in Sprinter chassis, not your chassis.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidder View Post
Make sure you check the date on the boxed stuff. Urea doesn't have a very long shelf life.

I've also read it's not a good idea to run the DEF down very low. I'll probably fill my tank around the halfway mark (I have a new 2016 RAM 2500 and am still on the original tank).
That's ridiculous and fiction. Shelf life is over 12 months and I can assure you, Walmart, Target, Love's and all the major truck stops are not going to have DEF sit around unsold for over a year.

If they do, they need to fire their order processors and half their management.

In Los Angeles at 74 degrees, DEF fluid has been shown to last 44 months. The boxed "BluDEF" is more expensive, if you live near and drive interstates, lookup the closest truck stop. Quite a few if not most carry bulk def and have lanes set up just for DEF. Usually about $1.79-$1.99 a gallon, much cheaper than the $12 2.5 gallons you get at Wally World.

It will deteriorate but will NOT go BAD. It just loses some effectiveness, but then the vehicle will just use more of it. Even frozen in the tank, the vehicles coolant hoses are wrapped around the tank to thaw the DEF, and it will continue to work. EPA requirements are that it must thaw within 70 minutes and all vehicle manufacturers are well within that guideline and vehicles will operate normally until it is thawed.

As far as not letting it get too low that is very true. The DEF sensors are not the same as fuel tank sensors (float on a rod) they monitor both the DEF level and quality. DEF is 32.5% urea and 67.5 % water. Use the CLEAR DEF not the pink stuff. And fill up when the gauge is on 1/2 because that will be actually a little less than half.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:12 PM   #8
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Why is DEF fluid dated on the carton, then???
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:23 PM   #9
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My 3500 Silverado only lets you know at 1,00 miles. At Walmart $7.88 for 2 1/2 gallons. DEF is all the same. My DEF tank was replaced under warranty, 6 glow plugs so far. No truck stop around me and when traveling I don't fuel up at truck stops. Walmart or Blue DEF for me


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Old 08-08-2016, 06:47 PM   #10
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Why is DEF fluid dated on the carton, then???
I'm pretty sure after the last 8 years it's a regulation. Over 29000 new ones since 2008. It's prolly in there somewhere.

Here's Google on the issue

A date code, or expiration date can be found on just about any package of DEF. This is called out in the specification for DEF: ISO 22241.

Most DEF manufacturers are certified by the API. The API is the American Petroleum Institute and it has a voluntary certification program for DEF. The API offers (sells) manufacturers rights the API mark. Your owner's manual probably requires you to use DEF that is per the ISO 22241 specification, and that has this API marking.

Here is the secret to reading the expiration date on BlueDEF manufactured by Old World Industries LLC and sold under the PEAK Brand. Other manufacturers differ. I'm working on a complete library of date codes.

This BlueDEF information is from an email reply from PEAK Technical Services dated July 1, 2013 in response to my request for how to read the date code (after having a big leak problem with some old jugs I purchased at an auto parts store).

"The most important part of the batch code is the third through seventh numbers. There are always going to be two letters or numbers at the beginning of the code, which is the blending facility code, The third and fourth number of the code is the year +1. The fifth, sixth and seventh numbers of the code are the days left in the year, or reverse Julian date. So if the code says 257 for example, that would mean it was made on the 108th day of the year.. April 18th."


The date code on the BlueDEF box in my picture is

GA153590089

Lets break this down into 4 groups of numbers:

GA: The designator of the plant that manufactured the DEF
15: The year of manufacture plus 1, so this DEF was made in 2014
359: 365-359 = 6, so the 6th day of the year, or January 6th.
0089: The batch code.

So this box of DEF was made January 6th, 2014.

Specification life for DEF is 2 years at 75F or so. Stored properly, this DEF is good thru January 6th, 2016 (and probably longer).

Storage life is highly dependent on temperature. DEF stored at 85F only lasts 12 months. Storage above 95F (not unusual in an vehicle parked in the sun during the summer) is limited to 1 month or so. Reason: The urea in DEF decomposes and creates ammonia liquid and vapor in the jug, causing issues when you open it, and reducing the amount of urea in the DEF when it is used in the vehicle. Storage above 95F requires retest of the DEF prior to use (source: ISO 22241-3, most recent revision).

Simple huh?

Tip #1: Don't buy old DEF jugs. When buying DEF in jugs, look at the code. In 2014, find a jug with 14 or 15 in the 3rd and 4th spaces and the highest three digit number you can find in the 5th, 6th, and 7th digits. Store it in a cool location out of the sunlight.

Tip#2: Buy DEF from stores that are likely move a lot on inventory, have controls on inventory age, and are air conditioned. Not that it is a guarantee, but big name outfits are likely a good bet.

Tip#3: DON'T buy jugs of DEF at a gas station that stores them outside, or have obvious signs of degradation like leaks, crystals on the box or jug, or are off color.

Tip#4: Keep your receipts for DEF in case there is an issue.
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