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Old 04-16-2021, 02:42 PM   #1
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M2 chassis DEF Header failure

I had never heard of this until recently, but it seems like it's been mentioned 2 or 3 times over the past couple of weeks. I did some searching, and it seems like a fairly common issue in the commercial truck and diesel pusher communities. Just curious if others on here have experienced the failure and what the symptoms were. Specifically:
  1. Did the coach go into limp mode immediately, or did you have a window of time to get it off the road?
  2. Which dash lights were activated? I've seen references to the check engine light, and orange light, a green light...
  3. Were any codes generated? If so, does anyone happen to remember what they were?
  4. For those that have had the header replaced, does your paperwork happen to list a part number?
I looked at mine today just to get a sense of whether or not it was something I could change out if necessary. I couldn't find an online image that matched it directly, but this one might be it:

https://trucklinerparts.com/products...r-04-30774-005

There appears to be a locking cover/cap of some sort on the top of ours. With it removed, it might look like the one linked above???

Someone mentioned it being a '1 hour' job at Freightliner. That leads me to believe it can be changed out without dropping the DEF tank. Going in from the battery bay, that seems to be plausible.

I guess, ultimately, I'm trying to sort out whether this is something worth adding to the spare parts bin or not.


JT
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:43 PM   #2
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I have two yellow/greenish lights both of which look like an engine, one says check engine and the other has no writing in it. So far it has NOT gone into Limp Mode. I asked the Cummins Advisor and he said I should be good as long as I get it fixed relatively quickly and that is why I am currently working with both the Jacksonville Fl and Savannah Ga Freightliner dealers to try and get it fixed next week. Lets hope that I make it to either dealer without going into Limp Mode. The part number that you have I assume came out of my post and that is the one the Cummins Dealer gave me. He is also the one that told me it takes about an hour of labor and that the part is over $800.
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:55 PM   #3
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I totally missed the part number in your other thread...thanks for pointing it out! That's not the one I came up with in my search.

Here's a link to that part just for documentation sake:

https://shop.hansfreightliner.com/product-225511.html

This is exactly what mine looks like on top of the DEF tank.


Edit - actually the electrical connection is going the opposite direction, but I'm assuming that's flexible and can be routed across the top.
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:43 PM   #4
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I’m on the road without access to my repair order to get the correct part number. When mine went out, it popped a code that my BlueFire actually picked up before it showed on the coach dash. It was something to the effect of “DEF QUALITY”. When the coach dash showed the code it immediately gave a warning; “Engine Shutdown In Progress”. There was less than 20,000 miles on the coach when it happened.

I pulled into a convenience store parking lot just off I-65 in downtown Louisville within 10 miles of the warning. Waited for the tow truck and 5 days later I was on the road again. The Louisville Cummins dealership was awesome. Camped there the whole 5 nights. However, if BC and Dave at Truck Centers had not worked their magic I would have had to fly home and leave it there for several weeks because the part was back ordered. The only reason I went to the Cummins store was the Freightliner store said they couldn’t even look at it for a week and recommended that I take it to the Cummins store. However, it is definitely a Freightliner part. Dave at Truck Centers worked out getting it covered under warranty even though the work was done at Cummins. Can’t begin to thank him enough.

It does require a full Regen cycle after installation that a dealership must initiate with their computer. That takes over an hour. Labor was over $900 and the part was around $900. With taxes and supplies the total was over $2000. It is part of the Freightliner Emissions Warranty which I believe is 5 years, 100,000 miles. Not 100% sure on the time and mileage, but it is a lot longer than the chassis warranty.
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Old 04-17-2021, 05:33 AM   #5
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Well I guess you were lucky and Mr Clemens got Freightliner to warranty the part even though Cummins put it in. In my case Cummins called Freightliner to see if they had the part and they did ( right down the street ) but WOULDN'T warranty Cummins putting in the part. What a shame I would have been all done but instead I am now in Freightliner hell trying to find a dealer to fix my issue and hopefully it will NOT go into Limp Mode on my trip back to either Jacksonville but most likely Savannah. It would be nice if Cummins and Freightliner would work as one team on warranty work since they both are so jointly coupled on the chassis. But here I am at the mercy of Freightliner.
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Old 04-17-2021, 07:35 AM   #6
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Call Freightliner Customer Service-Corporate, not the dealership. They are pretty helpful folks. 1 (800) 385-4357, option 2. Have you talked to Phil at Ton Nehl in Jacksonville? He has been great to work with and has always gotten me in at a reasonable time. (904) 861-0779
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:18 AM   #7
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Just had mine replaced

Well your issue shouldn't be parts availability. My header was replaced recently. The temp sensor integrated into it was bad. They had the part in a day and they were done the same day they got the part. It was covered under the 5-yr emissions warranty.
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:30 AM   #8
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Sounds like an easy install. One thing everyone should know, and this is from people in the industry i know from work, no truck goes into a freightliner/heavy truck shop leaves for under $500. It just doesnt happen. Not worth it for them to take one in for less. No matter what needs to be done, your not getting out for less. Yes, maybe you have a friend there that hooked you up, maybe its just an oil change for less.....but generally thats the rule.


So...after thinking of the above, maybe its a fast job you can do yourself? Just throwing it out there!


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Old 04-17-2021, 08:31 AM   #9
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Well your issue shouldn't be parts availability. My header was replaced recently. The temp sensor integrated into it was bad. They had the part in a day and they were done the same day they got the part. It was covered under the 5-yr emissions warranty.
Did they just happen to find your DEF header issue when you had it in for service, or had it thrown codes beforehand?
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:52 AM   #10
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It does require a full Regen cycle after installation that a dealership must initiate with their computer.
If this is the case, then it pretty much answers the question. Other than potentially eliminating a parts availability issue (which doesn't seem to exist at the moment), there doesn't appear to be any benefit to having one in the spare parts bin...the shop probably wouldn't use customer supplied parts anyway.
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Old 04-17-2021, 12:29 PM   #11
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Maybe...

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndjmix View Post
Sounds like an easy install. One thing everyone should know, and this is from people in the industry i know from work, no truck goes into a freightliner/heavy truck shop leaves for under $500. It just doesnt happen. Not worth it for them to take one in for less. No matter what needs to be done, your not getting out for less. Yes, maybe you have a friend there that hooked you up, maybe its just an oil change for less.....but generally thats the rule.


So...after thinking of the above, maybe its a fast job you can do yourself? Just throwing it out there!


--John
Maybe... Let me see if I understand what you are saying.
Alternative 1: Have the work done for $900 in parts and $900 in labor covered by the five-year warranty.
Alternative 2: Do the work yourself, buy the part without dealer markup for $574 which you pay yourself.

Umm, in this case I think I would be glad the five-year warranty covered it and pick Alternative 1.

Obviously a different story if it's not covered under warranty.
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Old 04-17-2021, 05:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mookieblaylock View Post
Did they just happen to find your DEF header issue when you had it in for service, or had it thrown codes beforehand?
It was showing a code (3031/2/1), yellow warning light and check engine light.
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Old 04-18-2021, 08:44 AM   #13
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Maybe... Let me see if I understand what you are saying.

Alternative 1: Have the work done for $900 in parts and $900 in labor covered by the five-year warranty.

Alternative 2: Do the work yourself, buy the part without dealer markup for $574 which you pay yourself.



Umm, in this case I think I would be glad the five-year warranty covered it and pick Alternative 1.



Obviously a different story if it's not covered under warranty.


The other variable is one must “assume” they know the DEF Header is what failed and have the ability and tools to do the repair in a parking lot. In my case, the dealer was able to determine that within minutes of hooking up their diagnostic computer. I would also hate to carry a $600+ part only to find out that isn’t what needed to be replaced after all. Sounds like the back order situation is over, which is good news. But, with COVID related supply issues that could change tomorrow.

It is still a scary situation that is caused by a government mandate. Shutting our units down if this system fails is a major safety concern. What if it happens in rush hour traffic or out in the middle of the desert, etc? Limp mode only lasts for a short time at 5 to 10 mph, then it shuts down completely.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:07 AM   #14
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Happened to us also

First thing everyone on the thread needs to know, to replace a DEF header the computer needs to be cleared and updated/reset. This is proprietary software and if you don't work at a Freightliner or Cummins shop I doubt you can buy it. So, this isn't a DIY repair.


Second, I have a competing brand rig built on the S2 chassis and there has been a lot of problems with the DEF header on this chassis. Most of the problems were created when the chassis was built. My unit as with many more had the cooling lines from the engine to the DEF header crossed and this created a short in the sensors. I have had the DEF header replaced and at a later service call had the coolant lines to the header checked and they were crossed and had to be connected correctly.


Third, here is how my situation happened while at the Colorado/Kansas state line. My low DEF red indicator came on, my check engine light came on and possibly a third light but I don't remember. I thought I better stop and check to see whats going on, this was a mistake. Once I turned off the engine and restated it, it went into limp mode immediately. Had to be towed to a Freightliner dealer which all of this took hours. Got to freightliner about midnight on a sunday. Woke up early and got the RV checked in. At that time there was still a shortage of DEF header parts available and the dealer did not have it so they reset and updated my computer and sent me on my way. They charged me for doing this and since we were stranded and at their mercy I paid the bill so we could get out of there, then after we left they called me and expected me to pay the $1400.00 tow bill. That didn't happen. We made it about 50 miles from the dealership when the lights came back on, this time I decided to keep driving until we were forced to stop due to limp mode. To my surprise we made it another 400+ miles without the computer going into limp mode. When we got home and started to unpack I shut off the engine. When we were finished unpacking I restarted it and it was now in limp mode. The explanation I was told by my local Freightliner technician was, as long as you do not turn off the engine or refuel you can continue to drive, which this is what I did and we made it home safely without having to refuel. If your fuel level sensor senses fuel being added to your tank this signal will also trigger limp mode. Sorry for the long story but thought I would clear some things up for anyone that needs to know this.
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:10 AM   #15
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Wow...thanks for the very detailed response! That's exactly the info I was looking for.
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:25 AM   #16
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Wow...thanks for the very detailed response! That's exactly the info I was looking for.

Also, I have found out there has been about 4 p/n changes on the actual DEF header replacement part in 2 years. There could be more, I just don't know about them. This tells me the manufacturer continues to update and change the sensors in the unit to actually get them to live longer than 15,000 to 20,000 miles of usage.


IMHO, I would say it would be a waste of money to buy one of these, #1 you can't reset/update your CPU, #2 the header seems to become obsolete within months because they continue to fail and upgrade or change the internal sensors.
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:57 AM   #17
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Also, I have found out there has been about 4 p/n changes on the actual DEF header replacement part in 2 years. There could be more, I just don't know about them. This tells me the manufacturer continues to update and change the sensors in the unit to actually get them to live longer than 15,000 to 20,000 miles of usage.


IMHO, I would say it would be a waste of money to buy one of these, #1 you can't reset/update your CPU, #2 the header seems to become obsolete within months because they continue to fail and upgrade or change the internal sensors.
I could tell from the part numbers referenced that they were on at least version 3 by now. Also, I've reached the same conclusion you've stated...it would be of little to no value having one of these on hand.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:13 PM   #18
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It would be nice if Cummins and Freightliner would work as one team on warranty work since they both are so jointly coupled on the chassis. But here I am at the mercy of Freightliner.
This is another reason why we have moved to the DD8 engine. Freightliner and Detroit are owned by the same parent company (Daimler Trucks of North America) so their warranty department is now streamlined so we will not have that "disconnect" between Cummins and Freightliner in the future.
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Old 04-21-2021, 06:40 AM   #19
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Cummins Care vs Freightliner Local Service in Jacksonville Fl

Tom Nehl Freightliner of Jacksonville finally called only after going to Freightliner Corp Customer Service to give me a time to bring in my 2020 Dynamax DX3 37TS. So far my issue has NOT been with Cummins Care to get issues resolved it is Freightliner and the lack of Freightliner warranting parts unless they do the work, so now having to go to them for both the Chassis and Engine to me just makes the service more of a night mare. I assume that my 6:55 am time is to get in line for the day since they don't open until 7:00am but I could be wrong and my Thursday experience to get my DEF Header/Check Engine light fixed could be amazing and then your comment might have merit for me. I am sorry but Freightliner needs a process change to allow appointments for Service just like other industries.
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Old 04-21-2021, 08:14 AM   #20
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My comment was concerning my personal experience with Tom Nehl. They have always treated me great and answered the phone promptly. Even walked me through, over the phone, getting my truck to re-start after I did my own fuel filter change. I was just trying to help, not looking for any merit.
Good luck with the repair. I hope they redeem themselves when it’s all over.
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