modern diesel for overlanding in developing countries - post your solutions

#46
With all respect to everybody's contribution in this thread, I have not seen any post or solution from a traveller. We all know that the quality of fuel in North America is high enough and you must be at least naive -if not stupid- to cause problems in your vehicle.

Lets go in a real overlanders issue:

We are 3 months in Colombia. We drive a Toyota Hiace cargo van Diesel. Its a 2009 model and a EURO4 class in terms of emissions. Here in Colombia, they all sell biodiesel with 5-10% of vegetable oil in.

What are you suggesting?

I am replacing the filter every 2000 kms and I am using the Bluechem/ Powermaxx cleaner sollution for common rails.

Every single morning, when I start the engine I get thick, white smoke for a while which stops after 2-3 minutes. We haven't noticed any difference in the van's performance especially when we have to climb up and down the Andes other than the white smoke every morning which make us feel at least uncomfortable for the engine's condition.

By the way, two years in Africa with a diesel Suzuki Grand Vitara (or Chevy Sidekick in North america) and EURO 4 as well, we had no serious problems in terms of fuel quality. We were using regularly Bluechem/Protec common rail cleaners with amazing results I have to say!
 
#47
Fuel quality is indeed a concern on modern CRD engines. But its the emissions components that can bring your travels quickly to a halt. It's easy to protect against water and dirt comtaimination, but impossible to protect against contamination with other fluids such as gasoline or alcohol. That's way it's important to have trust in a fuel source.

If your vehicle has a Diesel Particulate Filter you need to be careful what fuel, fuel additives and engine oil you use.

Use diesel fuel with the lowest sulfur content that you can source. Check the manual, B5 diesel is probably the highest you want to go on a Biodiesel blend. Anything higher could give your emissions equipment problems. Make sure the oil your using meets low ash specification CJ-4. There is a Euro specification, but I don't know what it is. The increase in soot from the higher sulfur content will be burned off during a DPF regeneration cycle. Its the build up of ash from the combustion of the fuel additives, and high ash oil that accumulates in the DPF that plugs them up.

If your vehicle doesn't have the ability for you to park up and force a manual DPF regeneration cycle, find out how to do it.
 
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#48
My Toyota luckily does not have a DPF. It it had, the problems would be severe from the bad diesel quality so far. The same goes for my first overland vehicle (a Suzuki Grand vitara diesel) which I was driving in Africa.

So, whats your advice for bad fuel & vehicles without DPF? :)
 
#50
My Toyota luckily does not have a DPF. It it had, the problems would be severe from the bad diesel quality so far. The same goes for my first overland vehicle (a Suzuki Grand vitara diesel) which I was driving in Africa.

So, whats your advice for bad fuel & vehicles without DPF? :)
Extra fuel filters, and an easily accessible fuel/water separator that can be drained/checked frequently.
 
#53
Which is impossible for actual overlanders because you are always on the move..
Then you need to slow down, locals are a great resource regarding many things.

I was was parked up in Mainland Mexico and inquired about the closest place to source diesel. An expat told me not to go to the station down the street as it had just rained. The station site has water drainage issues which lead to water getting into their fuel tanks. Locals, local expats and a shop knew about it.
 
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#55
Then you need to slow down, locals are a great resource regarding many things.

I was was parked up in Mainland Mexico and inquired about the closest place to source diesel. An expat told me not to go to the station down the street as it had just rained. The station site has water drainage issues which lead to water getting into their fuel tanks. Locals, local expats and a shop knew about it.
We travel slow in any case (65 km per day AVG or 103.800 kms in 1586 days). The problem is that not everybody is aware of everything and to find the right person for the right piece of information is not always easy.

We do spend time in places and locals are a great source of information BUT when it comes to fuel quality & constant refill, you need more & better advice (and solutions) of where the fuel is not contaminated, etc!
 
#56
Also worth mentioning, if I bought one, regardless of the emissions laws in my county/province/state/wherever, I would be deleting the majority of the emissions systems as they run plenty clean enough without them anyway, as long as you don't get stupid with tuning it. Deleting the DPF alone is good for a huge mileage improvement. A few of my customers that run loaded all the time in their 13 Dodge 3500 6.7s went from 23-25l/100km to 13-17l/100km. One my fleet F550 dump trucks (08 6.4) went from 15ish MPG to 20-25ish, IIRC (it was over 20MPG for sure). EGR systems are prone to failures and are just problematic on diesels, even with maintenance. SCR systems... well... yeah. Even our 04 6.0PSD saw substantial gains in mileage, though it was never tracked. And with a 70hp tune to take care of the EGR delete it didn't smoke, even up a steep hill under very heavy load, and the tune was just enough to make it haul itself with ease and make highway mountain driving safe.
I agree with you but I wonder if I would pass CA emissions with my 3.0L Touareg TDI? I have talked with Malone (who also does Sprinter) but I have not obtained information from them if it will still pass CA SMOG. Removing the DPF would unleash this monster with a slight tune as well and rid me of the emissions junk. But if emissions are higher than now, I am not sure I want to do it.

Yes, diesel quality in the US sucks, mostly due to low use of Diesel, independently owned stations that do not maintain tanks or pumps and no real filtration system after tanks are filled from supplier. I only fill up at stations with filters on their pumps (Mostly truck stops and I use Pacific Pride Stations only) and am also opting for a primary filter with water separator. Just a 1-2 tablespoon of contaminants in fuel can clog a filter and blow up your HPFP. I would like to see an emissions test done on a DPF deleted truck to see the difference. If I can delete but pass my emissions with flying colors I would delete in a second but until then Its on there and I even run B50 or more in it without issues on longer trips (little to no regens), B20 around town.

My point in bringing up Bio is the fact that everyone states, including the manufacturer (yet over the years it went from NO BIO to up to B20 is allowed), that you can't run Bioideisel in common rail. BS! I have been running between B50-B99 without a hitch for years as well as others using data not the seat of their pants. I have had 0 emissions related issues in my TDI. ZERO! It's all about how you use it. I think the same goes for High Sulfur. You may have more regens and more Urea use but that's about it. There is too much today on the internet that scares us about common rail. I call BS to it all and the main factor in common rail issues is mentioned above but it's not the type of diesel used. If you have to use HSD in your sprinter with emissions in place it will be fine. Engine will have more lubricant and run cooler. When you have the chance to fill with (U)LSD do it. If you have the chance to fill with Bio, do it. Get a secondary filter with water separation (Fuel Manager) and carry a few with you. Carry some diesel fuel cleaner as well such as I am sure you will be fine. I use: Total Diecyl Plus Diesel Additive or run a liter of B99 to clean system in countries that offer it or run a tank of whatever Bio-grade they have.

Anyway, back on topic. This might help a little:


This one is most helpful as he actually used HSD with emissions system in place.
"
With the benefit now of over three years' experience operating Cuthbert in Africa and South America, my conclusion is that most of this internet advice on high sulphur diesel appears to be based on hearsay and old wives' tales of doom and gloom. To try and set the record straight, I have used my engine diagnostic tool to carry out a factually based assessment on the engine's performance, using varying qualities of diesel (including very high sulphur diesel) and importantly, with all the emission controls enabled,"
http://www.tuckstruck.net/truck-and-kit/the-truck-technical-stuff/emission-controls/

http://globalxvehicles.com/sulfur-diesel-fuel/

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.604.2958&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Fuel lube and cleaner:

http://www.performanceoilstore.com/proddetail.asp?prod=e802073&cat=59
 
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#57
Thank you for the links. Interestingly, they paint a very different picture:

Tucks' Travels in a Truck
My conclusion is that for the vast majority of driving in the first, second or third-world there is really no need to mess with the vehicles emission systems. They work well to protect the environment, your health and the health of others around you. Only in a rare case of extended driving at very high altitude with the very high sulphur content fuel did we encounter any problems at all and this was easily resolved once the problem was identified. There are indeed a couple of minor advantages to adjusting the emission control systems, but these are simply not enough to justify the risks to our health and our planet.
Globalxvehicles
The current systems will not allow us to world travel without accepting a great deal of risk of being immobilized at the wrong place or at the wrong time.
 
#58
My experience has been different. On my stay at home 2009 BMW X5 diesel a Malone tune/emissions delete increased mpg by 10-12% Not the fabulous results above of~50% claimed. But previously the EGR had failed with massive increase in wear seen on oil analysis. Incidentally wear measurement with Fe level on analysis is down 70% from baseline after EGR delete.
On the travel vehicle the Unimog it originally came with only EGR. It had started leaking coolant in to the intake at 10k mi and was blowing steam on startup by 18k mi. It was replaced under warranty by a different part number but with a big trip impending to Australia at 35k it was gone. Soot contamination on the outside camper wall adjacent to the stack outlet is noticeably less. EGR fails frequently particularly on earlier versions of vehicles and it could put a serious damper on a trip. If I were to travel with EGR I would have a block off plate handy. Leaving the valve wired in may prevent computer issues including limp mode but that needs to be figured out before leaving.
 
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#59
You are welcome. My conclusion is, leave it alone and go. The chances of you having major issues is slim. I'd say you could run into just as many issues with a petrol rig. I'd say if your rig is in tip top condition and you take a few precautionary measures to the rig before going it should be fine. I'd run a pre-filter and carry extra of both pre and main filters. Fill your cans with ULSD when you can and if you have a HS diesel to fill up, try mixing it with one of the cans then just keep your eye's peeled for more ULSD. Again I think it will all work out fine. In the US you can run into fuel issues just as much as some far off foreign country, dirty fuel is common, clogging filters and starving the expensive HPFP and your fuel system. HS Diesel here and there will not be much of an issue.

As far as the EGR issues stated, it's a very difficult example since the system has been modified, no idea of maintenance or mileage on vehicle. Modifications change all sorts of functions that the factory has done millions of R&D on, a lot of that R&D in rough conditions, with bad gas and so on. After lots of research I have decided to leave my rig alone. No Malone mod, no egr plate, nothing. I think the outcome may have been different if the vehicle was not modified and I also don't know off hand of the X5 diesel has issues with EGR anyway? ...But after a little search, of course it does have a common EGR issue. https://www.cardealexpert.com/auto-news/bmw-diesel-recall/
EGR valve is a common problem and a recall for 2009-2011 model year.
It's all about maintenance with the EGR as well as the rest of the diesel systems. Stick to factory manual intervals and you should be fine.

I don't know much about the unimog EGR. Same deal, what year, mileage and so forth? The EGR is around $68.00 Not a huge ticket item to carry with. Removing EGR may make the vehicle run cooler which could also be a bad thing as it will not be running efficient as it was designed for the EGR. Yet if clogged, it overheats. So, simple thing is to proper maintenance. Some vehicles, especially early ones have more EGR problems mainly due to technology. New vehicles have less issues for the most part in due to major changes.

Another thing is having a diagnosis computer to check temps and regen. You can also with these, force regen. This would help keep cleaner.

Anyway... I say go for it.