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  • FIRST POST
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 5th Mar 18, 4:17 PM
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    ratechaser
    How quickly can a DPF get clogged up?
    • #1
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:17 PM
    How quickly can a DPF get clogged up? 5th Mar 18 at 4:17 PM
    So, I have a 5 year old S Max, no major issues to date, all servicing & MOTs done by the main ford dealer I bought it from (new). 1 week ago, get an engine malfunction warning, car initially cuts out, but restarts and quickly goes to limp mode. I book it in to the dealer to look at a couple of days later.

    Dealer tells me that based on diagnostics, a new fuel filter is needed, then a DPF regen. Ok, fine.

    However after doing this, the dealer tells me that the car won't regen as the DPF soot loading value is at 440%, which is pretty extreme, and requires a replacement DPF (at silly ford prices, but that's another matter).

    So my question - can a DPF get that badly clogged up really quickly? As I understand it, the car should have gone into limp mode as soon as it got to 200%, so either it's got massively worse in the 2 days since the car initially gave me a warning, or I'm thinking there's something else going on here around engine management not working properly.

    And no, I won't be paying ford prices, I'm just a bit narked that without any warning it's immediately become a critical and expensive problem to fix. Should the dealer have picked this up through the MOTs and services they did?

    Appreciate any advice here!
    RC

    EDIT: just to address the obvious question, my driving pattern wouldn't impede the DPF from working - the car gets a decent amount of long motorway runs. Even so, only on about 50k miles total, so not huge mileage done.
    Last edited by ratechaser; 05-03-2018 at 4:23 PM.
Page 1
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 5th Mar 18, 4:25 PM
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    thescouselander
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:25 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:25 PM
    On my car the DPF automatically regenerates every 150 to 200 miles so on that basis it would probably take a while to hit 400% in normal circumstances.

    In your case I'd suspect there is another fault causing increased levels of particulates to be produced. I doubt it's anything to do with the fuel filter - more likely candidates include leaking intake pipework, leaky injectors, a sticking EGR valve or a faulty MAF sensor. Whatever the cause the blocked DPF is probably a symptom rather than the cause so make sure your garage finds the original fault or you'll be back in the same position before you know it.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 5th Mar 18, 4:38 PM
    • 496 Posts
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    ratechaser
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:38 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:38 PM
    On my car the DPF automatically regenerates every 150 to 200 miles so on that basis it would probably take a while to hit 400% in normal circumstances.

    In your case I'd suspect there is another fault causing increased levels of particulates to be produced. I doubt it's anything to do with the fuel filter - more likely candidates include leaking intake pipework, leaky injectors, a sticking EGR valve or a faulty MAF sensor. Whatever the cause the blocked DPF is probably a symptom rather than the cause so make sure your garage finds the original fault or you'll be back in the same position before you know it.
    Originally posted by thescouselander
    I'm with you in that this looks like there's another root cause somewhere. I'm not entirely daft but unfortunately my mechanical expertise is close to zero so am quickly trying to understand the basics of how this all fits together. Yesterday I couldn't even have told you what DPF stood for. Now I have EGR and MAF to add to my 'look up' list

    Every day a school day. Why the hell have I been paying inflated ford prices when it seems like they are just doing what the computer tells them to...
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 5th Mar 18, 4:50 PM
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    thescouselander
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:50 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 18, 4:50 PM
    That's the danger - the computer can only tell you if the various sensors and electronic modules are operating outside of normal tolerances. Working out why this might be is another matter especially when things like leaks might not trigger a fault code.
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 5th Mar 18, 5:25 PM
    • 7,471 Posts
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    daveyjp
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 18, 5:25 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 18, 5:25 PM
    Over time sensors can fail which lead to DPF problems.

    Tha happened to a colleague with a BMW 320d. Failed sensor, incorrect readings to control module, killed the DPF.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 5th Mar 18, 9:27 PM
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    Tarambor
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 18, 9:27 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 18, 9:27 PM
    EDIT: just to address the obvious question, my driving pattern wouldn't impede the DPF from working - the car gets a decent amount of long motorway runs. Even so, only on about 50k miles total, so not huge mileage done.
    Originally posted by ratechaser
    The one on my Mondeo is on 128k so yeah if that's your driving pattern something is most definitely not right. Mine did suffer an issue where the rubber pipes from the DPF filter to the DPF pressure sensors got brittle and split due to the heat which both threw up a warning light and prevented the car from doing a regen until it was fixed.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 6th Mar 18, 11:07 AM
    • 496 Posts
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    ratechaser
    • #7
    • 6th Mar 18, 11:07 AM
    • #7
    • 6th Mar 18, 11:07 AM
    So to ask the obvious question, is it reasonable to expect a ford garage to have the expertise to identify the underlying cause? Or at least proactively get Ford UK involved for an investigation? Because right now it seems like they are just reacting to diagnostic error codes. Fix one error, up comes another one. And so on.

    Otherwise I might as well pull it out and go to the Halfords autocentre for a third of the price...
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 6th Mar 18, 4:54 PM
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    thescouselander
    • #8
    • 6th Mar 18, 4:54 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Mar 18, 4:54 PM
    Ford should be the best equipped in theory but there's no guarantee you'll get the right diagnosis - I've had wrong diagnoses from dealers before.

    If the dealer can't explain how the DPF came to be blocked it's probably a good indication they haven't found the root cause. It might be a good idea to have a word with the service manager to express your concerns and make sure one of the more experienced mechanics has given everything a good going over.
    • Noree
    • By Noree 7th Mar 18, 10:15 PM
    • 105 Posts
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    Noree
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 10:15 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 10:15 PM
    Just for info, a DPF can block quite quickly if you dont drive for reasonable periods on the motorway.

    The exhaust matter can not be processed correctly with the DPF.

    It may be worth checking what oil has been used. Yes it has been going to a Ford dealer, but it has been known that dealers get it wrong with the basics, such as not using Low Ash (LA) oil for anything with a DPF.

    If the dealer has used the wrong oil the it is their liability to have not serviced the vehicle within the expected standards.
    • LeeUK
    • By LeeUK 7th Mar 18, 11:20 PM
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    LeeUK
    My sister had DPF filter replaced on a 2009 1.6 Focus with 108K miles at a Ford dealer last month for £300.

    It had gone into limp home mode, local garages were quoting all sorts of horror stories, yet Ford dealer diagnosed problem straight away.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 8th Mar 18, 3:00 PM
    • 496 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    ratechaser
    My sister had DPF filter replaced on a 2009 1.6 Focus with 108K miles at a Ford dealer last month for £300.

    It had gone into limp home mode, local garages were quoting all sorts of horror stories, yet Ford dealer diagnosed problem straight away.
    Originally posted by LeeUK
    Well clearly a Focus DPF must be a bit cheaper than one for an SMax, as my ford garage said it was £1364 just for the part

    Versus halfords that would do it for £640 inc labour... that'll be a hard decision...

    But still leaves open the question of how it got that bad so quickly on a fairly low mileage car that does get motorway runs. Let's see if they can figure that one out...
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 8th Mar 18, 3:07 PM
    • 496 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    ratechaser
    Ford should be the best equipped in theory but there's no guarantee you'll get the right diagnosis - I've had wrong diagnoses from dealers before.

    If the dealer can't explain how the DPF came to be blocked it's probably a good indication they haven't found the root cause. It might be a good idea to have a word with the service manager to express your concerns and make sure one of the more experienced mechanics has given everything a good going over.
    Originally posted by thescouselander
    That's apparently what's happening right now, and I'm hoping to get an answer on it today.

    And I will be bringing up all the possible causes that everyone here has suggested so thank you all. Never even thought about the type of oil used, not that it would be an easy one to prove without detailed analysis... let's hope it doesn't come to that...
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 8th Mar 18, 3:33 PM
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    Tarambor
    Just for info, a DPF can block quite quickly if you dont drive for reasonable periods on the motorway.
    Originally posted by Noree
    Most of the 17,000 miles a year I drive isn't on the motorway, my DPF filter at 128k shows no signs of problems. I do however do a 28 mile each way commute on major A roads (not dual carriageway) and do very little urban driving. You do not need to do motorway driving to allow a DPF filter to regenerate.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 8th Mar 18, 4:00 PM
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    ratechaser
    Oh and I'll also be asking why they did not even suggest doing a clean of the DPF, which I've just found out is a service that a lot of places offer. And obviously cheaper than replacing.

    Maybe those expensive ford parts are far too delicate to be cleaned...
    • LeeUK
    • By LeeUK 8th Mar 18, 6:54 PM
    • 5,937 Posts
    • 2,708 Thanks
    LeeUK
    Well clearly a Focus DPF must be a bit cheaper than one for an SMax, as my ford garage said it was £1364 just for the part

    Versus halfords that would do it for £640 inc labour... that'll be a hard decision...

    But still leaves open the question of how it got that bad so quickly on a fairly low mileage car that does get motorway runs. Let's see if they can figure that one out...
    Originally posted by ratechaser
    It might have been £500 but £300 rang a bell. They did a full "health check" at the same time. Who knows. Certainly wasn't more than £500 anyway.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 8th Mar 18, 10:22 PM
    • 496 Posts
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    ratechaser
    It might have been £500 but £300 rang a bell. They did a full "health check" at the same time. Who knows. Certainly wasn't more than £500 anyway.
    Originally posted by LeeUK
    Funnily enough I spoke to someone else today that said they got a cheap ford DPF for a focus. Apparently they do a reconditioned line of parts. But nothing available for an S Max so I'm told. And it's expensive because the ford part has a precious metal component to it that you don't get with the secondary market DPFs. At least that's what I'm told...

    As I said upthread, every day a school day
    • Noree
    • By Noree 8th Mar 18, 11:27 PM
    • 105 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    Noree
    Most of the 17,000 miles a year I drive isn't on the motorway, my DPF filter at 128k shows no signs of problems. I do however do a 28 mile each way commute on major A roads (not dual carriageway) and do very little urban driving. You do not need to do motorway driving to allow a DPF filter to regenerate.
    Originally posted by Tarambor
    Yes Iím aware of this. Iíve given a best example of practice. Generally a steady 40mph can be enough with some.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 9th Mar 18, 3:06 PM
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    Tarambor
    Oh and I'll also be asking why they did not even suggest doing a clean of the DPF, which I've just found out is a service that a lot of places offer. And obviously cheaper than replacing.

    Maybe those expensive ford parts are far too delicate to be cleaned...
    Originally posted by ratechaser
    Because DPF cleaning is not a manufacturer approved procedure as it wrecks a Ford DPF and stops it working properly.. It is a BODGE that private individuals have come across, put on Youtube and businesses owned and staffed by people as clueless as the muppets who came up with the original idea have decided they can make money out of.

    In many Euro 5 and possibly on all new Fords the Ford DPF filters are cDPFs, ceramic coated filters used with the additive normally fed into the tank injected into the coating so you don't have to have an additive which needs topping up every so often. This coating is done to lower the self ignition temperature of the soot. It is embedded in the filter washcoat and that can be damaged or completely blown away by forcing water through at high pressure which is how they clean the DPF filters. You may find that a Ford DPF filter cleaned that way may fail the new MOT and also end up getting blocked far more often as the regeneration procedure in Fords fitted with these DPF filters isn't designed to get the DPF filter as hot as it is in cars where they use an additive and don't use these coated DPF filters. Therefore the soot never self ignites so never gets cleaned out of the filter.

    So whilst on a Ford that service you talk about will clear a blocked filter it'll also knacker it and the car could fail an Euro 5 or Euro 6 emissions test. This is what happens when mongs without a clue come up with what they think is a solution to a problem.
    Last edited by Tarambor; 09-03-2018 at 3:19 PM.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 9th Mar 18, 3:13 PM
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    Tarambor
    And it's expensive because the ford part has a precious metal component to it that you don't get with the secondary market DPFs. At least that's what I'm told...
    Originally posted by ratechaser
    Ford is one of the few manufacturers who use a special coating inside the DPF filter so you don't have the inconvenience of having to have an additive tank topped up every few services. Not many manufacturers use it because it is expensive compared to taking the additive tank route for the manufacturer.

    As I mentioned above, the coating is to lower the soot ignition temperature and Fords fitted with these cDPF filters have a regen procedure designed to work at cooler temperatures so a cheap aftermarket one without this coating is likely to end up getting blocked more easily.
    • ratechaser
    • By ratechaser 9th Mar 18, 10:00 PM
    • 496 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    ratechaser
    Ford is one of the few manufacturers who use a special coating inside the DPF filter so you don't have the inconvenience of having to have an additive tank topped up every few services. Not many manufacturers use it because it is expensive compared to taking the additive tank route for the manufacturer.

    As I mentioned above, the coating is to lower the soot ignition temperature and Fords fitted with these cDPF filters have a regen procedure designed to work at cooler temperatures so a cheap aftermarket one without this coating is likely to end up getting blocked more easily.
    Originally posted by Tarambor
    At this rate I'll be a DPF expert in no time!

    Anyway, the twist at the end of the tale: turns out there's nothing wrong with the DPF after all. The senior mechanic and manager had a look at it, and decided that it was a misdiagnosed soot reading. Car ran fine in their tests (they took it for a run and got it regenning on the motorway, no further error codes or cut outs).

    So apparently it was the fuel filter after all, as they had initially diagnosed.

    To be fair, the manager was very apologetic and I got most of the bill taken away, so overall it could have been worse. But if I hadn't questioned them all the way, I could have ended up another £2k out of pocket for work that didn't need doing.

    Anyway, seems to be running ok, perhaps a tiny bit sluggish, not sure if that's related to a new fuel filter being fitted. But just crossing my fingers that it behaves itself from now on.

    Phew
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