How to Extend the Life of Your Equipment’s DPF

Updated Apr 28, 2023

The leading culprit for the diesel particulate filters in your equipment is engine oil. So choosing the right oil can lead to substantial increases in the life of your DPFs, which also means reducing downtime and costs.

In this episode of The Dirt, we hear from Keith Shaw, global OEM manager for Chevron Lubricants, who explains the ins and outs of DPF and aftertreatment in this informative interview with host Bryan Furnace.

Changing the DPF is one of the worst jobs for technicians. DPFs are also likely to become scarcer as equipment manufacturers shift more and more to DPF for aftertreatment. That’s the result of Europe going to Stage V emissions regulations, which require DPF. Many OEMs are launching new products that meet those Stage V emissions in the U.S. as well.

Meanwhile, today’s diesel engines are smaller yet producing more power – and lots of heat. The heat is necessary for aftertreatment systems, but ash remains and clogs the DPF. So oil that reduces ash can also extend the life of your DPF.

So to learn more about how you can get more life out of your DPFs and give your technicians more time to tackle repairs instead of filter changes, check out the latest episode of The Dirt.

Equipment World serves up weekly videos on the latest in construction equipment, work trucks and pickup trucks – everything contractors need to get their work done. Subscribe and visit us at!


In this episode:

00:00 - Intro: Aftertreatment Systems and Engine Oil

00:55 - Evolution of Engines and Engine Oil

05:10 - The Difference Between Soot and Ash

06:54 - How Ash Impacts Your Equipment

09:25 - The Challenges of Cleaning a DPF

10:30 - Recap: Why Does a DPF Need to Be Cleaned?

10:56 - How to Minimize Oil Consumption

12:50 - Can Engine Oil Help With Increased Idle Time?

15:10 - Why Regen Cycles Start Happening More Frequently

17:44 - What Happens When You Skip Regen Cycles

19:01 - DPFs Vs SCRs

21:00 - How Emission Regulations Impact Aftertreatment

22:33 - SCR Info

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

23:16 - The Size of Aftertreatment Systems

23:54 - DPF Shortage

25:31 - DPF Maintenance Strategies

32:33 - Mechanic Shortages and DPF Service

35:05 - Recap: The Importance of Engine Oil


Video transcipt:

Bryan Furnace (00:00):

Hi everybody. Welcome back to Equipment World. You're watching The Dirt. I'm your host Bryan, and today we're going to talk about the bane of your existence. We're going to talk about your after treatment system and the shocking impact that the engine oil has on that system. I'm going to tell you, this is a lengthy interview, but I would highly encourage you to watch to the end. This was an incredible education even for myself. I got a ton out of this interview. So without further ado, here is Keith with Chevron. Thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Keith Shaw (00:38):

Hi. You're welcome, Bryan. And glad to be here.

Bryan Furnace (00:40):

So after treatment systems are huge in our industry and the offroad industry. And so my first question is how in the world does something that comes after the combustion process actually impact the formulation of the oil that is in the engine? How does that work?

Keith Shaw (00:55):

I think we all understand the after treatment systems that we have today or have been put in place to manage the emissions coming out. So the NOx and the particulate matter and to get that it's not just putting the after treatment system in, there's been a lot of work done to make the engines more efficient and more fuel efficient to kind of control the source of the emissions. And it's that higher break mean effective pressure, which is basically increasing the torque per liter displacement of the engine that is creating some issues on the lubricant, right? Because you're having higher output, smaller engines, hotter engines, and the engines are running hotter today because they're handling more horsepower per liter if you will. But that's a good thing for the after treatment systems. The after treatment systems need the high temperatures to function and you're talking at minimum, those after treatment systems need to see 500 F.


And really when you're getting into DPFs in such, it's a thousand. So you're putting a lot of heat on those after treatment systems and which translates into the engine as well. And I think for off highway it's a little more difficult than your fleet near on highway fleet. In the off highway space, we all know you've got limited space to deal with. I mean you look at some of the loaders and whatnot and you look at the engines on top of the after treatment system, it's amazing how they can get all of that in there. So it generates a lot of heat and a lot of load. It's really a good thing for the end user at the end of the day because I was talking at a reliability maintenance conference a few years ago and we were talking about the differences between engines then and engines now.


And I took the example of a CAT 980 loader and a 980 G. And let's say in 1988 before all this emission stuff came into play and you were dealing with let's say a 15 liter Caterpillar engine that was putting out 300 horsepower today, that same 980 has a 13 liter engine and puts out 460 horsepower. And the difference in fuel consumption was like nine, 10 gallons per hour to five and a half to six gallons per hour today. So it's really a big change. And we saw on how it impacts the oil formulations and what have you. We saw a API CJ-4, which was really came into the market in 2007. That was an oil that was, the chemical box was restricted to reduce it to 1% ash and it was really made to have a no harm on the after treatment system.


How little harm can we do, because we know that some of the components in the oil, the sulfurs, the phosphorus in the ash content is going to impact the after treatment system. So it was kind of a, let's try and minimize the harm. Well, what's happened as the engines are getting more efficient and higher horsepower, higher attempts is the industry saw, and this was API CK-4, was the oils needed more oxidation control and that was really what CK-4 was about, was giving you an oil that's going to handle higher temps and trying to achieve longer drain oil intervals with these engines.


And currently now they're working on PC-12, which again, another common theme is how can we improve the oxidation control of the oil and viscosity control. Those are two big things. So really when you look at it today and how does that after treatment system trying to control what's coming out of the exhaust impact the oil formulation, it's been like a massive jump paradigm shift in how we formulate oils today because we're not just looking at the engine, which I've been in this business for 35 years and when I came in it was CF.

Bryan Furnace (04:39):

Yeah, come a long way.

Keith Shaw (04:42):

And now it's not just formulating for the engine, it's formulating for the engine plus the after treatment system. So what new things can we do? What novel technology can we put into the engine oils that will benefit not only the engine, durability, oil drain minerals, but also protect and maybe help the after treatment system by not poisoning the catalyst or extending DPF life, if you will.

Bryan Furnace (05:08):

The next question I have for you, and you've actually mentioned it a couple times, the key term here is ash. And up until as recently as last week, I was always kind of under this impression that ash was the industry technical term for soot, but I was recently told that is not the case at all. So can you give us the difference between soot and ash and why a low ash formula is so important for these after treatment systems?

Keith Shaw (05:33):

When we're talking about soot, you're really talking about unburned fuel and it's really a function of how you're operating the equipment, the load conditions, and quite honestly the fuel that you're using. There's been a lot of discussion, Bryan, in the industry about renewable diesels or bio diesels versus petroleum diesel and what's the difference? And there's been some claims, but I mean the fact is a renewable diesel has a much higher sea tank number. So you're looking at maybe around 65, 70 versus petroleum diesel, which is right around 45 let's say, or 50. So renewable diesel burns cleaner produces less soot, but it's really a fraction of a percentage of what's produced in diesel and especially for the offload market. So soot is that unburned fuel that goes into the exhaust stream and you got to do something with it. So sometimes people will say, Oh my gosh, my DPFs look horrible, look at all this black stuff that's on it. Well that's just soot.

Bryan Furnace (06:36):

And that is, just to clarify, that is what is burning off when we do a regeneration cycle, correct?

Keith Shaw (06:40):

A hundred percent. That's totally consumable and it is repetitively generated and what have you. Ash is a different animal. So Ash is really metals and predominantly the source, I mean we've done analysis, there's been many SAE papers that have done analysis as well, about 90% of that ash is coming from the engine oil formulation.

Bryan Furnace (07:05):


Keith Shaw (07:06):

So this is your zincs, your phosphorus, calcium, magnesiums, things like that. The other 10% is wear metals, it may be contaminants coming in from the atmosphere, things like that and maybe some fuel contaminants as well. But the overriding percentage of ash that collects in that DPF is from the lubricant. And just to clarify, like you were talking about, when you do regen, the soot gets consumed, it gets burned and that's where you're having a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, 1100 degrees. And these channels are so small, but it's like this fire force that's going on in the DPF, it's just is crazy.


If it works well then all of a so gets consumed any oil petroleum products that gets burned, but what's left is the ash components from the oil and that's what collects in the channels. And that's why people need to clean the DPF because you can't burn those things. They're just going to collect in the channels and fill up. And so it's looking at the oil and there's a 1% sulfated ash minimum today it has been for API CJ-4, it's been there for CK-4. I don't know what it's going to end up being for PC-12. It may be 1%, it may be less. But ash is the limiting factor on your service life of the DPF. And back in, I guess it was 2019, Chevron launched our Delo 600 ADF. We took a challenge over a decade ago of looking at the oils and working with OEMs to see can you just eliminate the ash? Cause if you can eliminate the ash, I don't ever have to clean the DPF.

Bryan Furnace (08:50):

Yeah, there's no problem now.

Keith Shaw (08:52):

Yeah. And we tried, but you have to, no ash is okay for the after treatment system, but you've got to have something for the engine. So it's a combination of engine durability, protection, performance, oil drainer plus after treatment system. And that's where we kind of settled on this 0.4%. So you reduce the ash by two and a half times. And then the obvious one is, well now I can extend my DPF service like two and a half times.

Bryan Furnace (09:19):

And that's a substantial savings to a contractor.

Keith Shaw (09:21):

Oh it's big. And again, I often talk with a lot of people and sometimes we'll talk on highway, sometimes we'll talk off highway, but I hate to say it, but off highway gets the short end on DPF service. I mean for trucks it's really easy. I'm going to pull into a dealer network, boom, pop that thing out and go, I've seen these DPF change outs on loaders, excavators, you name it, you're talking four to eight hours. And because that's so hot, I mean the proper practices do a regeneration before you do it to clean off all the so and get all that done. Yeah, okay, great. Now you just heat it up to a thousand degrees. Now I want you to go sit and see how long that takes to cool off.

Bryan Furnace (10:01):

Yeah, absolutely. Try to get some wrenches on that baby.

Keith Shaw (10:03):

Exactly. Becomes this safety issue and you can always say, "Well don't do that. Just disconnect it." Right. Well, okay fine, but now you're mechanics are breathing in all these so particles. I mean that's not right. So it takes time and the downtime and you can't just do this out in the field, you got to bring it in. So it's again for off highway presents a lot of challenges that you don't see in on highway.

Bryan Furnace (10:30):

Absolutely. And just for the viewers, I do want to restate the key takeaway there, and this is what really blew my mind last week when I put all this together is that the reason we're having to do DPF maintenance has nothing to do... There's a small component but really nothing to do with the diesel particulate itself. It's actually the ash, which is a direct result of the engine oil, which is why this conversation is such a big deal. And I had just never put those two dots together.

Keith Shaw (10:57):

And we can say newer engines are tight, they consume less oil, but it's impossible to eliminate that waste oil stream. And this is used oil that's going out in the exhaust stream. It's carrying whatever used metals it's got, it's carrying the additive system, it's carrying all of this out and it's difficult to control under the best of circumstances. But if you look at things that control high oil consumption, well a lot of off highway customers are idling 25, 30% of the time, heavy PTO usage. The engine doesn't get hot enough ring zone seat properly. You start consuming more oil and that starts to shorten DPF life. And we've dealt with a lot of customers and what they'll say is, well wait, the OEM may say 4500 hours or 5,000 hours for my DPF service, I'm getting three. Why is that? Well, heavy loads, you're consuming more oil idling, you're consuming more oil and this is where the oil choice goes in.


And the oxidation control is not all oils are equal. I mean specifications, here's the minimum you need to achieve the specification. It doesn't differentiate all API CK-4 oils and they don't all perform the same. So if you have an oil that creates more deposits, if you're at the wrong oil drain interval, well those deposits start to build up, the rings don't seal again properly. You start to increase some liner wear, and again your oil consumption goes up and controlling that oil consumption is important, but there's only so much you can do. So that's why Chevron was looking at saying, well let's control the ash content. That's something that we can control and that's real and that we can see. And so it really is about that.

Bryan Furnace (12:50):

You kind of actually led me right into and kind of answered my next question, which is idle time is one of the biggest culprits to after treatment systems in our industry. Outside of the obvious of just reducing the ash that is generated, can oil formulations help with that increased maintenance due to increased idle time?

Keith Shaw (13:11):

Yeah, I mean short answer, yeah they can. And we kind of talked a little bit about it and part of the other negative on these high idles, and look, I get it, people in cold weather, maybe that unit's idling like 24 hours. Maybe its idling like 40, 50% of the time. Guy who needs to keep warm, we all get that. But during that idle time, you're also not generating enough heat in that engine to operate efficiently. So there's a couple of things that happen, right? Well you increase the so generation and so that oil, while we don't think about it, that oil has to be able to disperse that soot. That's a big issue. Having something that can handle and disperse those so particles better is a big thing, right? Viscosity control and all that.


The other thing is proper ceiling. We talked about wear, resisting the deposit and varnish deposits around those piston rings and componentry in the engine will really help to minimize the oil that is getting out there. I think this is a big decision that some fleets work with is do I go 10 W 30, do I go 15 40, 10 W 30 from a durability performance and everything works perfectly well in most off highway equipment. Will people see a fuel economy benefit? I don't know, but one thing you have to watch for is viscosity sheer down. If the oil gets too thin, again, increase oil consumption,

Bryan Furnace (14:44):

You lose all your protection at that point.

Keith Shaw (14:46):

And you lose your protection. Now you've increased wear and as the wear rates go up now you don't get the proper ceiling. So it really is about protecting and doing the basics on the engine for more severe, if you will, handling more soot and being able not to pump as much ash as you will. And if I could just say, Bryan, you clean your DPF out, you get the ash out. The reason you do that is as that ash builds up into the channel, you're effectively reducing the size of the DPF. The soot can't get past the ash. I mean the soot's got nowhere to go. So regen cycles start to happen more frequently.

Bryan Furnace (15:30):

You've basically taken a 10 lane highway and reduced it down to four lanes.

Keith Shaw (15:35):

Exactly. Exactly. This is why everything may be great when you start off, hey, I've got this and you don't see any problems. And then after a thousand hours you're like, whoa, I'm getting more frequent requests or lights on to go do my regen. And depending on your idle conditions and things like that, this can start to really accelerate. The oil's, got to be able to do the protection, got to control the oil consumption. And really the best thing is to control that ash that's going in.

Bryan Furnace (16:01):

You do make a key point. One of the things that I've always thought is when we're talking two to 5% fuel savings for on road trucks, because you switch to a low viscosity oil. For off highway equipment, that's never going to be a measurable number because we have so many site conditions that play into it that if it rains tomorrow, all of a sudden my fuel economy tanks because I'm in mud as opposed to dry, hard packed clay. Well one thing that does stick out to me is as those regeneration cycles continue to get more and more and more frequent, on top of the fact that you've just become more and more restricted on your exhaust output, that's materially going to have an impact that's very noticeable on off highway piece of equipment. So it does have an impact, it's just not in the same way that you would see in the on road environment.

Keith Shaw (16:45):

Correct. It's not as clean. I mean we can see it in let's say vocational trucks, dump trucks or things that are running on a certain road ready mix, things like that. You'll see the fuel consumption increase over the life of the DPF.

Bryan Furnace (17:00):


Keith Shaw (17:01):

It will definitely increase. It's going to be difficult to prove that on let's say an excavator.

Bryan Furnace (17:05):

Just way too many variables and site conditions play into it.

Keith Shaw (17:10):

Way too many. And we talked to customers and it really gets back to what we started talking about earlier. It's a number of regens. When you see these regen frequencies start to increase and people can see that in their telematics data. Can their operators know it? Right now you're starting to see the impact. Yeah, okay, maybe you're using one or two gallons per regeneration or so depending on the size of the engine and that may be insignificant in all the fuel burn they're doing. But you're starting to get to back pressure issues. You're starting to get to downtime issues. And I think one of the challenges that operators have is they don't want to stop to do that regeneration. We talked about the engine temperatures being so important to the after treatment system and if you're idling a lot and just calling for a regeneration and the operator keeps running through the lines of no, no, not going to do it.


Eventually it catches up. But by then we've got all these other issues happening because think about the soot as it builds up in that DPF, a lot of times that soot, if it gets too much and they keep bypassing, that soot's going to go back forces back into the engine and you're going to start to see turbo issues and they see a lot of soot or looks like black goo or something like that collecting around the turbo probably because of that, they just haven't been doing the regens. And regens, most OEMs will set it in the off highway market to trigger every 24 hours, 25 hours. It's just going to do it no matter what. And it's not just for the DPF, it's not just for burning out the soot that whole regeneration process cleans out the diesel oxidation catalyst and the SCR so desolate it, right? So it's beneficial for everything. So the more you bypass it, the more damage you do, not just to the DPF but potentially to the whole system.

Bryan Furnace (19:02):

Interesting. So that's another perfect lead into my last question here, which is the two big ones that we think of in the offload market when it comes to after treatment packages are DPFs and then it's alternative in a lot of times is the SCR, do we need a separate oil formulation for those or is it something where that low ash is going to benefit both of those systems regardless of if you have both DPF and SCR.


But before we get into that, I want to take a second to tell you about the sponsor of this video, Chevron lubricants. Protecting your diesel engine and its exhaust after treatment system has traditionally been seen as an either or proposition when it comes to choosing the engine oil that's going to protect your system. And that's exactly why Chevron spent more than a decade of R and D work developing a no compromise formulation. Now I don't have to tell you why a clogged DPF is bad news, but here's the real kick in the pants. 90% of that ash clogging up your DPF and then upping your fuel and maintenance cost? It comes from your engine oil. You might be thinking, why don't they make an engine oil with less ash in it then?


You'll be happy to learn that Chevron agrees with you. They've developed a new ultra low ash diesel engine oil that is specifically designed to combat DPF ash clogging. Delo 600 ADF with Omnimax technology cut sulfate ash by 60%, radically reducing the rate of DPF clogging and extending the DPF service life by two and a half times. Before you had to choose between protecting your engine or your after treatment system. Now you don't. Delo 600 ADF with Omnimax technology, it's time to kick some ash.

Keith Shaw (20:43):

It's a tricky one. So you can obviously use the same oil, you can use the same oil. We do it today. And OEMs have took different approaches to tier four final emission requirements. Some were able to do it with SCR only. Some took it on with the DPF DOC DPF SCR. One thing I would mention for we get a little bit more into the question is that we've seen a couple of things happening over the last few years. Europe moved into stage five into 2019 and while North America may not really care about that, it does have an impact because stage five in Europe clearly dictated a DPF is required, period. They don't care what you did with the stage five four is you will use a DPF. And they really brought the horsepower down to like 48 horsepower requirement. The other thing that's going on is the California Air Resources board, CAR, they're working on now their tier five emission standards.

Bryan Furnace (21:43):

And we're all very excited about that by the way.

Keith Shaw (21:48):

And so that tier five is really looking to reduce NOx and PM emissions by like 90%, 50 to 90% over by 2030 or so. But the main point's going to be it's require a DPF and it's going to require you eliminating previous older technology. So the tier threes, right? So CARS's been very good about limiting and working on people to get more and more tier four finals into their fleets. This is just going to accelerate that. So for people that think DPFs are going to go away, not going to happen. Matter of fact, you're going to see an increase usage. That being said, SCRs are still going to be there cause we've got to get rid of the NOx. And so while we talk a lot about ASH being a limiting factor for the DPF service life actually phosphorus is limiting for the scr. Phosphorus is poisonous to the SCR. So it'll deactivate the catalyst sulfur content can poison DOC, which is oxidation catalyst, which is right before the DPF can poison that catalyst.


So the sulfur's not such a big deal because when you do the regens and you get the temperatures, it takes care of that. But the phosphorus is irreversible. And so oil's high in phos not so good on SCR. And I know some off highway OEMs that we're working with are looking actually at putting a second SCR system up front.

Bryan Furnace (23:16):

Oh man,

Keith Shaw (23:17):

If you could imagine that the after treatment system today, and I should have said this earlier, right? To put in perspective, it's about 40 to 50% the footprint of an engine.

Bryan Furnace (23:28):

Yeah, you can see it on the back of most machines. It's this huge package on top of the actual engine itself.

Keith Shaw (23:34):

On top of it. And I was at one OEM and we were looking at some stationary engines and it was for agriculture pumping units and what have you. So I mean there's like four six liter engines, something like that. And the after treatment system was on top of it. It was actually bigger than the engine. And the cost is approaching this. And I'm not trying to be an alarmist, I'm just saying this is the reality, right? I've been talking about this for over a year, is that DPFS, DOCs have a lot of precious metals in them, particularly platinum and palladium. One thing that stage five is doing in Europe requiring DPFs is well the demand for DPFs is going up because they've got to fill that Europe market. There's only so many oils, there's only so much precious metals. The other thing is China and India, China is a little bit more further ahead.


They've already gone to what would be the equivalent to Euro six on highway in 2019. This year in December, they're launching basically their tier four final for off highway. Now China manufactures a million trucks a year. So think about the number of DPFs. Now, look at the off highway equipment that is going to be consumed and India is right behind them. So I've talked to customers again in our reliability and maintenance conferences this year, earlier this year, and DPFs are getting scarce and they're going to get more expensive. And I'm telling you, and I sound like the harbinger of bad news, but I mean, yeah, people need to figure out how to get their hands around managing this program before it manages them. And I'm not disparaging the DPF cleaning facilities and things like this, but it's just a fact. A new DPF is much better than a clean DPF. You can't get all the ash out, you can't get all of it out and you're going to leave so much behind. Well what if it's been cleaned twice?

Bryan Furnace (25:27):

You kind of have diminishing returns every time you do it.

Keith Shaw (25:30):

Exactly. And my recommendation would be right, is that people need to think about what's their strategy, what's their program, how are they doing this? Sometimes we go in the fleets and on off highway and we'll be asking, "Well where's your records? How often are you doing this?" And not disparaging them, but maybe they don't know. And they start looking at this and they're saying, Whoa, 2,500 hours, 3000, what's going on? Maybe they're not getting a properly cleaned or fully cleaned DPF. But if you look at the new DPFs I, they're all spot on. 5,000 hours. 5,000 hours. Five. But that's a recommendation is get a handle on it, track and see where you are. The other, and if I can Bryan just pass on maybe a best practice and working with some OEMs and looking at some customers that they have. And it was very interesting that one of the things they showed me, and this was at a cement plant, they had a whole bunch that they were working with and same company, same equipment, same operation type thing.


And one operation, the mechanic there figured out that every morning before everyone got there, before everyone started taking the equipment and doing their thing, he did regenerations on the equipment, just set them all up and just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And when we looked at the charts, the back pressure charts, the regeneration frequencies, the fuel efficiencies and economy, it was almost what you would expect. It was just perfect graphs. But the other sites allowed the operators to do it. You could see they were never getting the life of the DPF. They were always taking about 3000 and they were over. So little things like being proactive, making sure that DEF, a lot of people don't realize the diesel exhaust fluid got to be kept clean. You can't contaminate it with water, whatever. Sometimes just dialing it back and going back to basics, keeping things clean, maybe being proactive on some of these force regions and get it out there and get it done before everyone takes it out or do it when the equipment comes back can pay dividends down the road.

Bryan Furnace (27:38):

I will say it does occur to me, and it's become even more apparent through this conversation, which by the way, this has been fantastic, for off highway equipment, there's a real lack of education on not only after treatment systems themselves, but then proper care of those after treatment systems. And then the third stage is when it comes to the actual education of how big of an impact the engine oil has, I don't think that information's really making it to the end user like it needs to be.


I mean, like I said, I've been in this industry for 12 years now and it wasn't until last week that really, it finally clicked in that oh wow, all of this DPF maintenance isn't the result of just burning fuel. It's actually the engine oil itself. Well now I understand why these low ash formulations are so critical and now you've even taken it a step further. If we really are in looking down the barrel of a DPF shortage, well materially increasing my DPF life by two and a half times. That's no little thing to shrug at. That's a substantial lifetime investment over the piece of the equipment in my overall business. And I just don't think that education is really getting to the end user like it needs to.

Keith Shaw (28:47):

And I think that's something that I say now's the time, but I think now's the time for everyone to be really thinking about this because it is going to take a while to get these programs in place. The other thing that I've heard, Bryan for the last few years across the globe, I don't care where I am, Japan, China, Europe where it doesn't matter. It's manpower shortages and quality mechanics. And if you've got a fleet and you're mechanic's spending all day changing out a DPF and that's all he's doing, to me, that's a real wasted opportunity. And a lot of times, especially on the bigger equipment, it's not one guy's, two guys, one guy can't handle these things.

Bryan Furnace (29:28):

These are big units, especially on a lot of these loaders and excavators. These are not little muffler size things. These are huge units and they're heavy.

Keith Shaw (29:36):

Correct. And some units, even if you're looking at like 22 liter or 30 liter engine and above, they may have two. If it's a V7, they'll have two DPFs. So where do you want your time spent? And to me it's changing out the DPF filter and sending it off to get it clean, waiting for it to come back or we're doing a swap out and you don't know where it's from and you've got one of your mechanics spending a day, day and a half on this. If you can avoid that-

Bryan Furnace (30:08):

Yeah, that's huge.

Keith Shaw (30:09):

And this is what I hear a lot is it's an unexpected PM because they don't always happen at 4,500 hours or 5,000 hours in these cases that we worked with customers. Oh, 3000, 3200. I mean they have to do it. So it's unplanned versus well, you know what, maybe I don't do 12,000 hours or so. Maybe I do it over the winter when the equipment's down and I don't have to worry about it. You're never going to get that alarm or derate when you're not doing anything. It's always going to come when you-

Bryan Furnace (30:46):

Right in the middle of the busiest part of the job at the crossroads of everything.

Keith Shaw (30:52):

Exactly. Exactly. Or with ready mix, we talk about that and with some of those customers and it's like, yeah, the guy has to do a regen. Well, if he's got a load, it creates like 40 minutes.

Bryan Furnace (31:04):

Everybody, the whole job just kick back and take a break because I got to do a regen.

Keith Shaw (31:07):


Bryan Furnace (31:07):


Keith Shaw (31:09):

Of course, I'm in the lubricants business, so I would say this, but it's not just about getting the lowest cost thing in there and the right cost. You've really got to look at your total cost of operation and you really got to think this through and look at not just the engine durability, the oil drain intervals that you want to get. I think that there's opportunities there for customers to advance and work this out, but then look at your DPF maintenance and your SCR investments and such and really look at and say, "Where's this costing me?" And when you start looking at labor costs, downtime and everything else, those are the big chunks that we're all going to have to really address in this labor market competitiveness that we're going to be in as we see the economy in the next couple of years.


So that's where I think they need to think, just have maybe a paradigm shift in their thinking on how to do maintenance, not just thinking about the engine, but what can I do proactively? Because I just feel that a lot of customers feel that the after treatment system is out of control, like it's this black box that it goes wrong and everyone hits the equipment and yells at the dealer or something. But no, let's look at that black box. Let's see what's inside it. Let's understand it and understand the choices that you make on your engine oil, what you're doing on your preventative maintenance program, impact that and you can control it. It's not uncontrollable.

Bryan Furnace (32:33):

I think you just made a great point that really would resonate with the off road market specifically. The mechanic shortage is a great example. So you only have so many mechanics and everyone in the DIRT industry knows that your mechanics are, they're never bored. They are constantly five pieces of equipment behind at any given time. And so now you're going to take one of those mechanics in the height of the season when you've got three additional machines down, which means you have lost production. But now he's got to go take that four hours to go remove this DPF so that they can either send it off to be cleaned or you have to actually replace the DPF. You don't just have the cost of the mechanics time there. You've got the cost of all of those idle machines while he's messing with this one. Yet, if you can extend the DPF by two, two and a half times, you start pushing that out to that 12,000 hour mark.


Well now all of a sudden you've taken all of that expense off of your books because I would say the vast majority of contractors are rotating their equipment by the 10,000 hour mark. And so you've taken all of the cost associated with that and totally removed it from your books. And the only thing you changed was your oil formulation. I think that's really the sort of education that's not making it to the front lines of, this is a material impact to your bottom line. And it's not just, oh, it's going to save you one DPF cleaning, it's the whole picture.

Keith Shaw (33:54):

Yeah. I can't speak, The mechanics I've talked to have said it's one of the worst jobs they do.

Bryan Furnace (33:59):

Sure. Absolutely.

Keith Shaw (34:02):

Nobody likes to do it. And we all know that when you don't like to do a job and it's like how much effort do you?

Bryan Furnace (34:12):

Absolutely. You're going to move at half speed so it takes you even longer.

Keith Shaw (34:16):

Quite, honestly. It's not what they want to do. They want to fix something, right? And they love the engine and fixing problems and jumping on stuff, whether it's hydraulic systems or whatever. But yeah, go change that DPF. Oh man, I shot my whole day and you know it's going to be a hassle because you got to take everything off and put it all back together. I mean, that's just no fun. So I think if we can get that going, and I think it's all about making the most out of your resources that you possibly can and what can you take off the plate? I think everybody asks themselves that. And then if you can take these things off your plate and I cycle my equipment out of 10,000 hours, I'm done.

Bryan Furnace (34:54):

Absolutely. That's huge. Well Keith, thank you for this discussion. This has been super educational on so many levels. I really do appreciate the conversation.

Keith Shaw (35:03):

Oh, no problem. Thank you Bryan. I appreciate it.

Bryan Furnace (35:05):

Well thanks for sticking around to the end of this one. Like I said, that was a lot to digest. It was a lot to take in. But this has totally shifted the way I look at after treatment systems, the way that I understand them. And I had no idea engine oil was the number one culprit for all of our after treatment system maintenance that we have to do. That was a real eye opener. So as always, I hope this has been helpful. We'll catch you guys on the next episode of The DIRT.