DECONTAMINATION

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text/photography: Steve Temple

Clean­ing Power Stroke EGR Valves

Aclean diesel en­gine is a happy en­gine. Con­versely, baked-on car­bon and soot de­posits make for an un­happy one. To­day's high-output diesel en­gines are ex­tremely sen­si­tive to de­posits that build up through­out the en­tire fuel sys­tem. Even small amounts of con­tam­i­nants can lead to plugged in­jec­tors, in­creased ex­haust emis­sions, re­duced fuel mileage, smoke, en­gine clat­ter, re­duced per­for­mance and other driv­abil­ity is­sues.

Ford’s 6.0L Power Stroke is par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to these prob­lems, partly be­cause of the lo­ca­tion of the EGR (ex­haust gas re­cy­cling) valve. Most 6.0 own­ers have al­ready dealt with this is­sue since the prob­lem throws the most com­mon er­ror code. Part of the prob­lem is that the EGR valve sits on top of the mo­tor—a cooler lo­ca­tion than on the newer 6.7L Power Stroke, which even has its own EGR cool­ing sys­tem. Con­se­quently, the EGR valve can get plugged up in as lit­tle as 20,000 miles.

Con­ven­tional wis­dom says idling time doesn’t hurt a diesel, but not so on a 6.0L. Ex­perts agree it re­ally should be driven hard to min­i­mize buildup of soot in the EGR pas­sage­ways and the air in­take man­i­fold.

“We don’t see the same type of prob­lem on guys who work them,” points out Tim An­der­son of T&A Per­for­mance. In con­trast, he notes that slow-speed oper­a­tion un­der no load (such as when idling ex­ces­sively or with oc­ca­sional-use “grocery get­ters”) ac­tu­ally con­trib­utes to the prob­lem along with poor fuel qual­ity and sim­ply high mileage.

This buildup markedly restricts air­flow that de­creases fuel econ­omy and low­ers over­all power output. It doesn’t take a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing to un­der­stand how ac­cu­mu­lated de­posits in­ter­fere with the proper func­tion­ing of an EGR valve, which would re­sult in higher ex­haust emis­sions and lower fuel econ­omy.

Re­mov­ing car­bon de­posits can be done by hand, as many Power Stroke own­ers have found out. And re­place­ment is even more ex­pen­sive. For a re­ally thor­ough clean­ing, a num­ber of com­pa­nies of­fer ad­di­tives that claim to get rid of car­bon crud. One firm in par­tic­u­lar, BG Prod­ucts, of­fers sev­eral dif­fer­ent clean­ing ad­di­tives for flush­ing the in­take, in­jec­tors, crank­case and fuel sys­tem, along with a pres­sur­ized me­chan­i­cal process.

One rea­son we de­cided to check out this one in par­tic­u­lar is not only the com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach, but its track record with hard-work­ing mu­nic­i­pal truck fleets all across the coun­try, plus oth­ers run by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. They all em­ploy BG Prod­ucts on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to en­sure en­gine longevity and op­ti­mize per­for­mance. In ad­di­tion to clean­ing the en­gine, claimed ben­e­fits in­clude restor­ing fuel econ­omy, re­duced emis­sions and im­proved cold-starts.

The com­pany’s Diesel In­duc­tion Ser­vice works by liq­ue­fy­ing crusted-on oil de­posits and un­burned fuel formed by EGR and PCV gases as they pass through the valve train. Once liq­ue­fied, these con­tam­i­nants are burned off through the nor­mal com­bus­tion process, with no harm to fuel-re­lated com­po­nents, cat­alytic con­vert­ers, sen­sors or trap ox­i­diz­ers (DPF). Note, how­ever, that the pro­ce­dure in­volved is fairly pre­cise, and BG Prod­ucts rec­om­mends hav­ing it done by a trained tech­ni­cian.

In ad­di­tion to pour­ing the In­duc­tion Sys­tem Cleaner into a pres­sur­ized In­duc­tion Ser­vice Tool (not into the fuel tank) on the Ford shown here, Tim An­der­son also cleaned the EGR valve with a sprayon cleaner, and added two other BG chem­i­cals to both the crank­case oil and the fuel sys­tem. Then he ran the en­gine for about an hour. He also rec­om­mends not re­fu­el­ing for as long as rea­son­able so the fuel cleaner doesn’t get di­luted right away.

Dur­ing this process, the tailpipe might emit a large amount of dark smoke, de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the de­posits. Af­ter­wards, both the en­gine oil and fil­ter must be changed, since they be­come con­tam­i­nated with the de­posits re­moved by the clean­ers.

The ve­hi­cle we chose to test out these claims is a 2008 Ford F-350 with 82,755 miles on the orig­i­nal 6.4L Power Stroke. It’s owned by Dave Morones, who runs a tile and stone clean­ing busi­ness, and also does some BBQ cater­ing on the side. (So he al­ready has first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence with re­mov­ing con­tam­i­nants, along with car­bon buildup—on his BBQ smoker, not his en­gine).

While not as prone to car­bon buildup as a 6.0L, the 6.4L can still ex­pe­ri­ence some prob­lems in this area (as can any other Egr-equipped diesel en­gines from 2010 and ear­lier, An­der­son points out). As ev­i­dence, a case study done by an in­de­pen­dent fa­cil­ity on a 2009 F-250 with a 6.4L showed a gain of 19 hp and a whop­ping 40 lb/ft of torque im­me­di­ately after treat­ment with BG’S full com­ple­ment of clean­ers and ad­di­tives. In ad­di­tion, the re­gen

cy­cle for the DPF in­creased from 121 to 244 miles, and the cy­cle du­ra­tion dropped from 16 to 10 miles. Com­pres­sion test­ing also in­di­cated an av­er­age in­crease from 419 psi to 431 psi.

As a base­line on fuel con­sump­tion, Morones recorded the ve­hi­cle com­puter’s read­outs for mpg on long drives to and from north­ern Ne­vada and Ore­gon, and ver­i­fied the ac­cu­racy of this data us­ing a vol­ume method of fuel con­sump­tion (count­ing the num­ber of gal­lons con­sumed over a given dis­tance). The av­er­age fuel efficiency be­fore us­ing BG Prod­ucts was 15 mpg, fairly typ­i­cal for this en­gine.

Tim An­der­son of T&A Per­for­mance di­ag­nosed the in­jec­tors’ per­for­mance lev­els prior to per­form­ing the pro­ce­dure on the en­gine, and found that mass fuel lev­els were in the dirty range (.22 gr), as was the load 20.39 per­cent. After treat­ment with the BG Prod­ucts clean­ers, those num­bers dropped to the clean range (.13 gr and 13.73 per­cent, re­spec­tively). There was also some­what less fluc­tu­a­tion in the fuel-rail pres­sure. On other trucks, An­der­son re­ports see­ing gains of any­where from two to seven mpg or more in the months fol­low­ing a clean­ing pro­ce­dure. What were the re­sults with Morones’ truck?

Well, im­me­di­ately after the pro­ce­dure, he re­ports that the en­gine started eas­ier, and was no­tice­ably qui­eter and re­quired less throt­tle pres­sure to ac­cel­er­ate. Over­all, there was a def­i­nite im­prove­ment in throt­tle re­sponse and driv­abil­ity.

After burn­ing a few tanks of fuel, the mpg did not sig­nif­i­cantly change, but he did no­tice achiev­ing nearly the same mileage re­sults while tow­ing a trailer over Don­ner Pass, nearly 4,000 feet higher from his start­ing point in Reno. So, in ef­fect the mileage per­for­mance im­proved slightly while the truck was un­der load.

Ob­vi­ously your individual re­sults will vary, but for the long haul, hav­ing a cleaner en­gine should make you and your diesel feel way hap­pier. UDBG

9 The clean­ers flow through the in­take at a des­ig­nated pres­sure for a spec­i­fied amount of time.

6 The switch­ing mod­ule for con­trol­ling the flow of cleaner to the en­gine is at­tached un­der the hood.

8 The throt­tle body is capped off with a spe­cial cover fea­tur­ing a hose fit­ting that’s supplied with the Diesel In­duc­tion Ser­vice Set.

7 A braided hose is at­tached to feed cleaner into the in­take run­ners un­der pres­sure.

5 Clean­ing out the car­bon be­gins with adding Diesel ISC (In­duc­tion Sys­tem Cleaner) to the reser­voir in the Diesel In­duc­tion Ser­vice Set.

2 Be­fore and after read­outs from the en­gine com­puter in­di­cated that both the mass fuel and en­gine load were sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced from “dirty” to “clean” lev­els.

1 BG Prod­ucts’ con­tam­i­nant re­movers con­sist not only of sev­eral ad­di­tives, but also a Diesel In­duc­tion Ser­vice Set that sends the clean­ers through the run­ners.

3 Car­bon de­posits were clearly ob­vi­ous on this sen­sor. Buildup of this con­tam­i­nant robs per­for­mance and in­creases emis­sions, among other prob­lems.

4 After dis­con­nect­ing the in­take hose, ad­di­tional car­bon was also ev­i­dent.

14 BG 109 Com­pres­sion Per­for­mance Restora­tion is a blend of clean­ers de­signed to soften, emul­sify and dis­solve fuel gums that clog rings. Re­moval of these de­posits should in­crease com­pres­sion and also lower tailpipe emis­sions, elim­i­nate oil con­sump­tion...

10 A throt­tle-pedal post main­tains en­gine rpm slightly above idle for about 45 min­utes while the cleaner runs through the in­duc­tion sys­tem.

13 BG 244 is a sep­a­rate cleaner added di­rectly to the fuel tank.

11&12 The di­rec­tional tog­gle and in­di­ca­tor lights show when and for how long the cleaner is flow­ing.

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