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How to Clean a DPF 6.6L Duramax

by Sameca Pandova

As diesel engines increasingly come under pollution emissions regulations, manufacturers have had to fit these engines with pollution control devices. The DPF is such a device, a diesel particulate filter. The DPF along with urea injection are two of the features added to today's diesel engines to reduce emissions. The DPF typically sits under the truck, behind the engine, and is integrated into the vehicle's exhaust system. It removes soot from the exhaust, and while max cruising range varies by manufacturer, it usually has a max cruising range of about 700 miles before it requires regeneration or cleaning. On the Duramax diesel engines, cleaning of the DPF happens automatically.


Take your Duramax-equipped truck out for an extended straight drive, such as on the highway. The DPF will fill up with soot during typical operation, such as stop-and-go driving. The DPF system will store soot during this type of operation, but the engine will not get hot enough to engage regeneration mode. Once the DPF fills up, you will get a "clean exhaust filter" message in the driver information center.


Drive at a sustained speed for about 20 minutes. The Duramax engine needs to see steady cruise speed, not stop-and-go traffic, in order to properly enter regeneration mode. You must travel above 30 mph for at least 20 minutes until the clean filter message goes off.


Periodically engage in steady speed cruises to insure your DPF regenerates. Once cleaned, it is a good idea to insure you take your truck on an extended steady drive. Another tip is to disengage your overdrive to allow engine RPM to increase in conjunction with heavier throttle input to insure the exhaust system heats up and the DPF regeneration mode engages during typical operation.

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.

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