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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On June 24th I was traveling from Madison campground in Yellowstone NP to visit a friend in Liberty Lake Washington. I was traveling on I-90 north of Missoula. I was pulling a 23 foot travel trailer weighing about 5500 lbs. received a warning message on the dashboard “ Low Power Mode.”
At first, nothing happened and I continued on with the cruise set at 65 mph. About 30 seconds later, the truck slowed considerably and I was limited to a max speed of 35 mph. The posted speed limit on this area of I-90 is 80 mph! Had to exit quickly and figure out a plan. Thankfully, we had cell service and I was able to locate a GMC dealership in Missoula. Got off the freeway and was able to limp the trailer to an rv park outside of town. Got to Demarois GMC right before closing and explained my problem. Next day I get the diagnosis, bad DPF filter. Part needs to be ordered. So I end up spending 6 nights in Missoula waiting for the DPF filter to arrive. Got me back to California safe and sound. My truck in had 14k miles at this failure. Concerned that it may happen again.

BTW, DeMarois GMC staff were very kind and provided me with a loaner vehicle while I waited for the part
 

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Glad they took care of you. What year truck do you have, a 19 or 20?

There are only a few trucks I know of that had issues with premature DPF failure, such as yours. Not sure what ended up happening to the trucks in the long run though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2019. It concerns me since there was absolutely no warning prior to the engine going into limp mode. Like I told my wife, we wer lucky it happened close to a city with a dealership. We could have been stranded in the middle of the Nevada desert
 

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Lucky indeed. I think the DPF’s have more a tendency to plug prematurely if you aren’t using the recommended Dexos2 oils for the engine. Poor diesel fuel quality could possibly contribute as well...not totally sure on that though. My thought is that better quality diesel (or the use of additives to make it burn better) burns better, thus you wouldn’t have as much buildup as fast in the DPF.

Typically something is wrong with the truck if this happens. They are all the same diameter pipe, so something in the truck is causing it to not run as efficiently. Doing a bunch of short commutes for most of the trucks life can cause this as well, as it doesn’t get a chance to get up to a good operating temp and do a good DPF burn.
 

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I had the same "Engine Power is Reduced" message recently, but at 38,669 miles, and was so frustrated getting if fixed that I began keeping a log of the issue, it's attached below if you want to read it. It took two weeks to get the replacement DPF and then, I believe, they broke some other parts when they tried to install it. Those parts took another two weeks to get, but magically when I went in and complained to the service department manager, showed them the log, and threatened to contact GM Customer Service with the log, the parts were found at another dealer somewhere in the US and shipped to my dealer and the whole thing was fixed withing four days from my complaints. There is a good video on YouTube at
that basically says the clogged DPF is a "symptom" of something else that is wrong that causes the clogged DPF to need replacement.

DateMileageIssue
6/27/20179Purchased truck at Mountain View Chevy in Upland, CA. DEF tank was not full and Low DEF message appeared on DIC before 2,000 miles. Purchased 2.5 gallons of Delco DEF from dealer cost was over $20! Started using Peak Blue DEF next time message appeared as cost was about $12 for 2.5 gallons and had no problems with DEF for over 30,000 miles and two years of driving.
9/21/201931,500 (est.)Exhaust Fluid Quality Low See Owner’s Manual Now -- Appears on DIC while on 3,500 mile vacation on Interstate 15 outside of Beaver, UT. Pulled off freeway and read manual, thought we would have to stop in Salt Lake at dealer, but message disappeared after driving about 20 more miles. Drove all the way to Boise, ID. Could not get appointment with dealer in Boise so added one gallon of Peak Blue DEF and had no additional problems for over 7,000 miles and eight months.
5/22/202038,660Engine Power is Reduced message appears on DIC followed shortly by check engine light coming on dash.
5/22/2020 Friday, 12 noon38,669Took truck into Sands Chevrolet in Surprise, AZ and explained issue. Truck went into service department and also asked for oil change. Sands shuttle took me home. Service called back around 5:00 p.m. and indicated that they had not found problem, but suspected problem with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and they could not complete additional testing until Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend. Asked to pick up the truck on Saturday as I had to use it. Picked up truck Saturday, check engine light not on, but after driving home (15 miles) the Engine Power is Reduced message re-appeared and the check engine light came on again.
5/26/202038,740Dropped off truck at Sands at 8:00 a.m., waited until 12:30 p.m. with no information on problem. Cindy picked me up and we returned to our home. Called Robert at Sands at 3:08 p.m. and had to leave a message for Robert. He called back approximately 4:00 p.m. to say that they did not know what the problem was, but suspected the DPF was the problem and that they would have to order a DPF from Michigan and did not know how long it would take to receive the DPF and I could pick up the truck and pay for the oil change and they would notify me when the DPF came in. Picked up the truck at approximately 5:15 p.m. and returned home. The check engine light came on during returning home.
5/27/202038,800After much research on the internet on DEF and DPF I drove the truck approximately 45 minutes and 50 miles at speeds between 70-75 mph on the 303 freeway in an attempt to force a DPF regen. No Engine Power is Reduced message and the check engine light did not come on causing me to question the diagnostic analysis of the Sands service department. I question their DEF, DPF and general diesel diagnostic competency. From what I have learned a failed DPF is not the cause of the problem with the truck, but rather a symptom of some other conditions causing the failure of the DPF. Many problems with the emissions system and the DPF of the 2.8L Duramax diesel in the Colorado are noted in the Chevy Colorado Diesel Forum www.coloradodiesel.org .
5/28/202038,879Return my Winnebago trailer to storage lot, no issues on the way there. On the way back home the Engine Power is Reduced message and check engine light come on. This time the acceleration is drastically impacted. Third gear increases slowly and will not go beyond 2,800 RPMs, must back off the accelerator and let the engine drop into 4th gear in order to go over 40 mph. Very frustrating. After stopping at Costco and then Fry’s, the engine power is restored and acceleration appears to return to normal.
5/29/202038,915Took a 50 mile round trip drive to view property in Verrado. After a few miles on the 303 freeway the Engine Power is Reduced message and check engine light come on, however, power is not reduced during the entire trip. This seems to be the typical occurrence and I assume it will continue this pattern until the problem is fixed, so I will not report it again unless something different occurs after the messages appear.
6/9/2020Finally called Sands Chevrolet to see where the part was and I was informed that “it just got in and we were going to call you” so I don’t know when it actually got in, they may have sat on it for several days.
6/11/202039,322Took truck into Sands Chevrolet to have new DPF installed, dropped truck off and went home. At 12:51 p.m. I was informed by Robert at Sands that they had found another part damaged or “not working” during the install and it was back-ordered and would possibly be several days until it arrived. I suspect the part was broken by the technician while trying to install the new DPF as, other than the check engine light and the Engine Power Reduced message, the truck ran fine before bringing it in today to have the new DPF installed. Again I question the general diesel competency of the Sands Service Department. I picked up a loaner vehicle at 5:00 p.m. and returned home extremely frustrated.
6/17/2020Called Robert at Sands Chevrolet, he said part was not in yet which he described as some sort of tube connection to DPF. He said he would follow-up and call me back later in the day. I did not receive a follow-up call from Robert.
6/24/2020Called Robert at Sands Chevrolet, Robert has left for the day, left a message for his partner Jake at 10:13 a.m. Robert returned my call late in the afternoon. No ETA of needed part. I expressed my extreme frustration and Robert offered I could talk to the Service Manager at Sands and said if I called Chevrolet customer service to complain that likely nothing would be done. He said he had a customer that has needed a part since October of 2019 that just now received the part. I am appalled at Chevrolet. Robert indicated that I need to come in and execute another agreement for the loaner car that I have. I indicated I could not come it today, but would come in tomorrow and would like to talk to the Service Manager and that I would be calling Chevrolet to complain.
6/25/2020Called Robert at 7:26 a.m. to let him know I would be in around 9:00 a.m. and would like to talk to the Service Manager as well as renew the loaner agreement. Robert was with a customer so I left a voicemail indicating the above.
Arrived at Sands dealership at 9:30 a.m. Renewed loaner agreement. Robert indicated that one of two needed parts was scheduled to be in sometime the week of June 29th, but the other part was still not available. Robert said further that somewhere in the USA five Chevrolet dealers had the part(s) available, and normally the parts could be forwarded to Sands because of this critical need, but they could not forward them to Sands as they were “allocated to other owners”, I don’t believe that, I believe they are just holding them in case they need them in the future. I then spoke to the Sands Service Manager Michael Jajou and he confirmed what Robert had said. I indicated that I wondered if the parts were broken when Sands technicians tried to replace the DPF. He indicated no, that they were already broken when they attempted to replace the DPF. I don’t understand that as the truck ran fine except for the check engine light and the Engine Power Reduced message. Michael gave me the phone number for Chevrolet Corporate Customer Service, (800) 222-1020, and I will be calling them today to see if they can put pressure on the dealers that have the parts to forward them to Sands.
6/25/2020At 10:47 Robert called to say that Michael had convinced one of the five dealers with the parts I require to forward it to Sands, so both needed parts should be into Sands sometime next week.
6/29/202039,332Finally got the truck back with new DPF and new pressure sensor and pressure sensor pipes broken during removal of old DPF. Replaced and reset DPF system, cleared error codes. We’ll see.
 

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lovemycolorado, I read your post and log twice. Watched the vid. Glad you got a new DPF. But I still might have missed your opinion on what the cause was. Bad DEF? Intake system leaks? Too much city driving? Some combo? Per the vid, we're told to look for prime causes, or the failure will repeat

My 2018 Z71 CCLB hasn't had any such problems. I chalked it up to our 5000+# trailer towing for almost half of our 44K miles. I also keep up "better than" factory service schedules, but might have spaced on any intake systems leak checks. I'll look for it in the manual and elsewhere.

Thanks for taking the time to log, post, share the vid...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I really like this truck and would like to do something to prevent this from occurring again. At least half of the 15k miles on the truck have been while pulling my travel trailer. I am hoping this doesn’t happen again
 

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lovemycolorado, I read your post and log twice. Watched the vid. Glad you got a new DPF. But I still might have missed your opinion on what the cause was. Bad DEF? Intake system leaks? Too much city driving? Some combo? Per the vid, we're told to look for prime causes, or the failure will repeat

My 2018 Z71 CCLB hasn't had any such problems. I chalked it up to our 5000+# trailer towing for almost half of our 44K miles. I also keep up "better than" factory service schedules, but might have spaced on any intake systems leak checks. I'll look for it in the manual and elsewhere.

Thanks for taking the time to log, post, share the vid...

I'm not really sure what caused the problem, but I suspect it may be a combination of things. I did some research on DEF and found the following article which explains some of the issues with DEF, particularly using old DEF that has gone bad or was stored at too high temperatures. In my case here in AZ, May and June began some pretty hot weather, 100+, and as the article says, DEF goes bad when stored at high temperature, including in the truck tank in very hot weather. This, in combination with staying at home due to the pandemic, I don't think I got out frequently enough at high speed for long enough to facilitate regeneration. I now plan on going out for 50 miles at high speed (over 70 mph) at least once a week. Here is the article and the source is at the bottom of the article:

DEF INFORMATION AND DATE CODES,,,,IMPORTANT


Got a Clean Diesel powered RV made after 2011 that uses DEF??? Here is some information that you may find useful.

A date code, or expiration date can be found on just about any package of DEF. This is called out in the specification for DEF: ISO 22241.

Most DEF manufacturers are certified by the API. The API is the American Petroleum Institute and it has a voluntary certification program for DEF. The API offers (sells) manufacturers rights the API mark. Your owner's manual probably requires you to use DEF that is per the ISO 22241 specification, and that has this API marking.

Here is the secret to reading the expiration date on BlueDEF manufactured by Old World Industries LLC and sold under the PEAK Brand. Other manufacturers differ. I'm working on a complete library of date codes.

This BlueDEF information is from an email reply from PEAK Technical Services dated July 1, 2013 in response to my request for how to read the date code (after having a big leak problem with some old jugs I purchased at an auto parts store).

"The most important part of the batch code is the third through seventh numbers. There are always going to be two letters or numbers at the beginning of the code, which is the blending facility code, The third and fourth number of the code is the year +1. The fifth, sixth and seventh numbers of the code are the days left in the year, or reverse Julian date. So if the code says 257 for example, that would mean it was made on the 108th day of the year.. April 18th."


The date code on the BlueDEF box in my picture is

GA153590089

Lets break this down into 4 groups of numbers:

GA: The designator of the plant that manufactured the DEF
15: The year of manufacture plus 1, so this DEF was made in 2014
359: 365-359 = 6, so the 6th day of the year, or January 6th.
0089: The batch code.

So this box of DEF was made January 6th, 2014.

Specification life for DEF is 2 years at 75F or so. Stored properly, this DEF is good thru January 6th, 2016 (and probably longer).

Storage life is highly dependent on temperature. DEF stored at 85F only lasts 12 months. Storage above 95F (not unusual in a vehicle parked in the sun during the summer) is limited to 1 month or so. Reason: The urea in DEF decomposes and creates ammonia liquid and vapor in the jug, causing issues when you open it, and reducing the amount of urea in the DEF when it is used in the vehicle. Storage above 95F requires retest of the DEF prior to use (source: ISO 22241-3, most recent revision).

Simple huh?

Tip #1: Don't buy old DEF jugs. When buying DEF in jugs, look at the code. In 2014, find a jug with 14 or 15 in the 3rd and 4th spaces and the highest three digit number you can find in the 5th, 6th, and 7th digits. Store it in a cool location out of the sunlight.

Tip#2: Buy DEF from stores that are likely move a lot on inventory, have controls on inventory age, and are air conditioned. Not that it is a guarantee, but big name outfits are likely a good bet.

Tip#3: DON'T buy jugs of DEF at a gas station that stores them outside, or have obvious signs of degradation like leaks, crystals on the box or jug, or are off color.

Tip#4: Keep your receipts for DEF in case there is an issue.

Five Star DEF's mission is provide owners with easy to understand information about Clean Diesels, especially Diesel Exhaust Fluid. We offer Innovative DEF Solutions to provide Clean Diesel owners an alternative to mass-market DEF products. Look us up on www.fivestardef.com.

Thanks,

Erich
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Erich K Weinberg
Five Star DEF
www.fivestardef.com
 
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