Welcome to 2010! We'd like to wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous new year from the entire team at PickupTrucks.com.
Of course, we'd also like to remind you that tough EPA emissions regulations for all new diesel engines take effect today that mandate the reduction of nitrogen oxide levels by 90 percent from 2007 and by 96 percent from 1994.
NOx is a major air pollutant that contributes to smog, asthma, and respiratory and heart diseases. It's a byproduct of diesel’s high combustion temperatures, which results from the high frictional heat levels created by compressing air in the cylinders to the point where it can ignite diesel fuel without using a spark.
To meet the new clean diesel standards, Ford and GM are using a NOx scrubbing process called urea selective catalytic reduction in their 2011 model year heavy-duty pickup trucks.
The new 2010 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks carry over the same urea-free NOx reduction system that debuted in the 2007 Dodge Ram HD pickups though the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 cab chassis trucks will use urea SCR.
Urea is the same organic compound found in urine, which has forced drivers (at least most drivers) to pause for bio-breaks ever since the car was invented. It turns out that urea, which is being sold under the more marketable name “Diesel Exhaust Fluid” for about $2.50 a gallon, is also a chemically efficient way to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions produced by diesel engines.
DEF (32.5 percent industrial urea and 67.5 percent deionized water) is held in a separate storage tank and injected as a fine mist into the hot exhaust gases. The heat turns the urea into ammonia that - when combined with a special catalytic converter - breaks down the NOx into harmless nitrogen gas and water vapor.
Far be it from us to question the quality of your urea, but if you suspect an issue with purity there's at least one tool available to help check it before you pour it in your DEF tank. Atago makes a handheld DEF digital refractometer that can measure the quality of a batch of urea using just a few drops of the fluid. It costs approximately $300.
For more information about DEF, please read our earlier story.