Overdrive Magazine

May 2019

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38 | Overdrive | May 2019 E Q U I P M E N T A dvancements in engine and emissions technology over the last decade have compli- cated the challenge of staying on top of dashboard warning lights. Owners of trucks newer than the 2007 model year have been subject to potential diesel particulate filter problems. Other issues came with the selective catalytic reduction system introduced in 2010 model trucks. Truck and engine makers have made progress in stabilizing these emissions-related systems, says Jeff Rogers, a Ryder maintenance direc- tor. Still, their malfunctions are among the most common triggers of dashboard warning lamps. "It's extremely important to know what these different lights mean because of how many there are and what the combinations of certain lights can mean," says David Perry, corporate technical trainer for Transervice. If you don't know, the simplest way to find out is to check the owner's manual. It also should help you decide how quickly the warning needs to be addressed. "Trucks a number of years ago maybe had a couple hundred fault codes," says Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance for Penske Truck Leasing. "There are probably a thousand or more on a typical Class 8 truck today. Of those thousands of codes, there are probably about 50 that say this is where you need to take a quick course of action. Most lights don't mean you have to pull over immediately." Some common warning lights are Check Engine, Stop Engine, Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). The icons used for most warning lights are similar. The MIL and Check Engine lights look the same for a Cummins engine – an amber figure of an engine – except that the Check Engine light adds a wrench. A Detroit engine's Check Engine light might say "Check Engine" or show an engine figure with the word "Check" across it, while the MIL light is just an engine. "By far, the most common light is the MIL indicator," Perry says. "It deals with all emissions-related prob- lems. When regeneration systems first came into play, it was a lot more prevalent, but now we're at the point where those problems have largely gone away, but they're still there." A rule of thumb is that if a light is amber (similar to yellow, as in a cau- tion light), the truck usually can be driven until the end of a shift. If it's an amber MIL, the truck needs to be checked soon because it may derate if left unchecked. A red light indicates the driver should pull off for immedi- ate service. The common Check Engine light usually means the engine has gone through its self-diagnostics and needs Modern instrument clusters, such as this one illuminated during the ignition sequence in a 2019 Freightliner Cascadia, warn of problems with the engine, brakes, emissions systems and other components. Learning your engine's lamp language BY MATT COLE E Q U I P M E N T

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