DPF Cleaning at Home – 9 Chemicals Tested (Diesel Particulate Filter DIY Ash Cleaning)
In today’s video we compare nine different methods to clean your car’s diesel particulate filter. We start by cutting open an old filter, breaking it up into small chunks and then submerging the pieces into nine different chemicals and we’ll see what works best. The results aren’t quite what I expected so stick around and see if you are surprised as well Hi, I’m steven and welcome to my channel. That is all about improving your BMW. Although this particular video could very well help you, if you own any diesel car made in the last 20 years or so
Today, we’re comparing a bunch of different chemicals to see what you might be tempted to use to clean your own diesel particulate filter.
Just about all of these suggestions were made by viewers, and some of them are definitely better than others. First, i have to clarify that what we are trying to clean out of the diesel particulate filter today are the ash deposits. These form over the life of your filter, and eventually your car, will tell you that the filter is at the end of life and needs to be replaced. This video is not about fixing a soot or oil clogged filter that is caused by an engine problem or an EGR valve malfunction or a glow plug failure or a boost hose leak or a turbo malfunction. If you catch those kinds of issues early enough, then your diesel particulate filter will clear itself with its normal active regeneration cycle.
If you don’t catch those kinds of problems early enough, then your diesel particulate filter may become so blocked that the only thing you can do is bake it in a high temperature, oven overnight to burn off that soot. Of course, you still need to fix the cause of those problems. Otherwise, in a couple of months, your filter will be blocked with soot or oil. Again, Let’s get to the fun part. I have here the diesel particulate filter from a 2007 Peugeot 307 and it has many problems, so it will not be going back into a car, so i get to experiment on it.
It has some of its channels blocked with ash, which makes it perfect for today’s video, but it also has cracks inside from overheating. Someone went a bit crazy with their engine computer re-map, their chip-tune
This is the end where the exhaust gas goes in and you can see that half the channels are open and half are closed. The open channels are closed at the other end and the closed channels are open at the other end, so the exhaust gas has to go through the channel walls in order to go out the other end. For that reason, this kind of filter is called a Wall-Flow filter Right enough technical stuff. I have some other videos on diesel particulate filters.
If you want to know some of the more technical side,
We’Ll start by cutting open the case.
Now we’ll cut up the ceramic material, its self, You can see that inside the housing is some glass fiber heat insulation and there’s also some stainless steel wire mesh that keeps everything in place. So we’re going to cut off some pieces of those too for testing, because we want to make sure that any cleaning product that we use does not damage anything at all inside our filter. I’Ve gone and borrowed some brand new drinking glasses from the kitchen, and hopefully they won’t be missed for a day or two so off to the testing lab. Most of these chemicals aren’t very friendly to breathe or touch so make sure you wear safety, goggles, gloves, good clothing and preferably work outside or in a well ventilated area. If you’re going to play with any of them In glass number one, we have drain cleaner, granules.
Also called caustic soda also called sodium hydroxide, and we are mixing that with 10 parts, water
In gl ass number two, we have swimming pool acid, also known as 32 percent hydrochloric acid, also known as muriatic acid, and we are mixing that with four parts: water
It’S always good practice to add the acid to the water. As you might remember, from high school In glass number three, we have Wynn’s, Off-Car DPF Cleaner and we are using that straight out of the container In glass number four. We have industrial grade, 32 percent vinegar. Also called acetic acid, also called ethanoic acid In glass number five we’re using undiluted alloy wheel, cleaner, which is not phosphoric acid, as the label says on my glass, it is in fact 5 to 15 percent oxalic acid, along with benzenesulfonic acid
Try not to breathe this stuff Note that different wheel, cleaning, acidic cleaners have different blends of acid In glass number six. We have un-diluted cola drink, which is a bit flat.
Contains phosphoric acid, Lovely
In glass number seven, we are using un-diluted acetone, also known as propanol As used in paint thinner and nail varnish remover In glass number eight. We have brake cleaner, made from lots of hydrocarbons. It is usually found in spray cans, but i have it in a one gallon container, which i use to fill up: refillable spray cans, a good plan, if you use lots of it. Finally, in glass number nine, we have part of a dishwasher tablet diluted with 10 parts, water
Exact ingredients are a mystery To each glass. We will start by adding a piece of the glass fiber heat shield and a piece of the stainless steel wire mesh that holds the insulation in place.
Next, we’re adding a chunk of the silicon carbide ceramic material that makes up the diesel particulate filter, complete with some red ash, clogging and some black soot too. Just for good measure.
Let us see what our chemicals can do. Dropping into the drain cleaner causes a reaction to start straight away.
Dropping into the pool acid also gets a fast reaction going Into the Wynn’s Off Car DPF cleaner and something is going on there too.
The industrial strength vinegar is also off to a good start Into the alloy wheel. Cleaner. It goes, but not much is happening there straight away Into the cola. It goes and it is hard to see if anything i s going on there or not
Next is th e paint thinner and it’s a bit hard to tell if anything is happening there or not.
Into the brake cleaner and not much is going on And finally into the dishwasher tab.
We go and it does look like something might be happening Here. We are at the 30 minute mark. I have been agitating everything every 10 minutes or so
The drain cleaner certainly seems to have dissolved some of the ash. The pool acid also seems to have gone red from the dissolved ash compounds. The Wynn’s Off Car DPF cleaner has gone a different color, so i guess it is dissolving some slightly different compounds from the ash buildup or maybe it is helping to remove some soot or oily soot.
The industrial vinegar is going slightly red, but not as much as the others. So far, The alloy wheel, cleaner, made from primarily oxalic acid, not phosphoric acid, as labeled, is going a different shade of red as well.
The cola is going a very deep red color. That cola is certainly doing a lot more than i expected. The paint thinner is.
Not doing much at all, there is a bit of dust or soot or something floating around in there. The brake, cleaner is maybe removing a bit of soot, but no red ash is being dissolved. So far.
The dishwasher tab, wow, That is doing a great job of removing black soot from the ceramic material, No sign of red ash, but it is certainly doing something. Has anyone seen the glasses?
And here we are at the two hour mark
Every piece of diesel particulate filter is coming out and getting a good, strong rinse under the tap to see if some or all of the ash has been dissolved. Let’S start with the drain cleaner, You can see that there is less ash than when we started, but the channels are still quite blocked Back in it goes. Next is the pool acid we’ll give it a good blast under the tap and shine a spotlight on the ceramic
Wow that is as clean as new No need to leave it in the acid any longer. Let’S dig out the glass fiber insulation and the stainless steel wire mesh to make sure they haven’t been eaten away. The insulation is fluffy, but it is still there Now onto the Wynn’s Off Car DPF, Cleaner,
The ceramic gets a rinse under the tap for a minute and the result is .
. well, there’s definitely less ash than when we started, but you can see that the channels are still blocked so back in it goes
Now it’s time for the ceramic soaked in the industrial vinegar to get a good rinse under the tap, and we can see that it is a lot better than when we started. But there is still some red residue on the walls of the channels. So back in it goes
And now for the mis-labeled alloy wheel, cleaner Can’t get good help these days, Sorry Off for a wash it goes and the result is..
Wow It is like new. I wasn’t expecting that Job is done.
The oxalic acid and other compounds in the alloy wheel, cleaner, seem to have done a great job of restoring this filter to new again Well, it would be better if the filter wasn’t um cut in half and then broken into 50 pieces, but you know what i Mean The glass fiber insulation and stainless wire are also in good condition. That cola is really red and it is doing way more than i ever expected. I don’t think i’ll ever drink, another cola in my life, but i might try and see if it will clean alloy wheels in the future.
Let’S rinse off this ceramic chunk and the result is quite good, but there is still red to be found on the channel walls, so back in it goes A good result, but not quite as effective as the pool acid and the alloy wheel. Cleaner. Next is the paint thinner and it is doing pretty much nothing Ash is still there. Soot is still there.
No point continuing to look at this one Next, The brake, cleaner is another disappointment.
Nothing much going on here Time to stop this one too, And now for the dishwasher tablet.
Let’S rinse it under some water, There is still plenty of red ash to be found, but the dishwasher tablet has certainly removed a lot of oily soot
I recorded more video at three hours at five hours at seven hours and at 18 hours, but it wasn’t that exciting …
So we’re going to jump straight to the 24 hour mark where I’m stopping the test and we’ll look at the final results and see what we can conclude from all this.
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Right on with it Here, we are the 24 hour point, Starting with the drain cleaner, the caustic soda. We can see that the glass fiber insulation is still there and the stainless steel is still there. Let’S give this piece of ceramic a good wash and the final result is there’s a lot less ash than when we started, but it looks like drain cleaner on its own is not enough to remove all of the ash from a diesel particular filter. In a previous video that i made called The No Damage DIY DPF Clean, I used drain cleaner as a pre-wash to loosen up any oil, and i still think that it does that quite well.
But as you’ll soon see, i have a new favorite pre-wash to use for any future diesel particulate filter, cleaning.
And now on to the Wynn’s Off Car DPF, Cleaner Things are a lot cleaner, but there is still some red to be found on the channel walls, and a few of the channels are still completely blocked.
It looks like this product needs even more than 24 hours to be fully effective, Dissolving the oil in the oily soot is best done with a de-greaser, yet the ash itself is best dissolved with an acid. This is a problem for any single cleaning solution, because it can’t be alkaline and acidic. At the same time, it is just too much to ask of one product.
The glass fiber and stainless steel they’re still intact after 24 hours, The industrial vinegar did a good job, but not a great one, as some of the channels are still quite red. Maybe another 24 hours is needed for it to work completely. The glass fiber and stainless steel are in good shape. The cola was a real surprise for me in this test. It worked really well considering that it is not even a cleaning product.
It hasn’t removed all the ash from the channel walls, but i get the feeling that maybe a clean using two rounds of cola might work really well. Let me know in the comments, if you want me to do such a test. The glass, fiber and stainless steel are in good condition at the end. The dishwasher tablet was another real surprise in this test. It took care of oily soot, as well as removing heaps of ash buildup.
It worked even better than the drain cleaner, so it is going to be my new favorite pre-wash in any future diesel particulate filter, cleaning, videos that i do
And it didn’t do anything destructive to the glass fiber or the stainless steel
A big thank you to all of the viewers who suggested these chemicals. It helped make this a great test And now time to clean up these glasses and get them back to the kitchen before anyone notices that they are gone Until next time.