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Cummins voluntarily recalls 500,000 engines due to emissions system issues


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James Jaillet, Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ)  /  July 31, 2018

Cummins has instituted a voluntary recall of roughly 500,000 model-year 2010-2015 engines, according to an announcement from the U.S. EPA. The recall involves faulty emissions systems components that cause the engines to fall out of compliance with federal emissions regulations.

The trucks and engines under the voluntary recall have seen degradation of their selective catalytic reduction systems, according to financial reports issued by Cummins. SCR systems are the exhaust aftertreatment components that use diesel exhaust fluid to curb emissions of nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases. All manufacturers of engines for Class 8 trucks use SCR and DEF in their emissions-control systems. Engine makers adopted thetechnology in 2010 to meet that year’s emissions hurdles.

In financial reports issued for the 2017 fiscal year and for the first quarter of 2018, Cummins noted that the EPA and the California Air Resources Board had pulled “certain pre-2013 model year engine systems for additional emissions testing” and that “some of these engines failed… tests as a result of degradation of an aftertreatment component.”

EPA says that Cummins will contact owners of Cummins engines with information on how to have their engines repaired.

Cummins said in those reports that it planned to institute a field campaign to address the issue. The engine maker said in its 2017 10-K filing that it had set aside nearly $200 million for the repair campaign.

CCJ queried Cummins on multiple occasions in recent weeks asking for information on a potential field campaign and to the extent it would affect fleets who own and operate Cummins engines. CCJ also asked Cummins how many engines were tested by EPA and CARB and how many engines failed the tests due to degradation and whether that percentage could be extrapolated to all Cummins engines in use.

Cummins responded to these queries, but did not provide any insight into the questions asked about the emissions-control systems or the field campaign. Cummins spokesperson Jon Mills said in June that the company was working with the EPA and CARB to address the issue.

In the company’s 10-Q filing for the first quarter of 2018, Cummins said it “had not yet determined the impact to other model years or engine systems or the percentage of the engine system populations that could be affected.”

In its quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, July 31, Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said the issue is isolated to 2010-2015 model-year engines and that the company has set aside $181 million for repairs of those engines’ exhaust aftertreatment systems. “We’ve reached agreements with the appropriate regulatory agencies regarding our proposed actions, and we will launch that campaign in phases starting in the third quarter this year and expect to substantially complete the campaign by the end of 2020,” he said. “This issue does not affect any of our current products.”

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Cummins Emissions Recall Includes Over 500,000 Engines

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  July 31, 2018

A voluntary recall affecting more than 500,000 Cummins engines has been initiated after an investigation by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) discovered excess emissions resulting from defective emissions aftertreatment systems.

Cummins has worked collaboratively with CARB on the voluntary recall, which the agency stated was the largest such effort for heavy-duty trucks to date. Owners of 2010-2015 model-year vehicles are required to replace the faulty emissions equipment. The trucks will be recalled in two phases. Starting in Aug. 2018, owners of the 500,000 affected vehicles will receive letters with instructions on how to get their catalysts replaced or receive reimbursement for the cost of replacement.  The second phase begins in March 2019. It is required for vehicle owners to replace the catalyst in order to renew a California DMV registration on most engine families.

It was discovered that the selective catalytic reduction systems were defective after excess emissions were detected through CARB’s Heavy Duty In-Use Compliance program. The Cummins recall is the first major recall to result from the program, in which vehicles are equipped with Portable Emissions measurement Systems to measure truck emissions while operating under typical demands and conditions.

During testing, some of the Cummins engines revealed higher than expected emissions of nitrogen oxides. This led more comprehensive testing by CARB that confirmed the cause as a defective SCR.

The same problem was found in about 60 “engine families” under the Cummins name found in a wide range of vehicles, from large commercial trucks, to larger pickup trucks, and some buses. Cummins also conducted its own testing to confirm the failures and agreed to institute a voluntary recall to replace the catalysts.

“Our new heavy-duty in-use compliance program ensures that heavy-duty and other trucks already in operation meet the required emissions standards both in the lab and on the road,” said Mary D. Nichols, CARB chair.  “Our portable testing equipment tells us exactly how clean a truck is when it’s actually operating in the real world: pulling a full load and driving on roads and through neighborhoods where people live.”

The cause of the problem was purely mechanical, according to CARB, and was the result of faster-than-expected degradation of the catalyst. The degraded catalyst issue is not a safety risk and does not affect current model year Cummins engine families. Following the recall, CARB and EPA will work together to ensure that the affected vehicles will meet all emissions standards.

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  • 1 year later...

Less then 6 months ago the check engine light came on in my 2015 Tiffin( it has an engine listed in the current Cummings SCR recall).  I took the rig to the local Cummings service center and they plugged it into the computer.  The check engine light and subsequent computer read out said the Nox sensor needed to be replaced.

It cost me $1100.00 to have the sensor replaced.  It was 2 weeks past the emission parts replacement deadline.  Could the problems associated with the recall have been the reason for the Nox sensor failing?

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I see a lot of NOX sensor failures on our late model B6.7's, and many are the subject of this recall.  The sensor is expensive (comes with a module) and it isn't really easy to replace.  I don't think, at least in our case, the SCR problem caused the NOX sensor failures.  The related trouble codes I have seen are all NOX sensor out of range (electrical failure like short to voltage).     

Edited by RoadwayR
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