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Old 09-12-2022, 10:07 PM   #1
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DEF Check Engine Codes

Cummins "Check Engine" issue: Low-DEF vs SPN-5031 code.



Background: At 47,000 miles, I just replaced the DEF filter in the Denoxtronic 2.2 unit. While driving, the old/dirty DEF filter seems to have caused an alert on my dash's 3-line readout stating "Low DEF"...but the tank was confirmed to be full (i.e., the 4-green-LEDs [co-located with the tachometer] indicated a full DEF tank and the analog gauge [affixed to the top of the DEF tank] read full as well). A dip-stick test also showed a full tank.



While the DEF filter was going bad (over a year's time, perhaps), I had another check-engine problem show up: SPN-5031 "After Treatment 1 Outlet NOx Sensor Heater Ratio" and FMI-10 "Abnormal Rate Of Change".


My question: Is it possible that the "low DEF" problem caused a "domino effect" and thus forced the 5031/FMI-10 code (as seen on my OBD reader). Conversely, with the DEF problem now corrected, will these other engine codes eventually clear over a period of time?
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Old 09-13-2022, 04:53 AM   #2
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Have you run the coach at highway speeds since changing the DEF Dosing Filter?
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Old 09-13-2022, 12:21 PM   #3
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Highway-speed driving? I'd like to perform this test but our current camping set-up makes a highway test-trip "too hard". We will have to move from the current campground on 20-Sep, so that will be the opportunity that you suggest.


And another question: Can I undertake extended driving (2,000 miles) with the 5031/FMI-10 code active?...and not suffer any engine or exhaust damage?
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Old 09-13-2022, 08:00 PM   #4
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I would call Cummins 24/7 Tech Support at 800-286-6467 and have your engine serial number (ESN) handy. They will be able to provide you with the correct information regarding the code and let you know if it is advisable to drive it any considerable distance or proceed directly to a Cummins authorized sevice center.

In some instances, running at Highway Speeds or doing an Auto Regen can result in clearing a code, but if in fact it is a bad NOX sensor, their is a possibility that the engine will go into derate mode (amber light icon) and will inhibit your speed....or worse and shut you down when the red "Stop Engine" icon illuminates on the dash.

I asked my previous question because I had a couple of after treatment spn codes come up on my engine over the past 10 years, but they all cleared after driving at highway speeds where a regeneration usually takes place.

Get back to us in the event you speak with Cummins.
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Old 09-14-2022, 01:12 PM   #5
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Tori, a call to Cummins tech-support revealed mostly good news. My primary question to the tech was that I need to drive 1900 miles to get back to Virginia ... and could I drive with the FMI-10 / SPN-5031 code indicators? He stated that neither would case a derate or engine stop. I made him aware of my DEF-filter clog (and new filter installed) but that I had not driven at highway speeds yet. He could not say if the 5031 code would clear now that DEF is flowing adequately. So... Any IRV2 guys: have you had a similar experience?
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:58 PM   #6
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Regrets. Having replaced the DEF filter, I took the rig on-the-road. Same error showed up: "Low DEF". Frustrated. If I can, I'll unbolt and clean the doser to see if that helps.
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:39 PM   #7
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Unless I misunderstand what you are saying the 5031 code with FMI 10 is concerning the outlet NOX sensor heater. This has nothing to do with your DEF level or the DEF filter/pump/doser/injector. The obvious fix would be to change the outlet NOX sensor. It should be located downstream of the DEF doser near the output end of the SCR Catalyst chamber. It will just be a device screwed into the exhaust plumbing with a 4-wire connector attached.
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Old 09-26-2022, 11:47 AM   #8
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Archer: Agreed that these are separate issues. I'm getting an FMI-31 and SPN 1569 due to the DEF issue ... and an accompanying Torque Derate. I can feel the engine not being as powerful when the "Low DEF" pops up on the dash readout. Thanks for your advice on the location and replacement of the NOx sensor. Finding this sensor and changing it out was the guidance I was seeking. I'll go looking for it.



Do you have thoughts as to my DEF problem? The DEF-tank level sensor(s ??) seems to be working because I have 4 green lights on the dash (indicating a full tank) and the analog gauge atop the DEF-tank reads full. And when dipping a stick into the tank, the tank is indeed full.
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Old 09-26-2022, 04:09 PM   #9
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The other thing I'm thinking of is perhaps a bad DEF dosing module.

That would certainly result in the derating your experiencing.

I think the best course of action is to go to the nearest Cummins Service Center and have it evaluated with their "Insite" propriety software.

This may involve a ride-a-log with the service tech as he or she monitors the software on their laptop until the problem recurs.

Sometimes these problems cannot be replicated at idle or high idle, but will rear their ugly head with the engine under load and at highway speeds.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:46 PM   #10
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Do you have any other SPNs other than the 5031 and the 1569? The reason I ask is that the SPN5031/FMI 10 is, in fact, a code indicating a problem with the outlet NOx sensor heater circuit but according to Cummins documentation on the QSOL website it does NOT cause a deration. But, and this gets a little tricky, the SPN1569/FMI 31 is not a “Trouble/Fault Code” per se. This particular code is informational and indicates that some other fault(s) that impact the engine operation are currently active. So SPN1569/FMI 31 is a “Condition Exists” code.

Some codes having to do with the DEF system can be reset by starting the engine, allowing it to run for at least 5 minutes, shut it down then repeat the entire sequence 2 mote times (making it 3 cycles total). BUT the condition that caused the actual fault in the first place MUST have been corrected for that procedure to work.

Also, some random other things are that the gauge that’s on the side of the DEF tank is not an analog gauge. It is actually a “smart” gauge and gets its data from the J1939 data bus which gets its data from the DEF tank sensor/header combination. If you look at the guage you should see a 4-wire connector. So if your DEF level sensor is outputting intermittent false level data then the dashboard guage AND the round guage on the tank should both vary in lockstep. Another thing is that the level sensor is NOT a simple float-type guage. It is actually an ultrasonic sonar probe (over-engineered much?)

If you have not built one of the do-it-yourself DEF Sensor Simulator devices, you probably should do it sooner regather than later in case your OEM sensor is failing. You could at least use it to troubleshoot whether it’s your sensor that’s causing the erratic “low DEF” messages. You can find the info on how to build one and what hardware to obtain (I suggest the RP2040 board or my second choice is the Arduino CANBED board). All versions of the hardware work identically and there is no value in spending more than necessary.
Link:
https://defsim.myervin.com/
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:03 PM   #11
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Whoa! I just read your sig and realized that you have a 2016 coach. Your coach may have an engine built in 2015 before the EPA began requiring the DEF % Urea sensor to be included. Your DEF sensor may be analog after all so before you start ordering parts for a DSS you should check to make sure what kind of system you have.
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Old 09-26-2022, 10:39 PM   #12
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Toribk: The Cummins “ride along” is probably in my future. The problem for me now is that I’m a long way from home (Virginia) and living in the rig (along with DW and the cat) along with frequent travel (currently in NM and soon AZ). Hence my comment that I hope to un-bolt the doser and confirm that it is not clogged. Seems to be a simple and reasonable thing to try.


Archer: Yes, Cummins tech-support confirmed that the NOx trouble would not cause a derate. So my DEF “low” is the cause for derate, and yes: My description of my on-the-tank gauge as being “analog” is probably misleading. The gauge has a clock-face needle movement (thus I called it “analog”), but I’m guessing that you are correct that it is electronically fed. Via some sleuthing, I surmised that the tank sensor is not a mechanical float (as you say) and thus is indeed over-engineered. I had a similar (in technology) sensor fail on my previous 2004 Monaco … in the fuel tank. But I have not observed any intermittent dashboard (4 LEDs) variance in tank DEF level…and the “analog” gauge is reading steady as is the 4-LEDs. Whatever my DEF problem is, there is a consistency: After stopping the engine (at a rest-area, for example) for a few minutes, I can then accelerate at full power and drive 10 minutes before the “Low DEF” alert returns on the dash (and the derate can be felt). Then some 50 or 60 minutes later, the dash alert changes to “Very Low Def”. It is at this point that I begin looking for another rest stop or somewhere else to pull off and rest (turn off) the engine. These actions got me 1,000 miles since the first "Low DEF" occurred … and it looks like my trip home (1900 miles) will suffer this same drive/rest/drive/rest nonsense. And thanks: I’ll investigate the DEF Simulator devices. Finally: my engine is a 2015. How can I confirm the %-urea stuff?
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Old 09-26-2022, 11:03 PM   #13
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And please clarify "The obvious fix would be to change the outlet NOX sensor." To change the sensor is to also change the associated module?
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Old 09-26-2022, 11:36 PM   #14
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The sensor and its associated electronics are all one assembly. They can’t be changed individually.
I am stumped as to what is causing your dashboard info display to show “Low DEF” and “Very Low DEF”. Might mean low DEF pressure and not Low DEF level? Maybe related to the doser? Don’t know, just throwing out some possibilities.
Something that I have found very helpful is to sign up for the Cummins “QSOL” service if you haven’t already. It’s free and all you need is your Engine Serial Number to log in.
It has lots of stuff including looking up fault codes, troubleshooting guides, wiring diagrams, etc.
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