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Old 08-13-2018, 03:45 PM   #1
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DEF Refractometer

Does anyone use this tool to check DEF quality?
According to Cummings the DEF fluid is only good for max 18 months and much lower when stored in heat. P/N for their tester is 4919554
And is $78 on Amazon. Wonder if a cheaper one would work as well.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by FLavionics View Post
Does anyone use this tool to check DEF quality?
According to Cummings the DEF fluid is only good for max 18 months and much lower when stored in heat. P/N for their tester is 4919554
And is $78 on Amazon. Wonder if a cheaper one would work as well.

If you use your rig at all, this should never be a problem. Each time my tank gets down to about 1/2 I stop at a Walmart and get their brand of DEF. 6 years now doing this and I have had no issues. I think the testing idea may be overkill for the typical RVer. If you are brewing your own DEF that would be a different story.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:05 AM   #3
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Save your money and use it on dinner for you and your wife. You do not need (and really can't do much about it) to check your DEF "quality" which a refractometer really doesn't do. It checks specific gravity which basically tells you the percentage of water vs. urea. You are not going to be adding urea or water and I really don't think you are going to pump out the DEF in the tank. Follow jerichorick's advice.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:58 AM   #4
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Ok...ok i admit I sometimes go over the top, thanks for bringing me down to earth.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:06 AM   #5
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Ok...ok i admit I sometimes go over the top, thanks for bringing me down to earth.

Now we can be considered tether pullers. Welcome to planet earth.


Happy trails and many of them. Just don't let the DEF tank go dry. That will be a moment.
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Old 08-17-2018, 09:24 AM   #6
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I agree with above that if you drive enough to need to add fluid regularly throughout the year it should not be a problem.

Temp effects the storage life of def from one of the manufacturers

DEF Shelf Life versus Temperature
Constant Ambient Storage
Temperature Shelf Life Months
≤50 F (10C) 36
<77 F (25C) 18
≤86 F (30C) 12
≤95 F (35C) 6
<104F (40C) 2
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:51 PM   #7
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I used to keep the DEF tank topped off. Due to several surgeries I wasn't able to drive it much. I also called Cummins and inquired as to DEF service life which they advised as 18 months. They told me not to agonize as the 18 months is a "rule of thumb" although you don't want to go too far past.

I thought about siphoning it out, but it was in storage and "locked down" til April. We were able then to get it on the road and when the DEF hit half a tank added fresh 2 1/2 gallons and worked it down to 1/4 tank. The wind up is more surgeries are possible and now keep the DEF level at half a tank at all times. I don't carry any as it's available everywhere and want to always purchase a fresh container.

Sorry it's so long, just my .02 and how I decided to handle possible non use periods.
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