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Old 07-10-2020, 04:51 AM   #1
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Draining and refilling DEF tank question

The other day I drained 2 year old DEF from my tank and refilled it with fresh DEF. I now have the check engine light on, DEF gauge is Amber (digital dash) and will not show a DEF level

I cycled 12v power both house and chassis, no change. Started the coach, no change. Called Spartan and they told me to drive it before it would register. I am having a problem with that, nothing has changed in the system, only the tank drained and filled. Has anyone experienced this?
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:56 AM   #2
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Yes, after I drained no change, then I drove it for about 10 miles, and then the Spartan code appeared...the DEF head needed replacement. One thing that you might do is to pull the dash fuse and recycle the dash (Spartan can instruct on its location)...that has helped clear the amber light on my Entegra, I experienced after the new DEEF head replacement.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:15 AM   #3
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Chuck

It seems logical that you are either going to have to get the coach moving to get DEF out of the line and system or let the coach idle in the hangar for an extensive period of time to get the old DEF out of the system. Its a bit surprising to me that your DEF is as "sour" (smelly) as you said it was. If it was as strong an odor as you indicated, it really must be old.

You might be able to purge it out of the line leading up to the Cummins simply by pulling the feed off the sensor head and making sure that all of that is clear and coated with fresh DEF.

As you have seen, many others (including me) have had DEF problems. Mine was supposedly a DEF pump that needed to be replaced, but I always suspicioned that it involved the head but I watched the replacement and it seemed the only change was at the bottom of the tank.

From memory, I think you have a shop that you are comfortable with near you that does your Cummins work.... driving there might be sufficient to clear the codes. Good luck.

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Old 07-10-2020, 06:39 AM   #4
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I'll drive the coach up 41 today and see what happens. I just can't believe that draining a tank and refilling it would cause the reading to stop working. If it doesn't correct, I'll call Spartan and let them worry about it. If it goes into limp mode, I hope the 3 year coach net is good.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:40 AM   #5
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Yes, after I drained no change, then I drove it for about 10 miles, and then the Spartan code appeared...the DEF head needed replacement. One thing that you might do is to pull the dash fuse and recycle the dash (Spartan can instruct on its location)...that has helped clear the amber light on my Entegra, I experienced after the new DEEF head replacement.

Thanks for that feedback. I may have caused my own problem by fixing another problem.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:55 AM   #6
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brobox

I had 2" of DEF sludge in the bottom of my tank that fouled the pump, filter, nozzle and line. Dealer purged system, cleaned everything, replaced filter and put in new DEF and running good but haven't had it on a long trip yet.

The Cummins Coach Care Tech told me that as DEF ages the Urea reading drops and it turns into sludge in the bottom of the tank.

You should be able to drive the DP as is but once you get the DEF failure light on the dash don't stop, don't let the engine idle - keep going till you get home OR to a repair center. Should be able to go about 60 miles before engine goes into derate and drops your speed to 5mph which allows you to get off the road and then shuts down. I could start mine and the codes came up with the dash yellow and red light on. Dealer over rode the Cummins program and drove it 200 miles to the shop to repair it. Had to stop and override twice.

Cummins Coach Care tech told me never to fill my 13 gal DEF tank unless I'm planning on being on the road for over 4,000 miles and even then he recommended no more than half and add at 1/4.

I just received my refractometer yesterday. If DEF Urea drops below 32.5 all I have to do is add fresh DEF to bring it back up.

Freightliner had a article in the 2017 Fall issue about DEF and they recommend draining DEF tank annually to get rid of old DEF. I think if we get in the habit of checking it regularly this wouldn't be necessary.

If you have continued problems consider checking your DEF line, filter and nozzle to insure all is clean. I suspect, from the DEF age that it will be full of sludge as mine was.

Best wishes - Richard
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:18 AM   #7
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Richard, the DEF that was drained out of the tank was clean, no sludge, just strong smelling. The engine has not been run, so nothing to plug up the filter, etc. That was the reason I changed the DEF before it did cause any damage. However after starting the engien trying to get the DEF gauge to work, an error message came up that the DEF "consent ration was strong." I'll run it and see what happens, thanks for your help.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by brobox View Post
Richard, the DEF that was drained out of the tank was clean, no sludge, just strong smelling. The engine has not been run, so nothing to plug up the filter, etc. That was the reason I changed the DEF before it did cause any damage. However after starting the engien trying to get the DEF gauge to work, an error message came up that the DEF "consent ration was strong." I'll run it and see what happens, thanks for your help.
How much DEF did you add to the tank?

My first high mile DEF was a new 6.7 F350 in 2011

Ran it for 200k and used every cheap jug as well as pump DEF

Never an issue and it sat for months in the off season, never drained or replaced anything
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:41 AM   #9
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This could be a good example on why owners should not let their coach sit for a long period of time! I would have driven the coach a few times during that two year period just to make sure that everything was lubed and brought up to temperature. How many miles do you have on your coach?
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:11 AM   #10
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Now I might not ...

You folks have me scared.....


I was going to drain and refill mine, but now I don't want to


.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:48 AM   #11
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Guess Iím one of the lucky ones. This is my fourth Mh with DEF and never had a problem with any of them. When itís low I fill it. For several years I topped off the tank and let it set for 6-8 months while we were in Fl during the winter. I do and have checked it with a refractometer and itís always checked good.
Iíve used the Walmart blue plastic jugs 95% of the time. Iím sure itís a pain to have problems with it, but guess Iíll just keep doing what Iíve been doing.
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:51 AM   #12
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UPDATE
Drove the 20 miles sloshed the tank as instructed by Spartan . As I thought, it did nothing. A bad DEF head with only 1,953 miles. Can't believe it, change DEF and it killed the DEF head and sensor.
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:41 PM   #13
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UPDATE
Drove the 20 miles sloshed the tank as instructed by Spartan . As I thought, it did nothing. A bad DEF head with only 1,953 miles. Can't believe it, change DEF and it killed the DEF head and sensor.
Thatís what you get for being proactive!😀😀
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:52 PM   #14
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Guess Iím one of the lucky ones. This is my fourth Mh with DEF and never had a problem with any of them. When itís low I fill it. For several years I topped off the tank and let it set for 6-8 months while we were in Fl during the winter. I do and have checked it with a refractometer and itís always checked good.

Iíve used the Walmart blue plastic jugs 95% of the time. Iím sure itís a pain to have problems with it, but guess Iíll just keep doing what Iíve been doing.
I have never had an issue with DEF either and have done about the same

All these issues are with faulty equipment it seems
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