As I was casually driving along I-91 in New England, not a worry in the world, my tranquility was rudely disturbed by my check engine light screaming to life.
My Regen light started beeping and the DPF status light started flashing like a 4 alarm fire.
I had to quickly find a place to pull over to do a parked regeneration. But on 91 through Connecticut, there were few places I could safely stop. Sometimes on highway cruising, the system would do a regen on its own. The key was to drive at a rapid speed and avoid stop and go, hoping that the steady combustion will burn out all the excess soot from the DPF.
Suddenly without much warning the Level 4 warning light came on accompanied by a constant beeping and “Stop Engine Light.” I pulled over at the next exit.
When I finally stopped, I found out to my dismay that I couldn’t do a parked regen. When the system progresses to Level 4, only the International mechanic could do it with a laptop loaded with International software plugged into the ECM.
But the closest dealership, Nutmeg International, would take me in on short notice. I desperately pulled the fuse box and tried to find the fuse for the annoying alarm.
I found it F-2G for the instrument cluster. Sure enough the blasted alarm stopped and I took a sigh of relief. The fuse also controlled the speedometer, but I could use the Truck GPS to determine speed. But while pulling fuses, I inadvertently pulled a wrong fuse and now the engine wouldn’t start.
I quickly realized which fuse it was and corrected it. Voila the engine cranked up. But now my windshield wipers wasn’t working. Also my dash control didn’t work which meant I couldn’t control the jake brakes or dump my suspension air.
I took pictures of my fuse panel and started googling each position. It took me several hours but after checking and replacing fuses, my trusty windshield wipers as well as my jakes, suspension air dump valve and parked region were working. One lesson, always take a picture of the fuse panel before you start pulling fuses. Some of these fuses panels are compact and if your thick fingers are getting in the way, use a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers. You can also check whether the fuse is blown by using a multimeter. Simply pull the blade fuse out and hold the leads to the end of the fuse. You should get a constant beeping to ensure that the circuit is complete.
Luckily, I also found a dealership in Hartford that would fit me in for a quick forced regeneration. Despite getting bumped from my previous load due to the level 4, I was able to book another load from Jersey City to Winston Salem, NC. Within an hour I was back on the road and everything seemed back to normal.
As a casual golfer who doesn’t even keep score, I was elated to be dispatched to the Liberty National in Jersey City, the course dubbed the “Best View in Golf”
What is unique about Liberty National is the breathtaking view of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, visible from every hole.
That’s why it’s even more remarkable that this prime waterfront property boasting the best views of NYC used to be an industrial wasteland overflowing with toxic trash excreted from the Big Apple’s digestive system. When the landfill was remediated and transformed into a 18-hole golf course in the early 90s, it became one of the most expensive golf projects in history expending over $300 million dollars to create what is arguably the “Best Skyline in Sports.”
When I arrived, I was surprised that buried deep underground was an industrial compound called “the pit” dedicated for trucks and backhoes and any heavy duty equipment. There was so much commotion and traffic from tearing down and setting up the next big event, I felt like they were building an amusement park.
Time was of an essence. These PGA Tours criss cross around the nation just as much as we do commanding huge corporate sponsors. The purses of these tournaments run into millions of dollars.
The Northern Trust was the first event of the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs attracting big names like Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka.
It was quite an experience to be a part of something so massive with huge purses, even if it meant playing a small behind-the-scenes role.
Since the other driver was running late, I was asked to jockey some trailers around the compound which I was happy to oblige. To my amazement, I had to back down towards a trailer at a very steep angle to get under it and couple the fifth wheel with the kingpin.
I’ve backed up a trailer at a 45 degree angle many times, just never coupled that way. There was a first time for everything and quite frankly didn’t know it could be done.
I was still obsessed with the stunning views, but it was time to start my way to DC. Halfway down on the New Jersey Turnpike, a warning light suddenly came on in my dash accompanied by an annoying buzzing. It sounded like Battle Stations had been called and all hands were setting up for general quarters.
It was irritating as hell but after awhile I was surprisingly able to tune out the buzzing and just focus on driving, which in itself had become quite a challenge.
I knew I could pull the F2-G fuse, but I didn’t feel like stopping. I just rolled down the windows and put on my Beats Studio 3 which tuned out most of the background noise.
My DPF was clogged and I had to find a shop immediately to do a forced regen. But it was after hours and there were no International shops nearby.
Right away, my engine started losing power as I started climbing short but steep hills as I entered Maryland.
Suddenly my 350 HP engine was working with just half its potential. Is this because soot was entering the combustion chamber and interfering with the internal combustion of your engine.
Maybe, but probably not so. The Engine Control Module (ECM) was derating my engine because engineers had hard-wired this into the software.
Navistar (who happened to be fined by the EPA for over 300 million) does not want me to pollute, so whenever my DPF is clogged, the engine will derate to force me to stop immediately or to slowly limp home and find a mechanic.
But this can be dangerous especially when you’re driving up on a hill. Without enough power, you may not be able to climb a hill, stall, or worse cause a crash.
My max speed going up hill now was 45 mph. I had heard rumors that if I kept going, I would eventually derate down to 5 mph. I was still 100 miles away – I had to hurry to make it home before I came to a dead stop.
Driving with a clogged DPF could also damage other parts of your emissions systems such as the DOC.
I’ve heard of drivers complain that poisonous exhaust gases can enter the truck. At this moment and time I hated Navistar for their crappy Maxxforce Engine and EGR emissions design.
There was little time from Level 1 to Level 4 and the constant beeping and engine derating made it impossible and unsafe to drive my truck to a safe location.
I was screwed.