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Old 06-16-2011, 09:29 AM   #1
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Soot Build up in Exhaust System

Greetings All,

Does anyone have experience with soot build up in an exhaust system

2000, Dodge, Cummings 5.9L Diesel with 218,752 miles, factory exhaust system.

When driving at speeds over 45 mph and you step on it the exhaust sounds like it is restricted. When driving around town or on the hwy at a steady speed the engine lugs requiring throttle response.

After reviewing the manual and talking with the parts manager at a Dodge dealership and a few mechanics we all agree that the resonator is most likely plugged. The resonator was removed Tuesday night, opened and a pile of soot was knocked out. Could not get a 3" to 4" reducer to put in a straight pipe so the canister was cleaned out as best as it could be welded closed and put back on. The truck has better throttle response and the exhaust sounds like it is flowing better, but it still sounds like it has a restriction.

Considering all things has anyone heard about the muffler getting plugged with soot. According to several mechanics the mufflers don't get plugged the resonators do. Most trucks in the north east the exhaust systems rot out before they get plugged. My was in Las Vegas for the first 9 years it was owned and it was garaged so the factory exhaust is not rotted and appears to be in good order. So if I am going to eliminate the resonator, might as well do the muffler and change the system to 4" pipe and eliminate the use of a reducer. But if the mufflers don't plug would prefer not to spend the cash today...Personally, I don't think the muffler will plug...Am I wrong?

Has anyone had any experience with this type of situation...

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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I'm curious, are you on the stock tune, or do you have an aftermarket tune that belches black smoke?

The resonator will plug first because it's upstream from the muffler. Eliminating the resonator and running a good, free-flow muffler would cure any issues with soot you might have. That said, if it took 200,000+ miles to plug the resonator, it will most likely take the same or longer to plug the stock muffler. I'm curious as to what the guts of the exhaust side of your turbo look like. Is it still making good boost and spooling like it should?

They're making a mess with diesels today with the now required catalytic convertors and particulate filters. it's not a question of if they will clog and fail, but when they will.

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Old 06-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sinister View Post
I'm curious, are you on the stock tune, or do you have an aftermarket tune that belches black smoke?

The resonator will plug first because it's upstream from the muffler. Eliminating the resonator and running a good, free-flow muffler would cure any issues with soot you might have. That said, if it took 200,000+ miles to plug the resonator, it will most likely take the same or longer to plug the stock muffler. I'm curious as to what the guts of the exhaust side of your turbo look like. Is it still making good boost and spooling like it should?

They're making a mess with diesels today with the now required catalytic convertors and particulate filters. it's not a question of if they will clog and fail, but when they will.
It's chipped...when it kicks in it belches black smoke...there is no problem with turbo boost...I am debating if I should pull the inter-cooler and flush it...also my buddy builds turbo racers for the street and strip. He is not a Diesel mechanic, so I read and ask questions before doing my repairs sometimes I use his shop...He was the one who suggested flushing the inter-cooler...when I service the truck I look for oil blow-by at the turbo so for it is not a problem, don't know what the exhaust side of the turbo looks like but if the exhaust is changed we may pull it and take a peek...I never jump on it at a dead stop or in 2nd gear, usually wait till it's in 4th gear to stomp it sometimes it gets stomped on in in 3rd...In 4th and 5th I will and do...especially when when some want-a-be hot-roder tries to give me a hard time...they find out that that Diesel Dodge has some punch...Love eating BMW's and the like...they have it off the line...but going down the hwy very few pass it...or stay with it...Pisses them off when I slow down to let them catch up then wave bye-bye...and dust them again...

Thanks for your input...
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:06 PM   #4
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The fuel-rich tunes (that cause the black smoke) cause excess and unnecessary soot production, by providing more fuel than you actually need at lower rpm and raising the EGT's beyond what is typically good for the engine. You can tune a diesel to make the same power, without dumping black smoke and without producing excess soot. Diesels depend on the heat of compression to ignite fuel, so a cold engine will smoke until warm. Low boost combined with too much fuel like when accelerating from a stop will cause smoke due to excess fuel and not enough air for efficient combustion.

Smoky tunes are poor quality tunes in all honesty. The smoke show is just that, for show. There's no power benefit to making it smoke. But as you have learned, there are plenty of reasons, such as soot clogging, to not run a smoky tune.
You do hit a power level where smoke is inevitable, but I'm talking enough power to run mid 11 second 1/4 miles and faster, and not a huge amount.

An intercooler only sees fresh air, from the intake side of the turbo. The exhaust spins one side, which in turn spins the other. Exhaust passes through the exhaust side of the turbo, spinning a turbine that is connected by a shaft to an impeller on the intake side. The intake side of the turbo draws fresh air in through the intake, compresses it and forces it through the intercooler and into the cylinders. The only way you'd pollute your intercooler is through oil vapor being recirculated through the intake tract by the PCV valve. This is why i highly recommend a catch can on EVERY turbocharged engine. It traps the oil vapor and keeps it out of your intake tract. It's a waste container that needs to be emptied occasionally, so supposedly by law, vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to install them on their vehicles from the factory. At 200,000+ miles of oil vapor being passed through your intercooler, it probably could stand to be flushed or just replaced, then add a catch can.

I hear you about the wanna be hot-rodders. I let the diesel guys try me first, then show them what I've got.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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Thank You Again...Yes I know the black smoke is un-burned fuel...Had it tuned before and it always smokes some between 2nd and 3rd gear...last year when it was inspected...the shop owner stated it was running fine and did not recommend it...we test drove it and he stated the smoke was minimal...even under heavy acceleration...

If I am reading you correct, if it is tuned properly there is no loss of power and no smoke...which equates to better economy and performance...

Stupid Question...would you suggest I purchase a tuning box and Do it myself...

The inter-cooler will be cleaned and a catch can installed...

Also, not many diesel pick-ups in NYC, but some with the gas engines like to play...most get skunked...

Thanks for educating me...
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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Thank You Again...Yes I know the black smoke is un-burned fuel...Had it tuned before and it always smokes some between 2nd and 3rd gear...last year when it was inspected...the shop owner stated it was running fine and did not recommend it...we test drove it and he stated the smoke was minimal...even under heavy acceleration...

If I am reading you correct, if it is tuned properly there is no loss of power and no smoke...which equates to better economy and performance...

Stupid Question...would you suggest I purchase a tuning box and Do it myself...

The inter-cooler will be cleaned and a catch can installed...

Also, not many diesel pick-ups in NYC, but some with the gas engines like to play...most get skunked...

Thanks for educating me...
My pleasure, thanks for listening!!
I would recommend leaving the tuning to the professionals. If you can afford it, a custom tune from a reputable shop is the way to go. Just tell them you want a good, low smoke or smokeless tune. You don't have to sacrifice power. Any shop that tells you that you do to go smokeless, doesn't know what they're doing. That's the great thing about diesels. You can increase power AND economy very easily, and still keep it clean.

BUT

If you like/don't mind the smoke and it's not belching it all the time, it's probably not going to hurt anything once you do the exhaust. Maybe install a EGT gauge if you haven't already and just keep an eye on the temps with your current tune, just to be safe.

Good call on the intercooler and catch can.

I know about the "racin' trucks", lol. I get more challenges from bumpkins in Hemi Rams with mufflers than from actual fast cars.

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