Thursday 2 May 2019

UPDATE: F10 off road with DPF issues... E46 Touring joins the stable!

So, quite an eventful couple of months... first I rectified the hi-beam headlight issues on the F10, only for it to then fail the MOT on emissions due to a blocked DPF and new regulations. Work on my house meant that I had no time to sort it and needed a car, so ended up buying an E46 318i Touring for the princely sum of £400. It's got 102k miles, MOT until October and is purple... enough said.

F10 DPF / Emissions woes...

New UK emissions rules [info here] for diesel cars are extremely choking [excuse the pun]. The law states that diesel cars made after 2008 must no longer adhere to a generic CO2 value, previously 3.0 m-1, but instead must produce emissions lower than the manufacturers plate value... in BMWs case this is 0.5 m-1. Therefore, to pass a UK MOT test on emissions the car must now produce 1/6th of what used to be considered acceptable! There is still a generic value to test to, only halved at 1.5 m-1 and easier to pass, but this only applies when there is no 'manufacturer plate-value' and sadly the F10 has one.
To make matters worse, any emission of black smoke from the exhaust pipe on a post-2008 vehicle fitted with a DPF is an instant fail!

My first emissions test produced just shy of 1.8 m-1. In past years this has been well within the acceptable limits, my Dad's 2004 Audi A4 diesel producing nearly 2.8 m-1 and passing for instance, but since April 2018 the limit is 0.5 and my 1.8 is well over. I ran a bottle of CataClean through and gave the car a good 20 mile run up and down the motorway, then returned to the test-station for another go. This time I rolled just under 1.5 m-1 of CO2, an improvement but still well above the permitted 0.5. Besides, it was pointed out to me that the car was emitting a puff or two of black smoke during the tests, so it didn't really matter and this only pointed to one thing... a blocked DPF.

After trying a re-gen through software, I realised that the DPF would need to come off the car to be cleaned out / replaced before this was going to happen. A new DPF from BMW is £1596 +VAT... so lets not even go there. Used or reconditioned DPFs.. hmm, I decided to give those a pass too, along with cheap spurious models that I've heard nothing but bad things about. No, instead I will have to clean out the heavily clogged one I have now, so watch this space as I will post results soon.

Yeah, a lot going on and you can see why I needed a cheap runaround!

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