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Old 09-02-2020, 04:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 20
Should EGR be avoided at all costs?

I'm looking at a 2002 Gillig Phantom transit bus. The miles are very low, in part because the Detroit 50 EGR engine caused issues for the transit agency (unclear in exactly what way). I really like the bus, but this forum worries me about buying something with EGR, since there are people willing to commit federal crimes just to remove them!

A general google search about EGR seems to indicate that yes, EGR is annoying and probably not the best idea for an engine, but if you start to see symptoms such as bad smells or poor engine performance, repair costs don't seem insane (well under $1000 from what I've seen).

Thoughts? If you found a bus that ticked all your boxes but it had EGR, would you still pass it up?


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Old 09-02-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466/3060
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EPA instituted other regulations starting in late 03. These systems turned out to be problematic, hard to diagnose and expensive to repair. They are not an issue on pre 04 models. Your safe with the 02.
I Thank God That He Gifted Me with Common Sense
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:12 PM   #3
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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Some EGR systems are worse than others.. repairs over 1000 are common when an EGR screws up and causes internal engine damage..

I don’t avoid them at all costs.. I don’t know the Detroit specifically but fixing or deleting EGR and associated coolers before they become problematic is a good way to stay reliable with it.

As time goes on finding busses pre EGR gets tougher and tougher .. as time goes on more and more methods for making EGR reliable are created as well esp in the aftermarket.. or deleting it if you aren’t a tree hugger and your state doesn’t inspect.. I myself usually try to make a system work before I delete it.

Some engines just never made it work even in the aftermarket so deleting is the only way to gain reliability.. the ford 6.4 : navistar maxxforce7 is one of those such engines..
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Kansas
Posts: 125
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12v
Rated Cap: 60
My experience with EGR and emissions is in heavy trucks and farm equipment but I'll share what I know.

The most important thing with EGR and particulate filter systems is that you either have a good mechanic, or you take time to understand how the systems work. If you are going to do the work you almost have to have engine software to read sensor values and voltages from the ecm.

These systems WILL HAVE PROBLEMS over time. A poor mechanic will read a code and start replacing parts based on manufacturer literature. There are lots and lots and lots of these mechanics out there. A good mechanic understands what the sensors are reading, what sensors cause what codes, and can understand when it's time to replace a major part or when it's time to clean the soot out of a sensor.

I run cummins ISX in two trucks. One has has EGR and particulate filter. The particulate filter truck was throwing an emissions code. Took it to the dealer and they told me my particulate filter was clogged and it would be 5k plus labor. I couldn't afford that so I brought it home intending on deleting it or something and started learning how the system worked. I looked at the filter and it indeed was clogged....but I noticed when the engine was running a regen to burn the soot out it wasn't getting as hot as it should. It burns by injecting fuel into the hot exhaust. Pulled the injector and it was clogged. Cleaned it and let it regen and voila.....fixed. this is when I decided I had to get a computer and software and learn this stuff myself because the dealer will bankrupt me.

These kind of stories happen over and over. Good mechanics on modern engines are worth their weight in gold.....literally.

The other thing about EGR engines is they are literally pumping soot back into the engine. Soot is abrasive. Bypass oil filters with more filter capacity are a good idea as it keeps the oil cleaner. Extended oil change regimens imo are a bad idea. Soot in the oil negatively effects internal engine wear. Treat your service intervals accordingly.

They are not the devil's they are made out to be. In fact things like variable turbos and variable injection timing and programming make them superior more efficient engines when run correctly. Just gotta understand them.

Now anything after about 2013 when def started is junk. Lmao. Our new combines and tractors have horrible power compared to their older counterparts and it's all emissions based.
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