Complicated Issue - What do we do next? - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Question Complicated Issue - What do we do next?

Okay, so since we've been coming to the northeast (NE) for many years now, we've been experiencing everything that comes with the NE -- including rotting tailpipes. So, recently, I was traveling on one of the mountain roads in the area when I began to hear a clanking (metallic) sound coming from the rear of our 2012 Cummins Mega Longhorn (presently under 48,000 miles). Upon a visual inspection, I saw that the truck's tailpipe was dangling from a dampened exhaust hanger, so, long story short, I ended up laying under the track with a cordless grinder (and a few blades) to cut the damned thing off.

As I've been thinking about deleting the fuel-robbing emissions garbage on this particular truck, I didn't run out right away and replace the tailpipe. Fast forward to yesterday...I'm heading south on one of our interstates, at night, when, all of the sudden, I begin losing power on an uphill section. Shortly after that, I begin hearing something that doesn't sound good (a slight knocking)...then I get a check engine light followed by the following dash message: Exhaust Service Required -- See Dealer Now. Needless to say, I pulled off of the road to give the truck a visual. After seeing that the [full synthetic] oil looked its normal black color -- with no visible signs of contamination -- I pulled out a cordless 18V lamp and began inspecting the underside of the truck. As there were no visible signs of trouble, I decided to start the truck and give the engine bay a good listen. As I couldn't hear anything unusual going on, I decided to see if I could move the truck...but, once I pushed on the fuel pedal, it was immediately apparent that the truck wasn't going to build up much power. So, three hours later (at about 28-degrees F), I finally got a flat bed wrecker to take me to my nearest relative's house (my MIL's house), which is where the truck presently sits.

Although I can't feature how the missing tailpipe has anything to do with the Exhaust Service Required message -- that doesn't mean that the Service Manager at our local Ram dealer will feel the same way. We purchased a Mopar Added Care Plus (7 years - 70K miles) warranty when we purchased the truck ... So now that you've [hopefully] made it this far, I'm asking the board for advice. Should I order the tailpipe now, replace it and have the truck moved to the stealer, afterword? Should I simply move the truck to the Ram dealership and give it to them straight?

Thanks very much for your time.

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post #2 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 08:01 PM
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If you like your truck with that factory exhaust system and performance by all means take it to the dealer as is and let them deal with it, but OTH, if you want to get better performance and fuel mileage from your truck this seems like the perfect time to do a programmer and 4"- 5" TBE and deletes. I had the Mini Maxx and 5" exhaust put on with less than 2000 miles on my 2011. I then, at 25 or 30,000 miles completely removed the EGR using a Sinister delete kit for that and the S&B cold air intake and filter. The only regret I have about it was in hindsight I wish I would have the ARP headstuds installed at the same time before I lost the head gasket. Running factory stock your truck will never stretch the head bolts, and I guess that is alright but I will say I have saved enough in fuel economy to more than pay for all the upgrades on my truck. If you do an H&S Mini Maxx I would suggest doing the tranny upgrade also, I think I paid $250 extra for that. If I had waited and bought a newer Cummins without the DPF system I might have left it stock, but for these 4th gens they are crap in my opinion, at least until they are deleted. If you license your truck where that do a visual and emissions testing you might not want to do the deletes.
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post #3 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Den52......First, thanks for your time and your thoughts -- we genuinely appreciate it. One of the reasons I didn't get the tailpipe replaced immediately is because I've been thinking about getting rid of as much of the emissions garbage as possible: as soon as the warranty we paid so much for expires. You're exactly right, I, too, believe that the emissions crap that's forced onto Cummins and/or FCA has exactly the opposite effect relative to its [purported] purpose. In the long run, the EGR system, for example, causes the engine to burn way more fuel than it should and -- given the admittedly small amount I've read about deletes over the years -- must rob the wonderfully-designed Cummins ISBs of a lot of power...but I digress.

As I alluded to, I don't know much about deletes, which is one of the reasons I started this thread. I assume that one of the major factors in the delete process is to change the exhaust system; hence, my hesitation to purchase a new tailpipe for the truck. At this point, however, I'm worried about the knocking I heard just before I got the Exhaust Service Required Message (ESRM) ... so I'm thinking that we get the truck towed to the local Ram dealer, get it checked out and, once I'm told that the engine still has the proper compression, I can always consider our delete options. I'm hoping that I haven't confused the issue further and, of course, I'd sincerely appreciate any more thoughts you -- or anyone else -- might have on the matter. Thanks again.
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post #4 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 08:50 PM
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If they say anything about the exhaust tell them it happened a few months ago while on a trip and you had to cut it off. You haven't had a chance to get it fixed yet. End of story. You will be fine. I had the 70K warranty on my last Ram. Dealer told me to bring it in right before it expired and they would go through the truck. They replaced the entire front end which worked for me. I had death wobble issues.
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post #5 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 11:42 PM
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If youíre keen to keep that warranty intact Iíd seriously recommend not deleting yet. If thatís a bumper to bumper, theyíve gotta fix it. If not, well, I think the emissions related components are federally mandated to be warrantied until 10 years or 80k so even if youíre out of your basic factory 3/36 theyíve gotta keep the emissions operational until 10/80. With so many vehicles now coming with 100k powertrain warranties, I canít imagine they wonít at least get you operational with an extended warranty. A tailpipe isnít exactly a maintenance item on the factory service schedule so I would think it rotting off in <50k would be a problem.

To be honest Iím impressed. Iím from Pittsburgh and honestly donít recall seeing one of the factory 409 stainless systems rot out that fast since the early- / mid-90s when we used to still get those legit 5-month winters up there with boroughs going thru metric s**!-tons of road salt every year (and it seemed like OEMs weíre trying to cheap out and use cast-iron manifolds, 409 stainless y-pipes and cats, and junk thin wall 304 stainless mid and tail pipes and mufflers. Those things used to last about as long as brown bananas...


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post #6 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-07-2018, 11:47 PM
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Addendum:

You can semi-effectively shut off the EGR with a couple doorman freeze plugs from the local hardware store. Pull the crossover, plug both ends, reinstall, done. You could also unplug the intake elbow valve; itíll trigger a check engine light and de-rate the engine ~40hp but it shouldnít affect drivability and itís 100% reversible for warranty purposes.

Thereís a sticky in the 3rd gen 6.7 section called ďEGR test results completeĒ that has a ton of good info in it which you might find helpful.


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post #7 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Was this caused by an EGR component?

El Pozzinator......You seem to have a pretty good idea about what is causing the extreme loss of power we're presently experiencing...In fact, the engine barely runs when the fuel pedal is pressed. If you've seen or heard of something like this before, would you mind sharing your thoughts with the thread? is the dramatic loss of power most likely due to the EGR throwing a code? In other words, is the truck in some kind of limp mode? Your thoughts on the current state of our truck's engine -- and its probable causes -- would be most greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

'98.5 B&W RAM 2500 24v 4x4 SLT Laramie, Quad Cab, SB, 47RE w/ 48RE internals, FASS, Reman Bosch VP44, Aftermarket 1" O.D. Fuel Pickup, RV275s; 2012 Black & Gold Cummins Mega Cab Ram Longhorn 2500 4x4 with RamBox System and custom wheels.
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post #8 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 11:50 AM
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if you've got one part of the exhaust rotted out you may have leaks elsewhere. And any leak before the DPF will cause issues. Further the exhaust exit Temps are really high and you can melt things under the truck where. Without seeing the exact codes set its purely a guess. Google or search on here for "key dance" and read and record the codes. My guess is it has a leak and isn't able to regent properly leading to a plugged up DPF and the associated message and significant derate.

I had the stock resonator rot off last year...which without the DPF made the truck stupidly loud in the cab. Replaced the over the axle piece and stock resonator with a resonator pipe style. Truck sounds really good now without usually being too stupid loud (except when you really get into it...)
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post #9 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 12:43 PM
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If youíre getting a complete or almost complete lack of movement when you press the accelerator pedal in gear, that definitely sounds like limp mode. Gotta pull codes. Readers are cheap now; $30-50 at a local parts store, or if you can get the truck there most of them will pull codes for free. Echoing the above, if the tailpipe rotted off you indeed may have pinholes further upstream which are causing exhaust leaks (heat leaks) preventing a proper regeneration process. If the DPF is fully plugged beyond the capabilities of a dealer-forced regen (the autoengenuity or snap-on scanners should be able to initiate), the only solutions are to either remove it and perform a thermal regen (where the DPF goes into an oven and gets baked clean) or replace it. If youíre going to a stealership, Iím sure you can guess what theyíll tell you is the ďonlyĒ option. Commercial truck shops sometimes have DPF ovens - their interest is keeping trucks on the road as cheap as possible; dealers donít - their interest is vacuuming your wallet as often and thoroughly as possible. Heck Iíd be shocked purple if anyone found a dealer willing to follow Cumminsí instructions for cleaning an EGR cooler rather than insisting it must be replaced every 67,500 miles.

But hey, if itís still under warranty, let them do whatever theyíre gonna do as long as your truck runs properly and code-free when you get it back.

If you can get those codes pulled and post them, weíll be able to better advise you on a route to go.


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post #10 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Post Update

ZOP and Pozz......After driving to the MIL's house, I started the truck twice. The first time, it spit, sputtered, smoked and eventually stalled. The second time around, it started out running rough, but, eventually, it smoothed out and idled normally. As the engine began to idle smoothly, the dash message changed to the following text (verbatim): Exhaust Filter Full - Power Reduced see dealer.

As the engine seemed to be running fairly well, I took the truck for a short test drive, but never really tried to run it on a large road (at speed). I guess I had second thoughts about risking anything, so I decided to turn around and head back to the MIL's house. In the meantime, we had ordered another flatbed tow ... so now the truck is back in our driveway where, at least, we have asphalt and a small garage to work out of.

After reading everyone's posts, I've decided that the next step is to pull the codes from the truck's OSB-II port ... so tomorrow I will begin hunting for a way to either borrow or purchase a suitable reader. Once I have said code(s), I will post them here and ask for more advice.

In the meantime, I'm presently convinced that there is no warranty coverage for our exhaust issues. In short, I have carefully examined the Mopar Added Care Plus (7 year - 70,000 mile) warranty we purchased with the truck and, unfortunately, have found zero evidence that anything in the exhaust system itself will be covered. In fact, the only thing in the emission system that is still covered is the catalytic converter -- and that's actually covered by the EPA-mandated emissions warranty (not the extended warranty). If, on the other hand, the turbocharger needs to be repaired or replaced -- that should be covered by the extended warranty.

By the way, when I spoke to Mopar Customer Care today, the rep laughed when I told her that the dealership had thrown the phrase "bumper to bumper" around when I initially purchased the truck and, in fact, told me that "I hear that one a lot." In closing, and according to Mopar Customer Care, there is no such thing as a true bumper to bumper warranty.

So if anyone has any thoughts to offer on how one can begin the delete process -- without involving the stealership -- I'd be very grateful to read anything I can on the subject. I'd also like to ask if going to the dealership is the only way to restore the ECM and get the truck out of any kind of "limp mode" condition?

I'll get back to the thread with another update after I figure out how to get those codes. Thanks again for your time.

'98.5 B&W RAM 2500 24v 4x4 SLT Laramie, Quad Cab, SB, 47RE w/ 48RE internals, FASS, Reman Bosch VP44, Aftermarket 1" O.D. Fuel Pickup, RV275s; 2012 Black & Gold Cummins Mega Cab Ram Longhorn 2500 4x4 with RamBox System and custom wheels.
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post #11 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 06:41 PM
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IIRC limp mode for DPF Full is initiated by feedback interpreted by the ECM from the exhaust sensors. if you're going to delete, when you load your tune your ECM will basically no longer be paying attention to those sensors. if you need to stay emissions "intact" for compliance purposes (IE visual), then gutting the filter and tuning should get you out of limp mode. that message on your overhead means the truck has drastically cut power and the trans will be limited to 1st and 4th gears as if you were in a transmission "limp home" mode as well. this can generally be determined by if the truck seems to rev abnormally high in gear, then have a single lurching shift and start immediately lugging at really low RPM for the road speed. if not, that's good and you're probably not in full limp mode yet - but it's not far off. there's usually about a 25 or so mile warning before the truck all but disables itself.

don't ya just love all those appointed people at the EPA with absolutely no accountability to anyone, who get to tell us what we can do and how / when we can use our trucks? i'll spare you the diatribe about how completely pointless and counterproductive current emissions controls actually are when hooked up to a 4-gas analyzer on a load cell dyno. look up what jesse james went thru fighting the EPA...

once you pick a tuner, make sure you let them know what condition your truck is in now. they may have you work off the base file already in the ECM, or they may choose to load a spare clean base file they have and just direct you to overwrite the factory ECM without downloading the stock tune first. give a holler at any of the tuners in the vendors section and go with whomever gives you the best warm-n-fuzzy. any of their tunes will make your truck feel like a whole different animal compared to the anemic crap it was saddled with from the factory to keep the enviro-nazis and the stealerships happy.

far as when you go delete shopping, my humble two cents says a stainless exhaust isn't worth double the cost of an aluminized system with a good rattle-can VHT exhaust paint job on it. most of the aftermarket systems you'll find aren't going to be the same quality stainless as factory, and well, you've seen that even that rots out up there in the rust belt. for how little of a pain it is to cut the old one out and replace it every few years, i'd go with the cheapest aluminized turbo-back exhaust you come across... for EGR deletes, they're all basically the same and only differentiated by the name on the box and what color the intake plates are powdercoated. just pick whatever flavor you like at your preferred price point and roll with it. i had the cheapest one i could find on fleabay mounted up for a few years before my whole intake eloped with the grid heater and stock garbage boost tubes, replaced by (again) the cheapest pieces i could find and only the finest quality ceramic paint and sealer from The Homeless Despot.

hope this helps.

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post #12 of 142 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Many thanks to you down in Dixie

Pozz......Really great post! As someone who's invested so much hard-earned into two of these trucks, over the years, I can't tell you how helpful it is to read about the whole debacle that is emissions standards and, much more importantly, how someone who feels as strongly as I do about gov't intervention went about setting things straight! Being a born and bred deep southerner, there isn't any problem with the linguistics, but I do have a few more questions about the terms you chose to describe the technical aspects of this sad/sorry issue...but we can get into that after I get those codes posted. I hope that you -- and anyone else who's interested in how the great Cummins ISBs are being asphyxiated by the powers that be -- will hang with me as this whole process unfolds. I'm not promising anything, yet, but I will get my truck back on the road in a way that makes the most sense to me. Thanks to all who've contributed to this thread and please subscribe for more posts in the very near future.

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