EGR Blanking Plate?
If you’ve come this far and are interested in EGR blanking plates for vehicles like Mitsubishi Tritons, Toyota Landcruiser V8’s, Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and many more, read on. Seriously, if you are considering fitting an EGR blanking plate, let’s try to establish why.
EGR Systems Primer.
Most often utilised in diesel internal combustion engines, the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, when operating correctly, allows via the recirculation of exhaust gasses a reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Although EGR systems can function on petrol engines, considerations like the lack of throttling and the often large excesses of air mean that it is a more effective, and therefore much more prevalent for diesel engines.
Although the net effect of a perfectly functioning EGR system reduces the presence of NOx in the exhaust gasses, the addition of the recirculated gas lowers the heat ratio during the power stroke and therefore, reduces the amount of power that can be obtained. The EGR system, by its very design causes an increase in unburnt carbon matter that has been unburnt during the power stroke of the engine. This then leads this matter being deposited in everyone’s favourite diesel related catch cry, the (dreaded) DPF filter.
The biggest drawback of the EGR system (from an absolute performance perspective), and probably the biggest motivator for people to actively seek out solutions like EGR blanking plates is not only this marginal loss in power from what could potentially be obtained, but the build up of unburnt fuel and oil residues in the intake system, which, can then lead to much greater problems and a myriad of fault codes and issues.
Another inherent issue of the EGR system is caused by the difficult nature of achieving a perfect EGR mix across the entire intake system, which can lead to cylinders receiving an inflow of gasses with a high degree of variance.
EGR systems can also lead to increases in boost pressures and fuel pressures as manufacturers seek to make back the losses in power derived from the adoption of EGR and associated emissions systems.
The other factor to consider for most diesel cars and diesel 4WD’s is the actual effect of the EGR system is relatively low when compared to heavy duty diesel applications. EGR technology has been present in diesel cars and diesel 4WD’s since the mid 90’s, however as emissions laws have grown more stringent, the impact of the EGR system has gradually increased.
Ok so that is some background on EGR systems in general but what about EGR blanking plates?
The time when the EGR becomes a front of mind issue, typically correlates closely with the moment when the build up of these oil and fuel waste particles build up to extreme levels in the inlet manifold. Decreased power, rough idling, check engine lights, strong fuel odours or even the engine stalling are all signs that your EGR system may be completely choked with carbon build up.
Maurice Donovan, director of Allautos Advance Tuning and frequent contributor to many technical and trade publications agrees, “It’s clear that EGR valves cause so many problems and yes carbon build up in our intake induction systems is a major problem but EGR valves are only a part of the cause, the biggest problem is the oil breathing systems in many diesel engines. Oil entering our induction system is the major culprit, and yes inert gasses is not helping.”
What are the options?
Ok, we’ve identified the problem but we need to discuss the some real solutions. How do we maintain as much of the factory functionality and continue to meet any emissions standards.
In a lot of applications the EGR system is controlled electronically. This means that we are able to optimise this parameter, just like many other facets of the engine control unit thru the process of ECU Remapping. By optimising EGR operation for optimum performance it is possible to maintain the integrity of the EGR system and achieve the best outputs in all potential scenarios.
Oil Catch Cans.
Adding another level of filtration to the system means that you are reducing the opportunity for oily mist to add to the particle build up on the intake side of the equation. This is almost certainly a modification worth considering in order to maintain the cleanest running engine possible.
EGR Blanking Plate.
When you consider the wide array of options available, the EGR blanking solution is certainly the crudest and frankly, the most likely to see you on the wrong side any emissions regulations. There may be applications where this is regarded as the most suitable or only option, however generally this would be the least preferred option.
Reason’s An EGR Blanking Plate May Not Be The Best Solution.
Ideally we should aim for an efficient and optimised solution. Ultimately, the best compromise would be to retain the EGR Valve but to modify the EGR valve so it is functional to a point that minimises some of the functionality to limit the EGR side effects but to maintain the necessary functions so we get the engine up to an operating temperature fast. There are other safety factors that the EGR has as well and you can see this in the below facts.
With proper maintenance, the EGR system not only runs fine, but your engine runs fine as well. The EGR is there to reduce emissions. Of the big three emissions from a petrol or diesel combustion engine, the EGR reduces the worst one: NOx. NOx is what causes acid rain. It also tears up the lungs. At least CO is a silent killer. Getting rid of the EGR may make it run better in the short term, but doing proper maintenance is by far less costly to the environment.
Rather than deleting an EGR valve we need to consider some facts.
Reduced Wear and Tear
Cold engines have greater engine wear and it is exacerbated by EGR delete because of slower warm-up time. Even if you live in a hot climate, a little increased wear every day will add up.
Mercedes Benz has also documented increased engine wear caused by EGR (soot abrasion in cylinders), and by minimising EGR once the engine is warmed (EGR is minimised for the majority of engine run-time), you further reduce overall wear & tear.
Optimal Fuel Economy
Cold diesel engines have a lot of blow-by and once the engine is warmed up, the engine seals tighter and gets better fuel economy. By reducing your engine warm-up time with EGR, you reach optimal fuel economy sooner in every drive.
Emissions with a cold engine is especially dirty. Normal EGR operation during warm-up can significantly reduce your annual emissions compared to a full EGR delete.
Engine Runaway Protection
If a turbo leaks oil into your EGR-deleted intake, the engine may start running on its own. Shutting off the “ignition” key will not stop it because the oil self-burns. It will continue to rev high until potential damage occurs. Or until you shift into a high gear and stand on the brakes to stall the engine. If you get the timing right you’ll probably save the engine. Otherwise you’re out of luck, especially if you have an automatic transmission.
The EGR has a valve that can block airflow from entering into the intake once you turn the key off, thus suppressing the oil burn and stopping the runaway.
Smoother Engine Stop
This may not be a big deal to some people, but the engine will shake noticeably when turned off, if the intake swivel valves are removed. Retaining the EGR valve (especially for TDIs that don’t have an IMF) will maintain smooth engine shut-offs.
Is Dynamic EGR the solution for high performance applications?
Dynamic EGR optimisation seeks improved performance and cleaner intake system whilst still retaining the benefits of the EGR system.
Some customers who still have their stock performance tune have noticed slightly improved low RPM response, especially off the line. That’s with only Dynamic EGR as their only modification.
With Dynamic EGR, EGR is activated only during the short warm-up period. It’s turned down as far as possible for the rest of your drive. Your intake will be free of soot build-up much longer, perhaps even the lifetime of your vehicle.
Software tuning of the EGR feature has been in use for a year with no issues. It requires a custom tuning remap not a delete. Other features are available with remapping and tuning of the ECU.