Repowering to Comply With CARB Regulations

CCTA Member Follows a Unique Path

Phrases like “gearhead” and “old school” to describe truckers just isn’t heard as much today as it used to be. It does accurately describe CCTA member Dwayne Whitney and how he decided to comply with CARB regulations.

Operating a fleet of trucks that were mostly more than 20 years old, retrofitting the fleet with diesel particulate filters (DPF’s) just didn’t pencil out. Neither did replacing many vintage older trucks with newer trucks considering the economics of construction trucking. Dwayne decided to investigate and then followed through with repowering – a compliance pathway permissible under CARB’s regulations.

Dwayne mentioned an early discussion with Sean Edgar of when he inquired not about the feasibility, but the legality of dropping new motors into existing trucks. “You’re crazy,” Dwayne quoted Sean as telling him. Well, as crazy as it might have seemed, it is legal and Dwayne is about to complete his seventh complete repower and here is the kick – he’s done it for less money than retrofitting alone and has not experienced any of the performance issues associated with putting a “weed-burner” on an older engine.

One of the performance issues associated with aftermarket DPF’s is if the engine has even a small amount of blow-by, good-luck keeping the filter unclogged. Mating a newer engine with its factory installed DPF can eliminate many performance issues simply based on the newness of the engine and the fact the engine/filter is designed to regen automatically.

Besides doing significant homework, Dwayne has also cut costs by doing every repower himself. He has searched and found virtually new engines with the factory DPF’s included for pricing ranging between $8,000 and $18,000. He’s found Cummins ISL’s and ISM’s with horsepower ranging from 345 to 385 and is aware of others who have repowered with DD 13’s and even an ISX -550.

Taking an older truck and dropping a newer engine under the hood can present some unique plumbing issues such as installing the necessary wiring harness for the engines ECM in a truck not designed for it. Dwayne found a supplier, Mawk Industries in Waddell, AZ that has specialized in manufacturing these types of harnesses since 2001. Besides Cummins engines, they are able to supply color coded harnesses for Caterpillar, Detroit/Mercedes, and International engines.

Dwayne does warn if you think about repowering your truck with an engine from a boneyard, be sure the engine is dyno-tested before plunking down your hard earned money. Also, repowering will not get you past CARB’s 2023 deadline mandating all diesels meet US EPA 2010 emissions standards because repowering is really only viable up to the 2009 engine model year.