Have you ever wondered how the regen (regeneration) cycle works in your new diesel pickup truck? Have you wondered what a regen cycle is and how it may affect your driving? He is one very detailed account from Rod, an owner of a new 2020 Ford Super Duty diesel truck. Rod has monitored and tracked regeneration cycles in his new F-250 truck over a period of at least three months. It’s remarkably predictable.
Before we get to the report, here is a little background about what the regen cycle is. If you own a modern turbo-diesel pickup truck, it is very likely to have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). This filter is a part of the exhaust system and it is designed to catch some of the unburned particulates in the exhaust stream. This filter accumulates these particulates over time and thus it must be cleaned to provide better exhaust flow and performance. The regeneration cycle takes care of this by injecting additional diesel fuel, heating up the exhaust system and the DPF to 1,000 F degrees or more, and burning the particulates out of the filter.
What does all of this mean to you? The regen cycle uses a bit more fuel by definition. It injects extra fuel to heat the exhaust system. While the regen is happening, your diesel engine may show reduced performance. This is usually unnoticeable and imperceptible, but the driver may notice a reduced speed or acceleration while towing heavy up a steep grade if the regen is currently happening. How do you know if it’s happening and can you control it?
Current diesel pickup truck manufacturers do not provide any indication to the driver when the regen cycle is active or when it’s about to happen. Newer Ram HD trucks provide an indicator that shows the current state of the DPF, but it does not alert the driver when the “afterburn” regeneration is happening. Also, the latest diesel pickups do not allow the driver to manually force a regen cycle or delay a regen cycle. Some older Ford Super Duty trucks had regen driver alert messages, but not the latest ones.
This specific truck is a 2020 F-250 crew cab 4×4 King Ranch with a 3.55 rear axle ratio. It’s equipped with the latest generation of the 6.7L Power Stroke V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Rod uses an aftermarket OBD-II EZ Lynk reader to monitor his 6.7-liter turbo-diesel V8 engine. This is a relatively expensive and sophisticated tool to monitor the latest Ford or GM diesel powertrains. Rod has noticed his Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve settings and Exhaust Gas Temperatures (EGT) correspond and let him know when a regen cycle is happening. The EGR goes to 0 and the EGT goes to around 1,100 F degrees. Here are the numbers from Rod.
This is not an official statement by Ford or any other manufacturer. This is data recorded by one truck owner.
Over a period of three months, Rod drove his truck 10,443.9 miles. The truck was never towing a trailer during this period. Rod recorded 20 regen cycles during this period. A regen cycle happened every 497-498 miles. The truck was used to drive around town or at slower speeds during the week, and on highways during the weekends. Each regen cycle lasted an average of 16.25 miles, which is a lengthy period by any estimation. In the end, the truck spent about 3% of its total driving distance under a regeneration condition.
Rod provides a video recording of an active regen cycle here:
As you can see, Rod also tracked his fuel economy during this period, which averaged 19.3 MPG. This is a good result for a heavy-duty crew cab 4×4 truck. Rod saw efficiency above 20 MPG during highway stretches.
For reference, here is a 2019 Ram HD 2500 Cummins diesel regen report.
Big thanks to Rod for collecting and providing this data. Hopefully, this gives you a glimpse into how a new Ford diesel truck behaves.