Selective Catalyst Reduction: Cold Climate Urea Fluid Issues

I have heard that there are cold-climate problems with urea fluid that is coming with the new Duramax. What can we expect? Is it practical to by a new 2010 Duramax in cold-climates? Or does this spell the end of diesel trucks in the North?

I have been getting quite a few alarmist rumors regarding the new Selective Catalyst Reduction systems that will be installed on the mid-year 2010 Duramax, known as the LML Duramax. This new emissions system aims to reduce NOx pollutants by 90% over current standards. It is a sensitive system that requires specific conditions to operate. The biggest matter that affects the customer is the addition of urea fluid, otherwise known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF. It will require refilling something on the order of roughly every oil change.

The big concern to our northern climate customers is the fact that DEF, or urea, freezes at a relatively mild temperature of 11ºF (-12ºC).

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Joel Paynton is an award-winning GM technician who specializes in Duramax fuel systems. He also does custom programming for any GM powertrain. Visit him on the web at


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