PDI Settles for 1.1 Million with the EPA
It’s well established that sooner or later the EPA is going to come knocking if you sell emissions-defeating devices for pickups, but Class 8 trucks are also on the EPA’s radar. This should come as no surprise, as the EPA and CARB (the California Air Resource Board) have been trying to make big diesels cleaner for years. Older trucks are limited by mileage in California, and a few years ago an initiative was enacted to try and have older semis fitted with DPFs in order to be compliant. This all ended horribly, as the costs were incredible, and the only company doing retrofits went out of business.
The latest news on the big rig front involves a settlement deal with Performance Diesel Inc., a company that specializes in performance parts for Cummins, CAT, and Detroit-powered semi trucks. The EPA indicated that PDI sold more than 5,500 tuning devices that allowed certain emissions systems to be defeated in Class 8 trucks. It should be noted that PDI stopped selling the offending equipment more than a year ago in April 2018, but the fines still remain. PDI’s new Big Boss Performance tuner is now 50 state legal, and carries a California E.O. number. Even with the air restrictions, PDI indicated that their tuner is still able to increase horsepower and torque, achieve better mileage, and has a number of other features like Fleet Password Lockout for fleet managers, manual DPF regeneration, and the ability to read trouble codes.
Hacking Is Legal
According to a 2017 article from Capital Reman Exchange, “Hacking into the electronic components of a diesel engine is not illegal. As of 2016 the Librarian of Congress announced that tinkering with the electronic components of an engine, vehicle or equipment is no longer a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The ruling allows for consumers to make modifications to the ECM for purposes of “good faith security research” and “lawful modification”. Lawful modification dictates that users cannot change or alter any software related to the emissions abatement technology. There are companies that sell DPF Delete Kits and ECM Re-flashes which are still illegal.”
This means that not only could the EPA go after Class 8 trucks, it could potentially go after the agricultural industry if it sees fit to do so. It’s also not just DPF’s, EGR systems and SEF systems would also be under scrutiny if they were to be modified. At this point a boat in International waters would still be OK, but that’s about it.