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Old 03-17-2013, 08:22 PM   #1
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Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)

So.....loaned out the Interstate....yeah I know, crazy..to my brother in law. Came back in sparkling condition except the "Check Diesel Exhaust Fluid" warning is on the dash. I added two gallons, per the manual, but the warning light is still on. Also, I get a "Service A due in 400 miles". I am going on a trip in a few days and just want to clear the warning lights. Do I need to go to a dealer to do this? How many miles will the 2 gallons take me?
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:29 PM   #2
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We have a 2011 Sillverado Duramax. The DEF warning comes on at about 600 miles left. We add DEF as soon as possible, and the warning goes away. We now have almost 50,000 miles on the Duramax. The DEF has averaged right at 1,000 miles per gallon. It sounds like your DEF warning sytem may be malfunctioning.

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Old 03-17-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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If you run your DEF below 10% the warning light will come on. If you fill the tank, the light will satay on until reset by the dealer. Run it too long with the light on and the engine will de-rate and not achieve full throttle until reset by the dealer.

On the other hand, you could have a problem with the dosing module as suggested by Moosetags. Either way, it needs to be take to a dealer for evaluation.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
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I have a 2012 F-250 diesel. The DEF light came on at about 5000 miles and I added 2 1/2 gallons of DEF. The light came back on in a few miles and i bought another 2 1/2 gallon jug, but it only held a portion of it. The light went off and did not come back on. At 7100 miles I carried it in for service and the dealer said it needed to be filled instead of partially filled to reset the warning light.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:40 AM   #5
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The two gallons should take you about 4,000 mi since the tank holds about five gal and is good for about 10K mi.

I don't recall what Service A is but might be oil/filter change. How many miles on it?

The owner's manual will tell you that you will get several DEF warnings before the final warning after which you get 25 more starts and you're done. No reduced power, just no go.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brentsouth View Post
So.....loaned out the Interstate....yeah I know, crazy..to my brother in law. Came back in sparkling condition except the "Check Diesel Exhaust Fluid" warning is on the dash. I added two gallons, per the manual, but the warning light is still on. Also, I get a "Service A due in 400 miles". I am going on a trip in a few days and just want to clear the warning lights. Do I need to go to a dealer to do this? How many miles will the 2 gallons take me?
I'm at 9980 miles on my Interstate. I added my own DEF. Bought 2Ĺ gallons at Walmart. If your Interstate works as mine did, the next time you start the engine, the "Check DEF" message comes on again, but goes off the time after that, after the on-board diagnostics have had a chance to verify the fluid level.

Should be able to go another ~10,000 miles on the DEF I added, thanks to the low DEF consumption of that dinky little 3-liter turbo-diesel. But then again, maybe 73shark is right about having to add more in another ~4000 miles. Time will tell.

As for the "Service Due" message, I got that as well, and had the 10,000-mile preventive maintenance service done a hundred miles early, just so the message center on the dash wouldn't be nagging me during my next trip.

If you have an OBDII reader, you can reset the messages yourself without having the maintenance done. I have the reader, but elected to have the maintenance done anyway. Having just outfitted my other vehicle as a toad, I felt it worth my while to have the Interstate's brake system checked, which is part of the 10,000-mile service.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
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I also have a F250 diesel. When I am driving I frequently check the on board computer that tells me how the various systems are. I noted like Hodum that around 5000 miles, maybe less, the exhaust fluid showed a warning of less then half fill. I kept checking and then added 2 1/2 gallons of DEF about 500 miles later. The message went away and said all was well.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:21 AM   #8
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DEF consumption is a function of fuel burned, not miles on the odometer. Someone who tows full time may get 5000 miles between fills. If they then drive solo, full time, they may get 10,000 miles between.

Point is, regardless of my random fictitious numbers, it will use it faster, relative to odometer in any reduced fuel mileage scenario.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
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Point is, regardless of my random fictitious numbers, it will use it faster, relative to odometer in any reduced fuel mileage scenario.
This is true. In my case, when I bought my Interstate brand-new, I was able to drive just over 9800 miles, at an average fuel economy of 17.9 mpg over the entire 9800 miles, before I had to add more DEF for the first time. But since there is no user-readable gauge on the DEF tank, only a dashboard message "Check DEF" when it gets low, I don't know if the 2Ĺ gallons I added brings the DEF tank all the way back up to full. If so, I'll get similar results next time; if not, I'll have to add more sooner. Time will tell. I bought another container of the stuff to keep on hand, just in case; it shouldn't go bad as long as it stays sealed.

To answer the original poster's question, the "Check DEF" message will come on again for the first start after one adds enough DEF. After driving a few miles, the next time one starts the engine, the "Check DEF' message should disappear. If the message doesn't disappear, then either (1) didn't add enough DEF (2) the DEF didn't meet the ISO 22241 standard (3) the DEF got contaminated.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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IIRC the shelf life of DEF is two years. But it need to be kept out of sunlight.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:23 AM   #11
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I have 6,000 miles on my Durmax. Thinking of adding some Def before the light comes on if out of town. It seems most Def is produced by one main producer.Is all Def created equal?
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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Is all Def created equal?
Hardly! It's important to look for the ISO 22241 label on the container. If it doesn't have the label, don't buy it.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:52 AM   #13
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We have a 2011 Chevrolet Duramax that is now approaching 50,000 miles on the odometer. The DEF tank on this vehicle hods 5.5 gallons. I have added DEF on numerous occasions, mostly on the road. I have been using the Peak brand DEF which is available at most Wal-Marts for $11 and change for a 2.5 gallon bottle.

I have been averaging about 1,000 miles per gallon of DEF. Keep in mind that I am towing the Airstream about 60% of the time, and I am carrying a 3,000# truck camper all the time. My fuel consumption averages between 11 and 12 mpg.

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Old 03-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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Thanks! DEF light went off. Went ahead and took it to the dealer to get periodic maintenance done as they had a spot open today. Taking the Interstate to Big Bend Area this weekend and towing my TOMCAR to do some backcountry driving!
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