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Falling on DEF ears: Exhaust fluid shortage coming to RVers?

Get in line for DEF … behind all of these guys?

By Scott Linden

“Limp mode” is looming. And while there’s still concern among diesel pusher and pickup owners over the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) sensor issue, it may soon pale by comparison to a shortage of the primary ingredient in DEF itself. Worldwide supply chain problems may soon make it difficult for American RVers to get the critical fluid, sidelining their rigs and travel plans.

China, again

China is the number-one producer of urea, a key ingredient in fertilizer, and diesel exhaust fluid. Anticipating food shortages, that country is restricting its export of the compound, forcing many other users of the product to get in line for what’s left. That cascade effect is currently impacting trucking in Australia and agriculture in South Korea. America’s trucking industry is also anticipating a shortage, according to Vitaliy Dadalyan of A2C Logistics, a Chicago cargo brokerage firm.

Prices are already going up here, and with agriculture and trucking the principal users it stands to reason RVers may be left holding the (empty) bag as supplies shrink. That blinking light on your dashboard threatening to limit your speed to 5 mph may make more frequent appearances.

Good news?

The U.S. may be better off than many countries, as Canada provides much of our urea, a derivative of ammonia. But as worldwide shipping and production pipelines constrict, high-volume users could start a bidding war or hoard supplies, leading to empty shelves at auto parts and big-box stores. Adding to the threat: hurricanes have damaged many Gulf Coast plants.

Store carefully

What can an RVer do now? Lay in a supply and store carefully. Top off your DEF tank when possible, at truck stops selling in bulk. DEF should be stored away from temperature fluctuations, between 86 degrees and 12 degrees, Fahrenheit. Keep jug caps tightly closed to prevent contamination and evaporation (the fluid’s only other ingredient is distilled water). Store in original containers, as it could corrode steel, carbon and aluminum tanks or bottles.

Don’t. Just don’t.

And what about the old wives’ tale of peeing in your DEF tank? Human urine contains a much different urea content than is required for the making of DEF. It also contains additional compounds and dissolved ions that a diesel engine’s catalytic reduction system (SCR) cannot handle. On top of the differences in chemical makeup, human urine has a much higher concentration of water (95%, while DEF is 67.5% de-ionized water).

Copyrighted material 2021 all rights reserved.

##RVT1031b

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Bud
26 days ago

There is no shortage. Went to Walmart they were out of stock. Went to another Walmart, they had plenty. Saw some at Lowes. By.The.Pallet.Full. It’s everywhere so there doesn’t seem to be a shortage. Just look around! I went to the store to buy half n half. They were “out” for a week! No shortage, the Manager just didn’t order enough.🤷🏼‍♂️

Mike
1 month ago

Lets make it from urine. Plenty raw material available.

Gary
1 month ago

After reading this and knowing that I’m going to have to add some soon, I went to pick up a 2.5 gallon cube at the local Walmart. Sold out. Stopped at the local parts store and they were cleaned out of the Blue DEF, but still had the store brand. Paid 15 for what I normally buy for less than $9. Apparently word’s gotten out there is a looming shortage. With the one I had on hand and the new cube, I should be good well into next year. On another note, apparently diesel oil is getting scarce too. Those shelves were pretty well depleted too

DoneWithThis
1 month ago

This is 100% a government created problem. The amount of carbon emissions created to, produce, package and ship DEF, DPFs, and associated hardware is MUCH larger than the amount created by a few engines. Not only that, but adding these systems makes the vehicles heaver and reduces efficiency meaning thay they actually use even more fuel per mile. The Government could fix the problem with the stroke of a pen and allow diesels to run without this crap

Robert Kassl
1 month ago

You mean we can’t make pee-water in this country? Pathetic

Rolling Coal
1 month ago

I don’t need DEF for any of my vehicles but based on your statement to “lay in a supply now”, maybe I should start buying some for resale at an inflated price to supplement my pension.

jorg
1 month ago

With all the doom and gloom about camping below, I wonder what percentage of the RV’s are newer diesels? When last at a campground only about 10-15% were by a rough reckoning.

John_Brown
1 month ago

This is where “the right to repair” might be a valid issue. Being able to bypass emission programming to be able to use your vehicle, when a product is unavailable, might be a valid point and use of “right to repair”.

We live in a global economy (Mutual Assured Destruction) where if a product is not produced, it causes the price to go up elsewhere to fill demand, even within that country. Which means the people with the least amount of money get none.

You go into Walmart and the frozen veggie section is filled with stir fry bags “made in China” while they import rice, including from the USA.

If I had a diesel that needed DEF, I would stock up a year’s supply and rotate it out as I used it. Even if only in an effort to save money. Though for a full time RVer, where do you store 10 gallons or more?

I am just glad i bought my .22LR for $0.05 a round.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Pardon me, but when did Diesel Engines for automotive us begin to require DEF for operation? Seems to me I would start hunting for an old diesel engine in wrecking yards.

DoneWithThis
1 month ago

I live in a state with no emissions so I just had it removed. No DPF, no DEF needed. Vehice has more power, and gets better MPGs

Steve
1 month ago

I just checked Amazon, Home Depot, and O’Reilly. All had large supplies of 2.5g Blue DEF on hand. O’Reilly and HD were selling for $15 and $14 respectively. Amazon was obviously more expensive due to shipping, but hardly a concern if you need it. My rig gets 15mpg and I get 2,000 miles on 2.5g of DEF. So even if these prices double, I would only be spending $15 more every 2,000 miles. A shortage could definately suck, but price increases won’t stop me from RVing. Gas prices however…

CLeeNick
1 month ago

Remarkable how OUR government seems to do everything in it’s power to make us more dependent upon our enemy, China.

Diesel engines are supposed to be simple, and multi-fueled. The original design was to run off of vegetable oils. Government has totally screwed it up. I would never own a newer diesel for that very reason.

My son, who works in an industry that utilizes a lot of diesel work trucks, told me about a trend in commercial trucks called “Gliders”….new trucks with older, but totally rebuilt to new, engines that eliminate the headaches of modern diesels, totally legal like, for now at least. If I were looking for a diesel, I’d definitely be looking at one and get it “grandfathered in” before our current dictatorial administration clamps down.

John_Brown
1 month ago
Reply to  CLeeNick

> OUR government seems to do everything in it’s power to make us more dependent upon our enemy, China.

It is called “Curse of the Zeroes” and Deut 28:12, which the actor Nixon violated in August 1971.

Deuteronomy 28 – 1599 Geneva Bible

12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, even the [i]heaven to give rain unto thy land in due season, and to bless all the work of thine hands: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but shalt not borrow thyself.

43 The stranger that is among you, shall climb above thee up on high, and thou shalt come down beneath alow.

44 He shall lend thee, and thou shalt not lend him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.

The USA was founded by Ephraim (Genesis 48:19) and the Chinese that built our railroads are the “stranger that is among you”

DEF fluid is nothing, they eliminated light bulbs to repay China for buying our useless debt, once they eliminated the USA’s only two sites for producing rare minerals needed for LEDs.

Hank
1 month ago

We found a shortage in big box stores this past summer in PA, and NY. Now in Texas this fall!

Brian
1 month ago

I’m surprised the article is recommending to “lay in a supply now”, This will only make matters worse, remember TP?

Warren G
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

Exactly what I was thinking.

CLeeNick
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren G

Those who are prepared need not panic. We were on vacation when the TP shortage hit, and still had enough at home, between the house and the RV, to make it through, without having to get in line for meager to no supply.

S Sayer
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

Such recommendations makes the potential shortage a self-fulfilling prophesy. I just went and bought two containers of DEF. I need one now and normally don’t buy it until needed. However, I know from other warnings such as the the toilet paper “shortage” that people (like me) will hoard DEF too — “just in case.”

Phil Atterbery
1 month ago

My DW and I have been at this FT life style since 2014. In the discussion about the coach, I shared my research on diesel emissions systems with her. We agreed that spending 30% more for propulsion products is stupid.

Oliver Quibble
1 month ago

I thought this discussion was about DEF topic. How did it become political? Can’t anyone understand that you have to accept there are selfish, ego driven people in politics, farming, manufacturing, etc., everywhere and they live in every country in the world. They are world leaders, your local commissioners and sometimes a church leader.
I don’t have to hate someone to disagree with them.
If you’re able to have the time and opportunity to respond on an RV newsletter, then you haven’t had it so bad.
Only believe half of what you hear, regardless of where ever you get your “truth”.

Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Oliver Quibble

It comes political when governments get involved!!!
this and most of our problems either have to do with greedy companies and greedy politicians or a combination of both. companies will go as far as regulations allow them, and politicians will allow these companies to go beyond regulations if it benefits them.
China in this case, you have the worse case scenario, a dictatorship and state owned companies, or companies even if not state owned bend to the corrupt government.
It is world wide, here in Canada we have our fair share of it, right from the municipal level right to the Federal government along with crooked greedy companies.

Mark R Pope
8 days ago
Reply to  Oliver Quibble

Guess you missed Nomadland

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

It’s stuff like this DEF ‘crisis’ (if there is one. Everything is a crisis these days) that will grow an underground business of ‘deleting’ newer diesel engines. Illegal as it is, at least your truck or motorhome will still operate, and more efficiently as well.

Royce Hershberger
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Truth

Gordy B
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Had my diesel deleted and mileage went from 9 mpg tp 15 mpg. If you start blowing a little coal on a regular basis, it usually needs a air filter.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Gordy B

I hear this all the time Gordy. My county doesn’t do emission testing, but the next one does. It used to be easier to find mechanics to help with this, but now it’s getting tough. Basically Reno and Las Vegas (and some surrounding areas). Grrr.

Tim
1 month ago
Reply to  Gordy B

What kind of diesel do you have that only got 9mpg?
I have a new diesel and I get 16+mpg driving around town.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago

One word-GREED!!!!!!!!!!!

Kurt
1 month ago

As a safety and survival matter, you should know where the speed sensor is on your transmission. Unplugging it will allow you to proceed to a safe location instead of 5mph or complete shut down.

Don
1 month ago
Reply to  Kurt

False! This may work for some truckers but it will not work for motorhomes. It has been tried and does not work.

D.T. Smith
1 month ago

Image that , China putting China first while America has no leadership and the ” handlers ” make excuses . The current occupiers of the White House are more interested in putting sexually diverse / confused people in positions than people that can solve problems. Sad days ahead for America.

Claudio
1 month ago
Reply to  D.T. Smith

Election fraud !

Warren G
1 month ago
Reply to  D.T. Smith

I bet my wife that some crank would just automatically blame this on President Biden. Thanks for your help.

Gordy B
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren G

Who won your wife? LOL Have a great day!

Mike Albert
1 month ago
Reply to  D.T. Smith

Ok. I’m going to bite the bullet and comment on the political comments. This has nothing to do with the DEF issue.
We are able to comment, freely, without fear of our lives because of our great country and our founding fathers. Our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and our government. Stating your beliefs on a public forum, while in another country, could have you arrested or killed, or show up “missing”.
I am thankful for forums such as these, with people with similar interests (RVing) that can freely write their comments, without the fear of arrest or injury and death.
Listen up people, everyone has an opinion. Keeps the attacks to yourself!
Enjoy the season and your family and lose the venom.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mike Albert
Royce Hershberger
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Albert

I’m still trying to figure out how to show up missing.😂😂

John_Brown
1 month ago

Put some orgone under a cell phone tower …

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago

Hi, Royce. Don’t you just love a good oxymoron? 😆 Have a great day. 🙂 -Diane

James Shoe
1 month ago

Anybody else seeing parallels to the 1973 gas shortage? Back then there suddenly was a shortage of everything. Consumer prices increased dramatically and then everyone demanded higher wages. And what was the end result? Runaway inflation. Hang on everyone, I think we are in for a rough ride.