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EZ Lynk being sued. EPA says no more “rolling coal” and modifying emission controls!

By Tony Barthel
Owners of diesel pickup trucks sometimes modify those trucks with a system that either offers better performance, improved fuel economy or some other benefit. One of the companies that make the tools to effect these modifications is EZ Lynk, based in the Cayman Islands. EZ Lynk is being sued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA claims EZ Lynk is violating “the Clean Air Act by refusing to provide EPA with information about the manufacture, sale, and use of EZ Lynk’s defeat device.”

In a press release on March 8, 2021, EZ Lynk responded to the government’s filing of the Clean Air Act complaint against it. The Company states: “The accusations by the federal government against EZ Lynk are without merit and do not reflect the facts. EZ Lynk welcomes the opportunity to correct the record and prove its case in a court of law….” (Read the rest of their press release here.)

It’s pretty easy to modify a truck nowadays. Your modern vehicle likely has an OBD-II port somewhere at the bottom of the instrument panel. In fact, all vehicles built since 1996 and sold in California and, thus, the rest of the U.S., do.

Technicians use the OBD-II port to easily read vehicle engine information as part of emissions testing. It also enabled mechanics similar access to what was going on under the hood. However, this also opened the door to everybody. It soon became possible to modify a vehicle’s operating software through this gateway by any ol’ person. 

With EZ Lynk, anyone can use the OBD-II port to make changes to engine

With the EZ Lynk and other similar systems, you simply plug a device into your vehicle’s OBD-II port. Then you use your smartphone connected via Bluetooth to make changes to the engine management system. It’s actually really easy to do. And that’s why the EPA is so upset about the practice. 

EZ Lynk could face a similar fate as H&S Performance, a popular diesel tuning company that was forced out of business in 2013 (but apparently now operating as H&S Motorsports, an “offspun” company). An injunction against sales and installation of the EZ Lynk device has already been requested. The U.S. government is seeking daily fines and civil penalties for the defendant it alleges is violating the Clean Air Act.

So, what is “rolling coal?”

EZ Lynk has one of the most popular and easy-to-use devices on the market. You may have seen a Cummins-powered Ram deliberately “rolling coal.” It was likely programmed to do so using EZ Lynk hardware. What is rolling coal? Essentially it is operating the diesel engine so inefficiently that it produces a thick cloud of black smoke. The practice is surprisingly popular. 

Why is it harmful?

“Emissions controls on cars and trucks protect the public from harmful effects of air pollution. EZ Lynk has put the public’s health at risk by manufacturing and selling devices intended to disable those emissions controls. Through our lawsuit, we will prevent Defendants from continuing to sell this product and impose civil penalties to hold them to account,” says U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.

According to the EPA, diesel trucks that have removed or modified their emission controls pollute exponentially more than their unmodified siblings. It is estimated that more than 550,000 medium-size trucks have had their emissions systems modified in some way to increase performance. The EPA’s study was limited to class 2b and class 3 diesel pickups with gross vehicle weights between 8,501 and 14,000 pounds. The studied vehicles had been tampered with between 2009 and 2020.

The report shows that 570,000 tons of excess NOx and 5,000 tons of excess diesel particulates are blown into the atmosphere by these trucks. 

“Due to their severe excess NOx emissions, these trucks have an air quality impact equivalent to adding more than 9 million additional (compliant, non-tampered) diesel pickup trucks to our roads,” the report says.

Per capita, North Dakota has the highest number of offending vehicles, according to the EPA. It reports that 18.6 percent of trucks in the state have had their emissions systems tampered with. On the other hand, California has seen only 1.8 percent of its truck population modified. North Dakota is obviously a sparsely populated state. Texas is the leader if you look at physical numbers, with more than 65,000 modified trucks, according to the EPA. 

Are the days of rolling coal over?

I have modified my own truck (a Ram 1500) using the OBD-II port. I added features that were optional, such as Daytime Running Lights, trailer management and other things. You could pay extra to have the mirrors tilt down when you shift the truck into reverse. Or you could just hack the software and employ this feature for free, as I did. I’ve hacked a few other aspects of the truck as well – it is very easy to do, frankly. But I haven’t messed with the truck’s performance or emissions. 

With international emissions scandals such as Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” forcing more attention on the subject, could the days of rolling coal be over? It seems so.

Related:

Diesel truck owners know how to cheat – big time

##RVT992b

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Bill V
5 months ago

I think that the article fails to mention that there is a definitive line in diesel trucks that this affects and that is the advent of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Trucks prior to that, especially the old 6bt cummings are excessively blowing smoke due to the fuel input being increased.

If you look at those 1st gen DPF trucks, you had to pull emissions or you’d lose your truck. The 08 and 10 Fords would pour fuel in the exhaust stroke putting fuel in the oil. Very few with original emissions pulled trailers without the heads going at some point.

There is a lot more to a diesel than the tailpipe, but that is what they want us to believe.

David Allen
6 months ago

The company produces a device that allows owners to modify the system. The users are the ones that apply it the way they do to pollute the world. Go after them. The manufacturer of guns are immune from people abusing them. Why should this manufacturer be any different. I am okay with them going after the users. They are a nuisance and cause all kinds of issues for people.

Bill
6 months ago

As late as the early 1970’s it was thought diesel smoke was safe and non-toxic, only containing hydrocarbons. Shortly after, by late 1970’s early 1980’s it was determined diesel smoke was extremely toxic and carcinogenic.

Kyle Vanwinkle
6 months ago

Most of the tunes aren’t dirty tunes. You have kids who want to roll coal and there will always be ways to do that.

That said ezlynk is used with emissions compliant tuning as well.

Besides the tuning module does defeat the factory emissions devices itself its just a computer chip. You can unplug it as soon as you upload your tune further proving its just an interface not the defeat device.

The epa is overstepping here.

You want to look at bad environmental impacts research the amount of energy it takes to create a windmill then cross reference that with the time it take the windmill to run to offset the initial cost. I’ll save you the time its 55years. They have to be rebuild on a maintenance schedule resulting on very low return on investment. The only reason they really get built is because govt subsidies pay the majority of the upfront cost

Vlad the trucker
6 months ago

As someone who wanted to buy a used diesel truck because the new ones cost too {bleeped} much I’m not really mad at them for stopping people from screwing with the waive a truck you set up without knowing what they’re doing and eventually win whatever they’ve done is screwed the truck up they change it back to factory clean it up and then sell it to someone who doesn’t realize and can’t tell that he’s got a major issues going to pop up in another five thousand miles because the last jhole wanted to roll coal not everybody does it to roll coal but way too many do so between the coal rollers and the guys who want to pull way more weight than the truck is supposed to I’m too scared to buy a used diesel truck

Kyle Vanwinkle
6 months ago

While you have a point if the truck looks factory, ie: not lift kit, larger tires, or other upgrades it more likely the truck hasn’t been tuned or has had a mild tune.

If it is tuned with a dirty tune the easy way to tell is to power break it to the point right before the truck would break the tires loose. It will build boost and dump fuel. If done improperly you will see the black cloud of a dirty tune. Mild tunes at worst will have a slight haze to the exhaust.

I wouldn’t touch a truck with a lift or bigger tires. I sat in a ram and opened the console to find the tuning box and that ended the viewing of that truck. The 5 position switch is another pretty big giveaway though it can be hidden or not installed at all.

At the end of the day I love my tuned truck but it’s not running a dirty tune and I don’t beat on my truck.

Lynn Wagoner
6 months ago

When the manufacturers extend the warranty to infinity, I might think about putting the defectivly designed equipment back on, but I doubt it.

Tim
6 months ago

I would be more on board with this if the EPA went after the millions of cars that have been modified (exhaust, intake, injection, etc.) with even 1/4 of the enthusiasm they are commiting to a vehicle that is 50 to 1 of use in this country … They should follow reality and not their eyes …

Cory
6 months ago

These tuners they are the government is going after can also make the exhaust way cleaner than the dpf and egr valves the government makes the vehicles come equipped with. Plus when we delete our trucks we get better fuel Mileage hence burning LESS fuel so how does dpf put off less fumes?! Not to mention dpf burns your nose and throat when standing near it not to mention the regen system.. smh

Cory
6 months ago

Pollution is not what it used to be, CLIMATE CHANGE will happen no matter what as it has for thousands of years. What’s really going to poison our planet is all the huge car batteries that can’t be exposed of properly when the cars go bad. You might as well let the government control where you drive with a remote because thats where it’s headed… FYI diesel comes from the ground and soot also known as diesel particulate matter is too heavy to rise into our atmosphere.

John
6 months ago

In other findings, the FDA found that rolling coal fails to compensate for physical shortcomings.

Gordy B
6 months ago

I no longer own it, but I had my diesel engine modified. There was no rolling coal, only clear exhaust fumes. If you were standing near the truck at idle with factory exhaust the fumes would make your throat raw and irritate your sinuses. After the mod it had no adverse effect when near, it also jumped 5mi to the gallon with no load and 31/2 mi per gal under load. I also gained 50 horse power in pulling power. It put out no smoke under any load conditions.

Joe schmoe
6 months ago

Except that rolling coal is about the last reason people modify. Moronic article

Robert
6 months ago

This author knows nothing about diesel engines. Modifying them to remove the EPA garbage that actually makes less power, horrible gas mileage and still causes pollutants in the air, to a truck that gets better gas mileage and produces the correct amount of power to tow and do work is better on the environment then the BS they try to force down our throats. EPA is nothing but morons wanting money and attacking people that don’t deserve it. Go after billion dollar companies polluting air and destroying land instead of us consumers.

Rick J Sherman
6 months ago

The epa needs to be sued all that emissions crap on diesel engines creates more emissions than it gets rid of. Burns more fuel to burn off the carbon. Creates more carbon buildup in the down tube which in turn .makes engine less efficient. No prolonged test on def systems. I can go on but it won’t make a difference it’s put in place to line someone’s pocket

Dev
6 months ago

The trucks pictured in this article are mechanically injected and have nothing to do with the electronic EZ lynk.

Jeff Arthur
6 months ago

Some modify to fix problems with their emission system that are extremely expensive & complicated. It’s what they don’t tell you when purchasing that new truck…….

Justin
6 months ago

A bunch of these engines are mechanical injection with no emissions so this will not stop the coal rolling. There is also a previous lawsuit that the federal gov lost on this. They sought to outlaw all the programmers the government lost. All the box has to say is “for off-road use only”. More government overreach by overpaid lawyers.

Dodge88
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Yea. My 12v cummins isn’t going to stop smoking… It’s as clean as it can get and shop tuned. Now then again I don’t go laying into it in any town or city. I do that on the back roads. :)))

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago

It’s about time.

Ran
6 months ago

No wonder the Feds are FED-UP! Rolling Coal is toxic!

Bob P
6 months ago

Since all that black smoke is unburned fuel it’s obvious the owners have more dollars than sense.

Glenn
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

That’s the truth!

Cory gentzke
6 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Takes common sense to make money bub… it also takes common sense to know that though…

Dodge88
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

The people that made it bad are the ones that just think it’s fun to dog it out or lock the converter and roll thru town with a basically stock truck making themselves look foolish and just adding low end fuel.

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