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Truck owner says he’ll scrap rig over “deleted” emissions equipment

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File this under “cautionary tale.” New Jersey resident Mike Sebold listed his 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 for sale on Facebook. He pointed out in the ad that some emissions equipment had been “deleted,” as the term goes for removing such mandated equipment. His truck no longer had an exhaust gas recirculation system, and he’d installed an emissions tuner. It wasn’t long after the ad went up that he got a letter from the state of New Jersey. No, the state wasn’t interested in buying the truck.

60-day notice

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection has a Diesel Enforcement Program. The letter Sebold received was a notice that he was in violation of state law, and explained he’d need to make some changes if he wanted to continue to operate it. Specifically, the notice gave Sebold 60 days to “have the emission control equipment returned to the original engine manufacturer certified configuration.” He’d also need to have the truck inspected by the state to confirm its compliance.

The state’s letter assured that Sebold’s actions were completely voluntary. However, if he failed to take corrective action and continued to use the truck on the public roadways, he could then come in line for official enforcement action. No jail time, but financial penalties aplenty.

Yes, New Jersey does indeed, keep tabs on social media, looking to see who’s been “naughty or nice.” In the state’s book, Sebold was in the former category. When Sebold contacted the Department of Environmental Protection about the letter, it began a series of back-and-forths that went on for a couple of months. Essentially, he was told that he needed to return the truck to its original emissions equipment state, or have it destroyed. Selling or even giving it away, without the emissions fixes, would be another violation of state law.

The $10,000 question

Mike Sebold reckons it would cost him nearly $10,000 to make his Dodge legal again. He kicked around the idea of simply scrapping out the non-compliant engine, but as of last week, decided he’ll take the truck to a scrap yard and have the entire vehicle crushed.



Would it really cost $10,000 to have emissions equipment restored? We don’t have the answer. But to a degree, Sebold may have actually received a “light touch” in his dealings with New Jersey. State laws notwithstanding, federal law, applicable across 50 states, says it is a crime to tamper with, defeat, remove, or “delete” vehicle emissions equipment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can and does go after “little guys” for violating that law. Fines of $7,500 per day can be assessed. And selling a vehicle with “deleted” equipment can put you in a precarious legal position. The buyer can turn around and file suit against the seller.

Do other states have “watchdogs” combing through social media posts, Craigslist ads, etc? It’s safe to assume other jurisdictions are following New Jersey’s lead. Post your vehicle as having deleted equipment, you’ll raise a red flag. Fail to tell a prospective buyer that a vehicle is missing emissions equipment puts a seller in another batch of legal peril. Perhaps the moral of the story is this: If you have an idea of deleting emissions equipment—just delete that idea altogether.

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris

Opening photo credit: Penz crane GmbH, Österreich; FN 323618i on wikimedia.org Photo edited for size. 

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Michael Thomas Lloyd
2 months ago

Remember when drinking and driving was legal! Or the police officer just told you to drive home and stay there even though your car was in a ditch? Or smoking in restaurants was just grand? All that freedom was taken away for the benefit and safety of a majority of the citizenry! How dare we have rules!

Don
2 months ago

Oops it got stolen and I have no idea where it is officer…….

Anthony
2 months ago

That’s a minty Mazda 323 bg in that picture. I’m very angry right now.

Carl
2 months ago

All the commentators on here supporting Big Brother’s heavy handed approach to a guy selling a 14 year old truck hopefully will have that same generous attitude when the govt comes after your RV. CA has already given you the date (2035) for the end of gas/diesel cars &trucks and I’m sure several other states will follow suit. The Greenies don’t like you driving around in those 40’ motor homes and you are next. You ate only fooling yourself of you think otherwise.

Jay
2 months ago

Bah, who needs clean air? Let’s put tetraethyl lead back in gas while we’re at it.😆

GARY
2 months ago

Reading the comments reminds me of my old man ranting how he could no longer route the washing machine drain out into the backyard instead of to the septic tank. Its not the 1800s folks where there weren’t enough of us to impact the environment in rural areas. Emissions controls are a part of protecting air quality. You might not agree with it or like it, but count on enforcement increasing in the future. Deleting emissions controls is already illegal, it’s just a question of how strongly it will be enforced. With the current head of EPA coming off an air quality background, it isn’t hard to guess which way enforcement is headed.

Nunya
2 months ago
Reply to  GARY

You want to protect the air then stop producing electricity also. After all most states use coal to do that, if they use solar then the chemicals are also bad for the environment also. Oh you say to use nuclear to create electricity, then what about the nuclear fallout from the inevitable meltdown. Does anyone remember Pripiat Russia, or how about three mile island in New York. Oh and you think gasoline cars or diesel trucks are bad then I guess no natural gas to heat the home or LP gas to keep you warm also back to the days of burning dried cow patties, corn stalks to stay warm, going to the outhouse in the middle of the night, remember when in the winter it was10 feet to far or 10 feet to close in the summer, after all we need to produce electricity some how to get the water to our house, no pump no water.

Martin
2 months ago

I don’t understand the cost…. There must have been more than the EGR delete. I deleted my egr system on my 08 dodge ram over 7 years ago. The parts were less than two hundred bucks. I removed the original system and put the aftermarket parts on myself. Without the emissions tuner($$$) the check engine light stays on. When I had to smog it, I put the OEM system back on. When I sold it, I put the old system back on.
The EGR system is a poorly designed fix to reduce smog emissions, for any vehicle. It potentially or most probably reduces any engines life. The system pumps dirty exhaust gas back into the intake. But as we all know, hot exhaust gas and/or hot ambient air reduces power. So they use radiator coolent in some fashion to cool the exhaust gas. When you cool the exhaust gas, soot accumulates inside the pipe to the egr, through the egr and the intake components afterward. Just like a smoker builds up tar in his lungs the engine does the same thing. Think that’s good????

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Parts and labor to reverse a DPF and SCR delete probably somewhere around 5-7k on a 2008 Dodge.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Rufus

Guess he shouldn’t have done this illegal action in the first place!

Ted
2 months ago

Sell it in Missouri they don’t require none of that junk.

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Ted

Good luck with that. NJ won’t allow title to be released until corrective action is taken.

Daniel
2 months ago
Reply to  Rufus

Get a lost or salvage title in Missouri. NJ can’t stop that action

M J
2 months ago

I say everyone that is tired of big government watching your every move, make a fake Facebook page and Craigslist ads in New Jersey selling deleted trucks and motorhomes. And see how long we can string them along. If they’re paying people to watch Facebook and Craigslist, we might as well give them something to do.

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  M J

Have fun with that. We’ll see who has longer staying power. Government with unlimited bankroll, or boomers with iPhones.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  M J

It was and illegal

Sharon N.
2 months ago

Consequences.

M J
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharon N.

You do realize Def systems cut the life expectancy of a diesel engine by about ⅔. And all it really cuts is soot, and fuel economy by about ½. A good running diesel does not “roll coal” that is a modification. So now we’re using twice as much fuel, and producing the exhaust as well.

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  M J

Cite your sources, Sharon lol. Rolling coal is only half the story. Nitrogen Oxides absolutely destroy the local air quality, and have nothing to do with soot. Perhaps you’ll open a book for the first time in your life and read. Or not. I don’t care. But pretty much nothing you claim here is substantiated.

Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  M J

You might want to read Cummins engine spec, still rated to 500,000 miles. And that’s at 2x the HP (almost) and torque of the older engines.

And it would be nice if we reduced emissions and slowed down the fires and smoke in the western US?

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  M J

BS. It might affect the fuel mileage marginally, but it does NOT affect engine life at all! The DEF system is completely downstream from the engine.

Spike
2 months ago

With internet technology today, enforcement doesn’t have to have a bunch of people looking through ads. Bots and other technologies are used to be constantly scanning the web for key words and phrases thus drastically narrowing down what human agents need to physically review.

To openly state on the internet that one has done something illegal wins the Darwin award.

I’m not advocating doing it, just saying that those who do and talk about it on the net don’t have much going on upstairs IRT getting caught. It’s like robbing a bank with your demands written on the back of one of your own deposit slips (one crook actually did that, BTW!)

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Spike

There are plenty of people that would gladly report it, regardless. Lots of snitching systems set up all around the country.

Gary
2 months ago

Sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

Joe Goomba
2 months ago

“Whaaaa, boo hoo! I want the right to crap on the environment all I want!!!”

Yep, that’s what some here sound like.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

captain gort
2 months ago

In California, you cannot sell or re-register a vehicle that is subject to OEM smog laws without a current “Passed” smog inspection certificate. That said, in my rural community in California, for some reason, our vehicles are exempt from bi-annual smog tests (but NOT the part I stated above). So we have a lot of mostly young bozos blasting around our quiet neighborhood with cars and trucks with zero mufflers or even worse- systems carefully engineered to make tiny Hondas sound like AA Fueler dragsters! But when they sell, it has to pass that smog test!!!!

George
2 months ago

A cautionary tale or a story of “Stupid is as Stupid does” ?

“Deleting” this aspect of the exhaust system is primarily done to “Roll Coal” on others.

Mike’s second mistake, after removing the equipment in the first place, was bragging about it in his Marketplace ad.

This is not a story of government over reach, I find it to be a highlighting look into one of the reasons we appear to be nearing a complete societal shut-down. Just because Mike wanted to alter his vehicle he didn’t have the “freedom” nor “right” to do it.

$10,000 (Mike’s guesstimate) might just be the cost he pays for his lack of understanding the consequences of his decision.

Wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  George

Utter nonsense George! I’m 70 years old and do NOT “roll coal”. You are engaging in slander and painting with a wide brush.
There are many thousands of us old RVers who do the delete in order to gain power and mileage per gal! The more the power the less pressure on the pedal.
My truck consistently gets 17 to 18 MPG dragging a 13,000 lb trailer. That represents a big reduction in fuel consumption from stock.

George
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

Thank you Wayne for your considered reply.

My brush may be a bit wide and my analogy generalized. However, without this emissions control mechanism in place diesel vehicles do “Roll Coal” regardless of the age of the foot pressing the accelerator.

I do believe the point of my comment, that this is a story of “stupid is as stupid does”, it’s still valid.

Wishing you a safe travels.

Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

And you are entitled to ignore emissions laws, why?

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

You may not roll coal, but with deleted trucks, you emit extreme amounts of nitrogen oxides which are pure poison in the air and lead to all sorts of downstream air quality issues. Our kids breathe this air. Soooo…. Tough luck on anybody else as long as you get better mileage eh? Boomers are so selfish.

Wayne
2 months ago

I question the whole science behind the emissions purist cult.
Is the exhaust from a intact new truck totally inert?
The gained efficiency that comes from a deleted truck is tremendous resulting in a gain of 5 to 10 MPG.
Not to mention that what ever comes out of the tail pipe originally came from the ground.
I’ve had two “deleted” trucks and they burn exceptionally clean. Which all newer diesels do, unless you crank up the hp.
Its why we do it. 18 mpg towing is better than 12 mpg!

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

I’m with you, Wayne. I also disagree with George that people delete to “roll coal”. They do it to lengthen the life of their engines and get better fuel mileage.
And of course, you keep your mouth shut and don’t brag about it. You never know who you are talking to or who is reading your FB posts. I live in a place where there is no emissions testing, but I haven’t deleted because I wouldn’t be able to sell the truck deleted. And, I’m chicken – ha.

George Pennington
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Tommy this is also social media on this site and you just told the world your trucks are deleted!

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

George, where did you get that impression? My penultimate sentence says I have not deleted. And I haven’t, and explained why. I would love to do it but I’m afraid to.

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

1mpg or 50mpg. The law states how much nitrogen oxides and VOCs are allowed to be emitted. It’s possible for a deleted truck to get 50mpg and still emit more NOx and VOCs than a non deleted truck getting 1 mpg.

That’s what the deleters don’t get. It has nothing to do with efficiency. In fact, if you look at new trucks, they have lower compression ratios and retracted (can’t say the other word on here) timing to reduce maximum cylinder, pressures and prevent nitrogen oxides from being created.

Time and time again, we find the mileage hit. Isn’t that bad either. Pretty easy to go to fuelly.com and look at the efficiency differences between the years of trucks pre-2007 and post 2007 when T2B5 went into effect. It’s nowhere near as much as you think it is.

In fact, it can be about the same when you’re on the highway because the truck does passive regeneration at high sustain speeds. It’s the active region that uses extra fuel, and even then it’s not that much.

The other problem is when you delete a truck you were not just deleting the DPF. People delete the EGR and nitrogen oxide traps. EGR delete so don’t make his big of a difference on diesels because they already run lean naturally.

Emissions equipment, ad costs and complexity to trucks, but it’s well worth the trade-off to not poison the air our kids breathe. Diesels make huge amounts of NOx. That’s why you’re seeing diesels become more like gasoline direct injected engines.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Rufus

Also. Trucks regen when needed, so if you drive your diesel right, it does not regen that often.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

Did you delete the egr or the DEF? If you have deleted, you are not ‘burning exceptionally clean’. Either way, you are polluting the air. So call us a ‘purists cult’ but I want my kids to be able to breath.

Buddrick
2 months ago

Here’s an idea……don’t mess with emission equipment 🤷🏼‍♂️

Ron
2 months ago

Typical of half the country does not believe rules and regulations apply to them. Rules and regulations were created because of the ignorant behavior of a few and put in place to Protect us from idiots, like this one.
If you don’t want clean air to breath. Then move.

Steve flippo
2 months ago

Could the vehicle not be sold for farm use? I don’t know the law, but how is it environmentally beneficial to waste all the energy and natural resources that went into building this truck? Why is the damage waste causes the environment not taken into account by the epa?

Rufus
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve flippo

Carbon dioxide emissions in the manufacturing process are much more acceptable than nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Emissions are not created equal.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Rufus

CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process? Say what? What emissions? Manufactures have extremely strict requirements for any policing processes. And any emissions or pollution from manufacturing is the same on a truck with or without the emissions equipment. Your argument make no sense.

Crowman
2 months ago

He could have sold it out of State like we did in California when they outlawed a certain class of Diesels.

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