What is the AdBlue system
In addition to being economical and reliable, diesel units are not very environmentally friendly – they emit nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere when they operate. Older diesel units also emit high levels of soot pollution. Engineers and medics alike say so. The latter add that the effect of diesel exhaust on human respiratory organs increases the risk of cancer. For a long time automobile concerns have been trying to improve the environmental friendliness of diesel engines. Concern Daimler AG was not satisfied with the requirements of environmental standards Euro-4 and Euro-5 and created its own system of “clean” diesel called BlueTec. Avto.pro will tell you what this system is, how it works and what malfunctions the owners of “clean” diesel cars from Mercedes-Benz may encounter.
Why this system is in demand
Daimler AG equips many of its diesel vehicles with the BlueTec system for a number of reasons. Despite its relative complexity, it is versatile, has a long service life and a number of interesting features. That’s why it’s so good:
– The system optimizes fuel consumption; – Engine service intervals are the same as for units with Euro 3; – Installation of the system does not require major modifications to the powertrain and exhaust system; – Cars with BlueTec do not lose as much value when sold in the aftermarket as vehicles that only meet the old environmental standards.
BlueTec is particularly valued by drivers in Germany who own commercial vehicles and heavy trucks. Vehicles equipped with this system can receive benefits for travel on toll roads. It is also worth noting that vehicles with reduced emissions are not subject to a ban on entry into cities in most European countries. We should add that the system is not too expensive to maintain.
How it works
After the introduction of the Euro 5 environmental standard, automotive companies began to hastily equip vehicles with exhaust gas aftertreatment systems. The basis of such systems is a catalyst, which we have written about in this material. Daimler AG engineers have presented their solution, called BlueTec. The system is often called SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduce). Its key feature is the use of urea. BlueTec includes:
1. a tank of liquid AdBlue reagent and heating elements to prevent it from freezing; 2. a mixer and reagent injection nozzle; 3. tubing systems with heating elements (usually 3 circuits); 4. an SCR control unit; 5. an SCR catalytic converter (in fact, an upgraded exhaust gas neutralizer); 6. a nitrogen oxide (NOx) sensor.
Here’s how it works: AdBlue is injected into the exhaust stream in small portions, where it mixes with the exhaust (already cleaned of soot), goes to the neutralizer and helps convert the gases into nitrogen and water. The reagent is designed to fight nitrogen oxides, while the rest of the system removes or burns soot, hydrocarbons and other components of the diesel exhaust.
The BlueTec system effectively reduces the percentage of harmful compounds in exhaust gases and prevents the emission of soot, but compares favorably with systems with catalytic converters in terms of simplicity. The main feature of the Daimler AG technology is exactly that: the diesel unit becomes more environmentally friendly, but no complex modifications are made to it. The main BlueTec elements have a long service life and are easy to maintain. As a result, “clean” diesel cars do not go up in price as much as, for example, similar gasoline cars which would require installation of several catalysts.
BlueTec malfunctions and the issue of disabling the system
The reagent tank is usually located next to the gas tank. According to the manufacturer, maintenance of the system comes down to checking the level of the liquid – the driver only needs to unscrew the cap of the AdBlue tank and refill the reagent. This procedure should be done every 10,000 kilometers on average. Despite the simplicity of the system and its high reliability, in practice it fails after several years of operation. The main reasons are as follows:
– Failure of the heating element; – Clogging of the tubes; – Failure of the NOx sensor due to problems with the corresponding sensor; – Temperature changes (the system is susceptible to cold).
In most cases, the problems start after a long drive on low-quality diesel. Unfortunately, there is a fuel problem in almost all of the former Soviet Union. And if the BlueTec fails, the onboard electronics can block the engine after a certain number of starts (usually six). The presence of problems is indicated by:
– Check Engine indicator running; – Inability to start the engine; – Occurrence of an OBD 2 error.
Diagnostics with auto scanner can “stump” the motorist – there are many combinations of errors, they show the problem with BlueTec in principle, i.e. it is sometimes impossible to clarify which element of the system is out of order without addressing to a specialist. For this reason, it is necessary to apply to a service station when a malfunction is revealed. As many motorists declare, the problems with the system from Daimler AG concern usually start after overcoming a mark in 100 thousand kilometers of run. The driver will also have to pour AdBlue reagent on a regular basis. We suggest learning more about it.
What is AdBlue
The BlueTech system cannot work properly without injecting a special AdBlue liquid into the exhaust gases. It is due to this that the environmental performance of the vehicle reaches the Euro 4 to Euro 6 standards. This liquid is also called urea, because technically it is a solution of urea in demineralized water. You should not confuse AdBlue with conventional urea, which is an animal feed additive, nitrogen fertilizer and some other products. SCR operation is based on the chemical reaction of NH3 ammonia with NOx nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gases. The reaction produces water vapor H20 and nitrogen N2 (harmless). AdBlue itself is not a fuel additive – it is a specific reagent used in BlueTec. The average consumption of the reagent is 3-6% of the fuel consumption. Ideally, the fluid and container you buy should meet the following requirements:
– Tightness of container and presence of cap seal/control ring; – Compliance with ISO 22241; – Product must be stored in a sealed container in a dry shaded room at temperatures from -10°C to +25°C for not more than 1 year (freezing is acceptable but not recommended).
Unfortunately, a lot of AdBlue fluids sold in the domestic markets not only do not meet the above requirements, but also have additives that are not recommended by the German automobile concern. For example, inexpensive anti-caking agents (usually urea “Uresoft-150”), although the urea must be used in the production of urea A grade of high purity.
The AdBlue reagent tank is usually adjacent to the main fuel tank. The filler neck may be located next to the fuel filler cap, in the luggage compartment, and in rare cases under the hood of the vehicle. Filling capacity varies from model to model and ranges from 5 to 30 liters, but in some cases is as high as 35 liters. One full tank is usually enough for 5-20 thousand kilometers of mileage. According to regulations, scheduled replacement of consumables is carried out every 10 thousand kilometers. Consequently, the filled fluid is enough for one service. The Assyst Plus service system makes it possible to predict how many kilometers the reagent will be enough. If you ignore the need to refill AdBlue, the onboard electronics will first put the engine into emergency mode. Some changes in the technical regulations allow you to disable the system, but in this case the vehicle will no longer meet the environmental standards.
We have already pointed out above that some of the AdBlue fluids sold on the primary and secondary market do not meet the requirements. In fact, these reagents are counterfeit. Experts of Daimler AG concern categorically do not recommend pouring such fluids into the system. Here are the problems the motorist may encounter:
– Failure of elements of the dosing system (expensive repair will be required); – Deposition of urea in the neutralizer; – Increase in the share of NOx in exhaust gases; – Restriction of engine operation by onboard electronics; – The worst option – blocking of the exhaust system.
We hasten to assure readers that the latter happens rarely, but, in principle, failure of almost all the exhaust system is possible. In this case, it will be necessary to replace a number of car components. In most cases, the car simply ceases to be as environmentally friendly as it was conceived by the automaker. With time its separate knots are worn out, but it is possible to reveal problems during passage of service maintenance. The truest decision will be revealing of a fake at a stage of choice of a liquid in a store. Here is what you need to pay attention to:
– Presence of quality certificate, which should accompany each lot of AdBlue; – High quality of package (containers), seal/ring and also lot number, production date and expiration date; – Special flexible spout (necessary for pouring liquid into the tank); – ISO 22241 and DIN 70070 markings; – Correct name of the reagent (AdBlue) without mistakes in any letter.
After buying the right fluid, the motorist needs to refill it as necessary. AdBlue is not a highly toxic, flammable or explosive substance. Prolonged contact with human skin can cause burns, so you should wear rubber gloves when handling the reagent. Inhalation of reagent vapors for a short time may not cause harm to humans or animals. Prolonged inhalation can be dangerous. Headaches, coughs and digestive problems should be cause for concern.
Finding parts and consumables for BlueTec systems
Not only Mercedes-Benz diesel cars, but also Volkswagen, Citroen, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Audi, Peugeot are equipped with AdBlue and similar systems. As it was already mentioned in one of the previous sections, problems with the system often occur after runs of 100 or more thousand kilometers. Spray nozzles and the fluid pump often fail. Problems with sensors and additional filters are not uncommon. You can search for repair parts by:
– Key parameters of the car, including the year of manufacture and configuration; – Catalog number of the desired part/consumable.
In the vast majority of cases the car owner doesn’t know the catalog numbers, so he will have to search according to the (technical) parameters of the car. For example, you can search for parts at Avto.pro step by step: choose the car brand and model, choose a category of parts and, browsing the sub-categories, find the necessary part. Please note that not only are the numbers of spare parts for different brands and models different, but also the numbers of AdBlue fluids. They are packed in containers with a capacity of 1.9-200 liters. On sale you can find original liquids, non-original foreign production and non-original from domestic firms. Original reagents always meet the standards, and non-original foreign ones are less common. According to some experts, the cheapest domestic non-original reagents in 70% of cases are either blatant counterfeit, or the product, which is not recommended to fill up the car because of its dubious composition.
The BlueTec system, designed to improve the environmental friendliness of diesel vehicles, is quite effective and reliable. At the same time, it is also easy to operate – the motorist only needs to monitor the AdBlue fluid level and refill the reagent in time. Although German automakers claim that the system can boast a long service life, after a few years of operation, some BlueTec components are guaranteed to fail. For repair it is better to use original spare parts. There are non-original parts on sale, but their quality is questionable. If you encounter a breakdown, pick up the parts as soon as possible and delegate the work of installing them to specialists.
All You Need to Know When Using AdBlue in a Car
What is AdBlue and what is the purpose of this additive, where should it be poured?
AdBlue is a liquid solution used in some diesel engines with a selective catalytic reduction system and is necessary for reducing nitrogen oxide (N2O) emissions. Just like a conventional fuel used in these engines, this AdBlue solution requires its replenishment (top up), which does not happen as often as in the case of diesel refueling.
Before proceeding to a detailed description of the procedure for refilling a separate tank with a liquid AdBlue solution, about the precautions when filling this substance, we will try to explain to our readers what it is generally this AdBlue.
See also: Nezamerik own hands
Before there was a name. The name was chosen as a trademark of the German Association of the Automotive Industry and is a marketing term that refers to the fluid itself for the soot abatement system. In the end, it was the name “AdBlue” that was most palatable to the human ear and which has stuck as the basic name for this type of product.
AdBlue is a consumable material for the diesel engines of cars around the world, and it does not matter what kind of transport we are talking about, whether it is cars or trucks. This liquid solution is injected into the SCR catalyst in order to destroy accumulated soot and unburned fuel particles, thus decomposing them into water and nitrogen. Both of the resulting elements, as many know from school chemistry, are harmless and are respectively released into the atmosphere from this very car’s exhaust system.
The liquid itself consists of 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionized water, the latter respectively working as a solvent, it helps solid urea (colorless crystals) become a liquid solution. AdBlue is a non-toxic and odorless liquid, but certain precautions must still be observed when filling it, as in contact with certain metals, this solution can lead to corrosion. Therefore, this liquid should be stored and transported with a certain amount of caution. If the reagent comes into contact with human skin, it should be thoroughly rinsed in water and this will be quite enough to protect the body from negative consequences.
What will happen or what happens if you do not put AdBlue in the car?
Without AdBlue, most modern diesel cars will refuse to start or will run in low power mode, in the so-called “emergency mode”. It is therefore recommended that when using such an engine, the AdBlue level should be monitored and topped up if necessary.
The vehicle itself will notify you of the need to refill the urea by means of the on-board computer, thus indicating that the level of this liquid is low and you need to refill it.
Due to the rather strict attitude of automakers to the environmental friendliness of diesel-fueled vehicles (up to the fact that the engine may not start), the first warnings (signals) about topping up will appear a few thousand kilometers before the necessary refueling. That way you have enough time to remember to buy more before the car finally uses up the rest of the fluid. But in today’s reality, we would advise truck drivers to carry a couple of canisters of urea solution with them at all times.
What is the flow rate of this AdBlue solution?
The consumption of AdBlue fluid varies depending on the specific exhaust aftertreatment system. But this is also influenced by the driving style itself and the conditions in which the vehicle is driven. For example, if the vehicle is carrying a load or is in a traffic jam, the consumption of AdBlue will be higher (more) than when driving on the highway in a light vehicle. In the latter case AdBlue will of course also be used (consumed), but not as quickly as in difficult driving conditions.
In fact, we can summarize the following, no matter how you exploit the car and if it is not designed to split the harmful emissions of diesel engine but it is a similar system, the additional costs of buying this tool you will always be present.
How much AdBlue is consumed (approximately) in a car?
For a passenger car AdBlue consumption is approximately 1 liter per 1000 – 1200 km, in the variant of the truck its consumption increases significantly, on average 1.5 – 2 liters per 100 kilometers.
A 20-liter canister of reagent costs from 500 to 650 rubles. If for owners of passenger cars such amounts are not critical, then for truck haulers, the cost of this reagent for the year will be very significant.
How do I refuel my diesel car(s) with this AdBlue?
As soon as your car notifies you that you need to refill (top up) with AdBlue, it’s time for you to go online to buy this type of fluid.
Be careful friends (!), not all AdBlue is of the same quality. Different manufacturers may have significantly different quality AdBlue, sometimes so much so that the on-board computer of your car may display errors. Also, there are counterfeit or fake AdBlue on the market, please be careful.
To refill this reagent you do not need to go to the specialized service center, you can refill the system yourself. The main thing is to strictly fulfill the requirements of the instructions and all simple topping up operations with maximum caution, then you will succeed and it will be done without much risk of damaging (harming) the car.
If you do not use any other or other agent, instead of using AdBlue, try not to fill the system with plain water or other urea solution, do NOT do that AT ALL! Also, if when pouring the reagent you have not spilled it on the car parts in such a way that the car inspector will clearly understand about your amateurishness, then there will be no reason to terminate the warranty service of the car from the official dealer.
You don’t know how much fluid is left in the reagent tank? Not a problem, some cars will notify you of its amount by means of the on-board computer. If you do not have these data, then refer to the car manual or look on the Internet. After you manage to find out how many liters of fluid you need (will need), you will need to familiarize yourself in detail with the procedure of refilling the AdBlue tank of your car.
As you see friends, everything is absolutely simple. Also, if on your car model the AdBlue refill cap is located near the filler neck of the gas tank and the filler neck is in a different location, it will be a little more difficult to refill the reagent. On some BMWs, it’s located under the hood, while other automakers have located this filler neck just inside the trunk itself. In any case, it will have to be found first before the AdBlue container can be opened.
Cars with AdBlue technology must only be filled with liquid AdBlue. Such vehicles have special names (like BlueTEC for Mercedes-Benz for example) and have a special separate filler neck with a blue cap and a separate tank for the reagent. Never try to refill the reagent tank with anything other than AdBlue, and never dilute that AdBlue with any other fluid.
Also, VERY CERTAINLY DO NOT pour AdBlue into the fuel tank or into any other tanks of the vehicle that are not designed for it. It can cause serious damage to the engine and other parts of the vehicle.
You can refill this reagent with or with a branded filler, i.e. the so-called “non-pourer” that is sold by the manufacturer of this vehicle.
If you want to save money, this refueling trick is as follows, you purchase a special refueling bottle “non-pouring” and use it as a funnel. After buying it, you can safely refill the liquid tank with AdBlue at your discretion, without any trouble or adventure.
Some gas stations offer AdBlue directly from the dispenser, but such stations are rare and are usually only made for truck drivers who fill up with large quantities of AdBlue at once.
Retail AdBlue is sold in large 10-liter or 20-liter canisters. It is likely that your vehicle will not need such a large quantity of AdBlue. It is better not to store this reagent after opening and refilling it (all the more, if you do not drive much), because this product has a limited shelf life.
You can also use a simple funnel. The “old-fashioned” way of refueling is often discussed on forums. But we, dear friends, would not recommend it to you because the spilled liquid will sooner or later cause an accelerated corrosion in the place of its ingress.
If you have no other choice but to buy a 10-liter bottle of AdBlue, feel free to share the leftover reagent with a friend if he has a need for it. Try not to store AdBlue at all, as this substance loses its purity after opening and can seriously damage the car’s SCR system.