You should feel good about using a tractor with a newer engine (Tier 4) and other components that reduce noxious emissions, but one of the downsides is more dealer maintenance, right? Not necessarily, especially for Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), which are crucial components of the Tier 4 engine’s air cleaning system.

The filters are designed to remove soot from the exhaust of a diesel engine. Some of these filters are single use and should be replaced when they are full of ash. Others are designed to burn off the ash and can be used longer term, but they require periodic cleaning. You can do this yourself with a DPF cleaning system.

Specialty tool manufacturer Kline Industries,, makes such a system (KL22020 DPF Cleaner), and it’s portable — about the size of a small garbage can. (In the past, the systems tended to be larger.) The cleaning system operates with a floating full-contact nozzle and compressed air. It is fully automated and requires minimal operator oversight, according to the company.

The KL22020 will clean filters with diameters ranging from 6.6 inches to 15.7 inches and includes a vacuum system that uses HEPA filter dust control.

Be careful, though, to follow the equipment manufacturer’s guidelines to maintain coverage of any warranties tTS_2013_01_KL22020hat cover a DPF. For example, here’s what Caterpillar says about cleaning DPFs in its online FAQ about Tier 4 maintenance:

“Ash will need to be cleaned out of the DPF every 5,000 hours. Equipment users are permitted to service the DPF. However, Caterpillar has specific guidelines including tooling, parts and service procedures that must be performed when servicing the DPF. If Caterpillar guidelines are not followed, any resulting damage to the DPF is not covered under warranty. Contact your Cat Dealer and refer to the Operation and Maintenance Guide for further information.”