Affiliate’s Corner: Erin Novotny, SDGCSA Affiliate Representative, Turf Star

We’ve all heard the dreaded phase, ‘tier 4’ when discussing the purchase of new equipment, but what exactly is it and what do we need to know to maintain it?

In the 1970’s the Environmental Protection Agency created 4 tiers of emission standards that would be required in a given time frame for all diesel units, both on road and off road.   Tier 4 refers to the latest emission established by the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board which applies to new engines found in off-road equipment. This equipment includes construction, mining, turf and agricultural equipment, marine vessels and workboats, locomotives and stationary engines found in industrial and power generation applications. These emissions standards apply to new and remanufactured engines and do not apply to older engines. 

Standards for diesel emissions became more stringent from tier to tier and now with the final phase of EPA emission standards, the pollutants will be virtually eliminated. Each tier addresses numerous types of pollutants, with Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) receiving the most attention.  NOx contributes to ground level ozone, commonly known as smog.  PM consists of soot or unused fuel that gives dirty engine exhaust its black color.

The new tier 4 diesel engines that range in horse power from 25-75, are equipped with diesel particulate filters. Diesel particulate filters (DPF) are devices that physically capture diesel particulates to prevent their release to the atmosphere. There are other filters that capture these particles, however, for the turf industry, DPF’s are the mostly commonly used by engine manufactures. These new engines will require a regeneration once the DPF has built up too much soot. Each equipment manufacturer may have a slightly different process for performing these required regenerations so it will be important to take the time to learn your equipment.

Because a good portion of equipment used in our industry fall into the 25-75 horse power range, it is important to educate yourself, the equipment manager, as well as any persons that may operate the new tier 4 pieces of equipment. Make sure to READ THE OPERATORS MANUAL for each new mower/tractor. Most of the equipment manufacturers have designed a ‘passive regeneration’ which will happen automatically while the equipment is in operation. It is important to continue using the equipment at this time and NOT shut off the engine. The operators’ manual will provide icons for the stages of regeneration requested by the machine. If you are unsure, ask your equipment sales representative or certified mobile technician from the distributor for training on tier 4.

References: (photo credit)

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