By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer
The recent product recall of a diesel particulate filter was issued after a three-acre brush fire in early August – the second fire started by a particular make and model built by Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls.
According to the California Air Resources Board, which announced the recall last week, a three-acre brushfire was ignited Aug. 4 after the failure of a LongMile diesel particulate filter. LongMile is made by San Diego-based Cleaire.
“Findings have shown a failure of the engine’s turbocharger occurred, resulting in significant amounts of oil being released into the engine’s exhaust system, which ignited and melted the LongMile’s metal core,” a written response from CARB reads. “Upon learning of this incident, ARB staff directed Cleaire to immediately suspend all sales and new installations of the LongMile.”
Cleaire referred questions from about the recall and incident to CARB.
The company has agreed to replace all affected LongMile models at no charge to customers by providing either a muffler replacement or a substitute ceramic-like filter, which the company and CARB said is in use on “well over a million other trucks on the road.”
In September 2011, 11 months before the most recent fire, a spark kicked from a big rig and started a 3,600-acre forest fire that destroyed 100 structures and displaced hundreds of rural Washington residents. Washington estimated the fire’s total cost at $5.2 million.
The September 2011 fire was fought first by a group of nuns, whom a local newspaper photographed while they worked a bucket line before they were eventually replaced by more than 800 firefighters.
Any truck owner with an affected LongMile system should be contacted by Cleaire directly. The recall doesn’t affect any fleet’s ability to “retain early compliance credits” awarded by CARB that they may have accrued after installing the original LongMile system, CARB said.
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According to Cleaire’s website, the LongMile system is CARB-verified to be retrofitted on trucks with 1993 through 2006 model year engines.
CARB emphasized the important role truck drivers play in preventing problems with the DPF systems.
“The driver must pay attention to all driver notification lights and the engine’s condition when operating the vehicle,” CARB said through a spokeswoman.
“Under no circumstances should the vehicle be driven where there is a loss of power or any engine or retrofit ‘driver notification light’ shows a warning, the green light is not illuminated, or the amber light is flashing. If any of these conditions occurs while the vehicle is moving, drivers should safely pull over and turn off the engine immediately. In such circumstances the driver should contact the nearest dealer or authorized repair facility.”