Eric Latino knows that feeling all too well. It doesn’t matter if you are 16 hours from the track or 16 hours from home; the feeling of being stranded on the side of the road can leave one sick to the stomach. 
His job in the emissions industry has convinced him that it’s not a matter of if but when a diesel particulate filter [DPF] will leave a big rig or motorhome stranded. 
Before we go any further in this article, what is a DPF, and what does it do?
A DPF is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine.
When your DPF shuts your rig down, Latino wants the racing company to know they have a friend who has their back. 
Latino, a former Pro Modified racer turned Pro Stock competitor and is now a partner in KB-Titan Racing, founded Global Emissions Systems Inc., [GESi]. This company specializes in designing, engineering, and manufacturing emission control technologies that reduce air pollutants from any commercial fuel-burning engine.
“I want everyone to know that they have a buddy in the racing world that happens to make emission controls, which is the biggest pain, the most expensive thing that always fails on these big rigs,” Latino said. “We manufacture every single part number for every truck. When you go to the race track on the weekend, and you show up on a Thursday, and you see them all rolling in, and you got 1000 trucks sitting there, every truck has a DPF, and they’re all going to let the driver down on the side of the road.”
Drag racers can rest assured that Latino has their back with 450 nationwide dealers. Before getting into those details, what can cause a DPF, mandated in 2007, to fail?
According to Latino, the diesel-burning big rigs have back pressure sensors, and when the filter gets plugged up, it puts on a warning light and kills the truck’s power. A powerful truck can be rendered virtually useless and lose as much as 50 percent of its horsepower. If you’re going downhill, there’s no problem. 
“But when you’re somewhere else, you won’t even be able to pull up a hill,” Latino said.  
Latino adds there is a makeshift solution, where the driver can push the regen button to rev the engine up to about 1800 rpm. The process will inject fuel into the exhaust system and heat up the catalytic converter to produce an increase in exhaust temperature, known as exotherm; that heated exhaust gases flow to the particulate filter, and the hot exhaust gases convert the particulate matter from a solid unburnt hydrocarbon to a vapor gas that allows it to flow through the side walls of the channels in the DPF.
Preventative maintenance is the key to extending the life of a DPF, so it is recommended that at 75,000 to 100,000 miles, you have the DPF removed and taken to one of many of the DPF cleaning companies that Latino’s call-in center would direct you to. 





The first thing they would do once they receive the DPF is to inspect the filter for cracks. If there are no cracks present, the next step is to put the filter into an oven at 1200F degrees for 8 hours. The filter is then removed from the oven, and after it cools down, high-pressure air is blasted across the face of the DPF, forcing all of the baked ashes out of the channels. A simple pin test is performed by using a fine wire such as a tig rod, and it is inserted into the channels at the top of the DPF and should travel at least 90% of the height of the DPF. This is checked in many areas, from the center to the outside channels of the DPF. If the wire goes through and doesn’t travel to the indicated depth, the DPF would have to go through another procedure, such as an aqueous cleaning. The aqueous method uses water and a cleaning solution to try and unblock the remainder of the channels by using high-pressure water. If all fails to clean the DPF, the only solution is to replace the unit with a new one. 
“I’m the guy that builds them,” Latino adds. “I’m one of three companies in North America that does this.”
Latino said his company is just a phone call away from saving your bacon. 
“Call DPFXFIT [a division of GESi] at 1 (888) 758-4374 and give them your membership number, whether you’re a PDRA or NHRA. We don’t care, and they’ll call us up, and we will determine the closest dealer or shop to get you fixed up the right way,” Latino said. “If you ever get stuck on the side of the road, we have your back. You go in there as a racer, and they’ll give you up to a 25% discount right off the top as soon as you go in to get service.”

Understandably, because of his business experience, Latino hasn’t experienced a DPF situation, but as he puts it, “Stranded is stranded.”
“I broke down, we blew the rear end up in our truck,” Latino explained. “Before I started looking for a solution, I already had determined in my mind that I was screwed. I had no choice; it got towed in, was $2200 bucks for a tow truck, and charged me $10,000 for the repair, but I had no choice. Now, if I were in North Carolina, my backyard, I would’ve had the rear end done for about $ 5,000. But you know what? I had no choice. So these are just small little things I want racers to know.”
Latino has a mission of helping his fellow racers. While he’s undoubtedly in business to earn a living, he’s more concerned with easing the burden on a stranded racer, at least in an arena he can control. He has enough business through fleet work to remain comfortably busy, but when it comes to a stranded racer, he’ll make some adjustments to move them to the top of the list. 
“To me, it’s my family, it’s the community that I spend most of my life in, and I just want to be able to help them when they are down,” Latino said.