North America is on the cusp of a clean-diesel revolution, driven by the Environmental Protection Agency?s (EPA) mandated move to ultra-low sulfur diesel, which was launched Oct. 15.

Ultra-low sulfur diesel has a sulfur content of 15 parts per million (ppm), compared with low sulfur diesel at 500 ppm. Reducing the sulfur content will allow automotive manufacturers to build clean-diesel-powered cars and trucks that can meet the government?s stringent new emissions regulations.

?Removing the sulfur enables reduction of particulate matter by over 90 percent,? says Peter Misangyi, fuels and lubricants specialist for Ford Motor Company. ?As a normal customer, you won?t see the telltale black smoke coming from the exhaust pipes anymore. In addition, NOx emissions are cut in half.?

In fact, the EPA estimates that by 2030, when the entire fleet (on and off highway) has been turned over, nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced by 4 million tons yearly, and cancer-causing particulate matter will be reduced by 250,000 ton per year.

Ford Motor Company is leading the revolution, coming to market in early 2007 with the industry?s first clean-diesel truck engine in the new 2008 F-Series Super Duty. The Super Duty?s new 6.4-liter Power Stroke® engine even offers increased power and torque, making it the most popular choice for trucks that weigh more than 8,500 pounds, but these newer engines will require some special attention.

?The customer will have a new part to service, called the diesel particulate filter,? says Mike Harrison, 6.4-liter Power Stroke chief engineer, Ford North American Diesel. ?But with proper use of the specified fuels and oils, typical servicing of the part should not be required before the vehicle has been driven 120,000 miles.?

The diesel particulate filter is an integral part of Ford?s clean-diesel technology. Working like a self-cleaning oven, the filter traps the particulate, or soot, inside the filter and regenerates itself, using injected diesel fuel to effectively burn and disintegrate the soot. Regeneration takes place about every 300 miles of normal use.

While older diesels should have no problem running on the new fuel, Harrison cautions against using anything other than ultra-low sulfur diesel in the new trucks. Any fuel containing more than the 15 ppm of sulfur could inhibit regeneration. Continued use of high-sulfur fuel may eventually clog the filter, calling for service at the dealer.
< P>The EPA requires diesel pumps at filling stations to be properly labeled. Owners should read the labels carefully, as there are three: one for ultra-low sulfur diesel, one for low sulfur diesel and one for off-highway diesel.

Harrison also stresses the importance of reading the diesel supplement that comes with the vehicle owner?s manual. Here are a few other Ford recommendations to keep in mind:

· Change the fuel filter at every other oil filter change. Oil filter change intervals have been extended to 10,000 miles from 7,500 miles under normal operation. Heavy-duty operation intervals stay at 5,000 miles.

· Use CJ-4 oils, which minimize the amount of ash buildup in the diesel particulate filter.

· Empty the water separator on the primary fuel-conditioning module once a month or when the warning light comes on. Failure to do so could cause corrosion of the internal fuel system components, leading to failure of the fuel pump and injection system. The water is considered a hazardous waste. The maintenance CD that comes with the vehicle provides information on the proper way to capture and dispose of the water.

· The unique design of the Super Duty exhaust system prohibits the addition of chrome tip covers. An air infusion device entrains cold air into the exhaust to help cool it when the truck is in regeneration mode. It?s important to keep the openings clear of mud and debris.

· Harrison suggests that when operating in hot climates or after a stint of high-speed driving, let the truck idle for about three minutes before shutting it off.