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The Results of the Pig Urine Article

I promised you last week I’d let you know how our DEF article ended up as far as article popularity and the results are in -and I lost. I predicted that any article with “Pig Urine” in the title would be the hands down winner in customer comments and it actually came in third overall, behind articles about the recovering RV industry (2014) and a request for owner feedback (2015). This tells me that I won’t have to brand all future articles with a startling title -and aren’t we all a little relieved about that?

The comments that did come in were interesting. A few of the best follow below with our comments:

“Thanks, just bought 5 gallons of DEF at Walmart.  Easier than traveling with a Pig.” Yes, DEF is now readily available at Wal-Mart and many other retail outlets that cater to the RV crowd. There really is no reason to ever run out. Do check the expiration date prior to purchase, though. I would think most things in life would be easier than traveling with a pig.

“I would like to know if you can mix different brands of DEF without causing any problems.” We’ve seen documentation that recommendeds NOT to mix DEF brands but can’t really imagine what the result would be. Cummins, the top provider of diesels for today’s motorhomes, advises only that you use DEF that meets ISO specifications and that makes sense. We’d suggest using the same brand when possible, but an off-brand when on the road should have no deleterious effects. Don’t stress about it.

“Regarding shelf life of DEF, should we assume that it applies to the DEF in the vehicle DEF tank…if one isn’t driving thousands of miles?” Yes, for infrequent RV travelers the expiration date of the DEF already in the tank should be noted. For these people we recommend topping up with fluid well before its expiration date and in extreme situations, outdated DEF should be withdrawn with a syringe and topped up with fresh prior to hitting the road.

“I did not know about this. Thanks a lot. There are two monster owners manuals I need to read.  Diesel is much more complicated and expensive to maintain than gas.” We really hate to hear comments like this but the author has a point. Diesels, long the simplest and most reliable of engines, are now becoming much more advanced and, as a result, more complicated. This brings to mind a video I saw once of an ancient Mercedes station wagon from their legendary W123 series. This old diesel wagon had been languishing behind a barn for years; in fact a tree had grown through the engine compartment and now provided shade for the car. A couple of curious grease monkeys topped up the fluids, dropped in a fully charged battery and after 30 seconds of cranking the engine STARTED and idled smoothly -with a tree growing through it! I can’t imagine any of today’s computerized diesels pulling off a feat like this after ten years of neglect. Lots of the W123 diesels are still available on today’s market with half a million miles or more on the clock and sell for a premium based on their reputation for longevity and reliability. They are also well suited to a simple conversion that enables them to run on discarded fryer grease -if you don’t mind leaving the unmistakable odor of french fries wherever you go. In the interest of full discretion, these old school diesels are known to be ponderously slow getting up to speed, noisy, finicky on cold mornings, and expell huge plumes of blue smoke every time you start them -traits long since engineered out of today’s diesels. I guess my point would be that instead of waxing nostalgic about the good old days (like I just did), we should embrace the advancements and learn to live with them. DEF is here to stay and its ability to turn noxious exhaust into water and clean air is a miracle of engineering and something we should all agree is a good thing.

“Based on your article I got the impression that you can’t “introduce urine” to your DEF tank but I have heard from other people that the urea in urine is the exact same as in DEF and it will work fine in a pinch.” A quick search online shows that 2.5 gallons of DEF is available from many retailers for about $20.00. For all sorts of reasons, mechanical as well as social, please plan ahead. I think I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say that none of us want to wake up on a beautiful summer morning and look out our motorhome window, cup of coffee in hand, and see you “introducing urine” to your DEF tank. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. On that note I will conclude the Pig Urine portion of our discussions.

Thanks for your time, folks. Drop me a note at [email protected] if you have a question or comment and please remember to check your tire pressures before heading out.