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The Real Problem With DAF Truck Air Processing Units
Over the last two years we have seen a significant increase in warranty claims relating to Air Handling Units or Air Drying Units fitted to DAF trucks in the UK. Most of these claims seem to relate to the larger DAFs, namely the CF85 and XF95, however any DAF truck fitted with these Air Handling Units appears to be susceptible to a claim. Most of the warranty claims submitted to us have been rejected due to heavy contamination, namely oil deposits from the air compressor which is the main cause of failure of these units. In an effort to combat this problem, the automaker has recommended that the air dryer unit be relocated along with other modifications, depending on the vehicle model, to accommodate a larger air dryer filter. The part number of the old filter is 1391510 and will be replaced with 1681575. This filter not only reduces moisture entering the air system, but also filters out any oil vapor thus reducing contamination. In my opinion, this is impractical, costly to the vehicle owner, and does not address the real problem that lies ultimately with the air compressor.
There will always be some oil vapor, however excess oil will still seep through, especially when operators fail to change the filters regularly enough. When a DAF truck requires an air handling unit replacement, the main dealer or parts supplier must request that the old unit be returned and inspected for excessive contamination, however this may be considered acceptable if the unit has been in service for several years and that any carbon accumulation had been slowly progressive. The air dryer muffler is generally a good indicator if there is excess oil passing through the air system, a light dust that is matte in appearance is considered normal while thick shiny deposits would be considered abnormal. It is also worth noting that whenever we have supplied both the air dryer and the air compressor together, no problems have been observed afterwards. Other operators have admitted that their DAFs have quirks, this is one, and that if the air dryer filters are changed regularly, problems rarely occur.
All parts suppliers have an obligation to inform customers of potential problems of not ensuring that the air compressor is in satisfactory condition and that all delivery pipes to the air dryer are clean and free of any obstructions. This also covers the Supplier if a warranty claim is made in the future. Unfortunately the cost of replacing the air compressor and air dryer is such that many operators will choose to ignore the cause (the air compressor) and replace the problem (the air dryer) and while a temporary fix is achieved, it is only a matter of time before the Replaced unit is causing problems and thus begins the warranty process.
Therefore the questions are:
Is it a poorly designed unit in the first place?
Is the Operator performing the necessary checks and regular services?
Are the air tanks drained regularly?
Are auto manufacturers and air brake manufacturers singing from the same hymn sheet or is there a difference of opinion?
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