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Can EGR System Be Deleted?

It is one of the top questions we get from our customers.   

We also see plenty of trucks with deleted EGR systems.  

You may have heard that an EGR delete will improve performance. Technically, that may be true. An EGR delete can lead to a boost in performance. The problem is that EGR deletes can also lead to many problems. It is essential to understand what your EGR system does to understand why.

EGR Systems

EGR stands for exhaust gas recirculation. While we refer to them as systems, your EGR is a valve. The valve recirculates exhaust gas into the engine’s intake system. The benefits of an EGR system are

  • Increased engine efficiency
  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Lower nitrogen oxide emissions

Diverting some quantity of exhaust gas back into the intake system lowers temperatures in the combustion chamber. The result is cleaner exhaust.

EGR valves have two settings: open and closed. However, the valve can gradually move between open and closed. Closed allows more oxygen into the combustion chamber. It is closed when the engine is starting and accelerating or at higher speeds. It is primarily open at low speeds or when idling.

EGR System Delete

An EGR system delete is an aftermarket performance kit that removes your vehicle’s EGR valve. The goal is to prevent the exhaust gas from recirculating into the engine.

EGR Delete Benefits

You may have heard that deleting the EGR system will enhance performance. If it does not impact other systems, it could. Some potential benefits of an EGR delete include

  • Increased power
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Longer engine life
  • Reduced engine temperature
  • More power
  • Lower risk of breakdowns

EGR Delete Risks

The problem is that your engine is designed to work with an EGR valve. Using an aftermarket kit to delete it can lead to a bunch of problems.

  • EGR stuck open
  • Engine knocking
  • Check engine light
  • Reduced horsepower
  • Failed inspections
  • Difficulty diagnosing vehicle problems

Of course, one of the most significant issues is that EGR deletes are illegal in the United States. While you are unlikely to get a moving violation for a deleted EGR system, you may have problems passing inspection. Your vehicle will no longer be street legal. 

EGR Deletes and Horsepower

People want EGR deletes mainly to boost horsepower and increase performance. However, whether deleting the EGR boosts horsepower is not a simple question. First, the EGR works with other systems so that an EGR delete can result in reduced horsepower. When an EGR delete works properly, it increases the oxygen density in the engine. That means a boost in horsepower.

However, it is essential to consider how much of an increase you get. Usually, it is minimal. Deleting the EGR only boosts horsepower by a small percentage. For many people, it is not even noticeable.

There are better ways to boost your horsepower.

First, keep up with your maintenance. Regular oil changes keep your engine clean, and synthetic fuel may boost responsiveness. Make sure your air filters and fuel filters are clean. While these tweaks do not technically increase horsepower, they do improve performance.

Next, quit hauling around junk in your truck. One hundred pounds of cargo decreases your engine’s efficiency by 2%. While this does not reduce your actual horsepower, it can reduce the feeling of power when you drive. So many people with big trucks regularly haul tons of cargo, even when they do not need it. Boost performance by lightening the load.

The more oxygen in the system, the more fuel you can burn. That means an increase in horsepower. Cooler air has more oxygen in it. However, your factory-built truck has a stock airbox. The airbox is designed to reduce engine noise and restricts cold-air intake. Remove the stock airbox, and you get excellent access to colder air, which can increase your horsepower and improve responsiveness.

Instead of deleting your EGR, consider an aftermarket exhaust system. Factory exhaust systems dampen sound. The job of a muffler is to silence. Changing out the muffler can lead to a 20-horsepower boost. Switching out your factory exhaust manifold for aftermarket parts can give you an additional boost.

Engine Tuning Versus EGR Deletes

Tune-ups are essential, but have you heard of engine tuning? When your truck leaves the factory, it is an all-purpose vehicle. The manufacturer wants it to shift smoothly, offer good fuel efficiency, and offer a quiet ride. To get those results, the manufacturer sacrifices horsepower. You can reprogram your truck through engine tuning. Some tackle this as a DIY project, but we do not recommend that. Talk to us about whether engine tuning will help you get increased performance. For gasoline-powered vehicles, it can make a big difference. However, you will also need to use premium gas.

Consider a Turbo Kit or Supercharger

If you believe you need to add something to boost horsepower, skip the EGR delete and get a turbocharger. Unlike EGR deletes, you can find legal turbochargers. These systems work with your truck’s exhaust system, and there are several aftermarket options. They use the waste heat from the exhaust system to increase the air intake pressure. The result is a more responsive engine.

EGR Deletes and Coal Rolling

We get some customers who want to be able to roll coal with their exhaust systems. While rolling coal is not specifically illegal in Texas, the Clean Air Act of the United States prohibits it. We are not lawyers, but our understanding is that while you are unlikely to get a ticket for rolling coal, you could get hit with massive fines.

So, does an EGR delete mean you can roll coal? Not exactly. You do need an EGR delete to roll coal. You have to bypass the vehicle’s EGR system to roll coal.

However, EGR system deletes are not how you roll coal. You get black smoke from incomplete combustion because the excess fuel in the engine causes the black smoke. Deleting the EGR system does not cause incomplete combustion. Therefore, it will not change the color of the exhaust. 

It works both ways. We have had some customers want EGR deletes to fix black exhaust. If your exhaust smoke is black, an EGR delete will not fix it. 

EGR Deletes and Louder Engines

An EGR delete will make your truck sound louder. That can be a goal since louder vehicles sound stronger. If your goal is a louder truck, you can accomplish the same effect by changing your muffler.

EGR Deletes and Engine Knocks

You may have heard that an EGR delete can fix a knocking engine. That is partially true. Your EGR system can produce a knocking sound if it is permanently closed. Bypassing the system can resolve the knocks. However, if your EGR is knocking, that signifies a problem. Instead of an EGR delete, you need to have a mechanic fix your defective EGR system.

Specialized Truck and Auto’s Position on EGR Deletes

The Clean Air Act prohibits mechanics from installing devices to defeat emissions standards. Doing so could subject us to civil penalties and possible criminal liability. In addition, vehicles with EGR deletes are not street legal. Therefore, we will not perform them.

However, we do not feel like that is harming our clients. The reality is that we see a lot of trucks with deleted EGR systems. Many of them have unexpected problems. 

The EGR system does not work alone. Instead, it works with other systems in your truck. An EGR delete can make it difficult to diagnose other problems with your vehicle. It can lead to code issues, discrepancies in other systems, and voltage issues. These diagnostic challenges mean you will waste time and money trying to get to the root cause when you have a problem.

The sad thing is that most EGR delete sellers do not mention the downside. They hype up the pros of an EGR delete without saying the cons.

People delete EGR systems to “fix” a problem. They think it will give them more power. Unfortunately, what people feel will fix one problem often creates other problems. While we will work on your vehicle, even if you have an EGR delete, we think they are a terrible idea. We have seen enough trucks to know that deleting the EGR can create a domino effect of challenges.

Specialized Truck and Auto does not endorse deleting EGR systems for all of the above reasons.