The end of 2017 is fast approaching, bringing with it the deadline for converting to Tier 4 engines for diesel engine users. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Tier 4 regulations in late 2004, the goal was to cut down on pollutants harmful to the environment. The EPA particularly targeted byproducts known to create smog.

These Tier 4 regulations have been causing problems for diesel engine users. The most common Tier 4 engine problem we've encountered is navigating the merge of existing specifications and processes with entirely new engine equipment.

Who do these regulations affect?

The EPA created and enacted a set of emissions requirements known as Tier 4 to reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and air toxins from new, nonroad diesel engines. The regulations were introduced in 2004 and enacted from 2008-2015.

Tier 4 regulations require particulate matter and nitrogen oxides to be reduced by 90 percent. Additionally, the regulations require sulfur levels in nonroad diesel fuel to be reduced to 15 parts per million.

The regulations affect diesel engines of all sizes installed on self-propelled equipment; equipment propelled while performing its function and equipment that is portable or transportable through wheels, skids, carrying handles, dolly, trailer or platform. California regulations include stationary engines.

With any rules, there are also exemptions. These exemptions include engines installed on railway locomotives, marine vessels, underground mining equipment and hobby engines (below 50 cm3 per cylinder).

Diesel engine users have been allowed to continue using Tier 2 or Tier 3 engines, depending on their size, but only until the end of 2017.

What considerations need to be weighed when purchasing a Tier 4 engine?

Before purchasing a new engine, OEMs must examine a few considerations to determine the best solution. The OEM should work with an engine distributor to determine all aspects of the intended application that may affect the design and performance of an engine.

Determining the purpose of the engine will help dictate the specifications and requirements needed for the engine to perform well.

Traditionally, engines were sold based on horsepower. With Tier 4 engines, additional specs are looked at to determine the combination of horsepower and torque needed for the application. What may have required a 200-horsepower engine in the past may now utilize a 150-horsepower engine with increased torque with no drop-off in production.

Many engine spaces are not designed for Tier 4 engines. An existing engine base may have a restricted space that was perfect for the previous engine, but too small for a Tier 4 engine. Instead of changing the manufacturing or production line capabilities, a quality engine distributor can take the final Tier 4 platform and fit it into the Tier 3 space.

Working with an engine distributor, OEMs can purchase customized engines designed to work seamlessly with any application. This level of customization helps reduce cost and ensure the right engine for the right application all while meeting Tier 4 regulations.