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How Tier 4 Engines will Affect Construction Equipment Dealers

How Tier 4 Engines will Affect Construction Equipment Dealers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to enforce limits on diesel exhaust emissions from non-road diesel engines in 1996 and stationary diesel-engine generator sets in 2006. Non-road diesel engines include construction equipment like excavators and other construction equipment, farm tractors and other agricultural equipment, heavy forklifts, airport ground service equipment, and utility equipment such as generators, pumps, and compressors.

How Tier 4 Engines will Affect Construction Equipment Dealers


Also in 1996, a Statement of Principles (SOP) was signed between EPA, California ARB and engine makers (including Caterpillar, Cummins, Deere, Detroit Diesel, Deutz, Isuzu, Komatsu, Kubota, Mitsubishi, Navistar, New Holland, Wis-Con, and Yanmar). Implemented in a series of steps called Tier levels, these regulations, over time, have introduced successively more stringent limitations on nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM) and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). On May 11, 2004, EPA signed the final rule introducing Tier 4 emission standards, which are phased-in over the period of 2008-2015. The Tier 4 standards require that emissions of PM and NOx be further reduced by about 90%. Such emission reductions can be achieved through the use of control technologies—including advanced exhaust gas after treatment—similar to those required by the 2007-2010 standards for highway engines.

What does this mean to the Construction Equipment Dealer?


diesel-exhaust-fluid-DEFTo meet these Tier 4 emission standards, engine manufacturers will produce new engines with advanced emission control technologies similar to those already expected for highway trucks. With this comes a whole new language and symbols to learn. Construction equipment dealers are now going to have to educate their customers on a whole new language of technologies like: diesel particulate filters (DPFs), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel exhaust fluids (DEF). There will also be a common set of symbols for use in off-road Tier 4 applications. The intent is to provide common symbol for customers and end-users that regardless of the OEM machine, the customer will interface with consistent symbols.

It also means there will be more up-front costs that are pricey and resale values are at risk. For manufacturers to achieve Tier 4 a major investment in engine technology and addition of new systems had to be designed. Therefore, the cost of the construction equipment will reflect the incorporation of a Tier 4 Interim technology system and in some cases more advanced cooling packages.



The construction equipment that is rated Tier 4 will cost up to 25% more than Tier 3 models, therefore the value on Tier 3 machines have gone up almost 35%. The demand for Tier 3 machines is very high and construction equipment dealers should scoop up as many of these machines as possible.

On a brighter note it does mean lower operating costs for Tier 4 construction equipment. With improved engine response, operators can also expect improved equipment productivity together with the benefit of cleaner and quieter operation. Depending on duty cycle and application, up to 5% better fuel efficiency can be achieved which will more than offset the marginal cost increase associated with using ULSD fuel, low ash lube oil and particulate filter cleaning at 5,000 hours.

Construction Equipment Dealers are also required to use different fuel for Tier 4 engine machines.  The new fuel is ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) which has no more than 15 ppm sulfur. This fuel has been used since 2006 in on-highway vehicles.  

Finally one of the biggest changes for engine and equipment dealers is that some engines/
machines will utilize a new emissions control technology system known as selective
catalytic reduction (SCR). This technology is also designed to reduce emissions of
nitrogen oxides. Widely used in Europe on heavy duty trucks and in some U.S. stationary
industrial and power generation settings, SCR technology is new to the U.S. for mobile on-road and off-road applications in 2010. The majority of heavy-duty truck manufacturers began using SCR technology in their 2010 products, along with a number of light-duty diesel car manufacturers, and some manufacturers will use this in their off-road equipment offering.

These are just some of the issues that construction equipment dealers will have to face with the new Tier 4 engines. We have survived the first three tiers and we will succeed with Tier 4 as well. There will be a time for adjustment and a learning curve for everyone. Read up and educate yourself as well as your customer.