EGR Coolers

Staying Cool Under Pressure with EGR Cooler Solutions

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) systems are vital to reducing harmful diesel emissions and improving fuel efficiency. As with all heavy-duty vehicle systems, they’re not without their challenges. But you can stay cool because we’re talking about EGR cooler solutions and maintenance know-how.

 The Role of EGR System Technology for Cleaner Emissions in Heavy-Duty Vehicles

EGR coolers play a crucial role in lowering combustion temperatures and reducing the creation of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx).

EGR systems redirect some exhaust gases back into the engine’s intake manifold. The coolant in your heavy-duty vehicle’s system joins forces with the EGR valve to establish a blend of air, fuel, and exhaust gases that minimizes emissions. 

One common point of failure in EGR systems is the cooler. Let’s look at the symptoms and causes of failure and how technicians can quickly diagnose and address EGR cooler issues. 

EGR Cooler Failure Risks in Heavy-Duty Applications

EGR coolers in transit and heavy-duty vehicles have their fair share of failure risks in three areas:

  • One prevalent cause is the buildup of carbon deposits and soot inside the cooler. This buildup can result in blocked coolant flow and diminished efficiency.
  • Over time, this chain of events often leads to overheating, coolant leaks, and, eventually, failure of the cooler.
  • Another factor is the high thermal stress on the cooler. Excessive stress may give rise to cracks and leaks. When an EGR cooler cracks, exhaust gases enter the coolant system and create problems.

It’s reasonable to expect a long and reliable service life from your OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) diesel engine investment. But we don’t have to tell you that OEMs don’t always meet that expectation.

For instance, the 6.0-liter PowerStroke’s (PowerStroke is a family of diesel engines formerly produced by Ford Motor and Navistar International for sale in Ford trucks) in-block oil cooler design and EGR cooler materials notoriously cause issues. Technicians who know how to recognize and evaluate the right symptoms can address root causes early. 

Early Warning Signs of EGR-Induced Engine Cooling Issues for Heavy-Duty Vehicle Maintenance

Failure of the EGR cooler usually comes from a loss of coolant, leading to overheating and engine damage. Spotting symptoms early prevents costly issues.

How can you detect EGR cooling failures before they become a serious issue?

These signs and symptoms provide an early warning of EGR cooler problems:

  • Tailpipe Steam –  Often, the first indication of an issue is the presence of tailpipe steam. Potential causes of the steam include coolant leakage in the EGR cooler. Leakage may create heat expansion that can cause the end plates to push apart and rupture. Ruptures can lead to coolant entering the exhaust system and recirculating back into the engine. The visible result is white “smoke” or steam leaving the tailpipe.
  • Engine Overheating – A failing EGR cooler may result from increased engine temperatures. Watch out for the engine running hotter than usual or frequent overheating.
  • Reduced Performance – A malfunctioning EGR cooler can impact engine performance, as noted by decreased power, sluggish acceleration, or rough idling.
  • EGR Valve Condition – Upon inspecting the EGR valve, a gummy tar-like substance may indicate a small amount of coolant is mixing with the usual carbon that builds up on the part. Likewise, an unusually clean valve may reveal the presence of a significant coolant leak.
  • Missing Coolant – Look for a drop or absence in coolant levels in the reservoir or degas bottle without any visible external leaks under the vehicle.  

A drop in coolant levels may indicate either a leaky head gasket or a cracked EGR cooler.

Ignoring the symptoms of cooler issues can result in costly repairs later. It can also mean a noticeable drop in fuel efficiency and unprofitable downtime.

Causes of EGR Cooler Failure in Transit and Off-Road Vehicles

By skillfully identifying and resolving the underlying causes of malfunctions, transit and fleet technicians play an invaluable role in keeping buses on the road and heavy-duty vehicles moving. 

Some of the common causes of EGR cooler issues in heavy-duty applications include:  

  • Inferior materials used to manufacture inner components may not handle the stress of extreme expansion from heating and cooling cycles.
  • Poorly designed components can restrict coolant flow.
  • Pressure changes from the turbo cycling the exhaust flow may damage the cooler.
  • Overheating due to a failing water pump can restrict the flow of coolant to the EGR.
  • Soot in the exhaust is caused by using poor fuels or by excessive idling.
  • A clogged or failed oil cooler leads to reduced coolant flow or mixing oil with coolant. 

Keeping EGR coolers clean maintains maximum engine life expectancy and ensures they control harmful emissions for transit and off-road vehicles. That leaves it up to alert technicians to clean out soot and debris routinely. Scheduling this in routine maintenance optimizes coolant flow and improves cooling efficiency. 

What are your EGR Cooler Replacement options? 

Engineered by various manufacturers, EGR Cooler options abound. But you don’t want to risk purchasing inferior parts. KIRKS provides reliable new and remanufactured EGR Coolers at competitive pricing that meet or exceed OEM specifications.

KIRKS Remanufactured EGR Coolers Deliver Reliable Performance and Competitive Pricing

KIRKS Approved Equal™ EGR Coolers deliver reliable performance, meeting or exceeding OEM specs.

Transit and fleet maintenance managers trust remanufactured parts from KIRKS because they carry the Approved EqualTM Seal of Certified Quality.

Approved Equal™ is our promise that when you purchase your product from KIRKS, you can be confident that it has been tested before it ships to meet or exceed OEM specifications.

Kirks approved equal certified quality seal

KIRKS Distributes Approved EqualTM EGR Coolers

Several diesel engine manufacturers offer excellent serviceability and lasting reliability, while others encounter frequent challenges.

Are you aware of the components you’re acquiring? KIRKS Approved Equal™ EGR Coolers are equal to OEM. Is the quality and reliability on par with or superior to the OEM? Ensuring the part seamlessly fits your application poses a challenge without sufficient information about the aftermarket manufacturer. 

KIRKS product specialists vet aftermarket parts to provide only those that meet our Approved EqualTM standards.

Experience confidence with Approved Equal™ parts and services. It’s our promise for parts you can rely on to keep your vehicles and equipment running.

Stay cool under pressure: KIRKS is Your Partner for Parts

Don’t sweat getting reliable replacement EGR coolers. 

KIRKS knows the challenges fleet maintenance professionals face when navigating the parts landscape. 

Escape the part trap! Contact us by phone at (313) 933-7030 to speak with a KIRKS product specialist, or email us at