13 EGR Delete Pros and Cons

EGR stands for “exhaust gas recirculation.” You can purchase EGR delete kits to improve the performance of your diesel engine. EGR systems will reduce the nitrogen oxide emissions because it recirculates some of the exhaust gases through the engine intake. This process keeps the engine cool while maintaining a strong fuel efficiency profile.

There are EGR kits available for numerous diesel engines, including those manufactured by Cummins, Power Stroke, and Duramax.

List of the Pros of EGR Delete Kits

1. This kit installs easily on most diesel engines.
Most diesel engines use an EGR valve which develops high soot content over time. This development blocks proper air flow into the engine while increasing the risk of having a deposit reintroduced into the engine. Installing the software from an EGR delete kit will bypass this valve, which will work to restore power to the engine. Most kits will help diesel engines begin performing close to their original results immediately.

2. You can improve your fuel efficiency with an EGR delete.
When you can restore the power levels to your diesel engine, then you’re also restoring its overall fuel efficiency. You’re now sending the exhaust gas away from the engine when using an EGR delete kit, which means it begins to run cleaner. That makes the process more efficient while reducing the risk of a diesel particulate filter failure. You may see up to a 20% increase in your fuel economy when using this product option while promoting improved longevity of the engine at the same time.

3. This kit can lower the temperature of your engine.
When the coolers or valve of the EGR system get clogged with soot, then the exhaust gases begin to circulate more often in the system. This blockage causes temperatures to rise around the engine. When you bypass this part of the design, then you can produce lower exhaust gas, levels, which promotes a lower engine coolant temperature during operation.

4. It works on modified diesels too.
The clogging of the EGR system occurs on modified diesel engines just as it does for those which are not modified. Using the delete kit will create the same results, no matter what type of engine you use for your vehicle. Although this process may cause additional clogging issues for some engine types, most owners find that the EGR delete kit will solve their performance issues while improving their gas mileage at the same time.

5. The kits can be very affordable for some vehicles.
There are some EGR delete kits available for $50 or less with some vehicles (though see below where most are $200+). Although this product option won’t take care of the larger, modern diesels that are dealing with some issues, small passenger cars can benefit from this process.

Another option to consider here is to turn off your EGR through the tuning. If you do things this way, then you don’t even need to unplug the unit. That makes this job a lot easier, which reduces the risk of something going wrong. This option is technically a “EGR disable” instead of a delete, but the option still works.

List of the Cons of EGR Delete Kits

1. An EGR delete kit can increase your exhaust gas temperature.
Diesel engines typically cool the exhaust gases generated, then recirculate them back into the system. When you bypass this feature with an EGR delete kit, then the exhaust remains hot. Depending on the car, that can cause the exhaust gas temperature to rise, which can impact the overall efficiency of your engine’s cooling system.

Because the gases stay in the engine, this also increases the chances of oil fouling because there is no way to remove the contaminants. Some engines may benefit more from an EGR valve replacement than this kit.

2. This kit is not street legal in the United States.
If you want to purchase an EGR kit for your vehicle, then you must keep in mind that this option is not a street-legal modification. It does not complete with the current Federal emission regulations which govern engine use today. That does mean you can use it for off-road driving if you wish, but that creates its own set of limitation. You can clog an EGR system because of recirculating soot just as easily as your coolers and valves get blocked during regular vehicle operations.

3. It doesn’t prevent the EGR system from being stuck in an open position.
If you bypass the system with an EGR delete, you can take advantage of the situation when you’ve got the coolers or valve clogged. When the system is stuck in an “open” position, which is another way EGRs can go bad, then the engine will still struggle to start for some users. You’ll notice the vehicle struggling to stay engaged when you’re idling with it too. If your vehicle works fine at highly speeds or high RPMs, but it struggles when you’re sitting, then an EGR delete kit will not improve this situation.

4. You will fail your state’s emission tests.
If you choose to use an EGR delete kit on your vehicle as a way to bypass your system, then you are 99.99% guaranteed to fail your emissions tests if they’re required by the state. It is also a federal crime in the United States to do this to your vehicle at the time of this writing. Although jail time is not part of the equation, you could face a fine of more than $10,000, depending on your vehicle, the engine, your location, and how much you drive.

5. It may reduce your overall horsepower.
The EGR delete kits are often thought about when using an older diesel engine. There are design issues with the previous generation of products that allowed a bypass to make more space for clean air in the combustion chamber. With better air, you would theoretically have a more efficient power source. Modern diesels can struggle to take advantage of this design change, which means you might have less horsepower with which to work instead of more when using this product.

6. You create your own EGR delete with a blocked valve.
If your EGR valve is already blocked with soot, then you’ve created an EGR delete without the need to install a kit. That’s why some owners choose to just keep the valve instead of run with the delete kit. There are no real performance advantages experienced by the average engine, though there are few adverse effects for most owners when operating an EGR delete kit too. Because there tend to be more risks and legality concerns with this modification, however, the recommendation is to use them at your own risk.

7. It can cause your engine to start knocking.
Use the EGR delete can cause some engines to begin knocking once the modification work is complete. Some of this issue is due to the change in the temperature profile of the engine. You can also create a knock because the quality of oil that runs through the engine degrades faster than normal. If this issue continues without being addressed, then it may increase the wear-and-tear on your engine or even cause it to end its life cycle prematurely.

8. The cost is as much as your typical EGR valve.
You are likely going to pay about $200 for an EGR delete if that’s the path you decide to pursue (see above where there are some around $50 but most are much higher). If you pay someone to do the install for you, the cost could run upwards of $1,000 on some vehicles. That price is comparable to what you’d pay for an EGR valve replacement, especially since you won’t need to flush the radiator or install a new coolant filter like you do if you pursue this option.

If your basic need is just the EGR valve because it is clogged, you could save up to 50% by just replacing it instead of option for the delete kit.

These pros and cons of an EGR delete require a careful evaluation. There are potential legal complications if you make this modification on a vehicle you drive on the street. If you use it for off-road driving, then the environment becomes a concern for your diesel engine too. You’ll receive more power, lower temperatures, and a better performance on most, but not all, vehicles equipped with this option, so it is up to you to determine if this product will meet your current and future needs.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.