We were surprised to see comments by Ford owners on our GPF / Gasoline Particulate filter FAQ asking about the error “Exhaust filter limit reached. drive to clean now“.

We were made to believe that unlike the DPF filter, the GPF was a “maintenance free” filter which would “clean” itself under normal driving conditions. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it’s the case.

I’ve been through all the new Ford Ecoboost manuals I can find online and unfortunately, I can’t see anything about the GPF or related error anywhere. As you would expect, there is a section dedicated to the DPF but the Gasoline Particulate filter is not mentioned anywhere.

Some of the Ford forums suggest that this error could be due to a sensor malfunction however we’ve seen comments with increasing frequency from owners with cars under a year old.

Could it be that like a DPF, the GPF requires the same sort of conditions for regeneration? If so this is going to pi** a lot of owners off, especially those that have moved over to petrol cars from diesel cars due to low milages or driving habits that we’re ideal for modern diesel cars.

Is this the start of GPF regeneration issues for petrol car owners?

Having myself already been bitten by issues with DPF regenerations I’m concerned that this issue could be the start of filter regeneration issues on petrol cars. What we aren’t sure about is if this issue with only related to Ford vehicles equipped with GFP filters. 

As per our GFP FAQ article – the GPF regeneration works very differently than a DPF

How does a GPF regenerate?

GPF regeneration can only be performed in “non power” conditions,  meaning that regeneration is normally achieved under deceleration. Deceleration increases the amount of oxygen following through the engine and exhaust system. This in turn raises the temperature of the GPF to around 400c – 700c, igniting the soot contained within the filter. 

In conditions where this is not possible, the vehicles engine management systems alter timing causing it to run lean. This “lean” burn increases oxygen and therefore GPF operating temperatures, allowing regeneration to occur.

 

Does this only affect certain Ford models?

We understand that in some vehicles the GPF filter is located further down the exhaust system than others. This would suggest why some models in the Ford line up don’t seem to have this issue. We’ll update this when we have some more information.

How to clear the warning / fault

We were lucky enough to find the following image supplied in a forum post of the fordownersclub.com website.

It shows: Gasoline Particulate filter Information Messages

Message: Exhaust Filter at Limit. Drive to Clean

Action: 

  • Drive at varied range of conditions including highway conditions for 20 minutes or until the message disappears.

  • Avoid prolonged idling

  • Select a suitable gear to maintain engine speed between 1500 and 4000RPM

Until we have any further information we can only suggest that a blast up your local dual carriageway while focusing on periods of throttle off deceleration from high revs. Deceleration increases the amount of oxygen following through the engine and exhaust system. This, in turn, raises the temperature of the GPF to around 400c – 700c

This should help exhaust temperatures reach those required for a GPF regen, it’s certainly worth a shot. 

What is also unclear is what happens if the filter gets too full / clogged? We’ve been made aware of at least one case where an owner has required a “static regen” at cost from their dealer. This is all sounding very familiar if you ask me.

Is there a software fix for this issue?

We’ve been made aware of some rumours of a software fox for this issue however it seems that at present it’s too early to know more. 

We need your help

I just tried to call a couple of Ford dealerships in my area and as I’m not an owner, they were unwilling to help with my questions on this issue.

We’re looking for a Ford Technician or someone with a new Focus / Fiesta ECO boost that could enquire about this issue with their local dealership.

We’re also looking to hear from owners who have experienced this issue. Did you manage to clean it? Did it require a dealer “static regen”? Please let us know in the comments below so we can update this article with information which might help owners result the issue without an expensive dealer visit.

More Information

Check out our other articles about the GPF Gasoline Particulate filter

Credits

Image thanks to fordownersclub.com