The Issue – Having experienced the arrival and implications of Tier IV-interim engines in the USA market I can tell you it’s been a game changer! Several years ago this was a conceptual discussion and today it is reality as used inventories across all makes and models become an issue for dealers, their rental fleets and contractors who purchased this machinery between 2010 – 2014. The historic flow of used construction equipment from USA-based fleets to owners mainly in Latin America and Africa has all but halted as weary international buyers avoid late-model Tier IV-interim machines with emissions equipment and require special low-Sulphur fuel.
The Solution: Conversion and Export – the best way to resolve the issue of bloated inventories is to convert Tier IV-Interim machines by removing the emissions equipment, reprogramming on-board computers and making them ready for use in traditional USA markets.
The best solution I have seen to date comes from Volvo and involves the complete removal of all emissions equipment “downstream” of the turbo, plugging the appropriate holes, installing a traditional muffler/exhaust pipe and finally, re-programming the computer to “tell” the engine it is now a “Tier Zero” capable of utilizing diesel fuels available in international markets. Why is this the best I have seen to date? In short because after conversion, the machines will “look and feel” like the same models being delivered to those markets by local dealers. Anything else would be met with skepticism and angst by mechanics on the ground. Currently Volvo promotes the conversion being performed by Volvo Dealers in the country of destination and use…for that matter, all manufacturers have the same message as they navigate the waters of compliance with EPA guidelines versus a strong desire to reconstruct the historic flow of used equipment out of the USA market.
Other manufacturers are not as focused on finding a solution as far as we can tell. Brands like Caterpillar and John Deere are staunch advocates of keeping dealers focused on “in-channel” solutions. Caterpillar in particular does not promote any scenario whereby a USA Dealer would be involved in the sale and use of USA-based equipment to another market: in the eyes of Caterpillar that job is for CAT Used Equipment Services Inc (CUESI). This leaves the de-tiering of these other brands in the hands of independent shops, “after-market” kits, and lacks the critical software required to re-program onboard computers. In my view not sound options as they could compromise the functionality and performance of the equipment.