modern diesel for overlanding in developing countries - post your solutions


World Citizen
So with regards to a modern diesel, would the issue solved by simply removing the DPF and related sensors?
In theory, if your ECU will support all those items missing...also there may be legal ramifications to bypassing emissions control systems.

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Yes you can. I have done it. If you ship to the US by container or RoRo you need a letter from EPA giving you a temporary exemption from the emissions rules. Your shipping agent should know the details. If you arrive by land from Canada or Mexico we were not asked for such a letter.


New member
Yes you can. I have done it. If you ship to the US by container or RoRo you need a letter from EPA giving you a temporary exemption from the emissions rules. Your shipping agent should know the details. If you arrive by land from Canada or Mexico we were not asked for such a letter.
Gracias !!!!

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Good question, I have no clue.
I did cross africa with an Landcruiser V8 Diesel based on Euro4. I did read severall travelblogs where the travellers got stranded with euro5...

It is possible for mercedes to migrate the car from Euro 5/6 to euro3 for european spec - but you arent allowed to drive in europe anymore.

I did try to collect any informations about travelling with Diesel and Euro 4/5 at 2014 - with some links for a deep-dive.

Looking at the fuel quality there seems to be no reason to worry with an euro5 based car in USA/CA/Europe/Russia.. The "red" zones get smaller each year... This is the most recent map from 2018 - you can compare to the map from 2013 in the article linked above.




Expedition Leader
I checked with Mercedes in USA. Two different representatives stated that "Mercedes-Benz USA does not approve or recommend any modification to the vehicle equipment." That's even with an EPA waiver. So a Bluetec-equipped Sprinter would have to be modified by a third party.

H&S Performance (link provided by Diplostrat above) is willing to remove diesel emissions equipment after the vehicle owner signs an affidavit specifying that the vehicle will be used off-highway, or out of the country. But they don't have products for Mercedes, only GM, Ram and Ford vehicles.

Euro 6, the current emissions rule package for diesels in Europe, is similar to the current diesel emissions rules for USA. It's possible that some aftermarket tuner in Europe has a solution. If you know of any, please post up.

(The Huss Group equipment linked by nick disjunct is an aftermarket solution to add a diesel particulate filter to a truck that doesn't have one. Their equipment is approced by the California Air Resources Board, among other groups. But this gear won't help remove Bluetec equipment from a current Sprinter.)
North America Mercedes is exceptionally strict about Sprinter modifications. Just ask any RV builder. Most RV shops will tell you they really dislike Mercedes especially the super limiting requirements they must follow with the sprinter chassis. Any of the Van life conversions that have drilled frame members to mount various components would get slapped by Mercedes NorthAmerica.


My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
After reading thru this thread I'd be looking for a 20 years old 5.9 Cummins Dodge or Ford Powerstroke 7.3. The legal ramifications of driving a modified modern diesel are far too costly to risk in a foriegn country.
OR I'd be looking for a modern gasoline powered vehicle.

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Active member
Asia is not so easy with a modern diesel. Yes it can be done but there are risks. Russia is not a problem.
But in Iran the fuel is of low quality. In Uzbekistan there is little to no diesel sold, and you sometimes get it from a jerrycan or some big stationary tank, hoping that it is something good.

Having done a southern route and a northern route, I can say that it is definitely easier to find petrol than diesel, and that the diesel quality may be to low for Euro 5 and 6.
Whenever you get into an area where there is very little population and fuel is slightly harder to find, diesel is the first to have gone missing. Because the locals usually have some old petrol Hyundai, and the diesels are usually long range trucks.

Also, people liked diesel for what it was in the 80s and the 90s and beginning of the century. Simple reliable engines.
However, they have become so complicated that a petrol engine is more simple.
After 12.5 years and 20 countries I can say that modification is not a concern while traveling as far as legality. It is only a concern in the state, province or country of permanent registration.


Active member
Yeah that seems to work like that.

The thing is with a Euro 5 or Euro 6, which isn't modified, you have a risk of running into errors. So you will have a light on your dashboard, engine will go slow, and you need to reset it.
This is all exactly the opposite of what you wanted from a diesel engine. The simplicity and reliability have gone out of the window.

For Asia and Middle East a car that can run on 92 Octane (as in European 92 octane number) or better will get you everywhere.
Even if the range is only like 400km. And lets be honest, most standard diesel 4x4s won't do much better. (this is of course different for a normal car)
Seeing octane 80 is already very rare, but is sometimes still offered, next to 92 or 95.