— A Gear Box Z lawsuit has been filed by the U.S. attorney general at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged emissions violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
According to federal prosecutors, Gear Box Z violated the Clean Air Act by manufacturing and selling "aftermarket products that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative emission controls installed on motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines..."
Gear Box Z allegedly manufactures and sells products to improve fuel economy, power and performance. But the EPA alleges some products can do this only by defeating, bypassing or deactivating emissions elements installed by an automaker.
The lawsuit often uses the term "aftertreatment," described as any “system, component, or technology mounted downstream of the exhaust valve . . . whose design function is to reduce emissions in the engine exhaust before it is exhausted to the environment.”
Prosecutors say aftertreatment systems consist of hardware installed in the original exhaust system or software that runs on one or more electronic control units. Various items and systems are used to control emissions, including diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalysts, selective catalytic reduction systems and NOx absorber catalysts.
According to the lawsuit, Gear Box Z manufacturers and sells tuners that alter or overwrite the certified calibrations of the vehicle. Aftermarket software products, called "tunes," consist of software uploaded to the electronic control units to "tune" the performance of the vehicle.
The allegedly illegal tuner products sold by Gear Box Z are sold for Ford PowerStroke engines, GM Duramax engines and Dodge Cummins engines.
Additionally, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) hardware products allegedly block plates that interfere with the recirculation of exhaust gas back into the engine combustion chamber. The government alleges EGR delete products sold by Gear Box Z are used for the "bypassing, defeating, or rendering inoperative a motor vehicle’s EGR System."
Also named as an illegal product is the exhaust replacement pipe systems sold for use in Ford vehicles equipped with PowerStroke engines, General Motors vehicles equipped with Duramax engines and Dodge models equipped with Cummins engines.
The government also claims the company manufactures and sells diesel particulate filter emulators that defeat emissions systems in Dodge vehicles equipped with Cummins engines.
The EPA seeks an order banning the company from selling products that allegedly defeat, bypass or deactivate emission-related functions of vehicles.
In addition, the lawsuit says Gear Box Z should pay civil penalties "in the amount of up to $3,750 for each violation occurring after August 15, 2013 through November 2, 2015, and up to $4,735 for each violation occurring after November 2, 2015."