Trucks & SUVs

US Sues Aftermarket Company EZ Lynk For Rolling Coal

This has been in the works for a while. The US feds have maintained that they will actively go after companies that sell components that defeat emission devices. Diesel truck tuning firm EZ Lynk has refused to cooperate with the investigation. According to the filed complaint, EZ Lynk “failed to provide the EPA with information about the manufacture, sale, and use” of its tuning devices. Essentially, the feds are after EZ Lynk for the ability of users to roll coal.

Tunes that can be applied to control the ECU

Rollingocal on the beach
A diesel truck spews black exhaust at the Oceano Dunes/Pismo Beach State Park | Getty

In recent years aftermarket companies have not faced much in the way of penalties for selling emissions defeat devices. Mostly, the devices are tunes that can be applied to control the ECU with a smartphone. The software can be adjusted to operate without diesel particulate filters and exhaust gas recirculation systems. 

Basically, extra diesel fuel is allowed into the engine without more air intake. This causes the familiar “rolling coal” effect belching black smoke from the exhaust. It is definitely not environmentally friendly. 

When the feds swoop in these companies have taken in boatloads of money

RELATED: Discovery’s Diesel Brothers Fined $2 Million Rolling Coal

While the government is aware of most of the companies that offer these devices its strategy was to hold off. In this manner it allowed aftermarket companies to rack up sales according to Reuters. When the feds swoop in these companies have taken in boatloads of money that allow them to pay big fines. 

An example of this EPA tactic goes back to 2013. H&S Performance was a leader in diesel truck tuning when it went out of business. It collapsed under the heavy fines the EPA penalized H&S with. For its part, H&S claimed that because its products were labeled “for off-road use only” this indemnified the company from any emissions repercussions. 

EZ Lynk sells what is a plug-and-play tuner that plugs into the ECU’s OBDII connecting port. It allows a person’s smartphone to then control emissions tunings. Customized tunes are stored in the cloud. Plus, other aftermarket companies can provide their own tunes that can be applied through EZ Lynk’s tuner. 

The EPA accuses EZ Lynk of encouraging customers to defeat emissions controls

Diesel exhaust
The exhaust pipe of a truck blowing diesel exhaust smoke | Getty

The EPA accuses EZ Lynk of encouraging customers to defeat emissions controls with its devices. It says that company employees offer help and technical support in online forums about changing diesel truck tuning. 

Other companies felt the feds were closing in on these types of plug-and-play tuners. They have added layers of protection to better distance themselves from potential EPA fines. For instance PPEI makes buyers check a box on its website that they will only use the product with stock emissions settings. Acknowledging this caveat helps to indemnify PPEI in the company’s eyes. In some cases the PPEI tune won’t work if a diesel truck has an aftermarket exhaust. 

The EPA seeks civil penalties and daily fines for violating the Clean Air Act

Pickup truck rolling coal
Rolling Coal | Sierra Club

The lawsuit specifically targets EZ Lynk founders Bradley Gintz and Thomas Wood. It seeks civil penalties and daily fines for violating the Clean Air Act. An injunction has been placed on any more sales and installations of EZ Lynk tuners. 

How many more companies and/or individuals the EPA goes after in the future is not known. But you have to be a bit concerned about penalties imposed by the EPA for wherever your role plays in these emissions defeat tunes. That includes installers and diesel truck owners. Rolling coal is fun, but is it worth being fined huge sums by the EPA? This is probably the beginning of the end of rolling coal.