This paper explores the extent to which standard dilution tunnel measurements of motor vehicle exhaust particulate matter modify particle number and size. Steady state size distributions made directly at the tailpipe, using an ejector pump, are compared to dilution tunnel measurements for three configurations of transfer hose used to transport exhaust from the vehicle tailpipe to the dilution tunnel. For gasoline vehicles run at a steady 50 - 70 mph, ejector pump and dilution tunnel measurements give consistent results of particle size and number when using an uninsulated stainless steel transfer hose. Both methods show particles in the 10 - 100 nm range at tailpipe concentrations of the order of 104 particles/cm3. When an insulated hose, or one containing a silicone rubber coupler, is used to test small 4 cylinder gasoline vehicles, a very intense nanoparticle / ultrafine mode at < ∼30 nm develops in the dilution tunnel particle size distribution as the vehicle speed is increased to 60 and 70 mph. This nanoparticle mode coincides with a rise of the transfer line temperature to about 180 - 250 °C. It is much less evident for the full size gasoline sedan, which has cooler exhaust. Both tailpipe and dilution tunnel measurements of diesel vehicle exhaust reveal an accumulation mode peak of ∼108 particles/cm3, centered at 80 -100 nm. In this case, even with the uninsulated transfer hose an intense ultrafine peak appears in the dilution tunnel size distributions. This mode is attributed to desorption and/or pyrolysis of organic material, either hydrocarbon deposits on the walls of the steel transfer hose or the silicone rubber, by hot exhaust gases, and their subsequent nucleation in the dilution tunnel. This substantially limits the ability to make accurate particle number and size measurements using dilution tunnel systems.