Engine Maintenance Question


 Ask Dave / Posted 2 years ago / 678 views

Question: – Hi Dave,

I have been reading your posts regarding engine failure, along with ways to avoid it, since I trust your advice and have been successful in following it in the past. My question for you is related to prevention of possible problems and maintaining a healthy motor. You have mentioned oil contamination testing in your posts. I believe this is a part of the CAT SOS fluid testing program. Can you expand on the importance of the SOS testing? Should all tests, (Oil, Coolant, Transmission and Fuel etc.) be completed? Are there other tests you would recommend? How often should it be repeated? Our typical mileage every year is low between 3k and 5k miles. Can I assume my CAT dealer is the place to go for the testing?

I change the oil and filter yearly. I use only CAT filters, except for the air filter. Oil is Delo 15/40, Allison synthetic in the transmission and CAT ELC Coolant.

Thank you for your help.

Regards and Happy New Year!

Bill Borden
2000 PAT Thunder
C12, 50K milage

Dave’s Answer: Bill, I’m real glad to hear your concerns on maintaining your engine. My suggestion is to stay with SOS oil sampling, but a word of caution, always use the CAT oil sample lab. Not all testing labs around the country have the same standards.
Your engine will tell us what is happening if you can access the data in the ECM. I would suggest a complete engine ECM download and read out. You should get a printout of this information, this will tells you if you have any problems. It will indicate any active fault codes, logged codes and event codes on your engine. Keep this information in your coach, we can use it if you have any future problems.
I can do ECM readouts, but do not push this because of a possible conflict of interest, as I am a licensed CAT ET and CAT SIS technician.
I have put on Caterpillar Seminars at many BAC rallies, and they may be of interest to you, they provide lots of information on preventing engine failure.
Many service shops can be real helpful with problems also, but sometimes their information is not as accurate as it should be. I cannot fault Caterpillar, I have worked many years as a field mechanic with CAT equipment, but I have not been very happy with the way motorhome people are being treated, they often pay high prices for simple repairs.


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