We’ve been off to a busy start here at Capital Reman in 2018. Here are a few shop pictures of engines going out the door.
We’ve been off to a busy start here at Capital Reman in 2018. Here are a few shop pictures of engines going out the door.
Things are not starting the the new year off right for manufacturing giant Caterpillar, Inc. Last year the IRS came down on Caterpillar for attempting to use some creative accounting practices to avoid paying tax on earned income.
The investigation by the IRS started many years ago and was officially entered into legal precedent last March. Investigators have stated that Caterpillar has evaded paying their full share of taxes going back 18 years. If found to be true the company used illegal tax strategies to save over $2.4 billion.
A senate hearing in 2014 determined the company had been using one of its subsidiary companies in Switzerland to (Caterpillar SARL) to funnel profits, sales and international orders. The strategy works by bringing earnings back to the United States through Switzerland but avoiding US tax for sales made outside of the country. Switzerland has a long history of being a tax shelter for 3rd party individuals and businesses. The senate committee concluded that over $8 billion in profits had been funneled through Switzerland holdings.
Caterpillar has maintained that its tax strategy is legal albeit outside of the box of normal corporate tax accounting. The company effectively paid a 4% corporate tax rate for most years going back to 1999. Some employees at Caterpillar questioned the practice and brought the discovery to outside authorities which began an investigation.
The company is still under investigation as the federal government audits their books at Peoria, Illinois headquarters. The initial raid by the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Export Enforcement at the Department of Commerce seized millions upon millions of documents at the Peoria and Morton corporate facilities. Caterpillar has blocked part of the investigation stating most records should be sealed under attorney-client confidentially.
Leaked copies of the search warrant indicated that Caterpillar violated export controls dealing with countries under U.S. sanctions such as Syria, Sudan and Iran.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which handles Caterpillar’s tax management strategy, has been found to also be liable in the investigation. PwC tax partner Thomas Quinn wrote in a 2008 memo that the company would “have to do some dancing” in terms of complying with IRS rules regarding Non-U.S tax exemptions. Managing Director Steven Williams was also quoted as saying “What the heck. We’ll all be retired when this comes up on audit.”
The news is another devastating blow to thousands of employees at the Peoria campus as company recorded four straight years of losses and amidst layoffs. Since 2015 the organization has closed more than 30 of its US and International plants. The company also recently released news they are cancelling plans for a brand new Headquarters in East Peoria and moving operations to a more cost effective location. Caterpillar has wavered in recent years exiting the over-road trucking business in 2010 amid class action law suits with their emissions ACERT technology and betting big on overseas expansion in China which has since cooled.
Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal “We’re a values-based company. “We’re cooperating, and we’re hopeful that that issue will be resolved in an expeditious manner.” Only time will tell but hopefully Caterpillar recovers from this situation and puts this behind them.
Take a look at some of the diesel longblock and complete engines we have built for stock. These are ready to ship same day!
Electronic engines get a bad rap in the heavy duty diesel engine world due to the amount of issues that can go wrong with them. However, the good news is that if you have an electronic Caterpillar engine you can easily obtain more horsepower and torque via the ECM.
Re-rating an engine is an electronic process of powering up or down the default horsepower via the electronic control module (ECM). Re-rating a diesel engine is the easiest way to beef up an engine without digging into the hard internal parts. You can do modifications to the engine by changing out the pistons, injectors, the camshaft or damper. Adding an updated turbo is also another way to increase HP. However, these modifications are expensive and may not work as required which we will discuss later in this article.
To re-rate a CAT engine one must go to a CAT Dealer or Independent Certified CAT Distributor that has access to CAT ET (Electronic Technician) program. The CAT ET software will plug into the engine and get a diagnostic readout of the engine health. Once in CAT ET the ECM can be “flashed” or reprogrammed to power up or down within a given CAT Engine Family. You can only repower a Caterpillar engine within its given family.
For example a Caterpillar C7 has Families A, B, C, D, E and F. The Horsepower Rating ranges from 207 hp to 330 hp. Family A only has 3 horsepower and torque options whereas Family E has 7 options. If your engine serial number prefix is rated “A” then you must stay in the A Family. The pistons and injectors are different for each Family. It is impossible to simply go up a Family. The higher horsepower E and F Families are reserved for Fire Truck or RV Applications. So if you’re thinking you can easily increase your engine 200-300 HP you are mistaken.
There are two main way to determine the current horsepower rating of your engine. One is by simply looking at the data tag on the valve cover or timing cover. It will have the horsepower and torque rating of the engine. If you suspect the engine may have already been powered up or down from the original OEM specs you have two options: take it to a dealer or dyno testing facility. A CAT Dealer with CAT SIS and CAT ET will be able to plug into the electronic engine and they can do an ECM Download. This process takes about 5 minutes and will give a readout of fault codes, millage, current horsepower rating, torque, oil pressure etc… A dealer generally won’t charge you just for an ECM Readout. You can also have a full dyno test done which will give a full range of performance specs done on the engine.
Other things to consider when doing an ECM re-flash is whether or not the transmission is rated to handle the increase torque load. Transmissions are all about torque rating. An Allison, Eaton or Fuller Transmission all have something called the Nominal Torque Capacity Rating. Whatever that number is multiply it by 100 to get your maximum torque output allowed for that transmission. For example if a transmission has a tag number of RTO – 11909MLL the “11” or first number, is your Nominal Torque Capacity. That engine would be rated at 1100 ft/lbs of torque. Before doing a re-rating you must check to see if your transmission can handle the new workload. If your desired re-rating torque measurement is higher than your transmission’s capacity to handle the load then you will destroy your transmission.
Earlier in the article we touched on doing aftermarket modifications to your CAT engine. We here at Capital Reman build our engines to OEM spec. We do that simply because playing in the “modification sandbox” can cause numerous issues with warranties. If you add aftermarket injectors, turbos, camshaft or manifolds to increase power it will automatically void any manufacturer warranty. The question is do aftermarket mods work? The answer is that they do indeed work and are the same quality as OEM these days however one must be careful tinkering with electronic engines as mods can overload various systems on the engine. Doing modifications can also decrease the life of the engine as it usually means increased exhaust temperature. If you are burning more fuel and creating more exhaust it will wear down the exhaust valves much faster. Aftermarket turbos can also clog easier when paired with an electronic engine with a SCR or DPF Filter. Some CAT Engines have turbo regeneration issues caused by the very intricate balance of re-circulated exhaust gasses by the emissions systems.
Some opt to further optimize their engine by seeking out illegal DPF Delete Kits to remove all emissions technology altogether. It is understandable why some go down that path as early emissions technology was prone to costly maintenance and performance issues however, newer engines with emissions upgrades actually have increased in horsepower and torque. If you do go down the aftermarket route just be aware that the warranty will be voided, performance upgrades are not a guarantee and that you might be further damaging/decreasing the life of your engine. Not to say aftermarket mods aren’t fun! There are tons of great aftermarket companies that make performance turbos, injectors, camshafts and more but get your pocket book ready as internal mods are expensive.
Re-flashing an ECM takes about 2 hours from start to finish at a CAT Dealer. The software is accessed via CAT ET and a flash file is downloaded to the ECM. This software is propriety to Caterpillar and is password protected. BUYER BEWARE! There are aftermarket CAT ET programs on for sale on the internet but none of them will work properly as the software needed is password protected at Caterpillar dealer. CAT Corporate charges the dealer about $250 per ECM Re-flash and the dealer will usually just charge labor to you the customer. Overall the cost of an ECM Re-flash is around $500. Not too bad to quickly power up your engine. If you go down the aftermarket/mods route for the ECM use a reputable Re-Power Company like Pittsburgh Power or ECM Diesel.
There are some dangers of ECM Re-Ratings. About 1/30 ECM Re-Flashes ends up with a destroyed ECM. The ECM can become corrupted or simply wipe itself of all data. The new flash file could simply be incompatible with the ECM in the engine and destroy it. Mostly these incidents occur with early model electronic engines that have more unstable electronics. CAT ECMs are not cheap ranging from $1,500-$2,000. You can purchase a used ECM however those are a gamble as the pin connectors and solders can be easily be bent or broken.
That being said, don’t let the possible ECM failure scare ya! Getting a little more juice out of your CAT Engine can easily be done with an ECM Re-Rate just make sure to do your homework and take your engine to a reputable source.
At the turn of the century there was a lot of buzz around a new diesel engine being produced at Caterpillar, one that could meet the growing emissions requirements enacted by the EPA. The Caterpillar C7 Engine was supposed to be the “golden child” in Caterpillar diesel engine lineup; one that combined raw horsepower with computer controlled clean emissions. However, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. The engine was produced from 2003 to 2009 and was installed primarily in over the road medium duty class 8 trucks. All of the big players in the trucking industry hopped on board hoping the CAT C7 was going to live up to the hype. Paccar, Freightliner, Ford and GMC all purchased the engine in droves. The technical classification of a medium duty tuck is a single drive axel with a gross vehicle weight of 18,000-33,000 lbs.; mostly box tucks, tow trucks, daycabs, and straight trucks.
The Caterpillar C7 was designed mostly out of necessity vs. practicality. Caterpillar, needed to produce a new engine that was going to meet or exceed the Tier Ratings enacted by the EPA in 1994 to curb diesel engine emissions. The stricter Tier 4 emissions requirements went into effect January 1, 2004. The Caterpillar C7 was released in 2003, only months ahead of the Tier 4 ratings change, and replaced the popular 3126 model. Older CAT engines like the 3116 or 3126 were essentially grandfathered into the older tier rating requirements and did not need to be upgraded.
The CAT C7 shares many common configurations with the CAT 3126. The engine configuration was the same as the 3126 but the fuel system changed using a new engineered style known as the HEUI injector. The HEUI injector allows for multiple injections at different metered rates. Using a staged fuel distribution ratio helps improve engine combustion which ultimately reduces emissions ouput. The electronic configuration was also more robust to offer better fuel management and electronic sensors into the engine. The CAT C7 was really the first heavy duty diesel engine to offer a greatly expanded ECM or electronic computer module. The ECM is the same hardware as previous electronic engine generations just upgraded to handle more systems. Using an advanced 120 pin connection the amount of information the computer was able to process was astronomical. Other similarities between the CAT 3126 and CAT C7 include the same bore and stroke at 4.330 and 5.000 respectively. The cylinder heads are slightly different in the common rail design, still 3 valves per cylinder but there is no oil rail cast in the CAT C7 cylinder head.
The most noticeable difference between the CAT 3126 and CAT C7 is within the valve train. The front gear train is mostly the same except for the gears which have fewer teeth and a more robust design. Some speculate that the reason for the wider gear teeth is so that the gear designs can’t be interchanged with older CAT 3126 and CAT 3116 versions. The oil pump and water pump are also larger to accommodate the need to lubricate/cool more moving parts.
When examining the crankshaft and rods the common differences between the CAT 3126 and the CAT C7 include smaller crankshaft counterweights to include the lighter weight piston design. The connecting rods and crankshaft share the same journal sizes but are slight different in terms of cast size and shape. The connecting rods in the Caterpillar C7 ACERT are not forged, liked the CAT 3126, but consist of powdered metal with a fractured cap design. There are also various sizes and configuration of the connecting rods depending on the piston used in the engine.
Horsepower is the determining factor when choosing the piston configuration in the CAT C7. The two options include a taller aluminum piston with a 1.811 wrist pin for 230 hp and higher versions and a shorter 1.52 diameter one piece steel piston for engine configurations below 210 hp.
The CAT C7 includes the ACERT technology which is an air/fuel management system to control NOx emissions regulations. ACERT stands for “Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology”. Highlights of the ACERT technology include a closed crankcase breather and diesel particulate filter using CAT’s engineered regeneration technology. With the upgraded ECM the technology allows for a more precise control over the combustion cycle by monitoring the incoming air and fuel as well as the exhaust after treatment.
With the ACERT design the smaller CAT C7 models used an air inlet system with multiple traditional wastegated turbos to boost air intake flow and pressure. The more midsized hp models used only a single turbo while the larger horsepower models used dual turbochargers working in conjunction for optimal airflow. Within the design of the C7, the turbos use variable geometry valve actuation controlled by the ECM to adjust the perfect amount of airflow into the combustion chamber. This variable valve actuation also allows for the CAT C7 to offer an integral jake brake on two of the heavy duty diesel horsepower models.
The fuel delivery system on the CAT C7 is hydraulic electronically controlled unit injectors for the mid horsepower models and mechanically actuated and electronically controlled on the higher horsepower models. Both systems are metered and timed to inject multiple bursts of fuel to create a more efficient combustion cycle.
Lastly, the ACERT technology offers an exhaust after-treatment. The after-treatment technology reduces NOx particulate matter in the muffler via a spray of an oxidation catalyst agent. The after-treatment function is fairly straightforward and requires no additional cleaning or maintenance. Later ACERT technology on the CAT C13 and CAT C15 incorporated more advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), Diesel Exhaust Fluid and more robust Diesel Particulate Filters.
With diesel engine technology there are two rating systems to determine the average life expectancy of the engine: B10 and B50. B10 is the average life expectancy of an engine measured in miles where 10% of the produced engines failed and needed a major overhaul. Consequently, B50 is the average miles where 50% of the engines failed. With the CAT C7 the B50 rating of 450,000-500,000 miles. This means half of the CAT C7 engines had a major engine failure at 500,000 miles and needed an overhaul. According to the B Rating System an “overhaul” or “major engine repair” is regarded as removal of the cylinder heads and/or dropping the oil pan with an inframe repair. Failures or parts replacement without removing the cylinder heads or dropping the oil pan are not counted in the B10 and B50 engine life statistics. This failure rate for the C7 isn’t terrible in relation to other diesel engines. For example the B50 rating for the popular Cummins 5.9 engine is only 350,000 miles. However, a Detroit Diesel 60 Series can easily go 1,000,000 miles before overhaul.
The ACERT Technology had a lot of problems for Caterpillar, first with the CAT C7 but more so later on with the CAT 13 and CAT 15 engines. The technology was really the first generation emissions technology for heavy duty diesel engines. The ACERT technology was prone to numerous regeneration issues. Drivers reported low power and low fuel economy. It was common that the CAT C7 ACERT engines would experience overheating when driving up an incline. The cooling fan does not kick in until 235 degrees Fahrenheit while many drivers reported overheating at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The engines run hotter to burn off more diesel particulate matter. Drivers are instructed to downshift to 1100 rpm when going up an incline to avoid overheating. Other issues regarding the CAT C7 ACERT technology is clogged diesel particulate filters as well as clogging of the inlet of the turbocharger. The ACERT technology was not well regarded due to its numerous issues with maintenance, fuel economy, and lowered horsepower. The company stopped producing over-the-road engines at the end of 2009 and elected not to meet the stricter 2010 emissions requirements by the EPA.
The original Caterpillar C7 would change configurations once again in 2007 to adjust to changing market demands. In 2007 diesel fuel itself changed to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel or ULSD. The fuel change dictated that the fuel system of the CAT C7 ACERT needed to change to a common-rail injection system. The new common-rail injectors took injection pressures to 25,000-27,500 psi. The fuel transfer pump supplies the fuel to the fuel rail at 280 psi. Overall, the common rail system worked well but added another system or point of failure within the CAT C7 Engine.
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel is thinner which means the fluid is vicious. Since the lubricity is lower this equates to better fuel circulation at a high pressure to keep the heat levels down. In the later 2007 models the turbocharger was also upgraded to variable nozzle technology which can offer appropriate boosts of horsepower at all engine rpms.
The Caterpillar C7 engine is an line 6 cylinder diesel fueled engine with a displacement of 7.2 liters. The maximum heavy duty hp dry weight is 1,425 lbs., with an oil capacity of 4.75 gallons or 6.75 gallons with the deeper sump pump and oil pan. The cooling system and water pump allow up to 3.99 gallons. The CAT C7 was available in 8 different horsepower ratings from 210 hp – 360 hp with torque ratings from 520-925 lb-ft of torque. The 330 hp and 360 hp models were only available in recreation vehicles and firefighting equipment. The first Caterpillar C7 models (210, 230 and 250 hp) were available in both low or high torque options. The torque options allowed for different transmission applications preferred by the various big truck manufacturers. Each manufacturer’s torque capacity was different and had to be matched with the CAT C7 of choice.
Overall the CAT C7 ACERT Engine represents the beginning of the end for Caterpillar’s long rein with over-the-road diesel engines. The company ultimately didn’t feel the cost of continuously producing emissions upgrades was worth the time and effort and exited the over the road industry in 2010 paving the way for Cummins and Paccar. Caterpillar still makes a great engine and continues to produce off-road construction equipment effected less by strict emissions regulations.
|Engine Spec||Engine Data|
|Minimum Power||225 hp, 520 lbs-ft torque|
|Maximum Power||300 hp, 925 lbs-ft torque|
|Emissions Ratings||U.S. EPA Tier 3 Equivalent, China Stage II, EU Stage IIIA Equivalent|
|Engine Configuration||Inline 6, 4-Stroke-Cycle Diesel|
|Combustion System||Direct Injection|
|Fuel System||HEUI Injection, ACERT Technology|
|Computer System||ADEM A4 Electronic Control Unit|
|Dry Weight||1296 lbs.|
Considering the CAT C7 is prone maintenance is overhaul issues it is an engine we rebuild quite frequently here at Capital Reman. We offer two options when it comes to remanufactured CAT C7 ACERT and Non ACERT Engines:
We can remanufactured a brand new CAT C7 Engine on an exchange basis meaning we build a new engine from a core. When we deliver your brand new engine you simply send us your old core back. We have a very fair core return policy. If the camshaft, crankshaft, cylinder head and block are reusable we will return 100% of your core charge. If some of the internal components are worn beyond repair we will pro rate your return.
Our Longblock CAT C7 Engines include the cylinder block, complete cylinder head, crankshaft, pistons, liners, rings, connecting rods, camshaft, followers/lifters, intermediate cover, front gear timed group and complete gasket sets. Turbos, injectors, oil pumps and water pumps can also be ordered with the engine.
Repair and Return engines will follow the same procedure as remanufactured exchange engines however Capital Reman Exchange will rebuild the components provided by the customer. From time to time there are components that can not be remanufactured with the customer’s engine. In instances where parts can’t be remanufactured the cost of replacement parts or components will become the responsibility of the customer if they elect to replace them. There is no core charge associated with Repair & Return Engines.
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Call Capital Reman Exchange Today at 1-844-239-8101 For Immediate Caterpillar C7 Engine and Pats Sales or Service or Read Our FAQ Page to Learn More.
Moving around 500-1000 lbs diesel cylinder heads around the machine shop is an arduous and oftentimes dangerous task. Safety is our number one priority here at Capital Reman and we have taken some unique precautions to moving cylinder heads from workstation to workstation. For larger cylinder heads we use an overhead crane or forklift. For small movements or lifts we have created some proprietary tools to get the job done.
For Mack diesel cylinder heads we use a stainless steel looped bolt that fits directly into the injector port. It fits exactly in all Mack E-7, E-Tech, ASET and E-6 Cylinder Heads. The loop design allows for a locked in fit while easy to transport a few feet.
For all other diesel cylinder heads the guys in the shop use a loop, lanyard and metal head bolt. The head bolt will fit through most ports on CAT, Cummins, Detroit or John Deere cylinder heads. We then use a metal chain secured through the loop to move the cylinder heads around the shop.
Capital Reman Exchange is proud to call Colorado our home. Based in the Mile High City, we call the Capitol City of Colorado our home, but ensure it is our client’s capital equipment and trust we strive to earn each and every day. We achieve trust through hands on ownership and an employee base that is second to none in skill and training.
Our modern facilities and equipment include our full machine shop and separate engine building departments. These facilities help keep Capital Reman Exchange a cut above the competition and allows us the flexibility to work with customers who are individual owners, fleet managers or anywhere on the spectrum.
We a certified AERA (Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association) machine shop. Our team of in-house diesel experts are qualified to assist you with:
- Remanufactured Diesel Engines
- Used Diesel Engines
- Camshafts and Followers
- Cylinder Heads
- Connecting Rods
- Rocker Assemblies
- Inframe and Overhaul Kits
We believe our consultative approach to solving diesel engine problems helps to craft the perfect solution to fit your specific application. Call us today, we would love to help you with all of your heavy duty engine needs!
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