3208 TRUCK ENGINE Caterpillar

Problem With Vehicle or Vehicle Operation


The problems in this chart are problmes that do come about and are normally called "low power." These problems are not necessarily more common than engine problems, but they are possible problems which you need to read and check before an engine is disassembled.

Read all of the items but make sure the first four are checked completely before making any engine test.

Recommended Procedure

1. Tachometer Error - To check, connect a tachometer of known accuracy to the engine. Run the engine and make a comparison of the readings of the vehicle and test tachometers. If vehicle tachometer is bad, make repairs as necessary or install a new tachometer.

2. Engine Operated at High Altitude - Less oxygen at higher altitudes causes the engine horsepower to go down. There is no effect on the 175 horsepower engine for the first 7500 ft. (2280 m) above sea level of operation. There is no effect on the 210 horsepower engine for the first 2500 ft. (760 m) above sea level of operation. The less oxygen at higher altitudes will cause the horsepower of the 210 horsepower engine to go down approximately three percent for each added 2500 ft. (760 m) of higher altitude of operation. See the RACK SETTING INFORMATION for the correct fuel setting for the higher altitude of operation.

3. Brakes Do Not Completely Release - Check the brakes by feeling all the brake drums. If the brakes of a wheel do not completely release, the brake drum for that wheel will be hotter than the brake drums for the other wheels. With the truck lifted with a jack the wheels must have free rotation when turned by hand.

4. Vehicle Operated in Too High a Gear - If the operator does not shift the truck correctly or operates the truck in a "lug" condition (using the truck in too high a gear for engine rpm to go up as accelerator pedal is pushed farther down, or using the truck in a gear where engine rpm goes down with accelerator pedal at maximum travel), poor vehicle performance is the result. For best engine performance do not lug the engine more than 600 rpm below its full load speed.

5. Extra Engine Driven Equipment - Air compressors, hydraulic pumps, generators, and other engine driven equipment that has damage, or that was not installed correctly, or that is not in correct adjustment, can take more horsepower to drive than expected. If necessary, disconnect the equipment and test the engine.

6. Speedometer Error - A bad speedometer does not give the correct speed or the correct indication of fuel consumption. An indication of low speed can cause the operator to feel that he has a power problem.

7. Speeds Too High - The need for more horsepower is easy to see as the speed of the vehicle is increased. This is especially true if the front of the vehicle has a large surface area. Application personnel can give you the horsepower needs for a vehicle, and the horsepower necessary for different vehicle designs at different speeds.

8. Overload on Vehicle - Application personnel can give you the horsepower needs for different vehicles.

9. High Moving Resistance - Soft ground conditions cause a need for more horsepower. To see if the problem is the engine, test the vehicle on a surface known to be good, or test on a chassis dynamometer.

10. High Wind Resistance - The horsepower needs for a truck can be divided into two parts. Part of the horsepower is used to move the vehicle and part is used to get through the resistance of the wind. The horsepower necessary to get through the resistance of the wind will increase as the vehicle is used at higher speeds. Vehicles with a large front area have a higher wind resistance and take more horsepower than those with a small front area. Some types of trucks, for example those used for the transportation of automobiles and/or boats have high wind resistance even if the front area is small. Moving against the wind has the same effect on wind resistance as does higher vehicle speed.

11. Power Loss in Drive Gears - It is possible for a transmission or rear axle to use extra horsepower because of damage, not being in correct adjustment, having the wrong type of fluid or not enough fluid in them, or an inside mechanical problem. If a part of the drive train unit operates at a higher temperature than normal, it can be the problem. Check this part of the drive train unit before working on any other part of the drive train unit. Power-shift or automatic transmissions can cause the vehicle performance to be low if they are out of adjustment or not working correctly. See the transmission Service Manual for the correct adjustments.

12. Wrong Gear Ratios - The tire size, rear axle ratio, and transmission gear ratios must be correct to get maximum engine performance. If the transmission gear ratios are wrong, they can cause the engine rpm to go low enough during shifting that the engine can not have correct "acceleration" (increase in speed). A rear axle gear ratio which supplies too high a vehicle speed with the engine at a low rpm during normal vehicle operation, will cause the engine to be "lugging" (when the truck is used in a gear too high for engine rpm to go up as accelerator pedal is pushed farther down, or when the truck is used in a gear where engine rpm goes down with accelerator pedal at maximum travel). Application personnel can give you the correct tire sizes and gear ratios for your operation.

13. Chassis Dynamometer Error - Chassis dynamometers can be a great help in testing a vehicle for engine performance if they are in good condition and used correctly. When the dynamometer is not in good condition and a bad operating procedure is used the result will be wrong readings. For good comparison of horsepower readings from different vehicles use the same dynamometer with the same operator.

14. Trailers That are Difficult to Pull - Some trailers are more difficult to pull than others because of one or more of several factors. Some of these factors are: brakes not releasing completely, high wind resistance (because of a large front area and/or the design of the trailer), axles not in alignment, extra axles, and low tire pressure.

15. High Inlet Air Temperature - Air coming into the engine must be cool for the engine to have full horsepower. If the air inlet system is not of correct design or is not in good mechanical condition, hot air can come into the engine causing a loss of horsepower. To check the inlet air temperature, install the 9S9102 Thermistor Thermometer Group into the engine air inlet pipe. With the engine running under load the inlet air temperature must not be more than 135° F (57° C).

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