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Old 01-01-2019, 10:08 AM   #1
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C7 Slow Start

I have a 2005 C7 that has no power until the engine temp reaches 160-170 degrees. Depending on the outside temp, this could take 20-25 minutes. Until then, when I step on the accelerator, it will barely move. I told the repair shop this and they immediately said it was the HEUI pump and they replaced that, but it did not solve the problem. Getting it from storage, or starting it at my house it is not a great problem to wait for the warm up, but next year when I am getting ready to leave a campground, this could cause some problems with our neighbors if I have to let it run that long before moving it. Before this started, and with my previous MH, I could start it and in the 5-10 minutes it took to build air pressure and store the leveling jacks, I could pull out and move to some place where I could hook up the toad without bothering anybody. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:36 AM   #2
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Steve,

While I am not all that familiar with the Cat HEUI system, I do have several decades of electronic engine controls and am a USCG licensed engineer that had decade of experience.

That engine should be cleared to deliver full torque in less than 3 minutes. If it could not do that, they would be useless in stand-by power applications and in a stand-by power application, this is 30 seconds. (That is a long time to stand in the dark waiting for the lights to come back on.)

The guy that swapped out the HEUI unit did not do any diagnostic. That is what has to happen. There are like a dozen inputs to the ADEM controller and there is a diagnostic port on the ADEM module. Someone needs to hook on there and read all the critical inputs to find out which one is holding up your fuel delivery. He was possibly correct that the HEUI was not delivering full pressure, but he did not take the time to find out why it was not.

Find another Caterpillar tech that knows how to plug in the diagnostic box. You may have to stay there over night so he can catch a cold start.

Frank
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:56 AM   #3
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Thanks, Frank. The repair shop that replaced the HEUI pump did some other repairs inside the MH and I was not real pleased with their service in general. When the winter freeze is over, I will take it to another shop before the camping season begins.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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Did you happen to notice what the RPM was ? I ask this because it sounds like you are in LIMP mode.
Which can happen if the Air inlet temperature sensor and coolant temperature sensor do not reach a certain temp.

Me, I would find a shop that really knows about CAT engine and the reasons why it will go into limp mode.

But until you explain more and as what, when and the parameters this is happening - I would guess the air inlet temp sensor, only because of your first statement:
"I have a 2005 C7 that has no power until the engine temp reaches 160-170 degrees"
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:10 PM   #5
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Yep Steve,
I also would suggest finding a different shop. Our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP, will take right off at dead cold, without any hesitation what so ever. In fact, in over 30 years of driving fire trucks, I've never seen any diesel that couldn't jump right into action at dead cold. Of course it's better to warm them up at least for a minute or so before you ask a lot of them. And, on a side note here, I for one, do appreciate you thinking about your camping neighbors when and if, you had to take maybe some added time in your diesel warm up. There's a few unconscious diesel motorhome drivers out there that don't really care and will start up their coach, then go in and have breakfast, wash and wax a car or two, have lunch, then move their coach or leave.

I'd be real interested in just what's your issue with your C-7.
Scott
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:51 PM   #6
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Yep Steve,
I also would suggest finding a different shop. Our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP, will take right off at dead cold, without any hesitation what so ever. In fact, in over 30 years of driving fire trucks, I've never seen any diesel that couldn't jump right into action at dead cold.
Scott
True Scott, but if your station was like the ones I worked at, the fire trucks were plugged into (elect for engine heat, and air) at all times while in the station.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:42 PM   #7
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The Cat dealer needs to connect Cat ET up to your coach to see what is happening. Could be a bad sensor, bad throttle position sensor, etc. While at it, have them check to see if there is a more recent software file (Flash File) for your engine. There were many improved versions of software back in that time frame.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:21 PM   #8
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True Scott, but if your station was like the ones I worked at, the fire trucks were plugged into (elect for engine heat, and air) at all times while in the station.
Mike,
I was hired in '80. We started that process of keeping the rigs plugged into power to keep them "warm" about 1/2 way through my career. The problem was, the block heaters only worked a slight amount of the time. The reason(s),
1. Because they would blow the fuse on that circuit quite often and, we could never get the city workers out to replace the components/wiring etc. that was needed for upgrading so we'd have less problems. The circuits were rated for 20 amps. The fire engine, while plugged in, demanded right at 40 amps between the block heater, on board battery chargers, stand-by GPS computer system and, in the case of the 2000 and up rigs, we had Kusmaul on board air compressors. So, the electrical demand was WAY more than most of the stations could handle. The newer stations being built (when approved), would be supplied with considerably better electrical circuits.

2. Even if and when, the station circuit could handle it, the block heaters were used so much that, those would burn out on a quite often basis. And with over 75 fire trucks in service at any given time, replacing the many burnt out block heaters on a constant basis, dropped in priority over time.
You should have seen the connection points for the plugs, just below the drivers door on most of our trucks. Looked like someone tried to arc weld in the immediate area. Yep, when things were working as designed, I'd jump in the rig, fire the beast up and zoom out of the barn with a warm engine. But, more than not, it was a cold engine and, had low air due to the leaks 'cause the station air compressors were, like the block heating systems, not always working correctly. So much for a "booming metropolis" city.
Scott
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:05 PM   #9
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The Cat dealer needs to connect Cat ET up to your coach to see what is happening. Could be a bad sensor, bad throttle position sensor, etc. While at it, have them check to see if there is a more recent software file (Flash File) for your engine. There were many improved versions of software back in that time frame.
I checked my archives today and I can see that new software was released for the C7 330 / 350 RV engines effective with KAL62935 to address performance issues. Do you know what your serial number is? It will be on a decal on the side of oil pan if it is still there. Visible from the right rear fender I think?
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:12 PM   #10
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I told the repair shop this and they immediately said it was the HEUI pump and they replaced that, but it did not solve the problem.
I hope they did not charge you for the pump. If so, they owe you a refund.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:56 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. I will check this weekend to see if I find a serial number.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:51 AM   #12
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Steve, there may be a program update available but it's not going to solve your problem. Your low power problem is not a normal condition - it's not like every CAT C7 had a "low power when cold" problem and CAT figured out how to fix it with a software update.

I don't know if this mentioned or asked - but is there a "Warning (Diagnostic) Lamp" on or flashing during the performance issue? If no, are you sure the Warning lamp works (does it turn on when the ignition switch is first turned to Run position)?

It sounds more like you have a bad sensor (maybe a bad ECM) - either your engine is in "derate" where the engine programming reduces power to protect the engine, or there is a sensor that is faulty (such as a bad coolant sensor telling the engine it is running too hot or a bad boost sensor that says there is no/low boost) and the engine is responding correctly (which is reduced power in your case) to that faulty sensor reading. A bad sensor may not set a fault code is the senor has failed with the allowable range of the sensor (meaning a coolant sensor that is reading 250 degrees will not set a code because that 250 reading is within allowable range, whereas a reading of 0 or infinity would set a code).

You should look for fault codes first (I would have expected to the Shop to have done that - but you cant trust that every shop knows (or does) what is expected.

Get yourself a ScanGauge D (around $125) and plug it into the diagnostic port, then see what the "actual" live sensor readings are (engine temp, boost, etc.). This tool will also read codes if there are any.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:37 AM   #13
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Well stated CountryB. I agree that it may be a sensor or something simple. I did suggest in post #7 that a Cat dealer should look for codes and sensor issues, and while there update the Flashfile.
Regarding software, I do not recall any C7 in this time frame that had cold operating issues as severely as described. Since I was involved in the launch of this engine, I do know that early C7's did not perform as well as the former 3126's. I reprogrammed many motorhomes myself for this problem.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:45 AM   #14
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Thanks!
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