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Old 09-26-2022, 12:31 AM   #1
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C15 still viable?

I'm looking at purchase of a motorhome with the C-15 (2008 Beaver Marquis) and trying to get a feel for the outlook for continued service and parts availability. From my limited research, it looks like parts, and even reman engines, continue to be available, and the local "cat" Western States Cat says on their website "Our Truck and Diesel Engine Services department also work on RVs, buses, and other diesel engines and we do it with some of the best service available."

So, the "official" word seems to be I would be able to get service, now, at least. Now is important, but I'm planning on actively using the motorhome for next 10 years, so trying to get a read on whether that situation will continue.

1) Cat owners, what's been your experience being able to get parts and service?

2) Any particular issues to be aware of with the C-15? I don't have the engine serial yet ...

3) Experience/predictions with the heavy duty vehicle emissions regs in California? Particularly for out-of-state visitors? From what I can see it seems like private motor homes are excluded.

4) What's the feasibility of swapping the cat for another manufacturer, Cummins, for example? Really a last resort option, but if it became necessary, is it doable? Same S-series chassis, Monaco was using the Cummins and the same Allison 4000 transmission, so seems like a slam dunk, but is it?
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Old 09-26-2022, 10:51 PM   #2
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I worked as a HD truck mechanic for 40 years and retired in 2011.

You will have no problem getting parts or repairs for a 2008 C15 Cat. There are still thousands of them out there working every day in class 7 trucks.
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Old 09-28-2022, 03:28 PM   #3
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A 2008 model year Beaver coach probably has a 2006 Caterpillar C-15 engine. Cat dropped out of the on road engine market when the new 2007 EPA mandates hit. Most of Cats business was off road anyway.
C-15 engines are still being produced but for off road use only. Some trucks are sold as "gliders" less engine and trans. The buyer then has a reman C-15 and transmission installed.

Buying parts will not be a problem although any part from Cat is expensive.
Service will not be a problem as there are still lots of C-15 engines out there.

A 2006 model C-15 will not pass 2022 EPA or CA emissions, but it will pass the 2006 standards.

Swapping a C-15 for a Cummins ISX would probably be $50-75k depending on who does the work. Everything is different including the cooling system, ECM, exhaust, mounting system, and even the Allison 4000. It's really not feasible.

The C-15 is one of the most powerful on road diesel engines made. It will be addicting.
It will vibrate more than other engines (especially when cold) and can be a bit thirsty if you drive it hard.

Last, there are also some 2008 Marquis coaches with the Cummins ISX. Have you actually inspected this coach? I would not trust anything a sales person tells you.

Your issues over the next 10 years will not be the Cat C-15. It will be things like refrigerators, roof air conditioners, dash A/C, carpet vs tile, and a long list of everyday motor home parts.
Hire an inspector familiar with large Monaco diesel coaches.
Best of luck!
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Old 10-08-2022, 09:48 AM   #4
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I just completed a Out of Chassis Overhaul on my own C15, required a new head that I got aftermarket. These engines are still popular and very prevalent with Cat parts still plentiful. Be mindful of a few minor deficiency concerns, at around 4-500,000 miles replace or have replaced the Vibration damper assembly, cheap insurance to NOT break a crankshaft. Do Not ever let coolant get low enough to aerate the head area, heads crack when get hot.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:45 PM   #5
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C15s are going to be supported for a long time to come. My 2000 Endeavor has a 3126B in it, and I have no issues getting parts from the Cat dealer. It amazes me how much they have in stock.

Even my 1947 Cat D4 dozer they can get parts for if I need them to.
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Old 10-11-2022, 08:34 PM   #6
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I have a 2005 C-13 which has the same block as C-15, slightly shorter stroke, stil a very big, heavy engine. I had Cummins L-10 in prior Monaco Signature. The Cummins was only 300 HP vs the Cat 525 HP, the Cummins usually managed 8 MPG, the Cat gets 5.5 MPG. No comparison on the hills here in the Utah, the Cat just rumbles on , the Cummins slowed down and would creep up on the temp gauge and engine warning light start flickering. Lot less worry with the Cat, plus has true 2 stage Jake brake. Get the C-15, you will not regret it.
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Old 10-12-2022, 06:16 PM   #7
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Its the big boy of over the road motors and even the MBN motor that's been neutered can be helped to be the best motor that's available today IMO in a MH.

Just modded my MBN, tunes, turbo amd muffler to roughly 700/1950 at the flywheel and am happy to report driving from Lake Stevens WA to Klamath Falls OR, not sparing the HP min 10mph over limits including hills I got 7.2 mpg @44k+ lbs. That's hand calculated

Passing is effortless and so far hills don't slow me down at all.
These motors are fantastic!
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Old 10-12-2022, 11:58 PM   #8
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Wow Caryt, 1950! What's your tranny rated at? Hope it hangs in there.
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Old 10-13-2022, 08:39 AM   #9
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Trans has the update to 1850 and as long as you don't use that Tq in the lower 3 gears its fine. It also has Tq management. Most I've seen, not always looking is 1390 Tq on the info screen that was pulling a 5* grade at 65mph.
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Old 10-14-2022, 03:04 PM   #10
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When I was shopping for a MH, I looked at a 40' 1999 Beaver that had a decal on the rear stating 525HP, dealer said it was a C15.

I asked my SIL(maint manager for a trucking co) about the engine, he said I'd be fortunate to see 6 MPG with that big motor.
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Old 10-14-2022, 03:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
When I was shopping for a MH, I looked at a 40' 1999 Beaver that had a decal on the rear stating 525HP, dealer said it was a C15.

I asked my SIL (maintance manager for a trucking co) about the engine, he said I'd be fortunate to see 6 MPG with that big motor.

A large part of the MPG discussion with that big motor is how you drive.


Drive the same as the coach you have now, and it weights the same-- no significant difference. Drive it the same, but it weights XXX more-- you will loose some MPG.


Drive it, using all 525 HP and absolutely, you WILL pay for the privileged.


Said another way-- want to be able to leap tall buildings (or mountains) at a single bound and you will pay for it. And, yes, some people will pay a lot of $$ to be able to be the first to the top of the hill. Others (including me)-- not so much.



As I recall, the Ice Road Truckers had the C15. Not sure they cared about MPG, but hauling 100,000 plus pound loads to Prudhoe Bay, they needed muscle and reliability.
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Old 10-14-2022, 06:08 PM   #12
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Stock yes modded no to a certain extent you can have have your cake...
I've modded dozen's of Diesel motors and you can improve power and mpg's.
Drive a modded motor sanely and you will see improvements, drive it with your foot on the floor no.
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Old 10-17-2022, 05:57 PM   #13
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See the Cat website that covers the support Cat offers for on highway engines.
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Old 10-18-2022, 10:09 PM   #14
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Thanks all! I ended up walking away from the Beaver with the C15 for other reasons, but the conclusion I reached here and elsewhere (talking to local repair shops and mechanics) was that support for the Cat was readily available (with the caveat that Cat parts tended to be a bit spendier).

Single data point, that does not take into account driver or route differences, the Cat has 47,000 total miles, lifetime average of 4.7 mpg, while the sweet signature I ended up with had lifetime average of 5.25 mpg over 63,000 miles with the ISX 600HP. Both of which are a significant change from the 7.5 mpg lifetime on my old ISC. Good thing I'm on the Open Roads fuel program

Test drive on the cat, and trip home with the Cummins, my feel is that the Cat was a bit snappier acceleration, but the Cummins is still no slouch (Beaver Marquis Amethyst and Monaco Signature Cambridge, virtually same coach), particularly compared to my prior ISC 350HP. The compression brake (cat's version and Jacobs on the Cummins) is a game changer compared to the pac-brake exhaust brake on the Camelot.
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