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Old 09-25-2020, 10:18 AM   #1
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Cat 330 losing power underway, and on hills

Hey guys,

I have the 2003 Cat 330- when I takeoff, I can hear the turbo going, and I have plenty of power to accelerate through the gears. However, while Iím underway and trying to accelerate, or going uphill, it doesnít seem to have the power. It decelerates up the hills. It does downshift, but there is nothing behind the downshifts. It just doesnít seem to have the boost.

It is due for an oil change, and fuel service. Is it possible that a bad fuel filter because this kind of issue? it just seems to me that power hits the floor when Iím trying to accelerate.

I had a converted Diesel sprinter van before my 40í DP, and the turbo go bad. Itís pretty obvious when the turbo is running, because you can hear the pitch of the turbo. Because my Engine is way in the back, sometimes I canít tell.

I want to see if anybody has had issues like this. Iím going to be investing in the BlueFire adapter to look at some of the internal measurements if itís possible, but I was hoping anyone would have some kind of insight to get me started. Iím savvy on engines, I donít mind putting the work into it. It really doesnít seem like itís fuel injection, maybe it could be the fuel filter? But it has a lot of power that itís losing, and Iím cautious to presume that it could be the turbo.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:22 AM   #2
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With your symptoms, absolutely the first thing to do is change the fuel filter(s).
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:31 AM   #3
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Our Caterpillar engines , return unused fuel from the engine to the tank , by the time you've used a half tank of fuel , it's all been through the filters over five times .
The filters will plug up IN A HURRY if the fuel has any contaminants.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:52 AM   #4
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Man, this is extremely helpful. I was hoping it would be the fuel filters, because it is due for service anyways. Problem is, just had shoulder surgery, and I canít get under it right now 😑

But, Iím going to probably have a chassis point service done on it including the oil change, and fuel service. Might as well get it all done at once.

The age old question is next, I know there are two separate answers for this. Who prefers to fill up the filter with diesel before installing it? I know manufacturer specifications can vary, and technician opinion varies also. I could just as easily read the manual, but practical experience is also helpful. thanks!!
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPaTV View Post
Hey guys,

I have the 2003 Cat 330- when I takeoff, I can hear the turbo going, and I have plenty of power to accelerate through the gears. However, while Iím underway and trying to accelerate, or going uphill, it doesnít seem to have the power. It decelerates up the hills. It does downshift, but there is nothing behind the downshifts. It just doesnít seem to have the boost.

It is due for an oil change, and fuel service. Is it possible that a bad fuel filter because this kind of issue? it just seems to me that power hits the floor when Iím trying to accelerate.

I had a converted Diesel sprinter van before my 40í DP, and the turbo go bad. Itís pretty obvious when the turbo is running, because you can hear the pitch of the turbo. Because my Engine is way in the back, sometimes I canít tell.

I want to see if anybody has had issues like this. Iím going to be investing in the BlueFire adapter to look at some of the internal measurements if itís possible, but I was hoping anyone would have some kind of insight to get me started. Iím savvy on engines, I donít mind putting the work into it. It really doesnít seem like itís fuel injection, maybe it could be the fuel filter? But it has a lot of power that itís losing, and Iím cautious to presume that it could be the turbo.

Man, I absolutely slaughtered my grammar. I have to do talk to text because of my shoulder surgery, and apparently Siri doesnít fix grammar issues 😂😂😂
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
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The age old question is next, I know there are two separate answers for this. Who prefers to fill up the filter with diesel before installing it? I know manufacturer specifications can vary, and technician opinion varies also. I could just as easily read the manual, but practical experience is also helpful. thanks!!

The answer is IT DEPENDS.


If you have the Caterpillar filter with manual primer pump,. install both filters dry and use the manual primer pump to prime. Just pump until it goes from easy (air) to hard (fuel) and then re-tighten the plunger.


If no manual pump, you can certainly pre-fill the primary filter.



The risk is in filling the secondary fuel filter, as that fuel will go straight to the engine without going through the filter media.


And, depending on engine serial number, you may have a grease zirk on the fan hub. It can only be reached from ABOVE (bedroom or closet depending on floorplan. Check with Caterpillar with your engine serial number to see if your engine has the greasable or sealed fan hub bearing.
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JPaTV View Post
Man, I absolutely slaughtered my grammar. I have to do talk to text because of my shoulder surgery, and apparently Siri doesnít fix grammar issues 😂😂😂
To error is human .... it takes a computer to really screw things up!
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:24 AM   #8
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OK, onto filter issues , all coaches have a fuel filter , most have two, SOME have three .
Freightliner chassis have been known to be equipped with a filter/ strainer , above the passenger side suspension air bag .
If your service work ( and fuel filter replacement ) doesn't cure your issue , before you go further , the fuel line needs to be checked for this filter/strainer.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f26/the-t...er-328852.html

Since this post , the diagram below has come to light.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:48 PM   #9
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I listen to Adapt Ape the Cat guy he says to always on a 3126 prefill the fuel filters and make darn sure the fuel is clean and is installed through the outside holes in the filter. The secondary filter can be a little trouble if doing for under the engine. Be prepared for a little fuel in your arm pit.
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:29 AM   #10
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One thing that I bought that I really like is "BlueFire for Motorhomes". It plugs into the J1708 connector and has an ap on my iPad so I can see a lot of the actual engine parameters as read by the computer rather than guessing. I also considered the ScanGauge D but since I had an old iPad sitting around that could run the ap I decided I'd rather have the ability to view more functions. There are a few parameters that I would like for them to add, but it has most of the important ones.

I also have a 330 HP Cat (3126B) and I'm seeing 30-32 PSI boost as my max. I do notice I seem to need to use 20+ psi a good amount to keep the RV going at 70+ highway speeds and uphills. We bought this RV recently and while I put a new fuel filter on, I didn't do the water/fuel separator (oops... doing that tomorrow) so maybe there's some restriction there that's hurting power. Now I'm going to look for that third fuel filter, although it looks as though that's more of a Cummins thing from the posts rather than a Cat thing? I guess I'll ask Freightliner if they show anything in their system when I go to pick up the new air bags I ordered from them.

As far as slowing down on uphills, I'm not sure how much of an uphill you're talking about. We went to Black Hills SD a few weeks ago and definitely couldn't maintain speed on all uphills, but we were able to do 75-77 on the highway if we wanted.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted DuPuis View Post
One thing that I bought that I really like is "BlueFire for Motorhomes". It plugs into the J1708 connector and has an ap on my iPad so I can see a lot of the actual engine parameters as read by the computer rather than guessing. I also considered the ScanGauge D but since I had an old iPad sitting around that could run the ap I decided I'd rather have the ability to view more functions. There are a few parameters that I would like for them to add, but it has most of the important ones.

I also have a 330 HP Cat (3126B) and I'm seeing 30-32 PSI boost as my max. I do notice I seem to need to use 20+ psi a good amount to keep the RV going at 70+ highway speeds and uphills. We bought this RV recently and while I put a new fuel filter on, I didn't do the water/fuel separator (oops... doing that tomorrow) so maybe there's some restriction there that's hurting power. Now I'm going to look for that third fuel filter, although it looks as though that's more of a Cummins thing from the posts rather than a Cat thing? I guess I'll ask Freightliner if they show anything in their system when I go to pick up the new air bags I ordered from them.

As far as slowing down on uphills, I'm not sure how much of an uphill you're talking about. We went to Black Hills SD a few weeks ago and definitely couldn't maintain speed on all uphills, but we were able to do 75-77 on the highway if we wanted.

Hey Ted,
Thanks for the info here- I actually just got my BlueFire adapter in the mail yesterday and Iím trying to take it out on the trip today. The inside with the boost numbers is very helpful because I have the 3126B. What size rig do you have?
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:54 AM   #12
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So I had my oil and fuel filters changed and MAN, what a difference already. Iím taking her out today where she will really get a test, but itís running better than it was.

Also, I got the BlueFire adapter yesterday so Iím trying to configure that before we leave today so I can monitor boost pressure and such.

Thanks for everyoneís replies!
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:16 AM   #13
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Always change the filters as per the Cat recomdations. It's is amazing what clean filters will cure.

A tank of dirty fuel will clog the filters as well. It was mentioned that excess fuel is returned to the tank. This cleans the fuel again and again as described. Filters are cheap. Fuel pumps and injectors are not.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:45 AM   #14
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Hey Ted,
Thanks for the info here- I actually just got my BlueFire adapter in the mail yesterday and Iím trying to take it out on the trip today. The inside with the boost numbers is very helpful because I have the 3126B. What size rig do you have?
We have a 40' Holiday Rambler Endeavor. I haven't weighed it but I believe it's about 20k lbs by itself, then we're flat towing a 5k Land Rover Discovery behind it.

I haven't verified either the boost or the oil pressure numbers on the BlueFire against mechanical gauges so I'm not sure about the exact accuracy, but at least I have a reference to follow. It seems that for a 330 HP tune, boost in the mid 20s is more what I should expect. I also have no idea if this has been reflashed to a higher horsepower tune, nor do I know if the readings I'm seeing are truly accurate.

Yesterday I changed out the water/fuel separator (suppose I should've done that sooner...). I have no idea how old the old one is, but it is possible that was clogging my system. I suppose we'll see how the rig performs once I'm ready to test drive it (changing out the airbags as well so not ready to drive it yet). For me the old one was a Donaldson P551001, replaced with the same. Caterpillar sells what looks to be a better option (certainly larger and has a bowl at the bottom where you can see the water that's collected), but I don't think it would fit on the existing housing.

One thing to note on the 3126B normal fuel filter is a 1R-0751. Cat also sells an "ultra high efficiency" filter, P/N 306-9199. I have no idea how much finer the filtration is, but it sounds better and doesn't cost a lot more. Given the expense of the fuel system components, seems worthwhile. My local Cat dealer was out of those when I went to buy my last set but it's what I aim for if I can.

I carry a couple spare fuel filters and a spare water/fuel separator, something the Cat dealer recommended just in case I get some bad fuel or something clogs up. In all my years of running diesel pickup trucks I've never had a fuel issue, but this thing is 20 years old so there's always the possibility of junk coming apart in the tank too. Not like I have a shortage of storage space.

I suppose on acceleration, I also have a 1-ton 6.7L Cummins-powered Ram with an equipment trailer and I tow heavier stuff with it. The Ram has 350 HP, supposedly 660 lb-ft torque, so lower torque but similar overall. Total combined weight is often in the 20-26k lb range. If I compare my acceleration and speed capability maybe the Ram does a bit better, but it also has less drag than the giant brick wall that is the front of my RV. So it doesn't seem out of line to me, but I'll report back once I drive if I see an improvement. I'll be curious if you've noticed one too!
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