The earthmoving equipment side of Cat is a totally different animal compared to 
their Power Systems business.  The earthmoving guys have totally brainwashed 
the customers that the only service they can use is Cat, and to do anything 
that isn't recommended by the factory is heresy and can result in horrible, 
horrible things.  It's actually a great thing for them, since they make 
boatloads of money off of this approach.

With the exception of the prime power side, the standby generator community for 
the most part sees through a lot of this and as a result won't or doesn't 
follow a lot of their recommendations.  Especially because there are plenty of 
competitors out there who can do the exact same thing for less, usually a lot 

Here's an example:

Got a call one day from FedEx.  They had a 300kW Cat generator at one of their 
facilities.  The local Cat distributor had been maintaining it.  It needed a 
cooling system flush and refill along with a set of batteries.  We're talking 
about two 8D batteries and about 10 gallons of coolant.  One of my guys could 
do the work in about two hours, three if they took their time.

Caterpillar wanted $1800 to swap the batteries alone.

We did the whole job for less than that and made a very nice profit.

Nothing special here, we used proper industrial grade batteries and coolant on 
the Cat approved fluids list.

Needless to say that we signed a nice annual maintenance agreement with them 
shortly after the work was completed.

The local Cat distributor was notorious for this sort of stuff, and their 
approach was no different than the others - if it's Cat, you're going to pay a 
premium for the parts and service.

Here's another - one of my favorites:

The Department of Corrections got a "deal" on some surplus generators from the 
Iraq invasion.  A couple of 400kW Caterpillar units.  But - and here's the 
catch - they were 50Hz units.  Oooops!

So the State brings the Cat guys in.  They say the injection pumps need to be 
replaced to the tune of many thousands of dollars.  Now understand that the 
only thing that needs to happen is the speed of the engines has to be increased 
from 1500 RPM to 1800 RPM.  According to the Cat guys you can't just turn up 
the speed, as they won't fuel properly, etc., etc.

We have a contract with the Dept. of Corrections for many of their sites.  
Their head generator guy calls us out to look things over.

We gather all the information we can and then go consult with our diesel fuel 
and injection supplier.  What do we need to do?  Replace a $3.00 spring in the 
injection pumps and turn up the speed.  This is all they would do on the bench 
to accomplish what is needed.

We replace the springs and run a four hour 100% load bank test to prove the 
units will do what is expected.  I think our final bill was around $2,500.  Cat 
had quoted them something like $17,000 if memory serves me correctly.

They were our best customer.  We just followed them around and picked off 
customers left and right.


On Jul 16, 2014, at 6:46 PM, Curt Raymond via Mercedes <> 

> My experience with Caterpillar is limited to earthmovers where everybody does 
> the samples. They sample hydraulic fluid too, a breakdown at a job site is 
> way more expensive than pulling samples.
> I was under the impression over the road truckers were doing it too, another 
> case where a breakdown simply isn't worth it.
> I'm a little surprised there aren't systems to polish the oil or heat the 
> condensation out of it. Seems like a little heat would be big savings if we 
> were talking about that substantial an amount of oil.
> -Curt
> ________________________________
> From: Dan Penoff via Mercedes <>
> To: Mercedes Discussion List <> 
> Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 6:39 PM
> Subject: Re: [MBZ] Mobil 1 $23 at Wally World
>> On Jul 16, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Curt Raymond via Mercedes 
>> <> wrote:
>> Is the lack of analysis on stationary engines a factor of short run times?
> Mostly. Because of the typical short cycle times, the oil is often 
> contaminated by condensation in the engine. This is exacerbated by the 
> engines rarely being run under load, and even then the load is fairly small.  
> It's not uncommon to find the waxy white deposits in the bottom of the 
> crankcase in these engines due to their not getting hot enough to boil off 
> moisture in the crankcase.
>> Caterpillar has a super aggressive program of analysis that helps them keep 
>> machines running for way longer than ever before and lowers maintenance 
>> costs by allowing fluids to run longer. If I had an engine with a sump that 
>> held 100 gallons you bet I'd want to get all I could out of that oil, 
>> changing it early would be crazy talk compared to running a $20 analysis...
> Caterpillar does this themselves, but I can tell you from direct experience 
> that very few of their standby power end users do it. The expense is often 
> seen as something of an extravagance, and since the typical life of these 
> units far exceeds their service life, most customers forego sampling.
> Customers who have fleet operations will do it as they have the programs in 
> place already. Prime power users will do it due to cost.  It's the ones who 
> have one or two units onsite that balk at the expense.
> Understand that a typical oil analysis for an industrial engine from a 
> certified lab can run into several hundred dollars by the time it's marked up 
> by the service provider.  Ask one of those Cat customers what an oil sample 
> costs them.
>> I find it interesting that the "Mercedes Martha Stewart" doesn't care about 
>> whats going on INSIDE the engine. My cars get the opposite treatment, I 
>> don't really mind what they look like, they have to perform. Then again I 
>> drive like 4x as much as you do.
> My cars perform, and perform well.  If I found that my cam bearings were 
> wearing, for example, I would dump the car.  It's not that I don't care, as 
> that would suggest that I don't maintain or follow MBs recommendations, and 
> that's simply not true. I follow the service intervals religiously. With that 
> in mind, my expectations are that the car(s) should last as long or longer 
> than MB would predict.  If fluid sampling was relevant or added value under 
> normal operation, I would do it. Mercedes doesn't consider it necessary, nor 
> does any other car manufacturer.
> Again, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it. In my mind, it's 
> overkill and the cost doesn't justify the expense, that's all.
> Dan
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