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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,
I was pointed to this site on another forum since I am trying to learn more about the CAT C-15, C-16 and the 3406E engines. I am in the process of buying a W900L and have narrowed my search down to about 5 trucks. I have started to do more research on the closest two just for the ease of travel. The first truck is a 2001 C-16 600hp 7cz with 520,000mls on cat rebuilt. Total mileage is about 1.3mil and it is a one owner truck.
The second one is a 2000 3406E(?) 475hp 2WS that has about 150,000ml on cat rebuilt. Total mileage is about 1.3mil as well and it is a one owner truck too. Both trucks have 18spd transmissions and 3:55 rears.
I run between Washington and Alaska on a year round basis. I have lots of grades and hills to pull. The company truck I drive right now has the ISX 15l Cm2350 with 550hp and does a pretty good job. I usually weigh between 76,000 to 87,000lbs both ways. Fuel mileage is a concern since It is about $5.70 a gallon in the Yukon, but the average is about 4.5 to 5.5mpg. If I could stay in that range with more performance or better mpg that would be great.
C-16 sounds good with the higher stock horsepower and torque, but what will my fuel mileage going to be? I talked to quite a few guys that run C-15 and 3406E engines. I can keep up with the 500-550hp CATs, but it is hard to measure since our weights are never the same. Would I be better off with a 3406 or C-15 and have it tuned properly versus the C-16? I have no problem to spend some money to improve performance, economy and get a better and healthier engine in the end.
Are there certain CAT engines that I should stay away from? Also I am only looking at 2003 and older trucks. I do not want to be dealing with emissions systems. What software can an individual buy to look at the CAT engines? I am some what familiar with Cummins Insight.

Thanks for all the pointers and advise. I am reading all the threads here just to see what I can learn as well.
 

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Junior Member
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5 Posts
A properly tuned c-15 will out pull a c-16 and be a little easier on fuel.

The 2ws and 7cz are both very desirable models ...

I'd be more worried about the milage on those trucks. Especially being out in the middle of nowhere.......

P.S. A well set up acert in a newer (lower milage) truck wouldn't be a bad choice...
 

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Junior Member
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821 Posts
I am gonna disagree on the out pulling. A c-16 has more bore and stroke therefore more power potential period. I would get the c15 or e model for the popularity and familiarity. No replacement for displacement.
 

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Junior Member
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34 Posts
3406e ,C15 16 questions

While the C16 is a great engine when everthing is right, it is more prone to liner cracking than a 3406e or C15 due the thinner liner. I think you would be better off with the 3406e and set it up as a 550. The fuel mileage will be slightly better, it's a stronger engine in the liner department and your only talking a half a gear on a long hill. Again I think the C16s were great engines when new, we had one go 800,000 miles before I took it apart but unless the block is good, the counterbores are cut exactly right and you have the good liners in it you are asking for trouble.
 

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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
While the C16 is a great engine when everthing is right, it is more prone to liner cracking than a 3406e or C15 due the thinner liner. I think you would be better off with the 3406e and set it up as a 550. The fuel mileage will be slightly better, it's a stronger engine in the liner department and your only talking a half a gear on a long hill. Again I think the C16s were great engines when new, we had one go 800,000 miles before I took it apart but unless the block is good, the counterbores are cut exactly right and you have the good liners in it you are asking for trouble.
Seems like the C-16 did fine in the 2001 truck since the guy got about 1.2million miles out of it before it was in-framed. I hear that C-16 parts are a lot more expensive and not as plentiful than the 3406Es or C-15s.
 

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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the feedback so far. I think I have given up on the C-16 powered truck since the dealer is not very helpful. It was the most expensive truck as well. The second choice is $20,000 less. So far they have answered all my questions and emailed me 60+ pictures. I found Peterson Caterpillar with a engine dyno not to far away from the seller as well. Peterson quoted me just under $500.00 for a dyno run, blow by test, oil samples for all oils and a dot inspection. That will be the next step after a Rigdig and me crawling all over the truck.
Anything special to watch out for on the W900L? The AG 100 has been rebuilt and upgraded to an AG400. Transmission and clutch have 150,000mls. I heard some at electrical problems in the fuse box area due to corrosion.
 

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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
A properly tuned c-15 will out pull a c-16 and be a little easier on fuel.

The 2ws and 7cz are both very desirable models ...

I'd be more worried about the milage on those trucks. Especially being out in the middle of nowhere.......

P.S. A well set up acert in a newer (lower milage) truck wouldn't be a bad choice...
I am a lot less worried about the miles since all the major components have been gone through and rebuilt. I really want to stay away from all the emission related items. Also the truck is out of Northern California and spent most of its live in the Western 11. I chose KW since there is the best dealer support along the roads I run. I want the big hood not for show, but to keep that moose or bison out of my lap. I will either add a Magnum or Herd bumper to save the radiator and other soft parts when that happens. I have been lucky so far, but my time will come. I ended up in a herd of bison last Christmas that had bedded down in the road and were pretty much covered during a snow storm at night.
 

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Senior Member
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2,555 Posts
fuse box corrosion was usually a result of windshields not being properly sealed, look for evidence of windshield washer fluid dye in that area. doing a quick swap on the gear box (s) magnetic drain plugs can give a pretty good indicator of their condition instead of just what they tell you. Does it have at least one cross locked rear axle, 8 bag doesn't put the wheels on uneven ground very well. (but it sure rides nice)
 
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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
fuse box corrosion was usually a result of windshields not being properly sealed, look for evidence of windshield washer fluid dye in that area. doing a quick swap on the gear box (s) magnetic drain plugs can give a pretty good indicator of their condition instead of just what they tell you. Does it have at least one cross locked rear axle, 8 bag doesn't put the wheels on uneven ground very well. (but it sure rides nice)
Thanks for your input. I plan on taking oil samples of all the gear boxes and engine to give me a better idea of component condition. After purchase I will do a full service and change all fluids and filters to establish a baseline. That will establish a service history and maintenance schedule I can go with.
I have not found one truck that matches my search with full lockers. I will miss those and might have to upgrade somewhere down the line. I guess it will teach me to pay more attention on where I will go and hone my chaining up skills. It is to bad that B.C. does not allow studded tires since Phelps tire sells a great studable rethread.
Interesting comment on the suspension since several people have told me the opposite about traction. I have wondered myself since the short airbags wont allow as much travel.
Has anybody used any products from Pittsburgh Power on their CAT engines? I see a lot of great input by Mr. Haney and hope he will join in here with some great advise.
 

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Senior Member
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It is hard to beat a KW 8 bag for traction on smoother surfaces, and I can't recall the last time I had any trouble with any other surfaces.
 
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Trained Monkey
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Discussion Starter #13
It is hard to beat a KW 8 bag for traction on smoother surfaces, and I can't recall the last time I had any trouble with any other surfaces.
Thanks Cody. I see you have some experience with tuning and traction issues with pulling a sled. Do you have any good advise for the newer electronic engines?
 

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If it were me I wouldn't rule out a C15 acert, you can probably find a lower mileage truck with one of these engines then spend a little money on tuning the engine and disabling the IVAs to make it reliable.

I notice a few things on the pulling track when it comes to suspension, and if I were going to build a new truck for what I am doing it would either have a Neway or 8 bag under it.
 
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Senior Member
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The 8 bag AG200 and 400 do pretty good off highway, too. The 4 bag AG380 rides even better than the 8 bag does. BUT, it is flat out terrible off highway! If you have the 380, traction control and/or diff lock are required. It'll get you in plenty of trouble if you don't.

Even with the 8 bag, locking diffs would be ideal. Wish mine did, when dealing with mud and snow. Not to often I get stuck, though. Just could've gotten out on my own, in most cases had I had it. If you are used to have locking diffs, you hate not having it! I miss the traction control I had with the AG380. Awesome when it works. Still not quite as good as locking diffs, but close.

If you found a truck you liked with the AG200, I highly recommend getting it upgraded to the 400. Fewer parts involved and don't have the stupid pins to grease. No idea why they thought that was a good design. Some of the individual pieces for it are NLA from KW. Though, there are aftermarket parts for it. Boss had me get those for mine. So far, so good. Need to do the rear axle now.
 
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Senior Member
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They use the same block so there would be no issues, the longer stroke has been know to cause some longevity issues from what I hear, and the liner is even thinner than the C16 liner. Most likely clutch issues will arise as well.

Over seas they were available in road trucks for a little while at ratings of 600 and 700hp.
 

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Junior Member
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1,081 Posts
Neway traction is hands down better off road than the ag100. Had ard244on ky truck for awhile before swapping to the ag100. The ag100 NEEDS full lockers in offroad apps and uneaven terain.

The ag100 rides rough compared to the ag400-ag460. They use large airlines between the bags so air transfers faster thus a smoother ride.
 

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Trained Monkey
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I was offered a 2003 W900L with a C-16 and the 18spd autoshift. Has anyone any personal experience with the 18spd auto shift transmission? I used to run a Volvo 780 with the I-Shift and really liked it when dealing with the L.A. freeways. The opinions I have gotten so far are ranging from best thing since sliced bread to the biggest junk out there. I have read about issues with the x/y shifter, getting stuck in gear and ecm issues. It does sound appealing, but the lane I work in I do not need any break downs that cannot be fixed with duct tape and bailing wire.:thinking
 
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