C13, C15, and C18 Engines Troubleshooting – Oil Pressure Is Low

Note: Severe slopes can cause low oil pressure. If the machine is operated on severe slopes, the oil level in the engine crankcase must be at the “FULL” mark on the dipstick. Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual for details.

Use this procedure in order to troubleshoot low engine oil pressure. Use this procedure if one of the following event codes is active. Refer to Troubleshooting, “Event Codes” for information about event codes and the default trip points for these codes. For information on the engine monitoring system, refer to Troubleshooting, “Engine Monitoring System”.

Table 1
Diagnostic Trouble Codes
CDL Code J1939 Code Code Description
(code descriptions may vary)
Comments
E360 (1) 100-17 Low Engine Oil Pressure Oil pressure is below the specified pressure for at least 8 seconds. A snapshot is triggered. The code is logged. Engine performance is not affected.
E360 (2) 100-18 Low Engine Oil Pressure Oil pressure is lower than the specified pressure for at least 4 seconds. Engine power is reduced. A snapshot is triggered. The code is logged. Factory passwords are required.
After 30 seconds, the Engine Control Module (ECM) will shut down the engine if the “Engine Monitoring Mode” parameter is programmed to “Shut down”.
E360 (3) 100-1 Low Engine Oil Pressure Oil pressure is lower than the specified pressure for at least 4 seconds. Engine power is reduced. A snapshot is triggered. The code is logged. Factory passwords are required.
After 30 seconds, the ECM will shut down the engine if the “Engine Monitoring Mode” parameter is programmed to “Shut down”.

Probable Causes

 

  • Low engine oil level 
  • Aeration in the oil 
  • Low oil viscosity 
  • Plugged Oil Filter 
  • Faulty oil pump 
  • Faulty engine oil pressure sensor 
  • Faulty bypass valve 
  • Damaged suction tube or cracked suction tube 
  • Excessive wear of engine components 

Recommended Actions

Note: The procedures have been listed in order of probability. Complete the procedures in order.

Table 2
Troubleshooting Test Steps Values Results
1. Engine Oil Level

A. Check the engine oil level in the crankcase. Refer to the Operation and Maintenance Manual for calibration of the dipstick gauge. The oil level can possibly be too far below the oil pump supply tube. The oil pump cannot supply enough lubrication to the engine components.

Oil Result: The engine oil level is low.

Add engine oil in order to obtain the correct engine oil level. Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual, “Engine Oil” for the recommendations of engine oil.

Start the engine. Inspect the exterior of the engine for oil leaks. Repair any oil leaks.

Result: The engine oil is not low.

Proceed to Test Step 2.

2. Aerated Oil

A. Sample the engine oil for aeration.

Foamy oil on the dipstick is a good indication of aeration.

Aeration Result: The oil is aerated.

Proceed to Test Step 8.

Result: The oil is not aerated.

Proceed to Test Step 3.

3. Oil Viscosity

A. Sample the engine oil viscosity. Obtain an S·O·S Oil Analysis to determine the characteristics of the oil.

B. Access the “Cylinder Cutout Test” in the “Diagnostic Tests” under the “Diagnostics” menu.

C. Perform the “Automatic Cylinder Cutout Test” on Cat ET.

Oil viscosity Result: The oil viscosity is not correct.

Replace the engine oil.

Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual, “Engine Oil” for the recommendations of engine oil. If the symptom is corrected, return the unit to service. If the symptom still exists, proceed to Test Step 4.

Result: The oil viscosity is correct.

Proceed to Test Step 4.

4. Oil Filter

A. Replace the engine oil filter.

Filter Result: The oil filter was changed.

If the symptom is corrected, return the unit to service.

If the symptom still exists, proceed to Test Step 5.

5. Oil Pump

A. Manually check the engine oil pressure. Refer to Systems Operation/Testing and Adjusting, “Engine Oil Pressure – Test” for the correct procedure.

Oil pressure Result: The oil pressure is meets specifications.

Proceed to Test Step 6.

Result: The oil pressure does not meet specifications.

Replace the oil pump. If the symptom is corrected, return the unit to service.

If the symptom still exists, proceed to Test Step 6.

6. Engine Oil Pressure Sensor

A. Remove the oil pressure sensor.

B. Install a pipe “T” in the pressure sensor port.

C. Install a manual gauge on one side of the pipe “T”. Install the oil pressure sensor on the other side of the pipe “T”.

D. Start the engine and compare the two readings. The pressure reading must be within ±13.8 kPa (±2 psi).

Sensor Result The pressure is within
±13.8 kPa (±2 psi).

Proceed to Test Step 7.

Result The pressure is not within
±13.8 kPa (±2 psi).

Replace the sensor. If the symptom is corrected, return the unit to service.

If the symptom still exists, proceed to Test Step 7.

7. Engine Oil Filter Bypass

A. Replace the oil filter base.

Filter base Result: The oil filter base was replaced.

If the symptom is corrected, return the unit to service.

If the symptom still exists, proceed to Test Step 8.

8. Oil Pump Suction Tube

A. Remove the oil pan.

B. Inspect the suction tube. Check the joints of the tube for cracks or for a damaged O-ring seal at the connection to the pump.

C. Inspect the inlet screen of the suction tube for a restriction. This restriction will cause cavitation and a loss of engine oil pressure.

Suction tube Result: The suction tube and seal are OK.

Proceed to Test Step 9.

Result: The suction tube and seal are not OK.

Replace any damaged parts.

9. Worn Engine Components

A. Remove the valve covers.

B. Inspect the camshaft and bearings.

C. Remove the oil pan.

D. . Excessive clearance at the crankshaft or camshaft bearings will cause low engine oil pressure. Check the engine components for excessive clearance. Also, inspect the piston cooling jets.

Worn parts Result: There are worn engine components.

Replace parts, if necessary. Check the Reuse and Salvage Guidelines for the reusability of existing engine components.

Complete the procedure in the order in which the steps are listed.

The procedure corrected the issue. Return the engine to service.

The procedure did not correct the issue.

Contact your Cat dealer Technical Communicator (TC). For further assistance, your TC can confer with the Dealer Solutions Network (DSN).

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