C7 Industrial Engine Operation and Maintenance Manual – Engine Oil and Filter – Change

Selection of Oil Change Interval



This engine meets EPA Tier 3, Euro Stage III, or MOC Step 3 emission regulations. The standard oil change interval is 250 hours. Oil change intervals of 500 hours are available, provided that operating conditions, recommended multigrade oil types, SOS oil sampling, analysis program, and IR (infrared) are used to determine the acceptable oil change interval. Refer to the “Optimizing Oil Change Intervals”, PEDP7035 in order to determine oil changes.

If you select an interval for oil and filter change that is too long, you may damage the engine.


Caterpillar oil filters are recommended for oil changes. Recommended multigrade oil types are listed in Table 1. Do not use single grade oils.

Abnormally harsh operating cycles or harsh environments can shorten the service life of the engine oil. Arctic temperatures, corrosive environments, or extremely dusty conditions may require a reduction in engine oil change intervals from the recommendations in Table 1. Poor maintenance of air filters or of fuel filters requires reduced oil change intervals. See your Caterpillar dealer for more information if this product will experience abnormally harsh operating cycles or harsh environments.

Table 1
Oil Change Interval for C7 Industrial Engine (1)
Multigrade Oil Type Operating Conditions
Normal (2) High Load Factor above
43 L (11 US gal per hour of fuel)

Fuel Sulfur from 0.3% to 0.5% Altitude above
1830 m (6000 ft)
250 hr 250 hr 250 hr 250 hr (6)
11.0 minimum TBN (4)
250 hr 250 hr 250 hr 250 hr (6)
TBN (4) below 11.0
250 hr 250 hr 250 hr (5) 250 hr (6)
API CG-4 250 hr 250 hr (5) 250 hr (5) 250 hr (6)
( 1 ) The standard oil change interval in this engine is 250 hours, if the operating conditions and recommended oil types that are listed in this table are met. Oil change intervals may be increased to 500 hours, depending on the type of oil, quality and operating conditions. Refer to Special Publication, PEDP7035, “Optimizing Oil Change Intervals” in order to determine if the oil change interval can be extended beyond 250 hours.
( 2 ) Normal conditions include these factors: Fuel sulfur below 0.3%, altitude below 1830 m (6000 ft) and good air filter and fuel filter maintenance. Normal conditions do not include high load factor, harsh operating cycles, or harsh environments.
( 3 ) High load factors can shorten the service life of your engine oil. Continuous heavy load cycles and very little idle time result in increased fuel consumption and oil contamination. These factors deplete the oil additives more rapidly. If the average fuel consumption of your engine exceed 43 L (11 US gal) per hour, follow the “High Load Factor” recommendations in Table 1. To determine average fuel consumption for your engine, measure average fuel consumption for a period of 50 to 100 hours. If the application of the engine is changed, the average fuel consumption may change.
( 4 ) For sulfur content above 0.5%, refer to, “Total Base Number (TBN) and Fuel Sulfur Levels for Direct Injection (DI) Diesel Engines” in Special Publication, SEBU6251, “Caterpillar Commercial Diesel Engine Fluids Recommendations”.
( 5 ) In order to verify an oil change interval of 500 hours, refer to “Program A” below.
( 6 ) Use “Program B” below to determine an appropriate interval.

Adjustment of the Oil Change Interval

Note: Your Caterpillar dealer has additional information on these programs.

Program A


  • Proceed to Program B.
  • Change to a preferred oil type in Table 1.

Program B

Optimizing Oil Change Intervals

Begin with a 250 hour oil change interval. The oil change intervals are adjusted by increments. Each interval is adjusted an additional 50 hours. Periodic oil sampling and analysis is done during each interval. The analysis includes oil viscosity and infrared (IR) analysis of the oil. Repeat Program B if you change the application of the engine.

If an oil sample does not pass the analysis, shorten the oil change interval, or change to a preferred multigrade oil type in the listing above.


ReferenceForm, PEDP7035, “Optimizing Oil Change Intervals”

ReferenceForm, PEDP7036, “S·O·S Fluid Analysis”

ReferenceForm, PEDP7076, “Understanding the S·O·S Oil Analysis Tests”

Drain the Engine Oil

After the engine has been run at the normal operating temperature, stop the engine. Attach a “DO NOT OPERATE” or a similar warning tag to the ignition keyswitch before the engine is serviced. Catch the oil in a suitable container. Recycle the used oil, or dispose of the used oil properly.


  1. Remove the oil drain plug in order to allow the oil to drain.


  1. After the oil has drained, the oil drain plug should be cleaned and installed.

Replace the Oil Filter



Caterpillar oil filters are built to Caterpillar specifications. Use of an oil filter not recommended by Caterpillar could result in severe engine damage to the engine bearings, crankshaft, etc., as a result of the larger waste particles from unfiltered oil entering the engine lubricating system. Only use oil filters recommended by Caterpillar.


  1. Remove the oil filter with a 185-3630 Strap Wrench .

Cut the oil filter open with a 175-7546 Oil Filter Cutter . Break apart the pleats and inspect the oil filter for metal debris. An excessive amount of metal debris in the oil filter may indicate early wear or a pending failure.

Use a magnet to differentiate between the ferrous metals and the nonferrous metals that are found in the oil filter element. Ferrous metals may indicate wear on the steel and cast iron parts of the engine.

Nonferrous metals may indicate wear on the aluminum parts, brass parts or bronze parts of the engine. Parts that may be affected include the following items: main bearings, rod bearings, turbocharger bearings and cylinder heads.

Due to normal wear and friction, it is not uncommon to find small amounts of debris in the oil filter. Consult your Caterpillar dealer in order to arrange for a further analysis if an excessive amount of debris is found in the oil filter.

  1. Clean the sealing surface of the filter mounting base. Ensure that all of the old oil filter gasket is removed.


  1. Apply clean engine oil to the new oil filter gasket.


Do not fill the oil filters with oil before installing them. This oil would not be filtered and could be contaminated. Contaminated oil can cause accelerated wear to engine components.


  1. Install the oil filter. Tighten the oil filter until the oil filter gasket contacts the base. Tighten the oil filter by hand according to the instructions that are shown on the oil filter. Do not overtighten the oil filter.

Fill the Engine Crankcase


  1. Remove the oil filler cap. Fill the crankcase with the proper amount of oil. Refer to the Operation and Maintenance Manual, “Refill Capacities and Recommendations” topic (Maintenance Section) for more information.


If equipped with an auxiliary oil filter or system, extra oil must be added when filling the crankcase. Follow the OEM or filter manufacturer’s recommendations. If the extra oil is not added, the engine may starve for oil.


To help prevent crankshaft or bearing damage, crank engine to fill all filters before starting. Do not crank engine for more than 30 seconds.


  1. Start the engine and run the engine at “LOW IDLE” for two minutes. Perform this procedure in order to ensure that the lubrication system has oil and that the oil filters are filled. Inspect the oil filter for oil leaks.


  1. Stop the engine and allow the oil to drain back to the sump for a minimum of ten minutes.


  1. Remove the oil level gauge in order to check the oil level. Maintain the oil level between the “ADD” and “FULL” marks on the “ENGINE STOPPED” side of the oil level gauge.
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