C-10, C-12, C-15 and C-16 Industrial Engines – Intermittent Low Power or Power Cutout

Note: Use this procedure only if the engine does not shut down completely.

Probable Causes

  • Diagnostic codes

  • Event codes

  • Altitude derate

  • Throttle signal

  • Electrical connectors

  • Fuel supply

Recommended Actions

Diagnostic Codes and Event Codes

Certain diagnostic codes and/or event codes may cause poor performance. Connect the Caterpillar Electronic Technician (ET) and check for active codes and logged codes. Troubleshoot any codes that are present before continuing with this procedure.

Altitude Derate

The engine may be derated due to high elevation. Connect Cat ET to the service tool connector. Check for an active engine derate on the status screens.

Note: There are no event codes that are associated with the altitude derate.

Throttle Signal

Connect Cat ET to the service tool connector. View the status for the throttle position on the status screen. Operate the throttle from the low idle position to the high idle position. The status should be 0 percent at low idle and the status should be 100 percent at high idle. If the status cannot operate in the full range, refer to Troubleshooting, “Throttle Position Sensor – Calibrate”.

Diagnostic codes that are related to the J1939 data link will prevent correct operation of the throttle if the throttle position is transmitted over the data link. If there is a problem with the data link, the engine will remain at low idle until the data link is repaired.

Electrical Connectors

Inspect the battery wires from the ECM back to the battery compartment. Refer to the Electrical System Schematic. Inspect the wires and the power relay. Check the power and ground connections to the ECM. Refer to Troubleshooting, “Electrical Power Supply Circuit – Test” for more information.

Fuel Supply

  1. Check the fuel lines for the following problems: restrictions, collapsed lines and pinched lines. If problems are found with the fuel lines, repair the lines and/or replace the lines.
  1. Check the fuel tank for foreign objects which may block the fuel supply.


    Do not crank the engine continuously for more than 30 seconds. Allow the starting motor to cool for two minutes before cranking the engine again.

  1. Prime the fuel system if any of the following procedures have been performed:

    • Replacement of the fuel filters

    • Service on the low pressure fuel supply circuit

    • Replacement of unit injectors

    Note: A sight glass in the low pressure supply line is helpful in diagnosing air in the fuel. Refer to Testing and Adjusting for more information.

  1. Check fuel quality. In temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), check for solidified fuel (wax). Refer to Special Publication, SEBD0717, “Diesel Fuels And Your Engine”.
  1. Check the fuel pressure after the fuel filter while the engine is being cranked. Refer to Testing and Adjusting for the correct pressure values. If the fuel pressure is low, replace the fuel filters. If the fuel pressure is still low, check the following items: fuel transfer pump, fuel transfer pump coupling and fuel pressure regulating valve. Refer to Testing and Adjusting for more information.