C7 and C9 Industrial Engines Troubleshooting – Programmable Parameters

Programming Parameters

The electronic service tool can be used to view certain parameters that can affect the operation of the engine. The electronic service tool can also be used to change certain parameters. The parameters are stored in the Electronic Control Module (ECM). Some of the parameters are protected from unauthorized changes by passwords. Parameters that can be changed have a tattletale number. The tattletale number shows if a parameter has been changed.

Test ECM Mode

“Test ECM Mode” is a feature on Caterpillar Electronic Technician (ET) that is used to troubleshoot an engine that may have a problem with the Electronic Control Module (ECM).

If an application supports this feature, Cat ET will allow a new ECM to be used temporarily as a test ECM. If an application does not support this feature, refer to Troubleshooting, “ECM – Replace”.

When the “Test ECM Mode” is activated, an internal timer sets a 24 hour clock. This clock will count down only while the ECM is powered. If the new ECM fixes the problem, the engine can be released while the “Test ECM Mode” is still active. After the ECM has counted down the 24 hour period, the ECM will exit the “Test ECM Mode”. The parameters, the accumulated hours, and the engine serial number will be permanently programmed into the new ECM. The new ECM can no longer be used for another engine or for a test ECM.

Note: When the”Test ECM Mode” is activated, the “Personality Module Code” is 0. After the ECM has counted down the 24 hour period, the “Personality Module Code” will be dependent on the application.

If the new ECM does not resolve the problem, and 24 hours has not expired, the ECM can be used as a new ECM. Anytime prior to the 24 hour limit of the “Test ECM Mode”, a new engine serial number and new parameters can be reprogrammed.


  1. Search for the latest flash file for the engine.Note: If a newer software version is available for the engine, install the newest software on the suspect ECM. If the new software does not fix the problem, continue with this procedure.


  1. Use the “Copy Configuration/ECM Replacement” feature on Cat ET to copy the configuration parameters from the suspect ECM to your personal computer (PC). If the “Copy Configuration/ECM Replacement” feature cannot be used, record the programmed values into the “Parameters Worksheet” in system configuration parameters Troubleshooting, “System Configuration Parameters”. Record the injector serial numbers from the “Calibrations” screen under the “Service” menu on Cat ET.Note: Some applications use injectors that have trim codes or injector trim files that are associated with the injectors. If injector trim codes are necessary, the injector trim codes are printed on the injector. If injector trim files are necessary, the injector serial numbers are necessary for obtaining the correct injector trim files from Cat ET. The injector trim file is a number that is specific to each unit injector. The ECM uses this number to compensate for manufacturing variations between individual injectors. If you replace any of the unit injectors, you must program the injector trim files for the new injectors. Also, if you replace the ECM, you must program all of the injector trim files into the new ECM.


  1. Disconnect the suspect ECM. Temporarily connect the new ECM to the engine. Do not mount the new ECM on the engine.


  1. Program the correct flash file into the new ECM.

Note: The “Test ECM Mode” must be activated before the engine serial number is programmed into the new ECM. “Test ECM Mode” can only be activated if the engine serial number has not already been programmed during normal operation of the ECM. A new ECM can never be used as a test ECM after the engine serial number is programmed.


  1. Start the “Test ECM Mode” on Cat ET. Access the feature through the “Service” menu. Cat ET will display the status of the “Test ECM Mode” and the hours that are remaining for the “Test ECM Mode”.

Note: If the “Copy Configuration/ECM Replacement” feature cannot be used, program the values from the “Parameters Worksheet”.


  1. Use the “Copy Configuration/ECM Replacement” feature on Cat ET to program the correct parameters into the new ECM.


  1. Program the engine serial number into the new ECM.If the problem is resolved with the new ECM, remove the original ECM and permanently install the new ECM.

    If the new ECM does not fix the problem, the original ECM is not the problem. Remove the new ECM before the 24 hour timer expires. Reconnect the original ECM.

Flash Programming

Flash Programming – This is a method of programming or updating the flash file in an engine’s Electronic Control Module (ECM).

Caterpillar Electronic Technician (ET) is used to flash program a file into the memory of the engine’s ECM.

If you do not have the flash file, use the “Flash File Search” tool on the Service Technician Workbench (STW) to obtain the flash file for your engine. Alternatively, use the “Service Software Files” feature on SIS Web to obtain the flash file for your engine. You must have the engine serial number in order to search for the flash file. After locating the correct flash file, download the flash file to your PC. Write down the name of the flash file for future reference.

Programming a Flash File


  1. Establish communication between Cat ET and the engine’s ECM.


  1. Select “WinFlash” from the “Utilities” menu on Cat ET.Note: If “WinFlash” will not communicate with the ECM, refer to troubleshooting without a diagnostic code Troubleshooting, “Electronic Service Tool Will Not Communicate with ECM”.


  1. Program the flash file into the ECM. 
    1. Select the engine ECM under the “Detected ECMs”.


    1. Press the “Browse” button in order to select the name of the flash file that will be programmed into the ECM.


    1. When the correct flash file is selected, press the “Open” button.


    1. Verify that the “File Values” match the application. If the “File Values” do not match the application, obtain the correct flash file.


    1. When the correct flash file is selected, press the “Begin Flash” button.


    1. Cat ET will indicate when flash programming has been successfully completed.


  1. Start the engine and check for proper operation. Repair any active diagnostic or event codes.

“WinFlash” Error Messages

If you receive any error messages during flash programming, click on the “Cancel” button in order to stop the process. Access the information about the “ECM Summary” under the “Information” menu. Make sure that you are flashing the correct file for your engine.


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