It is essential to always begin by reading the Operation and Maintenance Manual (OMM) delivered with every Cat® oil and gas field engine. This provides a thorough understanding of your engine’s operating and maintenance requirements to help ensure safer operation and servicing.
Because newer engines may have different features and operate differently than prior models, the OMM will explain any upgrades and/or component improvements.
The following guidelines will ensure the safe operation and maintenance of your engine:
- Always wear proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) while operating and/or servicing your engine. This includes steel-toe boots, safety glasses, hearing protection and gloves as standard. Certain applications and site conditions may also require operators to wear hard hats, high visibility clothing, flame resistant clothing or other jobsite-specific PPE.
- Safety should always be priority #1. Pre-start inspections not only help to prevent accidents, but also avoidable damage to equipment. Anytime you are working on an engine and the work you are doing could cause injury if the engine is powered up, cranked over, or started, you should ALWAYS use a Lockout/Tagout process. Never assume that someone else will not come along and try to power up or start the engine without knowing you are working on it.
- All engine fluid levels should be inspected. Checking for fluid leaks, loose wiring, engine room hazards, etc. prior to start-up will limit risk of injury to you and anyone around the engine.
- Items to watch for during a pre-shift walkaround inspection include but are not limited to, checking fluid levels daily such as oil, fuel, and coolant. Note that if the engine is hot, you should not remove the pressure cap from the cooling system.
- Check for leaks around the engine or for any signs of fluids that may have dried up. Check for signs of loose bolts, loose wiring connections, or anything that appears out of the ordinary.
- Remember, caution must always be taken since these items can vary greatly from engine to engine and between different oil and gas engine applications. Always refer to the Cat Service Information System (SIS) for the specific engine model being worked on. Proper start-up and shutdown guidelines can be found in the OMM and in SIS. Also, make sure that a fire extinguisher is available and be familiar with its operation.
- In the event that an event code is observed, it’s important to remember that electronic engines have various levels of event codes that are designed to keep the engine operating in a safe manner, and may derate, limit fuel, or even shutdown an engine if conditions develop which would damage the engine or cause potential injury to anyone in the area. If an alarm sounds or appears, it should never be ignored. Reference the Troubleshooting Guide in SIS or contact your local Cat Dealer.
Scheduled Oil Sampling (S•O•SSM) should be an integral part of your regular engine maintenance because it leads to early detection of possible concerns before they become major servicing issues.
Not only can S•O•S analysis monitor the characteristics of your oil—factory-trained experts at your local Cat dealer can draw upon the most extensive data in the industry to interpret the condition of your engine fluid samples and reveal the specific types and levels of wear elements in the fluid. It is also possible to receive test results that accurately recommend extended oil change intervals or exact time for overhaul to help reduce maintenance costs.
This proprietary data is tracked by Caterpillar experts worldwide and can show trends and even causes of wear for specific components within your engine. For example, if S•O•S tests show elevated levels of silicon along with higher than normal levels of iron, chrome, and aluminum, this is an indication that dirt is entering the air system and causing accelerated wear to your liners, rings, and pistons.
Regular S•O•S fluid testing detects this early so the root cause can be identified and resolved before more wear can occur which could lead to excessive blow by, oil consumption, and premature wear—all of which could lead to premature engine overhaul. S•O•S Fluid Sampling enables detection of a potential problem well in advance to resolve it before it can become a major issue.
For more information about safe operation and maintenance of oil and gas field application engines, please contact the experts at your local Cat dealership.