How to Troubleshoot a Caterpillar Transmission

by Alexis Writing

Caterpillar is a major manufacturer of farm and building equipment, mining equipment, engines and a variety of other machines. Because there are many different types of Caterpillar vehicles, there are also many different types of transmissions in its product line. For specifics on your Caterpillar transmission, you should consult your Operations and Maintenance manual or a trained professional, but some general tips can help you to better understand how to troubleshoot most Caterpillar systems. Remember, too, that the best way to avoid a need for troubleshooting is to keep your machine maintained as described in your manual.

Step 1

Get an S.O.S. oil analysis. This is a test done on the transmission oil by experts at your Caterpillar dealership. It is useful not only when you have a problem with your machine, but also as a regular check up intended to catch issues early before they become major problems. This analysis can reveal many things about the transmission, such as the rate of wear on all components, if the oil is contaminated by dirt or liquids leaking into it, and if the correct oil is being used.

Step 2

Use the right oil. Caterpillar makes a special oil to be used in its machines called Caterpillar Transmission/Drive Train Oil (TDTO). This oil is formulated to keep transmission slippage to a minimum and improve the performance and lifespan of drive train components, along with providing other benefits as well. If you experience difficulty with your transmission in cold weather, you may consider switching to TDTO (TMS), Caterpillar's multi-seasonal formula.

Step 3

Check your breathers regularly. If you're having a problem with your clutch engaging too quickly and then sliding, it may be because the breathers are clogged. When this occurs, foreign contaminants such as dirt can enter the cab more easily. These contaminants can then damage the electronics that control your clutch. To check your breathers, follow the instructions for locating them in your manual and look for signs of build-up, oil or other clogs.

Step 4

Check your filters. Transmission filters are used in your Caterpillar to keep it clean and contaminant-free. These are important because contamination from the outside in the form of dirt, metal, grease, or other particles can lead to multiple transmission problems such as shifting issues, leaks, and unnecessary wear on the clutch, bearing, or gears. Follow the instructions in the user manual to identify where your filters are and then look for signs of buildup. You can reduce contamination by keeping the space around your Caterpillar clean, but can never eliminate it. If you machine is especially susceptible to contamination you may consider switching to High Efficiency Filters.

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