Diesel Diagnosis: Is Your Caterpillar C15 Camshaft Working Right?

Camshafts are a critical part of your diesel engine. The dictionary defines a “camshaft” as an object which takes rotational motion and turning it into reciprocal motion. Simply put, it tells the intake and exhaust valves when and exactly how much to open. But what happens when problems occur? Is your camshaft failing? Does it need to be replaced or can it be replaced? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in this post.

We have a wide variety of camshafts and diesel engine parts for the Cat C15 engine and many other popular engines. Want to know more about camshaft problems? Check out this video: 

Click To Talk Directly To A Diesel Engine Expert 8-5 EST

Caterpillar C15 Common Camshaft Failure Symptoms

At their core, camshafts are all the same. Sure, some manufacturers will have a slightly different or offer a more aggressive lobe, but they all do the same thing. Therefore, camshaft failure symptoms are largely the same. Here are the top three warning signs to watch out for. 

Poor Performance

Have you noticed a drop in performance from your C15 diesel engine lately? Does a rough idle, poor acceleration, and/or stalling keep you up at night? The problems could all be attributed to a damaged or worn-out camshaft. 

Camshaft Pitting

Pitting happens over time. As the hours and miles add up, the lobes can succumb to pitting. However, regular wear and tear is not the only reason why camshaft pitting occurs. Other factors such as foreign matter in the engine oil, lack of lubrication, or too much clearance could all play a role in why your camshaft lobes become pitted.

Checking the oil regularly is one of the easiest ways to help ensure that future issues such as camshaft pitting on your Cat C15 engine are averted. Changing the oil as per the manufacturer's recommendation will also help ensure that further damage is prevented. 

Even with taking the mentioned preventative steps mentioned above, pitting could have been started at the first moment when the camshaft was installed. Something as simple as not properly cleaning the head before installation could spell disaster from the very start. 

Here is an article that goes into more detail about excessive lobe wear and what causes it. 

Improperly Functioning Lifters

Improperly functioning lifters can create scars and permanent damage on the camshaft lobes if not installed properly. This also happened if the engine is starved of oil. Additional lifter damage can happen by lack of oil pressure and overspeeding, amongst other things.

Shop Caterpillar Camshafts!

What Can Be Done About A Damaged C15 Camshaft?

Although camshafts can be resurfaced or repaired, the best thing is to replace them. A repaired or resurfaced camshaft will never be as good as a brand new one. Much like any other diesel engine, the Cat C15 camshaft installation process is the same. However, certain steps and precautions should be followed. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Always tighten bolts to the specified manufacturer's specs

  • Timing alignment must be 100% spot on when installing the new cam

  • Take additional care not to scratch or damage key components such as the bearing when installing the new camshaft

  • Cleanliness is next to godliness. Make sure everything is spotless before installation. Even a simple grain of sand could cause extensive damage

Want to make sure your camshaft is getting installed correctly. Read our guide on how to correctly install a diesel engine camshaft here.


Final Words

A defective or damaged camshaft will only cause more damage and wear if left as is. Highway & Heavy Parts is committed to getting your Cat C15 back on the road as soon as possible. We offer the best prices and services in the industry. 

Looking to buy a new camshaft for your C15? We have ASE Certified Techs on staff who can make sure you're getting the right camshaft for your diesel engine! Give them a call at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online today!

Short On Time? Get Your Quote Online!

Camshaft Resources

Related Articles:




Relates Videos:

Give Us A Call!


Short on Time? Take your Quote Online!

We get it- when you need Diesel Engine Parts, time is of the essence. That's why we've developed the HHP Online Quoting System.

Just fill out the form with your name, engine information, and the parts you need, and our ASE-Certified Technicians will get back to you with an estimate. It's as close to magic as a diesel engine gets!

Get A Quote Online!