Common CAT C13 Twin Turbo Problems And Is It A Good Value?

You may be thinking about some CAT C13 twin turbo problems and if it is worth buying this motor.

Quite frankly, there are some models that are pretty decent while others are not. When engines are upgraded, so many things tend to change. For instance, there are good engines that may end up going bad since all ruined components impact the new parts. 

This is why when it comes to buying engines, it is always essential to take note of the model year.

For instance, the CAT C13 model years between 2004 and 2006 are considered to be the best. The ones manufactured in other years such as 2007 up to 2010 may not be quite on par with the performance of the better ones. So, it is important to pay attention to this when it comes to choosing the right engine.

If you are looking to buy the CAT C13 twin turbo, here are some details you need to know and key information to help you determine if it is worth it or not. Let’s get right into it.

cat c13 twin turbo problems

Can You Avoid CAT C13 Twin Turbo Problems

As we have mentioned previously, you are better off buying the C13 when the model year is highly rated. While it is most definitely a good motor and can be quite reliable, there are instances when problems arise.

For example, there were some people who found it quite problematic when new emissions equipment were added to it. This lost the unique flavor of the engine and ended up having some issues. It could be caused by additional emission control devices instead of the actual engine.

Now, these devices turned the motor into something with problems because of these add-on devices. Thus, it is not the engine that’s been having problems.

It is also worth noting that the regen C13 with model years 2007 up to 2010 begins with LEE. On the other hand, the better models manufactured from 2004 to 2006 have KCB serial numbers. Hence, the earlier model years are better and should come with very little trouble.

But as for the overall lifespan of the engine, it is more subjective than definite. It also depends on how well you are taking care of the motor, although certain factors need to be taken into consideration when prolonging the lifespan of your CAT C13 twin turbo.

When not well-maintained, the engine may not make it past the 500,000-mile mark. However, when taken care of properly, it should stay in good condition and would not require an overhaul prior to the 1,000,000-mile mark. 

However, do keep in mind that this condition varies from one engine to another. There are many factors that come to play when it comes to the longevity of your engine such as the terrain you drive on, the load you haul, rough road issues, and more. Hence, driving conditions impact the lifespan of your engine.

But the most important thing is that you keep your truck well-maintained as a means of ensuring its lifespan. 

Common CAT C13 Twin Turbo Engine Problems

cat c13 twin turbo problems

CAT C13 twin turbo engines are generally reliable. But there are some issues involved, especially with regen problems. If you encounter this particular problem, you may need to replace the ARD heads using a more modern version to address the issue. 

If you encounter a power loss with your engine, the best thing to do is to check the air charge cooler then replace the four boots. However, if this does not fix the issue, you may want to use your turbo boost gauge to achieve an accurate reading on the problematic parts.

Another common reason behind a power loss is a cracked camshaft or crankshaft. This is why it is best to inspect your crankcase and to determine if oil leaks right out of the system. You may also want to check the CAC or the head gasket, which may have been damaged. 

However, there are more complex ways to inspect for leaks. You will need to spray soapy water all around the clamps on your turbo. This should help you identify any leaks in the clamps. In some cases, you may need to go to an experienced C13 mechanic since leaks can be tricky to diagnose and you may need the help of a specialist for this.

And last, you may want to check the O-ring, which may have gone bad. This is another one of the potential causes of the problem, so it is best to have proper tools to diagnose and troubleshoot this issue.

What To Do When Engine Won’t Start

If you have a problem with starting your engine, one of the things you can do is to inspect the electrical power supply to your ECM. However, there are a few other things to take note of to rule out a bigger problem.

  1. Check the fuel supply.
  2. Inspect the engine shutdown switches. When these are turned on, the engine is unable to start.
  3. Make sure the starting aids are not too cold since a cooler ambient temperature can prevent them from starting.
  4. Check if there are obstructions in your exhaust systems and air intake.
  5. Keep the theft deterrent system disengaged.
  6. Clean the appropriate sensors and be sure they are in good condition.
  7. Check the timing and speed of your engine.
  8. Maintain the right fuel pressure in the fuel line.

In the event that the engine was able to start but dies, then you should make it a point that the fuel pressure is optimal and there are no obstructions in your fuel line. Check for any cracked pickup tube that may also be causing an issue. 

There may be a need for a more invasive investigation to determine the actual cause of the problem. This is why you should consider taking your vehicle to a specialized C13 mechanic to have the problem diagnosed and addressed once and for all.

Read More: Is It Worth It? Some Cummins M11 Problems You Need To Know


For the most parts, the CAT C13 twin turbo is a dependable engine. It comes with a number of benefits that make it worth looking into for the price you pay. Just make sure you get the issues diagnosed once they arise to prevent further problems that can lead to costly repairs and replacement parts.

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