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Author Topic: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements  (Read 21486 times)

Tallulah

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Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« on: September 15, 2011, 12:53:25 PM »
I have searched the site and have found nothing about diesel engine performance improvements.  Does anyone have any experience with Platinum Power Group's Power Harness?  I have a Cat. C7 engine and, of course, always looking for ways to improve performance (power, fuel econo, torque and reduce turbo lag).  I know Cummins has alot of aftermarket performance mod stuff, but Caterpillar doesn't seem to have that much, especially on the lower $$$ end.  Platinum Power Group's Power Harness claims (supported by OTR testimonials) about 40HP increase, 10-15% fuel econo improvement and reduced turbo lag, and the price is from approx. $150 to $250.  Also, I have seen mention of the AERO muffler, I'd like more testimonials about this mod. 

There is a lot of reassurance and knowledge improvement about this lifestyle thanks to all the contributors on this site.
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Ned

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2011, 01:38:54 PM »
It's not so simple as just increasing the HP of an RV diesel engine.  The cooling systems are generally just adequate for the engine and the drive train is also matched to the engine.  Increasing HP means burning more fuel which creates more heat, and a decrease, not increase, in fuel economy.  The added strain on the transmission may also be damaging.  It's best to leave the power train as designed.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2011, 02:48:23 PM »
Probably good advise...however, (yep, there he goes with the "however") my tranny is the Allison 3000 and is same one used on rigs with upto 50+HP more than mine at 330HP (I know, there radiators are probably bigger...maybe).  So, being the experiementer that I am (unless I get some persuasive dialog up or dwn) I will probably give it a spin, and post the results of my experiement.  It seems easy to install and remove when engine needs service (check and adjust should be made at factory set conditions).  Those truckers seem to be happy with it.

Anyway, still listening for more performance input, and Ned I like your posts...!
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Just Lou

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2011, 03:30:30 PM »
Quote
Probably good advise...however, yada, yada, yada

Don't pay any attention to Ned.  His posts are always full of bothersome sound logic, boringly sage advice and those pesky facts.

I am a little curious how Caterpillar overlooked the chance to add 40 hp and 10-15% fuel economy to their engine for a mere 150 bucks. ???
Looking forward to enlightenment... ;) :) :D
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 03:34:43 PM by Just Lou »
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2011, 03:33:00 PM »
As these mods go,, $250.00 is very cheap, Gale Banks stuff for Cummins starts around  $1000.00 and up. The muffler has me interested to,, I have a 5 inch exhaust system and open muffler, so I don't see much improvement there.>>>Dan  ( I really would love the larger Banks turbo housing to shorten spool time and raise pressure)
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 03:34:48 PM »
Ned lays you out then Lou comes along and flattens.>>>D
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

Ned

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 03:35:09 PM »
Lou, I resemble that remark :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Just Lou

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 03:36:26 PM »
Lou, I resemble that remark :)

You're welcome ;)
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 09:40:19 PM »
I, too, have a Cat 300hp, and have talked to these people extensively about their mod.

http://www.brazelsrv.com/

My understanding is possibly a 25 hp increase, and a very negligible change in fuel economy. But it was more in the $500 range. If we had gotten all the way out to Washington this season, it probably would have been installed.

Several have commented on this mod to the exhaust but I don't know that it proved extremely satisfying.

http://www.blackclouddiesel.com/Aeroturbine/aeroturbinemufflers.htm

Frankly, the best referral is a satisfied customer with actual experience. Everything else is hearsay.
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Taos Monte Bello RV Park, El Prado, NM

Chet18013

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 06:23:59 PM »
I have installed a propane injection system on my Beaver Marquis which has a CAT 3176, 365 HP - now called the C-12. Milage improved from 7.5-8.5 to around 10 mpg. There is a noticeable increase in the response when going up hills. I have started up a hill with the system off and then switched it on half way up the hill and immediately notice an increase in power and acceleration in speed. You can find out about propane injection here:  http://www.dieselperformanceproducts.com/index.html

« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 06:55:31 PM by Chet18013 »
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 06:44:32 PM »
Chet is "a satisfied customer with actual experience." I'm paying attention.  ;)
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 09:23:51 PM »
Chet,

After reading the articles attached in your link, your solution seems to have a lot of supporters. Are you able to chart a break even point for the cost of the conversion and the additional cost of the propane yet? or do you feel that's even part of your decision?
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Taos Monte Bello RV Park, El Prado, NM

Chet18013

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2011, 05:39:31 AM »
Chet,

After reading the articles attached in your link, your solution seems to have a lot of supporters. Are you able to chart a break even point for the cost of the conversion and the additional cost of the propane yet? or do you feel that's even part of your decision?

Unfortunately, I don't have the data from our 7800 mile trip last year around any more. I had fully intended to work it all out, but shortly after arriving home from the trip I ended up in the hospital and then had a 6 month recovery period where I didn't feel like doing anything. In the confusion of my illness and recovery period the data never got saved or assembled.

From memory. The propane use was not excessive. If I had to guess, I'd say less that a gallon every 150 to 200 miles. Since the propane feed is proportional to the boost pressure, it really only feeds into the air intake when you need it. As I said before, the power increase was quite noticeable. I concur with the claims made in the write ups. My experiences seemed to be similar. I did the installation myself. It wasn't hard, but you must be reasonably mechanically inclined. It took about 6 hours and involves a lot of crawling around under the coach. Total cost was about $900. I'd do it again, just for the power increase.
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2011, 01:18:37 PM »
Ok folks, I can now testify that the reduced turbo lag claim for the Platinum Power Group power harness is true.  I installed the harness before our recent trip to the Golden Aspen Motorcycle rally and very noticeable throttle response at takeoff and acceleration during passing.  Typical turbo lag BH (before harness) was 3 to 4 seconds, AH (after harness) less than 1 second to one - one thousand...!  Also, felt like pulled stronger up hill, but just a feeling.  Can't tell on mileage yet because I haven't filled up from trip yet.  Anyway, for $175 and change, quick delivery, I think it was worth the $$$.  I am still going to look into further improvements mentioned; Power Pack MP8 and AERO muffler...the propane injectors seem pricy, but sound worth the investment...maybe later.  My main concern with all of these is the stress on the transmission and engine cooling....
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2011, 05:18:18 PM »
Another proud owner!

I am a big believer in engine and system monitors, and historical data to back up the "seat of the pants" feeling. I like recording instruments in airplanes and have used them to great benefit and I like them for motorhomes.

Taking advantage of all the new instrumentation and computer analytics available on the later model engines tied to the simplicity of the PC's (and handhelds!), you can plot your current experience accurately before you make your modifications, then compare your results.

If I knew all the heating parameters from my current engine and transmission, it is not a big leap of faith to make a modification and judge the results accurately. Then, if corrective action is required, you know what it is, and about how much. Simple in theory, sometimes complicated in the implementation, but it would seem to deliver a much better assessment than "I think".

Show me the numbers!!  8)

(no sliderules, please, Randy)
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Taos Monte Bello RV Park, El Prado, NM

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2011, 08:55:35 AM »
 :) Ok, I said I would report back on the Platinum Group Power Harness performance.  I finally filled the tank on the beast and calculated my mileage.  The Historic mileage on this MH has been 6.9 miles per,  I got 7.2 miles per while towing my F150 with my Softtail Harlely in the bed of the truck.  That's approx. 4.6% increase in mileage.  Not bad for $150 if you consider the reduced turbo lag.  I'll have to get the MH on a dyno to check the torque and HP....like that gonna happen...!  Still lookin to replace the muffler with the AERO 5050XL.
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2011, 08:58:58 AM »
There are dynos in shops that can do that for you. Jim Statkus in Albuquerque is one that does motohomes. Ask for recommendations in your area.
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2011, 01:17:12 PM »
Ok Bob, you got my interest up.  I tried to find Jim Statkus w/o success.  I live in Albuquerque, so it should be easy to find him.  You got anymore information on this guy; shop location, business name etc...?  I will probably get the dyno run done as a baseline for future performance mods.  I haven't heard about anybody getting their motor home dyno'd, but I always looking to improve performance on my vehicles and a dyno run is the first thing I usually do, but really never thought about doin a MH run before now.
Have you done that or do you know anyone who has...?
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2011, 01:25:03 PM »
http://www.statkusengines.com/

in '95, when Jim & crew worked on my '90 Gulfstream Friendship with an Oshkosh chassis and a Ford 460 engine, they already were pros with both and knew exactly where to begin! They sure helped me. Drive your car down to shop, look around and ask questions. He has a long and respected history in Abq.
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2011, 01:36:55 PM »
Bob,

I just called them and they do not have a chassis dyno for motorhomes. They thought Cat or Cummins locally might.

I would have liked to have gotten a reading on ours next week while in the area, since we are contemplating some upgrades this year, but I guess we will try farther south.

Kim
Kim & Christi Bertram
SKP 106183
FMCA 420913
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2012 Thor Damon Tuscany 42RQ
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Taos Monte Bello RV Park, El Prado, NM

Mavarick

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2011, 06:11:47 PM »
Quote
The Historic mileage on this MH has been 6.9 miles per,
chris, that mpg seems low to me. I know you were pulling truck with MC but I'm wondering if there is something else going on also. I have the 330 cat and when I'm towing an 18' enclosed trlr with two MC & stuff in it I still get over 8 mpg and it is terrible for wind drag. Without towing I'm getting 9 - 91/2 or so. Just giving you a comparison and wondering.
2009 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43 QRP
Powerglide Chassis, 425 Cummins, Allison 6 Speed
2010 CRV - Blackhawk 2 - Air Force One
2002 Heritage Classic
Washington State

Jeff

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2011, 08:33:26 PM »
We have a 39' Tradewinds towing a Honda CRV and our mileage on a cross country trip will average 8.5 mpg while towing and our total mpg for this year is 8.1 mpg. (Including a lot of east coast city driving). I also believe 6.9 mpg sounds low; could that include the fuel used in the generator?

When I added a Banks system to our last Pace Arrow it improved the performance but out mileage dropped slightly.

Going faster always seems to cost more. :-[

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2011, 09:51:33 AM »
Ya know, I was concerned that the fuel mileage was at 6.9 on this rig when we bought it, but didn't realize that it should be better (i'm new to diesel).  I will be getting the Freightliner chassis serviced in a few weeks.  I will see if the guys doing the service can find any reason it might be lower than I am hearing on the Forum.  With diesel fuel cost as high as it is, it sure makes the trips bite the budget.  Gas prices in Albq. have been dropping to as low as $2.94/gal. lately, but in some places diesel seems to going up a bit ($3.68 to $3.84).  I have asked why the big difference and the answers are unacceptable; diesel OTR trucking taxes are higher due to hiway maintenance cost, supply and demand, etc.
It cost less to refine diesel, so it should cost the same of less than gasoline...one would think...!
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2011, 01:22:37 PM »
I was in Montana two weeks ago and found the prices for diesel were at and above $4.46.>>>Dan
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 01:35:09 PM by utahclaimjumper »
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2011, 01:33:21 PM »
In Abq, today, the low for diesel is 3.35 with 4 more places under 3.50. I use gasbuddy .com. I paid 3.41 at that same station for 80 gal 3 weeks ago. That's how I save $.
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2011, 02:19:37 PM »
Hey Bob, thanks for the info.  I will be givin gasbuddy.com a look and I will definitly stay out of Montana...$4.46/gal is making a statement, "do go anywhere in your diesel vehicles"...
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2011, 02:41:45 PM »
...oops, that was, "do NOT go anywhere in your diesel vehicles"!!!
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2011, 03:00:59 PM »
Dillon MT has the 2 lowest diesel prices. You can check gas buddy by state at 3.78/79. You can plan fuel stops that will save $$.
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2011, 03:06:11 PM »
Another good one is http://www.findfuelstops.com/   It helps you find all the fuel stops along your planned travel route and gives prices too.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Ned

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2011, 04:05:00 PM »
Here's another useful site for fuel prices, also includes a map: http://autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Jeff

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2011, 09:31:53 PM »
Ya know, I was concerned that the fuel mileage was at 6.9 on this rig when we bought it, but didn't realize that it should be better (i'm new to diesel).  I will be getting the Freightliner chassis serviced in a few weeks.  I will see if the guys doing the service can find any reason it might be lower than I am hearing on the Forum.  With diesel fuel cost as high as it is, it sure makes the trips bite the budget.

One problem we had involved our side radiator fan. They are hydraulic with an electronic controller that had failed on ours because it had not been relocated properly when our motorhome was built. When the controller fails it runs the fan on high continuously to protect the engine. It uses around 40 hp and cost us about 1 mpg.

If you have a side facing radiator it is easy to check. When the engine is cold start up and see if the fan is running at 1500 RPM or so. If it is the controller has a problem.

Mavarick

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2011, 01:03:05 PM »
Quote
I will see if the guys doing the service can find any reason it might be lower than I am hearing on the Forum.

Chris, I don’t know how handy the Freightliner guys might be on the mpg problem. I would suggest starting with you local Cat dealer. Run you serial and arrangement number by them to see if there are any service or warranty records on your HEUI system like injector change, etc. If it was done at a dealer they will know.
Also, the mpg I am using is running in economy mode around 60 to 65 mph. I run most of the time with cruise off because of traffic but do use it when I can. Watch your rpm or speed when you do your mpg test so you can compare apples to apples. Once you have multiple tests confirming your 7.1 I would also try to do some checks not towing anything just to see the difference if that’s possible. This would eliminate any outside influences from the towed vehicle. Sounds like you’ve had the rig a while so I assume your air filter is clean and running below 20” and you’re not having any other issues with smoking etc.
1 or 2 mpg can be gained or lost by lots of things but the most probable cause is usually driving habits. If that’s what it comes down to at least it is an easy fix.
2009 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43 QRP
Powerglide Chassis, 425 Cummins, Allison 6 Speed
2010 CRV - Blackhawk 2 - Air Force One
2002 Heritage Classic
Washington State

Tallulah

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2012, 02:22:12 PM »
Yep, its been awhile since I checked the replies, but thought it important to note that as someone commented...am I forgetting to account for my generator fuel useage..., and YES I was.  I will including that fuel useage in future calculations.  Thanks...!
Chris & Rebecca
04 Itasca Meridian 39' diesel pusher
02 Soft Tail Std.

powershotone

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2017, 09:29:46 AM »
Is Chet still around?  :)   another good site for fuel prices and diesel info is dieselboss.com it lists travel plaza prices and info.

Chet18013

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2017, 09:48:17 AM »
Yes, I'm still around. However we got rid of the Beaver with the CAT and propane injection system 5 years ago and now have a Monaco Signature with a Detroit Series 60 engine. I liked the CAT, but this Detroit is an incredible engine and I really prefer it over the CAT.

As for fuel prices, I use the Gas Guru app on my iPhone. It has all the local stations, travel and truck stops with maps.
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

powershotone

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Re: Caterpillar Engine Performance Improvements
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2017, 09:58:48 AM »
You were moving your Mom I believe way back when!  Glad it worked out so well for you on that coach!
The 60 Series has got the torque for sure..could always use more power!  :)  The semi's with the Detroit's get great fuel economy gains..
Cheers!

 

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