The "best" head gasket for a Case/ Cummins 4BT ?

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The genuine gasket is Case part no. J283333 or Cummins 3283333. Is this one superior to the one they installed 12 - 15 years ago? Are there better options available? If so, which one has the best seals around the coolant passages? As a side note, we will move to a 2-EHA-free OAT coolant with the new gasket.
 
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It's been 9 years since I worked at a Cummins shop, and 7 years since I worked at a Case shop... so I can't say whether or not the gasket has been redesigned since then. Never installed anything but Cummins and Case parts, so I don't know about the aftermarket gaskets. As I recall, those head gaskets often leaked at the front passenger side corner. But there's ALSO a really oddly designed thermostat seal in that corner, and it's prone to leaking. So if your leak is at the front corner on the exhaust side, then I'd suggest that you make sure that the leak is in fact coming from the head gasket and not the thermostat housing before you invest too much time into this.
 
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Hi, Extreme-Duty, haven't heard from you in a while. Dunno about Cummins head gaskets. I know the 5.9B engine does not suffer frequent head gasket failures, so I would feel confident using a Cummins gasket on the 4BT. Did the old gasket blow? Also, which 2-EHA free OAT coolant are you going to use? I think this engine is in your Dad's tractor. I suppose now is a good time to work on it before the harvesting season arrives.
 
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I'm a John Deere guy, that said the 4BT & 6BT Cummins is a good engine in my family's Dresser former IH construction equipment, and have never blown a head gasket. If it is in fact leaking you probably know already to figure out why the gasket failed, and resolve that, not just replace the gasket.
 

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Hello, thanks for chiming in all of you. Dad's tractor has not blown the gasket, but is dusty and slightly wet on the left side, behind the fuel pump and fuel filters. It's not oil or diesel and it's like I can smell coolant when I open the hood and the engine is warm. Around the thermostat the engine is "dry", but thanks for the hint, onion. I find it odd that it leaks coolant on the left side, because the coolant has to pass the valve train to get out there. Rather, I heard of head gaskets leaking at the rear/flywheel end of the engine, where ours is clean and dry. How can I pursuade my old man to do a UOA to see whether we have coolant in the oil? The coolant selection will somewhat affect the head gasket life, IMHO. Even with the CT8.3 engine, some people make a gasket leak after 4 - 5000 hrs., whereas some will last > 12000 - 15000 hrs. Whether Cummins requires it for B&C engines or not, a CES 14603 coolant is the safest way to go. In the US, I would go with Final Charge or Mobil Delvac ELC. If nitrit is desired, Fleetguard ES Compleat OAT, aka ES Optimax, is another great choice. Non of these products are regularly available in Europe, but ES Optimax can be had within 2 month with a special order. I am currently "negotiating" with BASF about a Cummins recommendation for their Glysantin G30. Can any of you provide some information on Zerex G30 (same formula) and its US-approvals? I see Detroit Diesel lists it, so it might not be that bad. The last option is John Deere Cool Gard II, which will be made available within the next month. The downside is their pricing, 25 litres 50:50 premix will cost around $140, i.e. $21 a gallon, roughly twice as much as in The States! And the 19% VAT are not included. Beside the stash of Cat ELC, I do have some ES Optimax left. With this coolant we have reduced the consumption in an old International D-155 engine. Do you think it can cure anything in the Cummins?
 
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That IS really odd for a B-series head gasket to leak coolant on the left side. I've seen the m leak oil on that side... but I'm not sure that a left-side external coolant leak is even POSSIBLE on that engine. The coolant would just go into the oil if a coolant passage was leaking on that side. I would suggest that you steam clean the engine thoroughly, run the thing and get it hot, and have a closer look. Maybe even put in some coolant dye. I don't know what you're seeing in that corner, but I really doubt that it's a coolant leak on the left side of the head gasket. One thing that I've dealt with pretty often with diesel engines is leaks that will follow a seam- such as along a head gasket or an oil pan gasket. You can, for instance, have a leak up front that will run downward until it hits the head gasket seam, then travel along side the head gasket to the rear of the engine, and then run down- making it LOOK like it's leaking from the rear of the head gasket. Don't know that that's the case with your engine, but I think a closer look is warranted.
 
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I used to run a small diesel repair shop. We used to purchase FP Diesel engine kits for Cat and Cummins engines all the time. Never had a problem. The gaskets were always superior to the factory stuff.
 

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 Originally Posted By: NYEngineer
I used to run a small diesel repair shop. We used to purchase FP Diesel engine kits for Cat and Cummins engines all the time. Never had a problem. The gaskets were always superior to the factory stuff.
Hello, are you talking about the "Fel-Pro" gasket? Where can we order these? Whether it's gonna be a genuine part or not, we will buy it in in the US. Case parts have become so unaffordable in Germany, while Cummins has been overpriced for a long time over here. Onion, what you say sounds reasonable. If we have a coolant leak on the pump side, we will have some coolant in the oil too... time for a UOA. And if there is a leak, how much can we blame our coolant then? Also, are there other sources for the coolant smell?
 
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Well yes, the coolant smell could be coming from a leak anywhere in the cooling system. I don't remember what model of tractor we're talking about here, but lots of modern tractors have multiple heat exchangers up front, stacked on top of each other (a/c condensor, oil cooler, Charge Air Cooler, Radiator). These can get packed with dirt and make a coolant leak really hard to find. I personally wouldn't condemn that head gasket until I was 100% sure that it's the problem... and considering that the 'wet' area is on the left side, I really doubt that's the case. I've seen oil leaks there occasionally (and even fixed one on a C-series by simply re-torquing the head bolts), but never a coolant leak in that location. There isn't much that would leak coolant on the left side. Some 4B engines will have coolant lines for the air compressor and a coolant temp sensor for the timing advance- but being an off-road application, I don't think your engine will have either of these. There are some core plugs here and there on the head- I don't remember exactly where. Might be worth a look. As far as how much blame to ascribe to the coolant... it's anybody's guess. Anybody who frequents the coolant section of this forum knows that I'm no fan of Dexcool or any 2eha coolant. But to be fair, I will say that the VAST majority of problems that I've seen with 2eha coolants have been in automotive applications. The only common repeat failure in diesel engines caused by a 2eha coolant that I've dealt with was mid/late 90's Cummins N14 engines. These are a totally different design compared with your B-series, and I can't say that I've seen 2eha coolants cause any obvious problems in the B or C series.
 

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Thanks for taking the time, Onion. The tractor model is a 5120, it has an air compressor for trailer brake operation (very uncommon outside Germany), but this one is not connected to the cooling system. The leak (if there is any) or coolant loss is not huge enough to justify a head gasket replacement. There are no "obvious" problems yet, but one might suspect coolant to leak into the oil. The reason I am looking for gasket options is that I have to order them in time, I try to be prepared, that's all. The radiator has been replaced a few month ago, as the old cracked the solder between the right "frame" and the upper tank, which later went to bend the upper part of the header, destroying the tank-to-header seam. With the old radiator, the coolant smell was there too. 2-EHA coolants are definitely not the best choice and I will try to sell the last 25 liter pail of Cat ELC to a custom farmer running Cat engines in Claas equipment. Since I do not want to wait 2 month for ES Optimax to arrive and since I do not want to pay for a Cat or John Deere label, I would love use a G30 formula. Beside all these "fighting grades", G48 and G30 coolants are prevalent in this part of Europe. I always thought G30 was weaker than the HD OAT coolants in the US, but since it's been approved for the Detroit DD15 and series 60, I do "feel" better about it now. Are these Detroit engines generally demanding when it comes to wet sleeve protection?
 
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Can't say about the DD15 as it's only been out for a year or two. But yes, the Series 60 definitely requires good cavitation protection. Otherwise, both the cylinder liners and the BLOCK will cavitate- I've dealt with it dozens of times. I don't know anything about G30, specifically- but if it's approved for a series 60, then I see no reason why it couldn't be used in a Cummins 4B. Your Cummins engines don't have separate cylinder liners, so cavitation is rarely an issue (though it CAN happen).
 

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You do infact motivate me to use G30 in the 4BT. It should cut our coolant cost by 50% vs. Cat ELC. Now that the CT8.3 in our Magnum 7220 is more demanding with its wet sleeves, would you expect it to require better protection than a series 60?
 
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 Originally Posted By: Extreme-Duty
You do infact motivate me to use G30 in the 4BT. It should cut our coolant cost by 50% vs. Cat ELC. Now that the CT8.3 in our Magnum 7220 is more demanding with its wet sleeves, would you expect it to require better protection than a series 60?
No, there's nothing special about the C8.3 as far as cavitation is concerned. I've overhauled several of them, and have only ever seen significant cavitation once (all the way through a liner)- as opposed to the Detroit Series 60, which often has MAJOR cavitation problems in older, poorly maintained engines (cavitation into the block and/or all the way through the liners). IMO, any coolant that will work in the Series 60 should work just as well in the B3.9, B5.9, C8.3- or just about any Cummins engine for that matter. There just isn't much difference between them in function or materials. It's kinda like putting Ford coolant into a Chevy. Generally speaking, it'll work fine. Not that I would EVER put Chevy Dexcool into a Ford... but that's just personal preference. I suspect that it would sludge a Ford just as well at it would sludge a Chevy.
 

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How do you like DD's engineering in general? Is it all well considered, including their recommendations, or is it like it has been affected too much by Mercedes Benz? I could turn it around and say DD does approve this nitrite-free Texaco/Delo ELC as well, which might or might not be the same as Dexcool. At least in Europe, Texaco only sells one formula (XLC) for both light and heavy duty. This formula is even approved for large marine diesel engines, though I'm not sure if that is a proof of quality/performance.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Extreme-Duty
How do you like DD's engineering in general? Is it all well considered, including their recommendations, or is it like it has been affected too much by Mercedes Benz? I could turn it around and say DD does approve this nitrite-free Texaco/Delo ELC as well, which might or might not be the same as Dexcool. At least in Europe, Texaco only sells one formula (XLC) for both light and heavy duty. This formula is even approved for large marine diesel engines, though I'm not sure if that is a proof of quality/performance.
That's a pretty broad question- not sure where to begin. Yes, Detroit Diesel approves their Powercool coolant, along with NOAT coolants like Delo ELC. The NOAT coolants wouldn't be MY first choice, but I will grudgingly admit that they seem to work well enough in industrial applications. My reservations about them come from my experience with Dexcool in automotive applications, and with Dexcool in one specific industrial application (Cummins N14 head gaskets)- an issue that has apparently been resolved. These NOAT coolants are not Dexcool, but they're quite similar. Like Dexcool, they can use either 2eha or Carboxylate as an inhibitor, but they also have nitrates to prevent liner cavitation. Mercedes, on the other hand, simply recommends ANY "fully-formulated ethylene-glycol coolant". But these engines generally don't suffer cavitation problems. I'm pretty fond of G05 in just about any application. IMO, it's about as close to a true 'universal' as you can find. You'll probably be most familiar with G05 under the labels of John Deere Cool-gard or Motorcraft Gold. I would also have no reservations about using a more conventional coolant with SCA's- like Detroit Powercool. ELC would probably be my last choice- but that MAY be neurosis on my part. Like I said, it seems to work well in industrial applications- it's just that I've seen similar coolants cause LOTS of problems in certain specific applications. I don't know anything about G30- you're on your own there. But I'm not aware of any real difference between the cooling system requirments of a Detroit vs. a Cummins other than brand names. It's hard to compare a B-series Cummins with a 60-series detroit seeings how these are two different classes of engines. But when comparing Cummins and Detroit engines of similar size and horsepower- functionally, they're quite similar.
 

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It was a general question about DD, not coolant related. In another thread, you mentioned that you were not unhappy with John Deere's engineering and their support. I can't say that about CNH these days. Although I'm relatively young, I'm an "old" International Harvester guy. All I want to say is that CNH is a different brand than IH. As for coolants, DD did approve OATs before they started dealing with Mercedes, if I'm not mistaken. The fact that they have banned NOATs (not HOATs) from their list, might be because of Mercedes, though. DD will continue to accept NOAT for the DD15, series 60 etc., it's the Mercedes designed stuff that does not like NOAT. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not defending TELC or any other Texaco formula. As I said, I want to get rid of Cat ELC! In the US, there are plenty of affordable options available. Since I had a bad experience with a conventional coolant and SCAs, I wan't to avoid them. Also, I'm not always at home to take care of my parents equipment, so what we need is a trouble free field proven long life coolant. Regarding G30, if it is as darn good as BASF believes, why don't they put it in a 7000 hrs. Caterpillar test and list it as an EC-1 coolant? The absence of nitrite does not hinder Mobil or Old World to do this with their OATs.
 
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Ok, I see what you're getting at. Like I've mentioned on earlier topics, overall I was very impressed with John Deere engineering when I worked for a Deere dealership. There are exceptions of course (for instance, their 200-series skidsteer was garbage. The 300-series was a big improvement, but still not up to their standards IMO)- every company has spectacular failures now and then. But overall, I think their machinery's function and durability, their customer support, and parts availability are second to none. There aren't many companies out there that still STOCK parts for 50 year old machinery- but Deere does. My overall impression was the Deere equipment is one of the most expensive out there- but also some of the best quality, functionality, available options, and resale value available. The Deere dealership I worked at sold and primarily serviced agricultural equipment. The Case dealership I worked for sold and serviced construction equipment- so this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But generally speaking, I found Case equipment to be much simpler than deere equipment, significantly cheaper, but also of lower quality. Their parts availability was mediocre AT BEST- [censored], we had trouble getting some parts for machines that were only 15 years old. And I wasn't terribly impressed with their fluids, filters, and such. Nowhere near the selection or quality that was available from John Deere or even Cummins. Overall, compared with Deere, I have the impression that Case equipment is relatively cheap and basic. It usually works well enough, but it isn't as durable, there are fewer options available, and resale value isn't that great. I went through my opinions of the two tractor companies so as to put my opinion of Detroit Diesel in context. Detroit, in my opinion, is more similar to Case than to Deere. The Series 60 engine, for example, is relatively cheap... isn't available with as much power as comparable Cat and Cummins engines, ALWAYS leaks oil, and just doesn't SOUND good- even when running properly. That isn't to say that the series 60 is a BAD engine... just that it's a simple, basic engine that costs less than the competition and often gets better fuel economy. But it isn't as durable, doesn't have the resale value, or as good after-sale support as other brands, in my experience. I've overhauled lots of engines over the past 14 years or so. Mostly Cummins, Deere, and Detroit engines. Of all the makes and models I've worked on, Detroits parts have the WORST fit and finish of any that I've seen. The machining is often very rough, defective parts are common, remanufactured parts are usually all dinged-up as if the cores were simply thrown in a pile. The series 60 block has more cavitation problems than any other engine I've dealt with. BLOCK cavitation is actually pretty rare in other makes of diesel engines- this is a phenomenon that usually only affects liners. But series 60 detroits commonly have cavitated blocks if the cooling system wasn't well-maintained. IMO, this is due to lower quality metallurgy than other brands. This shows up when machining the counterbores in the engine blocks. I can cut four or five Detroit engine blocks with a particular cutting bit. The metal is soft. The same carbide bit will be dulled after only ONE Mercedes block- and this is with less metal being removed than from a comparable Detroit. Also, by comparison, Mercedes blocks NEVER cavitate or corrode the way a series 60 does. That's not to say that the MBE4000 doesn't have more than its share of problems- but the metallurgy is clearly better. IMO, Detroit Diesels are relatively cheap, basic equipment- not unlike Case equipment. Mercedes is different. I've been very impressed with the fit and finish of mercedes parts- Detroit parts are often embarrassingly crude by comparison. Parts availability isn't that great over here- but that's largely due to their import status. I imagine the parts situation is better on your continent. Their MBE 900 engine is one of the most trouble-free engines I've ever seen. These engines are common in medium-duty applications over here, but we rarely work on them (except when Mercedes came out with a fuel line replacement campaign. I had no idea so many of these engines were out there until they started bringing them in for this fix). It’s just that they rarely break. IMO, it would be hard to find a better medium-duty engine than the MBE900 (we're talking pre-2007 here. Lots of things changed in 2007). The MBE4000, on the other hand, has been a constant headache. IMO, this is due to some of the most arrogant and unresponsive factory support that I've ever dealt with. For example- in all my years of working on diesel engines, it’s been exceedingly rare to see an injector line just break for no apparent reason. When I worked at Cummins and Deere, we NEVER torque these with a torque wrench- just snugged them down with a wrench and that was it- I’ve no doubt that we ROUTINELY over-tightened these lines. But they NEVER had any problems. Contrast this with the MBE4000 injector lines. From the moment that the MBE4000 was introduced in Freightliner trucks over here (around 1998), these injector lines were routinely breaking. Trucks were often towed in for this… [censored], some of them burned down because of it. And year after year, Mercedes came out with one service bulletin after another essentially blaming the problem on mechanics who weren’t properly torquing the injector lines (despite the fact that these injector lines were often failing directly out of the factory- no mechanic involved until after the failure). They came out with multiple changes in torque specs, verification stickers, etc. It wasn’t until TEN YEARS after the MBE4000 was introduced to the States that Mercedes finally redesigned those injector lines. We’ve retrofitted dozens of these engines over the past year or so, and this new design has entirely eliminated the problem. A similar episode that demonstrates Mercedes' factory-support mentality was the MBE4000's problem with leaking head gaskets. Since this engine was introduced, they have ROUTINELY leaked from the head gaskets. Actually, the coolant leaks up around the liner flange shim (which is the ONLY thing that seals coolant at the top of the liner), then out around the steel head gasket (not from the rubber coolant seals in the gasket). Every single other make of engine that I’ve ever dealt with has used some form of redundant seal at the top of the liner. Cummins 855’s and N14’s, for instance, seal the top of the liner with both brass shims and a press fit- they also use a steel gasket similar to Mercedes, but don’t suffer from the same leakage problems because of this redundant seal. Series 60 detroit engines, John Deere engines, and C-series Cummins engines all seal the coolant with both a liner shim and a soft head gasket. Again, they rarely suffer similar leakage problems. So the cause of this MBE4000 problem was OBVIOUS. But rather than address the problem directly, Mercedes made multiple re-designs of the head gaskets and cylinder heads… none of which directly addressed the problem or helped the situation in the slightest (in fact, the new style head gaskets only INTRODUCED problems). For YEARS, they started simply replacing the entire engine rather than address the problem- I’ve replaced quite a few of these under warranty, myself. Finally, ELEVEN YEARS after they introduced this engine to North America and started encountering this problem, they redesigned the liners. They put a redundant seal at the liner flange- an o-ring in addition to the shim. I’ve retrofitted probably a dozen or so engines under warranty, and this has completely fixed the problem. So this has been a LONG rant. In conclusion, my impression of Detroit engines is this: Cheap, simple, not the best quality. Mercedes: EXCELLENT quality, but extremely slow or nonexistent response to even the most obvious design flaws. Now, the series 60 engine is going to cease production as of 2010, I’m told. So Detroit Diesel will be selling only the DD15/DD13 (which is a re-badged, overhead-cam Mercedes). Can’t say how it will hold up over time, but I was very impressed with the design and (apparent) quality of the engine when I took a DD15 overhaul class. While it is similar in several ways to the MBE4000, all of the inherent problems that I’m aware of in the MBE4000 have been either addressed, or more often eliminated entirely in the DD15 design. If this engine proves to be as bullet-proof as the MBE900… I may be out of a job. They may not need fixin’.
 
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Wow, a great writeup on DD and MB engines (and John Deere and Case). Extreme-Duty is not the only one following this thread with interest. I can vouch for the excellent quality of the MBE900. We have a 2004 non-EGR 906 at work and it has proved to be bullet-proof so far. Very, very impressive. Not a single oil leak anywhere on the engine. When companies have a superior product they sometimes become arrogant and the mentality sets in that we don't have to make any improvements and that we don't have to try hard. IMO this is what sunk Detroit. Case in point, my BMW motorcycle. A very nice motorcycle, with the basic design dating back to the thirties. The design was so good that it survives to this day. Yet my motorcycle has a mickey-mouse steering lock. Decades after the Japanese standardized on an integrated ignition switch/steering lock, BMW just could not be bothered to design a good steering lock. I guess the attitude at corporate HQ is, the bikes are selling well, so why bother.
 
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 Originally Posted By: onion
Ok, I see what you're getting at. Like I've mentioned on earlier topics, overall I was very impressed with John Deere engineering when I worked for a Deere dealership. There are exceptions of course (for instance, their 200-series skidsteer was garbage. The 300-series was a big improvement, but still not up to their standards IMO)- every company has spectacular failures now and then. But overall, I think their machinery's function and durability, their customer support, and parts availability are second to none. There aren't many companies out there that still STOCK parts for 50 year old machinery- but Deere does. My overall impression was the Deere equipment is one of the most expensive out there- but also some of the best quality, functionality, available options, and resale value available. The Deere dealership I worked at sold and primarily serviced agricultural equipment. The Case dealership I worked for sold and serviced construction equipment- so this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But generally speaking, I found Case equipment to be much simpler than deere equipment, significantly cheaper, but also of lower quality. Their parts availability was mediocre AT BEST- [censored], we had trouble getting some parts for machines that were only 15 years old. And I wasn't terribly impressed with their fluids, filters, and such. Nowhere near the selection or quality that was available from John Deere or even Cummins. Overall, compared with Deere, I have the impression that Case equipment is relatively cheap and basic. It usually works well enough, but it isn't as durable, there are fewer options available, and resale value isn't that great. I went through my opinions of the two tractor companies so as to put my opinion of Detroit Diesel in context. Detroit, in my opinion, is more similar to Case than to Deere. The Series 60 engine, for example, is relatively cheap... isn't available with as much power as comparable Cat and Cummins engines, ALWAYS leaks oil, and just doesn't SOUND good- even when running properly. That isn't to say that the series 60 is a BAD engine... just that it's a simple, basic engine that costs less than the competition and often gets better fuel economy. But it isn't as durable, doesn't have the resale value, or as good after-sale support as other brands, in my experience. I've overhauled lots of engines over the past 14 years or so. Mostly Cummins, Deere, and Detroit engines. Of all the makes and models I've worked on, Detroits parts have the WORST fit and finish of any that I've seen. The machining is often very rough, defective parts are common, remanufactured parts are usually all dinged-up as if the cores were simply thrown in a pile. The series 60 block has more cavitation problems than any other engine I've dealt with. BLOCK cavitation is actually pretty rare in other makes of diesel engines- this is a phenomenon that usually only affects liners. But series 60 detroits commonly have cavitated blocks if the cooling system wasn't well-maintained. IMO, this is due to lower quality metallurgy than other brands. This shows up when machining the counterbores in the engine blocks. I can cut four or five Detroit engine blocks with a particular cutting bit. The metal is soft. The same carbide bit will be dulled after only ONE Mercedes block- and this is with less metal being removed than from a comparable Detroit. Also, by comparison, Mercedes blocks NEVER cavitate or corrode the way a series 60 does. That's not to say that the MBE4000 doesn't have more than its share of problems- but the metallurgy is clearly better. IMO, Detroit Diesels are relatively cheap, basic equipment- not unlike Case equipment. Mercedes is different. I've been very impressed with the fit and finish of mercedes parts- Detroit parts are often embarrassingly crude by comparison. Parts availability isn't that great over here- but that's largely due to their import status. I imagine the parts situation is better on your continent. Their MBE 900 engine is one of the most trouble-free engines I've ever seen. These engines are common in medium-duty applications over here, but we rarely work on them (except when Mercedes came out with a fuel line replacement campaign. I had no idea so many of these engines were out there until they started bringing them in for this fix). It’s just that they rarely break. IMO, it would be hard to find a better medium-duty engine than the MBE900 (we're talking pre-2007 here. Lots of things changed in 2007). The MBE4000, on the other hand, has been a constant headache. IMO, this is due to some of the most arrogant and unresponsive factory support that I've ever dealt with. For example- in all my years of working on diesel engines, it’s been exceedingly rare to see an injector line just break for no apparent reason. When I worked at Cummins and Deere, we NEVER torque these with a torque wrench- just snugged them down with a wrench and that was it- I’ve no doubt that we ROUTINELY over-tightened these lines. But they NEVER had any problems. Contrast this with the MBE4000 injector lines. From the moment that the MBE4000 was introduced in Freightliner trucks over here (around 1998), these injector lines were routinely breaking. Trucks were often towed in for this… [censored], some of them burned down because of it. And year after year, Mercedes came out with one service bulletin after another essentially blaming the problem on mechanics who weren’t properly torquing the injector lines (despite the fact that these injector lines were often failing directly out of the factory- no mechanic involved until after the failure). They came out with multiple changes in torque specs, verification stickers, etc. It wasn’t until TEN YEARS after the MBE4000 was introduced to the States that Mercedes finally redesigned those injector lines. We’ve retrofitted dozens of these engines over the past year or so, and this new design has entirely eliminated the problem. A similar episode that demonstrates Mercedes' factory-support mentality was the MBE4000's problem with leaking head gaskets. Since this engine was introduced, they have ROUTINELY leaked from the head gaskets. Actually, the coolant leaks up around the liner flange shim (which is the ONLY thing that seals coolant at the top of the liner), then out around the steel head gasket (not from the rubber coolant seals in the gasket). Every single other make of engine that I’ve ever dealt with has used some form of redundant seal at the top of the liner. Cummins 855’s and N14’s, for instance, seal the top of the liner with both brass shims and a press fit- they also use a steel gasket similar to Mercedes, but don’t suffer from the same leakage problems because of this redundant seal. Series 60 detroit engines, John Deere engines, and C-series Cummins engines all seal the coolant with both a liner shim and a soft head gasket. Again, they rarely suffer similar leakage problems. So the cause of this MBE4000 problem was OBVIOUS. But rather than address the problem directly, Mercedes made multiple re-designs of the head gaskets and cylinder heads… none of which directly addressed the problem or helped the situation in the slightest (in fact, the new style head gaskets only INTRODUCED problems). For YEARS, they started simply replacing the entire engine rather than address the problem- I’ve replaced quite a few of these under warranty, myself. Finally, ELEVEN YEARS after they introduced this engine to North America and started encountering this problem, they redesigned the liners. They put a redundant seal at the liner flange- an o-ring in addition to the shim. I’ve retrofitted probably a dozen or so engines under warranty, and this has completely fixed the problem. So this has been a LONG rant. In conclusion, my impression of Detroit engines is this: Cheap, simple, not the best quality. Mercedes: EXCELLENT quality, but extremely slow or nonexistent response to even the most obvious design flaws. Now, the series 60 engine is going to cease production as of 2010, I’m told. So Detroit Diesel will be selling only the DD15/DD13 (which is a re-badged, overhead-cam Mercedes). Can’t say how it will hold up over time, but I was very impressed with the design and (apparent) quality of the engine when I took a DD15 overhaul class. While it is similar in several ways to the MBE4000, all of the inherent problems that I’m aware of in the MBE4000 have been either addressed, or more often eliminated entirely in the DD15 design. If this engine proves to be as bullet-proof as the MBE900… I may be out of a job. They may not need fixin’.
I pretty much agree with everything above. CASE= Cant Attempt Serious Excavation. The Pre-emissions Series 60's were cheep dependable midrange power. You could get a 14L series 60 but those are worth there weight in bronze. When they were forced to put EGR on them they jumped the shark as being a good engine option in my eyes. and since were talking underrated engines of their time the N-14 was a solid performer in standard trim. the biggest PITA with the N-14 was oil pan gaskets and waterpumps. The MBZ4000 was JUNK. and I agree whole heartedly with everything you have to say about the injector lines and their inability to even bother attempting a serious fix for their shoddy engineering. I have had problems with john Deere parts support on their mid range tractor models. especially transmission parts on a 5 year old JD 420 MFWD. Trans parts were completely unavailable. I had to have a basket reverse engineered and machined out of billet. IN my honest opinion theirs a reason that Caterpillar is the "Gold Standard" as long as it doesn't bear the word "ACERT" anywhere on it. A Pre-Emmsions 3406E is a [censored] good engine. I wish I could go back in time and buy 10 trucks with 15.8L 3460E's in them. I'm hoping the new International "Max force" engines are going to be as reliable as binders DT-466.
 
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