The technician at the Caterpillar dealer had told us the part would probably not be in until about noontime, but the earlier we could get there the better to get our place in the queue. So we arrived there about 9 am and spent the rest of the day in the driver’s lounge. They began working on Otto around 11, changing the fuel filters and topping off the fluids. We then went out for a test drive with the diagnostic computer hooked up; while the “check engine” light did not come on and the computer did not come up with any “codes” showing a problem, it still showed a lack of power on the hills. So he went back in and checked the turbo system and there were some loose clamps which could have reduced the power. So back out we went for another test drive, and while there were again no major problems, it still was not running as it should.

So we spent the night in the parking lot at the service center, and the next morning they decided to check the air filter. But let me back tract a little. When they changed the fuel filters, it appeared that the work we had paid for and thought was done in the past, may not have been completed. There are 2 fuel filters and one of them had a date of 2010 on it so had not been changed for 4 years. When they got to the air filter, it was even worse as the original air filter from 2006 was still on the engine. Now these filters on diesels are not like on cars and do not have to be changed very often, but we were under the impression that the air filter had been changed twice since we have had Otto. Going back over our paper work it appears it should have been changed once, but the second time was our fault in that it was on the estimate but not the invoice.

To end this saga, we left there this morning with new filters on the engine and Otto ran better than he has ever run before. Our “personal mechanic” was totally off in the part he told us was needed, and although it was very painful to pay the bill for this service, we learned a valuable lesson. While diesel engines to not require the frequency of service that gasoline engines do, they do have to be maintained on a regular basis in order to carry the load they do. We thought we had done things right, but did not take the time to follow up on the work done and were lucky the price we paid wasn’t higher. We will be more careful in the future.

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