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catmastertech, Technician
Category: Heavy Equipment
Satisfied Customers: 2334
Experience:  19 years Cat, 3 years Case
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Dozer..trouble with steering, rebuilt steering valves

Resolved Question:

I have a 1973/74 Caterpillar D3 dozer. From the beginning. Having trouble with steering, rebuilt steering valves. Went to start dozer, Would not crank over fast enough to fire, Gave it 24volts it started sounded at first like it had a stuck valve but it smoothed out. Then the engine started to load up idle dropped and it stalled. Once again 24volts got it cranking over pretty fast and it started. But after a few minutes it started to load it was then I noticed anti freeze starting to leak out at head gasket around #4 cylinder. Shut it down. Pulled head sent it out to be gone through. Made sure engine would turn over Some signs of wear on cylinder walls but it is a 1973. #4 piston seemed a little sloppier than the other three. Re-assembled engine set valves, primed fuel but it still turns over hard. This is with a brand new battery and 4year old starter. Do not want to risk further damage by using 24v to get it [email protected]
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Heavy Equipment
Expert:  J.R. replied 7 years ago.
Have you made sure the ground cable and positive cable are in good condition? If the cables have not been replaced in a while peel back the insulation on the cables and see if you see the green corrosion. If you do the cables could be the problem why it is hard starting without using 24 volts
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Both positive and negative cables are in very good condition. When I first got it running after using 24v to get it really cranking over fast , it ran fine for about 3 minutes then the RPM's started to drop on their own like the engine was under severe load. Transmission was in neutral rpm's continued to drop until it stalled out. Had to use 24v to even get the engine to turn over on second try (should have fired on new battery alone) But 24v was only way to get it to turn fast. It started again but that's when I noticed anti freeze coming out from between cylinder head and block. Also noticed as rpm's began to drop on their own that the arm on the governor was actually forcing itself back causing the throttle linkage to bend What could cause this kind stress/load on engine? After having head re-done I'm afraid to use 24v to get it turning over fast. It has always started fine using just the 12v battery 1050 CCA's. Also when I had cylinder head off I had the radiator rebuilt it was in really bad shape.
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

Could your hydraulic system be loading the engine causing the drag?

Is the starter new?

Try connecting jumper cables from you 12 volt battery straight to the starter as a bypass test.

The governor has springs in it that will push against the throttle, nothing that could bend linkage though.

How is the engine oil pressure?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The starter was replaced about 5 years ago. Did bypass test still turns over but not fast enough to fire. Oil pressure gauge is not working. I replaced it though when I replaced the head gasket. But I haven't started it since. What could be causing the hydraulic system to load the engine? Could it be something within the transmission?
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

If you have a lever that sticks and has to be centered by hand to prevent unwanted movement, it could add load to the engine when cranking.

The torque convertor, if it has damage, could load the engine too. I don't think you said anything about transmission trouble so, I doubt this is your problem.


I always try to go to the basics first. I would have a real heavy load test done to the battery. If you can get an clamp-on type amp-meter. Test the cranking load through the cables. Then I would have the starter tested. Find a shop people trust, too many just sale parts.


The wear you saw on the cylinder walls, did it look like a piston could be seizing? I have replaced several 3204 engines due to wrist pin failure and seizure of the #4 piston.

I am concerned about the water leak. Did you notice any of the pistons that looked clean? They should be black from soot build-up.

Does the engine spin easy by hand?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I haven't had any trouble with the control levers sticking. But originally, before all the problems I am having now. I was having issues with the steering not being very responsive and as crazy as this may sound it seemed as if fluid was transfering some how between the transmission and the bevel gear box? First time the tranny fluid level went high (about 2 gallons) The bevel gear case was low (about 2 gallons). Then a couple days later the reverse happened. The bevel case was up about 1 gallon and the tranny was down about 1 gallon. This is when I decided to rebuild the steering valves. I didn't have very responsive steering even thuogh the dozer would travel fine forward and backward (sometimes it was sluggish when first using it after sitting for awhile) but for the most part it was the steering that was giving me trouble. I really don't believe that I hooked up the lines incorrectly when I re-installed the steering valves, but could this really be the reason the engine is under so much load? What if I drain all the fluid from tha transmission? Dissconnect lines to steering valves? I was able to bump the engine over once I removed the cylinder head but I had to use the starter I could not turn it over by hand. Once it was moving (short increments) I could move it by hand using a socket and breaker bar. Not easy, but I could turn it in small increments. Is there any way I can test to determine if there the torque converter has failed. If I drain the fluid from the tranny would this in any way aid in relieving any load that is being placed on the engine. I am starting to think that maybe there was something wrong internally with the transmission that caused the engine to load and blow the head gasket. Could it be the steering valves lines being hooked up incorrect? Will draining the fluid help? I know the radiator was not cooling effectivley had it re-cored. Would a defective wrist pin cause the engine to load that much? Thanks for all of your help so far.
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

The engine problems I repaired were mostly from overheating. Radiator, fan belts and water pumps were the root cause. This high heat would cause the piston to start seizing in the bore. This drag would add wear to the wrist pin bearing and it would cause it to wear out early. It happens to #4 because it is the furthest from the water pump. You would get a light knock that is most pronounced when the engine is decelerating. It will change its sound when the fuel line is loosened to "cutout" the cylinder.

The head gasket failure is common on this engine too. Heat again was the cause.


The transmission transferring oil with the bevel gear case likely happen when the machine worked up hill one day and down hill on the other. It has a seal in the rear of the transmission but, a rebuild is needed to access it.


The steering lines would not work if something was crossed. The most common failure on these tractors is the valve control bearings wear out and don't release the steering clutch correctly. You will have to force a turn to get it to do anything.


Just turn the drive shaft by hand, it should turn with some effort but, not need a bar to do this. Normally it can be done by hand but, not always. After it first moves it should turn a little easier. If you must force it, then you may have a problem.

There are far too many issues to get into now about testing convertors. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is it still should start fine if the shaft turns easy and most problems are overheating the oil.


Be sure to double check the starting system, I have skipped over this simple stuff before and it always came back to bite me.

You should be able to remove the injectors and have the starter spin the engine easily.

I hope this is being helpful, let me know if I may be going in the wrong direction.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Will I have to disconnect the drive shaft from the bevel gear? The injectors are PC type. How do I go about releasing the pressure in the combustion chambers to make sure the engine is spinning freely?Would a worn wrist pin cause the engine to turn over hard?

Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

Sorry, I was thinking your tractor was of the later design were the transmission was attached to the bevel gear. Removing the driveshaft will not help much on your model.

The PC type injectors only need the fuel line and then the body nut removed to pull the injector. To install the injector, tighten nut to 100 ft-lbs.

The wrist pin would not cause the dragging. The scarred walls from the piston flopping in the bore will cause the dragging.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The problem is you need a special socket to remove the body nut which I do not own one. The walls on #4 did have some scoring (more than the other three cylinders) they were not all around the bore but in parallel with the crankshaft. So this would mean a worn wrist pin? If so why was I able to get the engine freed up once the head was removed. I had some trouble but with a little penatrating oil and time It turned over by bumping the starter. I was told the engine was hydrolocked?Once the engine was turning then I replaced the rebuilt cylinder head and set the valve clearances. Could a worn wrist pin load the engine that much? Is there no other way I can trouble shoot this problem without having to remove the engine?
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

Please send me your serial number so I won't be guessing about the model tractor you have.

I doubt small scarring will cause trouble other than burning oil. If it has heavy wear this will cause more wear on the piston and as soon as the engine warms-up, it will bind. Cold probably won't bind the engine.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The serial # XXXXX XXXXX Where do I go from here?
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

Pulling the injectors is the easiest way to check how the engine will spin free.

The torque is only 55ft-lbs and tool required is a 5P0144, I don't remember it being a special socket but, I have only done one PC engine like this one.

Did the starter test ok?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Before I go tearing apart what I just had rebuilt. I would like to go back to the begining when I rebuilt the steering valves. Is there any possible way if I somehow got the lines crossed when I re-installed the steering valves that this would cause the engine to act as if it was under load. I know if I hook it up to 24v it will crank over fast enough to start but I don't want to do further damage to the engine. Especially if I crossed the steering valve lines or if something in the transmission has failed. If you could provide me with diagram or detailed scetch of what lines go in which positions on the steering valves it would be greatly appreciated.
Expert:  catmastertech replied 7 years ago.

Here is a picture of the lines group. It may help.



Here is an operations drawing for the steering system.




1. Stem. 2. Spring. 3. Spool. 4. Oil Line. 5. Steering valve. 6. Steering pedal (for left turn). 7. Brake pedal. 8. Steering pedal (for right turn). 9. Oil line. 10. Oil line. 11. Transmission. 12. Adjustment bolt. 13. Hydraulic piston. 14. Yoke. 15. Steering clutch.

This view shows the machine in the STRAIGHT FORWARD position. The pressure oil in the line (10) from the transmission is stopped at the steering valve (5). Oil from the hydraulic piston (13) goes through line (4) to the steering valve (5), to the reservoir of the transmission through line (9).


I hope this is what you are asking . Let me know if you need more.

catmastertech, Technician
Category: Heavy Equipment
Satisfied Customers: 2334
Experience: 19 years Cat, 3 years Case
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