Problems With CAT C15 Diesel Engine Camshafts

Is your camshaft failing? Do you need a replacement camshaft? Not sure how you would know? 

We're bringing you the most common symptoms to watch for if your Caterpillar C15 camshaft is the cause of problems in your engine!

Camshafts play a critical role in the operation of your diesel engine. All components must perform the functions with precise timing in relation to the motion of the piston. When a camshaft fails, it can have a noticeable effect on your diesel engine. 

We put together some common symptoms that your CAT C15 diesel engine camshaft has failed.

Want to know more? Watch our video on the topic:


Looking for diesel engine replacement parts? Our ASE Certified Technicians have the know-how to get you the right parts for your diesel engine!

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What are the Symptoms of Failure in a CAT C15 Diesel Engine?


cat c15 camshaft problems | Highway & Heavy Parts


Here are three common symptoms that the camshaft has failed in your C15 engine:


Poor Performance

If you're having problems with your camshaft, you might notice a decrease in your C15's performance. This can include stalls, rough idle, or slow acceleration. 

The check engine light might come on in your dashboard, or a failed camshaft might cause your engine not to start at all.


Pitting on the Camshaft

Pitting is something else that could cause your diesel camshaft to fail. It might occur on the cam lobe from normal operationhours and hour of operation. But, pitting could also be caused from other factors, like debris in the engine caused by an unrelated failure, lack of lubrication from blocked passages, or too much clearance. High heat and friction can break the cam caps.

To help reduce the heat and friction, it's important to ensure your camshaft is properly lubricated. Mainly, this should be between the pin and roller and the lobe and roller. Reducing the friction will in turn reduce the wear on your camshaft.

It's also possible that the pitting could have started as soon as your camshaft was installed. If everything wasn't clean on install and the oil passages weren't clear, then dirt and debris would start damaging your camshaft right away. That's why proper install techniques are vital to a properly-functioning engine.

Interested in pitting in camshafts? Check out our blog on excessive lobe wear.


Improperly Functioning Lifters

Lifters that don't function correctly can leave gouging on the lobes of the lifter and on the camshaft itself. This could be caused by a lifter out of position, a weak valve spring, lack of oil pressure, or overspeeding. 


What Should I do About a Failed Camshaft in My C15?

If your diesel cam has failed, odds are you're going to want to replace it. Highway & Heavy Parts offers a variety of camshafts for the CAT C15 engine. Be sure to have your engine serial number ready when ordering to ensure we get you the right camshaft for your particular engine.

If you're purchasing a new diesel engine camshaft, you're going to want to ensure that it's being installed correctly. The exact process depends on your engine itself, but there are a few general tips to follow:

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for proper torque
  • Make sure timing alignment is correct when taking out the camshaft and putting the new one in
  • Don't scratch the bearing when removing the old cam and inserting the new one
  • Make sure all components are clean and free of debris

Want more install tips? Check out our post on how to install a diesel engine camshaft.


Overall, a poorly functioning or failed camshaft can severely impact how your CAT C15 functions. Make sure that your engine is running at its best and let Highway & Heavy Parts get you the right parts!


If you've purchased a new camshaft, you might be wondering if your old one will be accepted as a core. Read our blog about what makes a good camshaft core to find out more!

Looking to buy a new camshaft for your C15? We have ASE Certified Techs on staff who can make sure you're getting the right camshaft for your diesel engine! Give them a call at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online!