Routine Maintenance for Caterpillar C-18 ACERT Tier 3 Engines: A Yacht Owner’s Guide

Welcome to our blog dedicated to yacht owners with Caterpillar C-18 ACERT Tier 3 engines. The C-18 ACERT is a powerful and reliable engine, perfect for powering your yacht, but it requires routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly. This blog will explore the essential steps for maintaining your C-18 ACERT engine to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

  1. Regularly Inspect and Replace Air Filters:

A clean air filter is crucial for ensuring efficient combustion in your engine. Check your air filter regularly and replace it when it becomes dirty or clogged. The replacement frequency depends on your operating environment, but a good rule of thumb is to replace the filter every 250 hours or once a year.

  1. Change the Engine Oil and Filter:

Engine oil is essential for lubricating the engine and reducing wear on its moving parts. Change the oil and filter every 250 hours or once a year for optimal performance. Use the recommended oil grade (typically SAE 15W-40) and ensure the oil level is within the specified range.

  1. Inspect and Adjust the Drive Belts:

Drive belts on the engine should be checked for wear, cracks, and proper tension at least once a year. Replace the belt immediately if you find any signs of wear or damage. Adjust the tension as needed to ensure the proper function of the alternator, water pump, and other belt-driven components.

  1. Check and Replace Fuel Filters:

Your C-18 ACERT engine has primary and secondary fuel filters that should be replaced every 500 hours or once a year. Keeping these filters clean is crucial for preventing contaminants from entering the fuel system and damaging the injectors and fuel pumps.

  1. Coolant System Maintenance:

Regularly inspect the coolant system, including the radiator, hoses, and coolant levels. Replace the coolant every two years or as recommended by Caterpillar. Check for leaks or damage and replace any faulty components to prevent overheating.

  1. Inspect the Exhaust System:

The exhaust system should be inspected for leaks and corrosion, especially in the exhaust manifold, turbocharger, and exhaust piping. Repair or replace any damaged components to maintain engine performance and efficiency.

  1. Valve Lash Adjustment:

Valve lash adjustment is essential for maintaining proper engine performance and reducing emissions. Caterpillar recommends checking and adjusting the valve lash every 2,000 hours. Follow the specific procedure outlined in your engine’s service manual.

  1. Keep an Eye on the Electronics:

Modern engines like the C-18 ACERT have sophisticated electronic systems that require regular monitoring. Keep an eye on the engine’s diagnostic codes and address any issues as they arise.


Proper Caterpillar C-18 ACERT Tier 3 engine maintenance is essential to keep your yacht running smoothly and efficiently. Following the steps outlined in this blog and adhering to Caterpillar’s recommended maintenance schedule ensures your engine remains in top condition for years. As always, consult your engine’s service manual for more detailed maintenance procedures and guidelines specific to your engine model.

If you are looking for good Diesel mechanic recommendations for any engine in your yacht, contact me today, and I will send you a few contacts.

Paul Denton ~ Denison Yachting


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