Machine Safety & Operation Tips

E1217 (3) – Delayed Engine Shutdown Override 

The Delayed Engine Shutdown has been overridden. The engine will shut down, no troubleshooting required.

Probable Causes for an E1217 Code:

  • An operator turning the key switch to the fourth position or forcing a shutdown prior to DES completing.
  • DES may not be enabled
  • Fuel ran out prior to DES completion
  • Mechanical failure causing the engine to stop prior to DES completion


Did you say the engine might keep running even after I turn it off with the key?

Yes! It’s one of the changes that caterpillar made to support the aftertreatment system.

It won’t happen very often but if it does, it’s completely normal.

When you turn the key to off with Tier four final equipment – the DES feature may activate, and the engine may continue to run for a time in order to cool down the exhaust system.


The “Delayed Engine Shutdown” (DES) feature allows the engine to run after the key switch has been turned to the OFF position. A delayed engine shutdown will allow the engine and exhaust temperatures to cool to an acceptable level prior to shutting the engine down. If the DES is aborted, potential damage to the engine and/or aftertreatment system can occur. These fault codes may indicate that the engine was shut down while the exhaust temperatures were still above the acceptable threshold.



When the event code is triggered, continue to turn OFF the machines following the proper procedure to turn the cab key switch to OFF position. Allow the DES feature to function. DES feature functioning allows the engine and emission system to continue to run, cool, and finish the desired cycles before the engine and emission system shuts OFF.

If you have an emergency that requires an immediate shutdown, turn the key all the way to the left.

But make sure it’s an emergency – forcing an engine shutdown may damage the after-treatment system!



Cat® Tier 4 Final Operator Overview | Delay Engine Shutdown YouTube Video





What is DEF?

DIESEL EXHAUST FLUID – (DEF) is the reactant necessary for the Selective Catalyst Reduction System (SCR system) function. DEF is required for proper aftertreatment operation of your emissions system. It is a carefully blended aqueous urea solution of 30% high purity urea and 70% deionized water (Specifications vary by manufacturer).

When do I add DEF?

The engine needs two things to run – Diesel fuel, and DEF.

So if you fill up the DEF tank every time you fuel up your fuel tank, you’ll always be ready to go. The fuel tank and the DEF tank are sized proportionately, this means that if you start with full tanks you’ll empty them both about the same rate.


What if I run out of DEF?

There are level gauges in the cab to indicate DEF level.

If you run out of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) your engine will lose power and then it will shut down. If you run out of diesel fuel or DEF, your engine will shut down.


Are there special storage requirements for DEF?

DEF should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight. The optimum storage temperature is up to 77 deg F (25 deg C).


What is the shelf life of DEF?

The shelf life of DEF is a function of ambient storage temperature. DEF will degrade over time depending on temperature and exposure to sun light. Expectations for shelf life as defined by ISO Spec are the minimum expectations for shelf life when stored at constant temperatures. If stored between 10 and 90 deg F, shelf life will easily be one year. If the maximum temperature does not exceed approximately 75 deg F for an extended period of time, the shelf life will be two years.

What impact will exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time have on DEF?

DEF exposure to constant, high storage temperature may impact shelf life. Extensive testing in very hot climates has been conducted confirming that DEF stored at a high temperatures will degrade.


Important DEF TIPS:


  • DEF can freeze in cold temperatures, so when you shut off the machine, DEF is emptied out of the lines so that they don’t freeze between shifts.


  • In cold weather the DEF and the tank may freeze, but your machine has a heater in the tank. Upon startup, the DEF will be thawed out automatically.
    DEF expands by approximately 7% when frozen. DEF packaging and tanks are designed to allow for expansion.


  • It’s very important to use the right kind of DEF. Cat equipment is designed for commercial-grade DEF that meets ISO standard 22241-1.


  • Pay attention to contamination control. Start by always cleaning the DEF tank filler cap and the area around it before filling. Ensure that you are always using clean and uncontaminated DEF. Ensure you are using a clean container and funnel.


  • Don’t overfill the DEF tank. DEF is corrosive to some metals and may damage paint. Clean up any spills immediately.
    Only approved materials, such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), will be used in the DEF tank, packaging and dispensing equipment.

Your machines operation and maintenance manual contains information on DEF including contamination control, and the proper storage.


Remember that poor DEF quality can result in performance, aftertreatment, and operational concerns.


Contaminated DEF can lead to Costly Repairs, Operator Inducements, and result in engine derate or system lockout.


–For more information on the effects of DEF and the aftertreatment system refer to the previous article on “E1389 – AFTERTREATMENT #1 SCR OPERATOR INDUCEMENT” —





E1389 – Aftertreatment #1 SCR Operator Inducement

This code is an inducement associated with an emissions system fault. The engine is derated, limited to low idle, and can experience 5 minute rolling shutdowns.


Probable Causes – Codes in the “Selective Catalyst Reduction System” ECM

An E1389 or 5246 code will come active with another associated code in the “Selective Catalyst Reduction System” ECM.

Prevent Failures Before They Happen

Inducement is defined as something that helps bring about an action or a desired result.

The purpose of inducements are to alert the operator that the emissions system requires service or repair.

Inducements can be engine derates, vehicle speed limits, system lockouts, or any other action intended to prompt the operator in performing repair or maintenance on the emissions control system.

Inducement strategies are required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) to ensure the rapid repair of various failures in the engine emissions control system. The EPA/ARB requires control actions that Limit Engine Performance (Engine Derate) and prompt Warning Indicators (Lamps, Messages, Audible Alarms) while operator inducements are active.

If a fault condition goes unresolved for the entire duration of inducement level, the strategy escalates to the next level of inducement code.

An audible alarm will begin to sound 20 seconds prior to the Level 3 inducement.




  • The CEL and EMIL will flash at a faster rate and a red stop lamp will illuminate solid.
  • The engine will have a 100 percent derate and be limited to low idle.
  • If the final inducement action in the electronic service tool is set to “Idle Down”, then engine will continue to idle at derated condition.
  • If set to “Shutdown”, engine will shut down after 5 minutes. The engine may be restarted, but will only run for 5 minutes at derated condition before shutting down again. This action will continue until the issue is resolved.


The Root Cause

These escalating time Operator Inducements will always have an associated fault code along with the inducement fault code. The associated fault is the root cause. The escalating time inducement fault code is just an indicator of what level of inducement the engine is in and how much time remains until the next level of inducement. (The times for each level of inducement may vary depending on the first occurrence or repeat occurrence).

Your machine’s onboard diagnostic system is designed to notify you when something is wrong.


These alerts can help you to identify and correct concerns early – Before they become costly repairs!




Give your machine a brake.

Parking Brake Applied While Machine in Motion – Fault Code 627

Immediate safe shutdown is required.
Caused by driving the machine with the parking brake ON.
E627 will occur if the machine is in motion and the parking brake switch is toggled to the ON position.
Disengage the parking brake before shifting out of neutral.  

Parking brake abuse is due to operator error or Drive-Neutral-Drive park brake drive through.

Parking brake abuse is due to Drive-Neutral-Drive park brake drive through, or engaging the parking brake while in motion. This can cause damage to transmission components, system failure, or premature brake wear. Come to a complete stop before engaging the parking brake.

Don’t Rush Safety

When it comes to machine safety, the brake system is at the top of the list.

Brake Safety is not an afterthought at Caterpillar, but an integral part of all machine and system designs. The parts in the braking system work as hard as those in any other system of your machine

Cat braking system parts ensure your safety, control, and the speed of your Cat machinery under a variety of operating conditions. All of these components need to be in good shape and working properly for your machine to have 100% brake system effectiveness.

Damaged or improperly working brakes will not do the job they are designed to do and will not be as effective when needed, especially in a panic stop situation. This can create a safety concern for the operator and the machine.

Brake abuse generates heat, and can damage brake and transmission system components.
Heat build-up and damaged equipment make the braking system less effective.

Reducing unnecessary wear and tear will keep your maintenance and operating costs down.           

While being able to slow down or stop your machine efficiently in the event of an emergency, will help to avoid accidents and keep your equipment in good shape. Prevent premature wear and component damage by always using your brake system as designed. Never use your parking brake while in motion, and refer to your Cat Owner’s manual for further information specific to your machine.



In 6 months alone H.O. Penn customers have logged over 21,000 cases of Operator Seatbelt Not Fastened While Machine in Motion.

Fault Code E1388 – Operator Seat Belt Unfastened While Machine Is Not Idle 

Activates if the following conditions occur:
1. Key Switch is on.
2. Operator Seat Belt Switch is unfastened.
3. Park Brake is disengaged.
The Operator Seat Belt Action Alarm is active for up to 5 minutes.
Ensure that the operator seat belt is fastened properly. 


This fault can escalate to E1434 – Operator Seat Belt Unfastened

The operator is operating the machine with the seat belt unfastened. Active only event. The event will be active for 5 minutes while the machine is being operated with seat belt unfastened


Seat Belts Save Heavy Equipment Operator Lives

The single most effective step you can take to protect yourself while operating a piece of heavy equipment is to buckle up. Get operators in the habit of strapping in every time they sit down behind the controls.

Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay safe while operating equipment. However, human error always remains a real possibility. Sometimes busy operators simply forget to buckle up— especially if their attention is focused elsewhere.

When it comes to construction equipment caterpillar feels that seat belt use should be second nature. Caterpillar machines contain a multitude of safety features. Few are as easy, as basic, or as important as seatbelts.

For decades caterpillar has encouraged this common sense practice.

The operation and maintenance manual in every caterpillar machine, reminds operators that seatbelts must be worn whenever the operator is seated in the operators compartment.

In the event of a Rollover, Tip Over, Impact, or a Sudden Stop, your seatbelt is designed to keep you in the safe zone.

Fast or slow, big or small, it makes no difference. Your seatbelt does much more than just protect you in the event of collision.

Your seatbelt is a critical component of a larger system that caterpillar uses to keep you safe. If a machine rolls or tips, your seatbelt is intended to keep you within the protected space provided by your machines Rollover Protected Structure (ROPS).

Over the years, Caterpillar Data has consistently shown that operators who wear their seatbelts thereby remain in the protected space of the ROPS, have a dramatically improved chance of walking away unharmed from a rollover, tip over, or sudden stop.

Safety is a full time job – don’t make it a part time practice!

Seatbelts reduce the risk of serious injury. Seatbelts are there for your safety, and that’s something that you should never compromise.

Failure to wear a seat belt not only presents a safety risk, it also may violate local regulations. In fact, seat belt usage is mandatory on many job sites. That means even a single infraction could shut down productivity and possibly cause your company to incur penalties.