Why the Caterpillar 39.3B is the Future of Diesel Engines



Caterpillar ECU: Why the 39.3B is the Future of Diesel


The newly-released Caterpillar Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the Cat C9.3B, is a high-powered ECU with a small design. We think it will inspire competitor's to make similar design changes to their ECUs.

The Cat C9.3B engine's design is smaller, simpler, and yet provides more horsepower (HP) and torque.

Let's take a look at how a lighter engine system can put out 18 percent more power than any of its predecessors.

The Cat C9.3B's 2017 Release

Caterpillar released the new CAT C9.3B in November 2017. Production started in early 2018. Caterpillar is building the C9.3B at their new engine plant in Seguin, Texas, outside of San Antonio.

The Caterpillar ECU is the result of customer requests. They asked for a simpler engine configuration that also provides more power. Customers also expressed a desire for a modular design.

That design allows them to integrate the ECU into their various systems. Of course, all this had to come with the durability and reliability you expect of a Caterpillar ECU.

The Cat C9.3B's Features

This Caterpillar ECU has a lighter engine system with a simpler design than other CPUs. It is a six-cylinder, 9.3-liter platform.


The C9.3B runs from 335 to 456 horsepower and does so at speeds of 1,800 to 2,200 rpm. The maximum torque falls at 1,400 rpms. And it measures 1,540 foot-pounds.

Smaller Design

It has a streamlined after treatment that is 30% smaller than the previous models, which is the Stage/Tier. That makes it about 309 pounds lighter than those earlier models. It also features a six-cylinder turbocharged engine.

Engineers reduced the system mass by 95 kG. Finally, they also simplified the air system. This makes for smaller radiator packaging.

Diesel Progress interviewed Christopher Massey and discussed the new ECU. Massey is a commercial manager for Caterpillar within their industrial engine group.

Massey stated that this smaller design "allows our customers to use a 9-liter engine in a space where they traditionally used a 13-liter engine."

New Exhaust After Treatment System

The new exhaust after treatment system is one reason for the lighter design. The new system is 55 percent lighter and 39 percent smaller than previous models.

It combines the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) into a single can.

Installation Flexibility

Engineers configured this unit as a module, often called a "clean emissions module." Thus, the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) can place it in different locations about the engine.

Needless to say, this allows for greater installation flexibility.

Engine-Mounted or Remote-Mounted After Treatment

Caterpillar offers engine-mounted after treatment and full industrial power units. Customers can order remote-mounted after treatment as an installation option. The remote-mounted option requires extra coolant, wiring, and DEF effects.

Efficient Cooling System

This Caterpillar ECU has an inlet throttle valve. This is how it manages heat and in-cylinder dosing for regenerating DPF.

Caterpillar used a high-efficiency, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system to remove Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) from the engine.

No EGR means the engine has less plumbing on the side. Less plumbing means fewer parts and fewer service requirements. With this, some customers can optimize. They can reduce the size of their cooling packages.

Upgraded Fuel System for Better Performance and Fuel Efficiency

For better performance, Caterpillar upgraded the fuel system. The C9.3B has a new, high-pressure common rail fuel system.

In most cases, the fuel system will remove the need for fuel coolers. This simplifies the design even more.

Single Electronically Commutated Motor

It also has a cold start capability all the way down to -20 degrees Centigrade. It can do this without aids because of the active speed timing system.

In this Caterpillar ECU, one Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM) controls the fuel, engine, and after treatment. Traditional engines have many ECMs. It also has approximately 13 times more processing power than previous models.

Optimized for Standard Applications

Caterpillar optimized fluid consumption to match the operating cycles of standard equipment and applications. They did this while keeping operating costs low and fuel efficiency high.

Enhanced Connectivity Options

The new Cat C9.3B can perform high-speed communication between the engine ECM and associated telematics hardware. This makes advanced engine monitoring possible.

It also enables onboard analytics. Finally, it also handles remote services such as software updates.

This means customers can perform more advanced data analytics than before. With those analytics, they can deliver better product support. Finally, this ECU will have smoother integration into the many digital strategies that Caterpillar offers.

C9.3B Variants: Two Packages Available for Customers

The C9.3B is available in two different packages. The first package contains only the engine and after treatment. This is for customers who complete their integration themselves.

The second package is more comprehensive than the first. It includes engine, cooling package, after treatment, and air cleaner control module.

There is also a variety of attachment options for customers. They all have less design capability and lower volumes.

Meets Standard Emissions Regulations in Multiple Markets

The Caterpillar ECU meets EPA requirements for Tier 4 Final emissons regulations. It meets the EPA's EU Stage V emissions regulations as well.

Caterpillar is also developing versions of the C9.3B for other markets. Those markets are not as regulated.

Many of Cat's customers ship the engines around the world. It benefits them to be able to repurpose their engines. They can use the engines and not have to worry about the emission requirements for that location.

The Caterpillar ECU for the Future

Along with the new Caterpillar ECU release back in November of 2017, Cat also announced that it would be redesigning the C13B engine. The redesign will give the C13B many of the same functionalities as the C9.3B.

The 13-liter engine is still in Research and Development as of this writing. The anticipated production is between 2019 and 2020. The company is also working on new designs for its 3-liter units, which includes the C2.8 and C3.6.

Implications for the Competition

The advanced this new Caterpillar ECU offers is an alert to the competition. It means that we will see other companies scrambling to redesign some of their units as well.

Caterpillar may stay at the forefront of innovation. Though, the result could mean better machines and more selection for the end user.

Thus, the rollout of this latest model will most likely drive the industry toward higher performance along with higher efficiency and more compact designs.

If you have questions about the Caterpillar ECU and it features, or any other ECU for that matter, please contact us.

Posted On: 27/04/2018

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