Photo courtesy of Link-Belt
Caterpillar engines go into a variety of heavy equipment, including cranes. Link-Belt is one user of Cat engines.

Caterpillar Inc. doesn't just build engines for its own machines; it also sells them to other heavy equipment makers.

Yesterday's federal consent order involves nearly 600,000 Caterpillar diesel engines that were shipped to dozens of original-equipment manufacturers of trucks and heavy equipment, according to public records obtained by ENR.

The complaint, filed July 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that Caterpillar Inc. shipped 590,282 diesel engines missing emission controls to more than 50 on- and off-road OEMs from 2002 to 2006. A list of impacted models is detailed in the lawsuit (PDF).

Most engines were delivered with their tailpipe controls shipped separately. Under federal law, engines must leave the factory meeting U.S. emissions standards.

In the case of 925 of the engines, the fuel injectors were not programmed correctly, potentially causing the engines to emit excess nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, the lawsuit says.

"The vast majority of these engines has already been addressed in the company's ongoing recall program," Bridget M. Young, a Caterpillar spokeswoman told ENR via e-mail. The Peoria, Ill.-based company will formally notify clients of the recall, she added.

Caterpillar engines are used in a variety of heavy machinery, such as earthmovers, cranes, loggers and farm tractors. They also are the main source of power in many over-the-road trucks.