IPD vs Cat Inframe Kit: For Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Rebuilds

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

Ipd Vs Cat Inframe Kit

Diesel engines are known to be reliable machines that can stand the test of time. However, no matter how reliable, they’ll still experience problems at some point– an indication it’s high time for a rebuild.

Among the most common rebuilds is inframe restoration. While you can find numerous parts from the market, choosing the right product and supplier of inframe rebuild kits is critical.

In this article, we review IPD vs Cat inframe kit to help you decide whether you should go for IPD rebuild kits or OEM Cat parts and see what advantages they have.

Compatibility Always compatible with the engines May not be compatible with the engines
Quality Consistent with the original engine parts quality May have improved quality
Availability Easily available Can be harder to find
Price More expensive Cost-effective


1. OEM Cat


Cat (short for Caterpillar) is one of the strongest contenders in diesel engine manufacturing globally. As an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brand with over a century in the business, Caterpillar has built a name often associated with quality, reliability, and durability.

The Cat inframe overhaul kit is usually designed for their own engines, containing genuine parts built to exact specifications. As such, you can rebuild your engine’s essential components for optimal performance.

Depending on your needed engine rebuilding parts, you can choose among Cat’s Precious Metal overhaul kits, categorized into four options: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.

Over the years, Cat has established a robust global distribution network, making their rebuild kits readily available. This allows your engine rebuild quest to be more convenient and accessible.

2. IPD kits


Inframe Performance Diesel (IPD) is a trustworthy brand that offers aftermarket truck parts that can rival the quality and warranty of OEM brands. As a budget-friendly alternative to OEM parts, IPD lets you rebuild your engine without breaking the bank.

IPD has been in the highway products manufacturing and distribution business for decades, starting from 1955. Even in the company’s early days, it already has some history with Caterpillar as it packages and sells gaskets for Cat engines.

Today, IPD is committed to developing more cost-saving aftermarket parts while advancing design and quality. True to this, IPD has made a name for itself by developing its proprietary innovation in steel-top pistons.

The company has also patented numerous engine parts designs and technology while awaiting newer patents. A testament to why IPD should be in your rebuild options.


OEM and aftermarket engine parts have traditionally been distinctive from one another. Here are the features that differentiate OEM Cat and IPD aftermarket inframe kits.

1. Compatibility


The clearest distinction between IPD and Cat inframe’s kits is that the latter is specifically built to match  the original component’s specs, ensuring engine performance and durability. As such, these kits are seamlessly compatible with their engines.

Meanwhile, IPD primarily produces aftermarket engine components as replacement parts for heavy-duty engines. Therefore, these components may not always be compatible with the engines.

2. Quality


As an OEM brand, Cat’s product quality is undeniably impressive. These parts can last for years—a big reason old-school mechanics continue to stick to OEM Cat components.

However, IPD’s quality is remarkable as well. In fact, IPD aftermarket kits are praised for being comparable to Cat in terms of design and construction.

In addition, as IPD has the liberty of not having to stick to the engines’ precise specifications, they can produce improved components over the original parts. For instance, IDP parts feature steel-top pistons instead of original aluminum for enhanced durability.

3. Availability


In terms of availability, Cat is the better option. With its extensive global distribution, Cat OEM parts are more accessible and readily available than IPD. That said, IPD is gradually expanding its supply and distribution networks.

4. Price


One of the most common differences between aftermarket and OEM parts is their prices. IPD inframe kits remain a cost-effective alternative that does not compromise quality, making it an economical option rather than just being cheap.

On the other hand, OEM Cat parts come with a more premium price driven by the brand’s reliability and quality. For instance, a Cat inframe overhaul kit (with piston included) for 3306 engines can cost $1,836 to $2,129, whereas the same kit from IPD may cost roughly $1,500.

Which is Better?

While both IPD and Cat inframe kits can make a good choice, it is important to consider some factors before finalizing your purchase.

  • List your engine specifications, budget, and brand preference among essential considerations.

While IPD has an innovative approach to improving upon original components, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically compatible with your engine specs.

  • Budget-wise, IPD gets the upper hand over Cat. The former is dedicated to manufacturing economical parts with unquestionable quality. While Cat can give you better confidence, its OEM remains more expensive.
  • On the other hand, if you stick to brand preference as your main purchasing factor, make sure to consider the brand’s services, warranty, and kit inclusions to maximize the value of how much you pay.

For example, Cat offers a warranty of 1 to 2 years on their parts, provided that the total operating hours have not exceeded the limit. Meanwhile, IPD has a 2-year warranty with unlimited hours of operation.

  • While IPD and Cat provide their respective warranties, their availability and accessibility of parts and services are a huge difference, especially if you’re in a trucking business whose engine can fail at any time and place.


Like any other brand choice, deciding between IPD vs Cat inframe kit should be grounded in different factors. You must compare their advantages and disadvantages against each other and see what best suits your needs and preferences.

Ultimately, your decision to either go with the Cat or IPD inframe kit should rest on an informed decision. Before purchasing, you can read publications and attend car shows and community events to be well-informed.

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