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Cat 3208 TA . 900 hrs. ? no oil sample yet.

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by dennismc, Nov 22, 2017.

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  1. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    Am a Detroit kinda guy but may have to switch, looked at a boat with the above pair, what's the general experience of these engines, ? have heard that wot can kill head gaskets and power to weight is a bit on the wrong side, maintenance and reliability is more of a concern than anything so any input on those lines would be appreciated.
    Thanks again in advance for the great input from the forum.
  2. Lepke

    Lepke Member

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    Those engines are rated from pleasure to continuous depending on hp and rpm. 235 hp to 450 hp. WOT eventually kills any engine. Especially turbo engines. I've run a number of commercial Cats and with maintenance and a thoughtful skipper are as good or better than Detroits, and I'm a Detroit 2 cycle guy.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Their cooling systems are marginal (at least in the tropic climates), so you have to clean all of the heat exchangers every 2 years or so. They're good motors if you stay below 400 hp with them......the 425 hp shortened the lifespan a bit.....they're high rpm engines, run pretty good, although all of them I've ever run had some visible smoke at idle.....they don't have a lot of low rpm torque so docking is easier with them.
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Can you explain your last sentence? Personally i prefer having a lot of torque when docking as the boat reacts right away as soon as you engage a gear. The down side is obviously that inexperienced skippers need to get used to switch back to neutral pretty quickly...
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    They're high RPM motors (2800 WOT), similar to yanmars. Most of the boats I've run with them over the years have been Sportfish.....a 38' Bertram is one that comes to mind, 35' cabo's are another. Given that they're propped to see 2800, the props don't usually have a ton of pitch.....so when docking they're plenty maneuverable (rarely do you need to use throttle like a gas motor), but they don't lurch all over the place when you bump them in gear......some of the newer electronic diesels on the little SF will kick the cockpit/stern all over the place when you bump them in gear, due to the amount of prop pitch and low rpm torque some of the newer motors have and prop tunnels.
  6. ERTW

    ERTW Member

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    I have 3208 TA 375hp and these motors are very simple to work on, I do all the work myself. The bad is cold starts as these smoke a ton, but once warmed up no issue with smoking out the marina. Lots of info at an online forum for diesels (not sure if I can mention the name but pm me if you want it).
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Our Cat tech was at huckins a few months ago replacing a blown 3208ta. Crank broke and took out the block.
    There are no more new parts from Catipillar. The later ta blocks have different oil passages making them difficult to find. It took a couple of weeks before a good block and crank were found. It's not going to get better.
    Yes, lots of them out there but not like the DD71s. I would consider this if your shopping for a long term boat.
  8. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    Thanks for that, any idea when Cat made that changeover. ?
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    The later blocks? Our expert described the above to me. I am not a Cat expert and would be poorly guessing if it's TA, it has the later block.

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