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Caterpillar 3208TA Life expectancy?

Discussion in 'Engines' started by KtKev, Apr 11, 2011.

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  1. KtKev

    KtKev New Member

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    Hi , the admiral and I have been looking at liveaboards and are getting differing opinions regarding the life of the caterpillar 3208TA rated @375 HP.
    Would like to hear any input on the subject. I understand how the motors were maintained and run will effect them.

    thanks Kevin
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I think they go around 3500+ hrs in the 375hp version........I do know that CAT remaned 3208's are relatively cheap.
  3. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Depends how hard they've worked (how much fuel has passed through them) and how they've been taken care of.

    I've seen 375hp 3208's in 35' sportfishers with 7000 hours on them.
  4. captjb

    captjb New Member

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    And more.
  5. KtKev

    KtKev New Member

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    they are currently in a 48 offshore yachtfisher, I don't know how hard they were run. the boat has made several trips up and down the east coast. Are diesels put through compression tests like gas engines?
  6. Robertoman

    Robertoman Member

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    If the engines have been maintained they should have plenty of life left in them, as a liveaboard you probably won't be putting a whole lot of hours on them, and if you continue to maintain them correctly those CATS will last a loooong time.

    Rob
  7. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    I ran a 3208 320 HP version and my partner boat had the 375's. Mine lasted much longer, but both if treated right were fine engines.
  8. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Great engines. They have a greater propensity over time, however, to run hot at high rpms.
    To aid in their longevity, run some de-scaler through the raw water circuit periodically.
  9. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

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    What Loren said. I have 435 3208TAs in my Viking SC and made a de-scaler circulation system and run de-scaler once a year, keeps the engines running at good temps during WOT tests. The 375 hp 3208s were considered excellent engines if taken care of. The most important thing is to keep up on the heat exchangers and aftercoolers and dont run them too hard. As with any diesel, if you want to see thousands of hours then dont run them at over 65% or so of max fuel burn on long runs and try to keep to the D or E rating for long term average fuel consumption.
  10. Kapn

    Kapn Member

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    blowby tests

    The important thing is the blowby test. They measure the blowby in cubic feet per minute. I think that re manufactured specs are something under 700cu/ft/min at wide open throttle. They should be near that or under. It all depends on how hard they've been run. They all smoke when cold and most smoke when warm. That's why they had trouble getting them past the tightening EPA regs in the late 1990's. But there sure are a lot of them running around with some pretty high hours (5k-8k).
  11. KtKev

    KtKev New Member

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    thanks, I havent heard of the D or E rating I've been a gas burner for the last 22 years.They were always 3/4 throttle. Could you explain please.
  12. KtKev

    KtKev New Member

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    how do you perform a blow by test?
  13. Silver Lining

    Silver Lining Member

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    The 375 hp 3208 TAs are an E rated engine as are most high performance leisure diesels. That means they are "rated" to run at 30% of max fuel burn on average over for the life of the engine. The E rating is used by the engine manufacturers for warranty, maintanence and rebuild schedules. If you travel long distances on plane this is hard to meet but running at 65% of WOT fuel burn or less when on plane is considered a reasonable consumption level by many. FWIW My engines dont smoke at all at cruise or under acceleration once at operating temperatures.
  14. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Wow ... that's quite a hissing, smoking, fire breathing crankcase vent you've got there! I can't imagine what it must have been like before the reman!

    How about 1 cubic foot per hour per horsepower or less for blowby?
  15. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    If you were getting 1400 cfm/min out of your twin engine setup you would be entering a whole new phase of propulsion where the engine consumes it's own combustion by products at a very elevated rate indeed.


    Also with that much blowby you might want to solder the dipstick in to stop it and the sumps contents being blown out by the CC Press.

    I did a quick readup on this and see that the max recommended BB is under 10 cfm/min so given a bit for environmental variables I would say Marmots numbers are pretty close to the mark.
  16. KtKev

    KtKev New Member

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    thank you, regarding your read up, where can I find info on engines?
  17. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
  18. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Cat stopped making the 3208's a few years ago, but should still have parts for them. Make sure you change all the zincs (I think there may be one in the exhaust, like I had on a 36 Chris Craft I ran). Good engines but smoky if not tuned properly. There is one engine water hose that is buried I think behind the alternator that needs to be changed every few years. If you ever pull the engines change the hose. Also, had to replace the pans since these engines sat very low in the bilge on the CC and picked up salt water which corroded the pans, so check yours. New pans should be coated if this is the case.
    Good luck.