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Old 04-25-2019, 06:20 PM   #1
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Cost to replace Cat 3208N

Hi-

My wife and I are looking at trawlers with Cat 3208N engines..all with 5K hours or more.

Can anyone provide a guesstimate on what this engine would cost to rebuild and/ or replace?

I know there are other variables and I am just looking at ballpark.. 10K or 100K ?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:59 PM   #2
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Depending on exact model: an inframe engine kit costs about $1200. A cylinder kit about $100. Engine kit is new sleeves, pistons, rings, main & rod bearings, some small parts and necessary gaskets. A sleeve kit is a liner, piston and rings for one cylinder.

In addition heads would be sent to a diesel head rebuilder, the injectors and injector pump usually are rebuilt at the same time. If it was my boat and I was the mechanic, it would cost less than $5000 an engine. If you can find a good mechanic that can do the rebuild in the boat the labor should be under $10 grand an engine. If you pull the engines and have Cat do it it could run $30 grand an engine.

Best places for cost are farm or industrial diesel service businesses.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:05 PM   #3
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I thought a 3208 was not sleeved. 5K hours isn’t too much depending on how it was maintained.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:15 PM   #4
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Last time I checked with local Cat specialist he said $18,000 to $22,000. There are other factors though if an engine with that time already needs a rebuild. Injection pump may need work, risers could be shot among other things. There are some here who can elaborate better than I.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:33 PM   #5
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A well maintained Cat (or any other brand) shouldn't need a rebuild at 5000 hrs. What makes you think it needs a rebuild? These engines are made for thousands of hours....
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:36 PM   #6
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I am just looking at worst case scenario and complete rebuild or new engine. I am unfamiliar with these engines. My wife and I are getting started with offshore coastal cruising...coming from inshore rivers and smaller everything.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:37 PM   #7
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A reman long block is under $10,000. This is only part of the answer. There is removing and installing. Depending on the boat this could be as low as $2500 and easily $10,000. Then there are all the accessories. Do they need replacement. If you wanted all new, starter, alternator, raw water pump, circulation pump, injection pump, heat exchangers, exhaust, hoses, belts..... We’ll this could easily add up to another $10,000.

So if you killed an engine because you ran it out of oil or sucked a bag and cooked it. You might get away with a $15,000 bill. If you wanted a new everything engine it could cost you $30,000 to $40,000.

So to better answer your question, what do you consider a rebuild.

I have 4500 hrs on my 3208’s and they are 32 years old. I don’t see a rebuild in the future but I have already replaced with new the raw water pumps, alternators, circulation pumps, hoses and belts. I will probably replace the starters soon. In the next 5 years I will probably over haul the injection pumps and the heat exchangers. I doubt I will live long enough to do a long block.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:39 PM   #8
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Very smart to be thinking that way. Hope for the best, plan for the worst!

Quote:
Originally Posted by palasz View Post
I am just looking at worst case scenario and complete rebuild or new engine. I am unfamiliar with these engines. My wife and I are getting started with offshore coastal cruising...coming from inshore rivers and smaller everything.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:41 PM   #9
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Well, we had been looking at some Nordic Tugs with what I thought were low hours (under 3K) and several of them needed a lot of engine work after surveys and it was really adding up fast.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palasz View Post
Well, we had been looking at some Nordic Tugs with what I thought were low hours (under 3K) and several of them needed a lot of engine work after surveys and it was really adding up fast.
Here are some ramblings:

What sort of work is being recommended? Normal is not necessarily cheap, such things as pulling an after cooler for cleaning, new belts and hoses, clean cooling system, new raw water pump, replace exhaust elbow etc.

Best now to list what needs doing on your favored boat's engine and adjust offer accordingly. Then DO the work once the vessel is yours. But if any engine normal maintenance issues forestall a proper sea trial it is up to the owner to fix first.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palasz View Post
I am just looking at worst case scenario and complete rebuild or new engine. I am unfamiliar with these engines. My wife and I are getting started with offshore coastal cruising...coming from inshore rivers and smaller everything.
Good thought process, but I wouldn’t worry too much. The engine was designed to last thru 30k gallons of fuel.

3208 series are parent blocks- no sleeves. If you have to do an inframe, you may be able to bore in place- but, given its NA, I wouldn’t worry. It it were the TA 435 version, I’d be slightly more concerned about longevity.

Clean fuel and oil, keep it cool, you’re golden.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:33 PM   #12
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With decent maintenance and frequent use, 3208NAs should last beyond 10-15k hours. It is a 10 liter engine producing only 210 hp. No aftercooler to leak, no turbo. In a completely different league than today's engines.

One area to watch are the cast iron wet risers. They last a long time but when they eventually leak into the engine, it can get expensive. Upgrading to dry risers is an option. We did that at 7,300 hours.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:36 PM   #13
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I quoted a cat long block last year at 12k. If I were buying, I’d plan on zeroing the hours of the water pumps, heat exchanger and HE end caps, the exhaust risers and all belts/hoses, also do a quick valve adjust. You could well have a perfectly running engine and no survey deficiencies, but this would still be my minimal budget. Should run roughly $5k per engine and set them up to be happy for a long time.

If they had higher hours or slobbering, I might consider doing heads, but even cat recommends a lot more hours before that is slated, you will have to own the boat a long time to get there.

Lots of people won’t do any of this until it breaks, I like to have the machinery in a known state and this is what it would roughly cost to do so. I would not ignore the heat exchanger, at this age metal end caps are often going to be close to failure.
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:42 PM   #14
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Ok. I appreciate all of these answers. I see that this engine may be mechanically more simple compared to the Cummins engines on the NT....that had the turbo and intercoolers... On to the next topic....cored hulls... I will post separately...
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:00 PM   #15
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My 3208 needed its valves adjusted pretty often. I did it every 2 years or 750 hours. I did run it pretty hard. Normal 2550rpm and around 900f if I remember correctly. I leased the boat for a few years and the valves did not get adjusted as needed. Ended up bending a push rod and doing some other damage. My Cat dealer told me one nice thing was if it needed to be bored you only had to bore the bad cylinders. Cat built the over size pistons to the same weight as stock so 30 and 60 over size cylinders all balanced.
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:50 PM   #16
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LaConner Maritime should be able to give you good info on what to expect regarding these Cat engines. 5000 hrs. is not even halfway to needing major work if they have been maintained.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:39 PM   #17
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I bought a boat with a pair of 3208's na, and can attest they are great running and pretty efficient.....at 25 years old, we still get 2 mpg at 8 knots in a 42 foot 36000 lb trawler. I had the 2000 hour service done on both engines for about $6 k, and that included full cooling service and valve overhead adjustment, belts, hoses, caps, gaskets, impellers, zincs.....great peace of mind following purchase because everything is brought up to snuff. Run clean fuel, maintain cooling performance and run them at mid to late teens, and they will out last a couple of owners. A great resource is to join boatdiesel.com, search for all the articles on 3208 engines, and you will get an amazing education on the engine.

Make sure you go over prior maintenance records and get an engine survey and sea trial with an experienced cat diesel mechanic. Northern boats that get pulled every year usually get more consistent maintenance attention.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:13 AM   #18
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I'm in the camp with the "should be fine for a long time" crowd. If you pay attention to the fluids and filters, make sure the Caterpillar supplied temperature and oil pressure alarms work, and keep the risers, sea water impeller and zinc stay in good shape, those engines will outlast you.

That 3208 isn't the best engine Caterpillar ever made, but hey, come on. It still will do it's job very well for a long, long time. I have customers with over 100,000 (one hundred thousand) hours on their Caterpillars, usually around 40,000 between overhauls.

I have a 3116 Caterpillar, 300 hp and it has been as dependable as granite. That said, I make sure to keep up with all the Cat ECNs (service bulletins).

Cat will allow you to log in to their service and parts database so you can check personally. You need to get a password, but it's free. Then you log on with your machines serial number, and you get the info for your exact configuration and build date. You can even see the test data from when it was test run at the factory. Just ask the parts department at your local Cat dealer.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:41 AM   #19
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For a quick overview of what commercial rebuilds or parts might cost

https://www.boats-and-harbors.com/

https://www.rockanddirt.com/

are good basic price resources .
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