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Old 09-01-2018, 03:42 PM   #1
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Question Perkins TV8.540 M vs CAT 3208 TA

Seriously looking a 2 very similar boats with the biggest variant being the power plants; 1 has twin Perkins TV.8.540's and the other with twin CAT's 3208 TA's. Similar hp and hours as well as age. Any thoughts on preference? We would use the boat as a live aboard, cruise the Great Lakes with a good chances to cruise the Great Loops in future years. Items of concern; reliability, economy and resale value.
Thanks for any advice to a newby
Willcocon
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:50 PM   #2
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TV8 540 has been out of production a long time and I am pretty sure parts availability is very poor. 3208 also has been out of production, but remains supported by Cat.

Go Cat.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:23 AM   #3
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"has been out of production, but remains supported "


The key to sleeping well with any boat/engine purchase.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:02 AM   #4
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The Cat is probably the better engine, but also the most expensive for parts.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
TV8 540 has been out of production a long time and I am pretty sure parts availability is very poor. 3208 also has been out of production, but remains supported by Cat.

Go Cat.
Both engines are long out of production.

The Perkins brand is now owned by Caterpillar, but I don't have any experience with parts availability from that source.

Perkins was part of Massey-Ferguson, and all Perkins engines are well supported by Agco, who now own the MF name.

Check with your local dealers of both brands.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:36 AM   #6
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Perkins parts for virtually every Perkins engine built are available from part4engines.com who are the OE suppliers. Those V8's were originally designed and built by Rolls-Royce diesels of Crewe where I worked on R&D for the military for a while and many are used, and still in service, as standby generators and in the military we used them in some tanks and heavy plant.
The 3208 is also a beautiful engine and I would be more inclined to go for the Cat engined boat simply because Cat is a well known engine purely from a future resale point of view.
Any good engineer will be more than happy with both engines.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:27 AM   #7
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Cats

The 3208 is a hard engine to get a quorum to agree on. there are lots of people who love them and a lot that think they are throwaway's due to not having cylinder sleeves. I have used heavy equipment with them and had only the normal usage break downs, filters fuel injectors, but nothing major. I have a friend with a 39 Blackfin with twin turbo charged 3208s and he loves them.
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Old 09-02-2018, 01:13 PM   #8
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What HP Cats are in the vessel. Not all 3208s were created equal regarding longevity. Not to forget previous (mis) treatment.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:18 PM   #9
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Getting Cat 3208 parts is generally easy as rebuilt ones are all over the place for pretty cheap.

The bigger than 375 hp could be abused pretty quick, but I never heard complaints about the 375 hp and down.
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Old 09-02-2018, 07:50 PM   #10
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Never had any luck with 3208ís in my truck fleet or boats. High rate of crankshaft failure and head gaskets. Non turbos were better, the bigger you go, the faster you blow.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:02 PM   #11
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I’d give the nod to the Cat, especially if it’s a low hp model.
The Perkins V8 has a very poor reputation, and though it came from about the same era as the 3208, there are very few surviving today.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:32 PM   #12
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2 boats next to me are owned by a marina owner and a pro sport fish captain and they both have 3208s in them and the owners love them..

My old boat had 3208Ts and they were 1988s and were still going strong the last couple years after 3 owners that used the boat a lot...probably over 7000 hours now.
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