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Old 08-09-2016, 07:00 AM   #1
seasalt007's Avatar
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CAT 31 Series Any Good?

I remember that back in the 1990's the 31 series CATs had problems. I am referring to the 3116, 3126, 3176, 3196 engines. Seems like it involved the heads and it also seems like the country of France was involved. I can't remember the exact details.

Several of the boats I am interested in buying have these engines that were manufactured in the 90's or early 2000's. Many of them are showing engine hours of 3000 and up.

I also remember that a recall was issued so I am wondering if all the problems were fixed and if I should be hesitant in buying a boat powered with a 31 series.

Any information, historical or experiential, would be appreciated.

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Old 08-09-2016, 07:07 AM   #2
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Caterpillar Class Action Lawsuit from BoatUS

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Old 08-09-2016, 07:50 AM   #3
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any of the 31 series that are around today are ok provided proper maintenance is done and run correctly, the higher strung ones in sport-fisherman had some issues, but then again many companies struggled in that sector at one time or another. In a trawler I would have no issues with them.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:01 AM   #4
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A friend has a pair of 1998 300 hp 3116 engines with approx 2500 hours . For 18 years now these engines have been outstanding . One failed solenoid in the first season under warranty. That's it. No smoke no problems. From what I've read most problems were pre 98. If you are looking at engines in the 3000 he range I would hope they would be past all those early problems
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:32 PM   #5
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The 3116 and 3126 are in one family, the 3176 and 3196 are in another. No common between the two families. 3126B is a computer engine, very different from the mechanical 3126 predecessor.

All the above engines have their quirks and weak spots, but in a trawler I would not be afraid of them at all. The only ones I have seen that had trouble were in boats where the engines were run HARD. Planing boats like sportfish, Grand Banks semi displacement trawlers with a heavy throttle hand, plowing away at 14kts. Those guys can kill these engines.

Run them modestly, take care of them, and you should get good service.

I also find them to be low smoke, efficient, and generally have good manners. I like their sound, too.
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