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Old 03-28-2016, 10:01 PM   #1
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Cat 3208 Designed To Die?

I have been reading a few posts about the Cat 3208.
Is it true that they ran the return fuel lines under the valve cover?
And if that is true, when the return fuel lines have a leak how do you know before the engine self destructs either by compromised oil or as a run away?
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:06 PM   #2
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3208 injectors have no return lines. Feed lines only under rocker cover.
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:16 PM   #3
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3208 injectors have no return lines. Feed lines only under rocker cover.

How do you PM those supply lines for leaks?
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:40 PM   #4
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Take rocker covers off and look. Check oil for increased level. Take oil sample and look for dilution.

A large percentage of diesels have some type of fuel plumbing where a leak leads to the lube sump. Nothing unusual with the 3208.
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:39 AM   #5
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Not a sleeved block.
I don't think I want one, these guys say steady high load use wears them quick.
If their not a good highway motor means not a good boat motor.

Viewing a thread - Cat 3208. Just how bad is it?
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:40 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. 717. "If their not a good highway motor means not a good boat motor."

The venerable Ford Lehman was an abject failure as an "over the road" truck engine but when placed in a vessel is quite satisfactory.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:09 AM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. 717. "If their not a good highway motor means not a good boat motor."

The venerable Ford Lehman was an abject failure as an "over the road" truck engine but when placed in a vessel is quite satisfactory.
Reasons for that on the Lehman? I might guess not enough power for a road truck.

My thought is from a durability viewpoint, if it can't survive long term high load revving up running close to its max power, it is not going to be good boat motor.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:44 AM   #8
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Lots of boats out there successfully using the 3208s. Remember, these engines first came out about 40 years ago with parts still available today. For a trawler the 210 NA may well outlast the boat if maintained properly.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:53 AM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr. 717. It is my understanding that there was sufficient power but the Lehman did NOT like the ever variable RPM's it was subjected to while in over the road use.

As a stationary engine where RPM was more or less constant it was/is, as I mentioned, quite satisfactory. I do stand to be corrected but it's success in thousands of boats, potentially 10's of thousands of boats, is a pretty good testament both to it's longevity AND its successful application as a boat engine.

That being said, I don't know any Lehman owners who run theirs close to the "red line" (~2400 RPM)

Can't comment on the 3208. I know nothing about them...
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:54 AM   #10
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Last I heard, my pld sportfish had 5000 hrs on 3208Ts 320hp.

Always run 200 to 400 rpm less than redline. Put a couple hundred on trolling with no ill effects.

They were in a couple of Betrams I looked at, same reports from their owners. Actually never heard anything bad about 3208s except the 400+ hp ones, other than the usual handful of dislikes with any motor.

I would own a properly cared for 3208 again in a heatbeat.

They were in many sanitation trucks and busses. Idle to the floor from red light to red-light for normal lifetimes of hard service diesels.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:55 AM   #11
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Lots of boats out there successfully using the 3208s. Remember, these engines first came out about 40 years ago with parts still available today. For a trawler the 210 NA may well outlast the boat if maintained properly.
What he said. When first introduced was called a "throw away" engine. This b/c it did not have sleeved cylinders as most diesels did at the time. Since then millions have been produced with HP up to (& maybe over) 400. Many commercial boats in my area use them and they are well supported by Cat and others. Lower profile than straight blocks too. Reasonable priced parts.
Personally, I would prefer over Volvo any day.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:05 AM   #12
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From what I have read about the 3208 they suffer, as all engines, if they are over turboed. Ask for more hospower and torque, then use it then something is gonna give. My understanding is that 3208 naturals, properly maintained will outlast most of us. Light turbocharging ok, but getting north of 400 hp is a recipe for disaster. Also remember, a boat is going uphill all the time.

Detroit 8-92 after the Johnson and Towers treatment with extreme turbo horsepower increase popular in days gone by on sport fishers often was ready for a major at 1500 hours.

FF, why don't you weigh in here. FF is usually dead on on issues of such.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:17 AM   #13
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I agree with all of the above sentiments. The 3208 has proven to be a reliable engine in a marine application. It is nowhere near as "power dense" as a Cummins 6B series engine...and that is a good thing. Anytime you "squeeze" an engine, its longevity suffers. And that Cummins 6B series are squeezed pretty hard(HP to Displacement ratio).

When I was boat shopping, I always preferred the 3208 over the 6B. Why??? Because if you shop hard on Yachtworld you will notice an abnormal amount of boats for sale with Cummins engines where 1 engine has been replaced or rebuilt right around the 1200-1500 hour mark(likely due to overpropping or neglected aftercoolers). You never really saw that with the 3208. So my deduction was that the 3208 was a better engine. I honestly have to remain with that deduction. I own a Pair of Cummins now and I know their idiosyncrasies so I am fine with them. But I think the 3208 can handle more abuse/neglect/mistreatment than the Cummins simply because it is not as highly loaded(power density/hp to displacement). The displacement on the 3208 is almost TWICE as the Cummins and yet it covers basically the same power range in boats.

I didn't mean this to be a Cummins vs Cat 3208 post. But that is usually what is powering boats of that same era. Cummins is considered and excellent engine. I will say the 3208 is at least as good based on my less than scientific research.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:38 AM   #14
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I only prefer the 6B because it has one head, one exhaust manifold...a lot of 1's unlike a V8...less to go wrong and "should" be easier to fix and service. Also on the the model with more than 2valves per cylinder, no more than 250hp, 210hp on the 2valve model. That should be about right propped correctly? My guess.

Don't matter much, I am a 135 Ford-Leahman natural guy now.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:51 AM   #15
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Baker nailed it. 3208 not pumped up too high or run too hard does very well in boats. Trawlers with 210's, 300's, 320's, 375's, Bertrams et al with 300's, 320's, all do well. A 375 run hard does ok, but there have been failures. 425's and 435's run hard don't last.

The Cummins B came on the scene when the 3208 was already well established. And when the B came out they really did not hold up. The 250 and 300 were failing all over the place in the late 80's and early 90's. But Cummins stepped up and helped a lot of boat owners that had failures, even out of warranty. That helped the brand from getting too much bad mouthing.

Then they came out with the B 330 and 370 in the mid 90's. We figured there is no way these things will live. But they did. Cummins learned much from the early failures and fixed them. I doubt you can run a 370 hard and get 5000hrs, but some have. And run easy, they go and go. Us gear heads have also learned much, and now have got "care and feeding" for the B pretty well figured out.

But a 3208 at 320 requires little attention compared to a 330B. Both considered excellent engines. 3208 might need head gaskets, and don't let the oil pan rot. The B needs aftercooler attention or it might bite you. B loading more critical due to the smaller displacement. Don't cook either and keep them dry. And motor on and on.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I only prefer the 6B because it has one head, one exhaust manifold...a lot of 1's unlike a V8...less to go wrong and "should" be easier to fix and service. Also on the the model with more than 2valves per cylinder, no more than 250hp, 210hp on the 2valve model. That should be about right propped correctly? My guess.

Don't matter much, I am a 135 Ford-Leahman natural guy now.
There are a lot of things to like about the 6B. And I stated power density to be a negative. It is certainly a positive for all of the things you stated as well as being significantly smaller so it takes up less space. Those 3208s are HUGE in comparison.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:30 AM   #17
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All brand engines may suffer from being too hopped up and run hard.


I too prefer the inline designs because they are usually simpler with fewer parts than v8s. easier access to both side of the engine in tight spaces too.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:07 AM   #18
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Very interesting thread. I learned a few things.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:29 AM   #19
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I too prefer an inline six over a v8. But Cat did a pretty good job making the v8 exhaust right. All cast iron manifolds, etc. High mounted turbo with centered outlet. Makes running exhaust hose easier, as the Cummins port engine has to get exhaust from right side to left. And the high mounted turbo means it is hard to get water up there.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:10 PM   #20
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Is a 220hp Cummins B "diamond" engine a good engine? What does the "diamond" mean? This is about a 2002 year engine I think.

Is the 220hp version after cooled?
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