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Old 07-03-2018, 03:43 AM   #1
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Cat 3208ta

Saw a Marine Trader with Cats the other day. First one I have seen with motors this big. What is the max hours for those engines? Thanks.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:14 AM   #2
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There are no max hours on any marine diesel engine. It all depends on how they were run and maintained.


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Old 07-03-2018, 07:07 AM   #3
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Cat 3208s have a generally favorable reputation. Bigger than some engines but smaller than others. It's all about how they were maintained. Even the most reputable diesel engine that has been run hard and had poor maintenance would be untrustworthy.

An important factor is how much fuel has been run through the engine. A diesel that has been run at low RPMs because the captain likes to cruise at eight or nine knots and enjoy the scenery is likely to be in much better shape and last far longer than the one that has been run regularly near the top end of the RPM range. For example, commercial sport fishing boats typically haul butt out to their fishing grounds, let their passengers fish for a few hours, and then get back to the dock as fast as possible to take out the next group of passengers. A Cat 3208 in that sport fishing boat is going to last maybe 1000 or 1500 or 2000 hours before being rebuilt. A Cat 3208 in a trawler (perhaps over-powered) that cruises about eight knots and gets regular maintenance might go 10,000 or 15,000 hours and still be running strong.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:21 AM   #4
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My Cat 3208Ts in a sportfish had over 5000hrs on them last I heard and were going strong. They were installed in 1986.

I ran that boat like the PO. 200-300 RPM under max RPM, and as far as I know, so does the guy I sold it to.

Now the 3208TAs the had in the Grand Banks for awhile did seem to havd short lifespans...not sue why...but the media was full of complaints for awhile about them.

So the designation isnt as critical a whether the engine is a NA, T or TA. Then it might depend on the boat, install and or usage.

https://itstillruns.com/cat-3208-eng...s-7291145.html

"Three versions of the 3208 engine have varying power ratings. The version with the lowest power produces 210 horsepower, the mid-range version produces 375 horsepower and the most powerful version produces 435 horsepower."
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:32 AM   #5
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3208T 260 hp

Don't know if this helps you but... I have 3208T's 260 hp with about 5600 hrs on each. They were well taken care of by PO and oil sample history. They have been cruised at about 8 knots and run great and smooth so far. They take up a lot of space in the engine room than a straight 6 engine.
I would make sure yours get surveyed. Last thing you want is to deal with engine issues
I would take mine anywhere and not worry at all

Hope you find good results
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:48 AM   #6
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If youíve not done so, read the boatdiesel archives. PSNís comments regarding engine model bears further scrutiny. Also, maintaining a V8 versus a straight 6 can prove more onerous due to doubling up on exhaust and intake side items.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
"Three versions of the 3208 engine have varying power ratings. The version with the lowest power produces 210 horsepower, the mid-range version produces 375 horsepower and the most powerful version produces 435 horsepower."
I seem to recall reading somewhere that the 210 and 375 horsepower models were regarded as excellent engines but the 435 had some reliability issues. It was something to do with the 435 being a 375 that had been tweaked to put out more horses, which lead to the problems. Maybe they fixed the 435s or maybe they are still a problem. There is a wealth of knowledge on this forum so someone probably has more up to date info.

@ptoliver: What's the horsepower rating on the Marine Trader you're looking at?
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:05 AM   #8
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The higher hp 3208s also had a few beefed up parts internally, not just fuel tweeked.

Plenty of literature on the web about them.

Getting work done on them or rebuilts is better than ever, but not sure how far into the future that might be.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:15 AM   #9
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After 2 trips to SE Alaska, my 3208T/A, 375hp are running great with 2600 hours on them.
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Old 07-03-2018, 12:01 PM   #10
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My 3208T’s, 302hp, 2300 hrs, start instantly, run smooth, and sip fuel at 1250RPM. Every 10hrs or so, I run up to 1900 for 15 min to heat up the turbos and avoid varnishing. My engine surveyor said it’s fairly common to replace head gaskets around 2000 hrs - mine were replaced a year before I bought the boat.
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