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Old 03-16-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
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CAT3208T advise needed

Hello All,

I'm very new to "big" boating, I have whittled down suitable vessels to purchase for my upcoming retirement, it just remains for me to arrange some viewings.

One boat in particular has caught my eye, it's a 33' 6" C&C built launch, from the information I have received to date, shows the power unit to be a CAT3208T 260HP, the motor has 2,600 HRS on it, the current owners have maintained the boat to a very high standard, motor has been fully serviced at the end of each season.

Can anyone advise me as to the average hours one can expect to get from these motors?, I have been reading quite a lot on the net and I find opinions tend to be somewhat contradictory to say the least.

I'm planning to settle in Newfoundland, so things can get a bit..rough out there, having a single diesel doesn't really worry me, most of the fishing boats out there are singles, what obviously does worry me is having a motor that's beyond it's useful life so to speak.

And yes I will have oil samples etc sent for analysis during the survey, but there's nothing to match good advise from people who have had experience with these motors.

Thanks

Robbie.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:50 AM   #2
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A 3208 260 HP is not a particularly big challenge for that engine in a marine application. I still prefer the 210 as the ideal HP range, but we've all seen Cat boost these blocks to 375 and even 425 HP. That block is really not designed for those increased cylinder pressures.

At the 260 HP rating, 9000 hours should be assured, but with good care, I think you could get 12,000 hours, and I know of at least one with 14,500 or so hours last year and still cranking.

The design is a dry cylinder unit, and not so ideal to rebuild, but they do rebuild them anyway. Make sure if you ever do that, you look at the block closely, especially skirts, cylinders and head bolt holes. These are delightful, good service mills at the lower HP ranges. My two cents.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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Cat 3208/T/TA engines up to 375hp are solid, long life engines. Any of these engines (A thru E rating) operated at displacement speed should see 10K+ hours.

Ours are 1989 vintage, 1200 hours, and start every time within 1 crank. After a bit of smoke when cold, they clean right up and purr....
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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I had over 3800 hrs on my 3208T 320 hp's when I sold it in 2005. Perfect survey and oil analysis....still going strong as of last fall in a 37' sportfish.

All the research I did said they were a 10,000-12,000 hour engine in the lower power applications...
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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Sign onto boatdiesel.com for some great info about all things diesel. It's $25 well spent.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone,
That's really put my mind at ease, I had read a post on another forum that suggested 1600 hours was getting close to needing a rebuild!!.
Now I can arrange a viewing with a bit more confidence.

Umm..while we're all here with our minds in gear lol, I would like to ask another question, I mentioned that the vessel I was interested in was 33' 6" AOL, but her beam is only 7'6", now I'm on my own and I'm pretty happy that the length is well within my handling capabilities, so would you think that with such a narrow beam she maybe a bit..."lively" in rough seas?, BTW she's said to cruise at 18 knots and weighs in at 6.4 tons, so really not a trawler.
I'm sure the proof of the pudding will be in the eating as they say, but I would still value your thoughts on this.

Robbie
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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She may not be all that lively with a 3208 deep inside...with tranny that's around 2200 pounds usually.

Actually sounds like my kind of boat!
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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1,600 hours is nothing for a diesel. Perhaps the response was based on a gas engine?
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Hi Chrisjs,
Here's the post I read, not here, I might add, it was 1800hrs I misquoted.

"i am looking at a 1982 trawler with cat 3208s with 210hp with 1800 hours. can anyone help me with expectations about how many hours to expect before normal rebuild?
are these engines good for this type vessel, even though they are older?


The reply was:
"if they're original at 1800 hours, you're probably looking at rebuilding both.
they're "ok" engines. They love to smoke white with unburnt fuel and make your eyeballs burn when cold.
not one of my favourite motors"


It just shows that it pays dividends to keep hunting across a broader field for opinions.
That's why I had concerns initially with 2600 hrs


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Old 03-16-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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Man. I don't know who that was, but he'd have been closer to the truth by adding a zero to the 1800 original hours. I'm usually the last guy here to question someone's information source or experience, but 1800 original hours on a 260 HP 3208?!
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:17 AM   #11
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From my experience the 3208 turbo version premature failure seemed to be restricted to commercial applications such as lobster fishing etc. Lots of sudden load changes etc. personally, in that environment I had 2 crankshaft breakages. In a recreational situation they seem to be a very solid unit.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightcap View Post
From my experience the 3208 turbo version premature failure seemed to be restricted to commercial applications such as lobster fishing etc. Lots of sudden load changes etc. personally, in that environment I had 2 crankshaft breakages. In a recreational situation they seem to be a very solid unit.
The cat service & parts rep told me that it was good practice to roll in new bearing inserts on trucks before 90,000 miles. The dealership he worked for had a fleet of ford service trucks powered by 3208 engines. Oil samples showed bearings starting to flake @ 100,000 miles.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #13
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Thanks guys,
All valuable information and dully noted.
Robbie.
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