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Old 11-20-2012, 02:20 PM   #1
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Caterpillar 3208 Natural

I have a chance to buy a rebuilt Cat 3208 marine diesel 210 hp naturally aspirated with 6 month warranty. Any body out there have any experience with these engines? The torque and hp are perfect for my single screw trawler.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #2
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I have the 375HP 3208TAs in our trawler- they are excellent engines. The 210hp engine should outlast you.....
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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Go for it. The 3208N Cat has 636 cubes and puts out 210 horses which is why it has longevity. The engine was introduced in 1972 for marine use and has enjoyed a good reputation. That, and the fact that Caterpillar does support their older products, makes it an engine to desire.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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I have one in my boat. Great engine .I reciently did a rebuild of the top end.
She had quite a few hours on it from 1974.
If you do a search for Cat 3208 n.a. coolant leak see the insides of that motor. It was a good thing. I now now know the Cat 3208 inside out. If you have any questions feel free to PM me

Like Ancors said great support.

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the quick responses. And Skipperdude, I will take you up on the questions. Going to put a deposit on it Monday.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensibs View Post
Thanks all for the quick responses. And Skipperdude, I will take you up on the questions. Going to put a deposit on it Monday.
Supposedly a "throw-away" engine, the one we ran in a tractor had 600,000 miles on it without a hitch and was still going strong when I sold that business. Very widely used in vessels of all kinds for good reason.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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Overall the 3208 has a good reputation in marine

They were considered a throw-away engine as they did not have replaceable liners
I still see the 1160's around (the predecessor to the 3208)
Cat parts are pricey ,they don't like to have competition in the parts remanufacturing so core charges are very high
Thats not important unless you want to have spares
The replacement for the 3208 (introduced more than 20 years ago)called the 3116 and 3126 6 cylinder in-line have not had as good reputation in marine
I would choose the 3208 over the newer cat light duty engines and as others have stated the natural version should last the longest

We have a 3126 in our 5 ton truck and its been as reliable
as other truck engines so far ,$1000 or so a year in parts replacements
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:23 PM   #8
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Not so fast now Steve. Rebuilds can be anything from a new paint job to the real McCoy. I suggest you find out who/where did the rebuild, what was done, what are the warranty details and then post this information along with the serial number on boatdiesel with the same question you asked here. Dave is the Cat guy on boatdiesel.com
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:37 AM   #9
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"The torque and hp are perfect for my single screw trawler"

The Cats are not long lasting when run ON the pin.2600RPM for 210 hp.

If you must have all 210 hp most of the time , a different engine might be better.

IF you need 10GPh , about 150 HP,or less, the engine is fine and will operate a LOOOng time.

Anyone want a 150,000 mile CAT 1160 , non throwaway for a grand, just ask.

Nicest thing about these CATS is they are smooth , and easy to service.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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If you think CAT parts are pricey, try lookin' at Volvo prices, if the parts are even availible.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:00 PM   #11
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I have to concur with the majority opinion above. Although I'd rather not have the big turbo 3208s, the natural 210 is well within the stresses and cylinder pressures of the original design. We rebuilt quite a few 185-225 HP versions succesfully, but found various other stress cracks in the 250s that made us turn toward other wet sleve designs for our higher HP needs. It's a very good engine. But like indicated above, check on who and how it was rebuilt. It's not something you can slap a set of rings in and go. My two cents.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:34 PM   #12
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Hi Steve - I'm running your engine, a 3208/210 natural. It's nearly 35 yrs old! I baby it and have had it from Eastport Maine to Key West, FL. since it's 30 birthday. They are rock solid if treated right. 1700 rpms = 8 knots and the sweet spot. You could do lots worse than a 3208 210 natural!
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:54 PM   #13
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Thats exactly what I'm looking for; 1700 rpm and 8 knots. My goal is somewhere around 3 gallons per hour. So I gather that these engines dont have liners, so that tells me that when they are rebuilt the cylinders are bored out. Here is the blurb from Gold Coast Power
"This CATERPILLAR 3208N Marine Engine is REBUILT by CAT Dealer.and is Bob-tail Rated 210 HP. Unit is heat-exchanger cooled, with water cooled manifold(s) with raw water pump and related piping, starter, and alternator. CAT Dealer Re-build Engines Include; All cylinder blocks are striped to bare block and sent through machine shop, All blocks are bored and sleeved to standard, and Reassembled to CAT spec. Using all CAT parts by CAT Dealer and carry rebuilding dealer's 6 month CAT parts warranty. New main and rod bearings installed, all new rings, pistons inspected and replaced as necessary. CAT Re-Man cylinder heads and nozzles, heat exchangers and after coolers are disassembled cleaned, resealed and reassembled, fresh and raw water pumps rebuilt, turbo chargers inspected and cartridge, bearings or seals replaced as necessary, new hoses clamps and belts, starter and alternator inspected and repaired as necessary. Cleaned painted (CAT Yellow or Matterhorn white) All are test run prior shipment (Subject to core availability) (Add inbound freight from CAT to our warehouse) Subject to Core availability"
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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....Oh and as far as FF said about needing 210 hp on the pin, I agree. boatdiesel.com calculates 65 hp to push my boat at 7 - 8 knots. I figured that means running this engine at 65% power for 6 to 8 hours per day on my cruise. The savings of this motor over the Recon Cummins 6BT 210 hp is half! That alone alows for the purchase of a gear AND my whole ESI fuel filter, manifolds and polish system. I'm thinking I gotta do it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:35 AM   #15
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Steve:

The rebuild information looks good. If the rebuild was "too long ago," you may want to check with the Cat Dealer to be sure they still stand behind it. My experience with Cat rebuilds is they produce a Dynometer Test results report/sheet. Do you have this sheet? Last but not least you are sure the engine is "fresh" and not pulled out of a vessel that sunk, in a hurricane or ??
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Old 02-23-2017, 08:36 AM   #16
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Cat 3208 second hand

Hi
I have a Taiwanese Trawler built in 1992 and she is powered by a pair of Cat 3208īs. I bought her out of the water in Ibiza Spain, where she had been lying for four years. On purchase I was cautious about starting the engines after such a long time. The local Cat engineer, just came on board and put a battery on and turned the key. She hardly did a single revolution before they fired into life. Been doing that every time I start since then, in 2009! Lovely boat and great engines. Buy it!
Let me know how you get on,
Regards,
Chris
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:27 AM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr./Ms. CC. Welcome aboard.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:12 AM   #18
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Boy it's funny when you read posts from 4 years ago. I didn't even remember writing these. How things change...I ended up with a Lugger 6414T diesel and a twin disc gear, all newly rebuilt.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:12 PM   #19
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Great for the catch up. Hope the package has served you well.

I,m curious though, what made you go left?
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:56 AM   #20
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Do you mean why did I buy a lugger? Happened across one and I heard great things about them
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