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Old 09-01-2015, 10:21 AM   #1
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Engines

I am looking at a 48' boat with twin Cat 3208-375 with 1600 hrs. I do not have any experience with 3208 except with heavy equipment. Would be traveling from FL west coast to TN river Knoxville.

Can anyone tell me:

Maintenance cost
Oil usage
gph
Best cruising rpm
Problems

Thanks, Paul
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:08 AM   #2
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Lot of authoritative information on these engines on boatdiesel.com, well worth the membership price. A lot of your questions vary a bit by the boat itself, and how the engine has been run.
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:12 AM   #3
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This is what I have learned about that engine from reading boatdiesel for the last ten years:

The 375 hp Cat 3208 is turbocharged and aftercooled. All such engines need regular maintenance. This engine doesn't seem to have any unique vices however and won't require any more maintenance than a Yanmar 6LY 370 or a Cummins 6BTA 370.


Fuel consumption is entirely dependent on how heavy is your throttle hand. At wot a pair will drink fuel at 40 gph. At displacement speed they will burn maybe 6-8 gph and at 6 kts maybe 4 gph. Best cruising rpm depends how fast do you want to get there and how much fuel do you want to burn to do it.


My Yanmar 6LY 370 hp engine burns maybe a quart every 50 hours. The Cat should be similar.


David
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
..... A lot of your questions vary a bit by the boat itself, and how the engine has been run.
If the PO dogged the hell out of these motors you might have issues soon. If the engines were run not over 70% for short periods and mostly at displacement speeds you can get 3000-5000hrs before rebuild. These are great marine engines if taken care of. I have the same engines on my boat with over 2,000 hrs with no major issues. Do not run these engines hot! (185* at WOT 2800 rpm) Maintain cooling system with cleaning out heat X, impellers change on regular basis. For the 2 years owning the boat, I average $1,800 a year for engine maintenance total. I have very, very little oil usage between oil changes. Run at 8.8knots burning 9gph.
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Old 09-01-2015, 12:09 PM   #5
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Make sure oil pans are not rusted. Make sure oil coolers are not rusted. If run hard, could be due for head gaskets. Those gaskets are a bit weak on these, and age matters. Also make sure turbo boost is near spec, turbine housing erosion is a problem on these.

Those weak spots all can be handled, otherwise a great engine.

Some do eat a bit of oil, but not all. Not unusual to need to add a qt or two in a full day run, don't freak out over that.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:40 AM   #6
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You didn't state the year. Be careful of the fuel in the tanks. A 2002 twin was purchased in Florida with only 700 hours. The fuel tanks were full of sludge with no access plates to clean them out.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:42 AM   #7
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Engines

1986
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:36 AM   #8
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The fuel tanks were full of sludge with no access plates to clean them out.

Aftermarket access plates are OTS.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ptoliver View Post
1986
Irrespective of survey findings, my thoughts would be to budget all the work mentioned in Ski's post. Ten years ago I was considering a Tolly 48 with these motors and head gaskets had just been done.

These are 30 year old engines, expect $5K+ per engine to get them current and worry free. Parts and service knowledge readily available.
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:11 AM   #10
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Cat 3208

Would that not be true of any unknown engine. Unless maintenance record and ships logs were up to date.
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info from everyone so far.

Not many know that the Mechanical Cat 3208 has a fuel adjustment screw so you can set the hp and rpm where ever you want. Most equipment owners would set it to 2600 so the operator could not rack a tranny. Dozer operators lover to go fast in reverse with no load.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:25 AM   #12
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Caterpillar 375 HP 3208TA's are good engines (I personally would not own the over 400 HP models). Our boat currently has a pair. There is all kinds of information out there both good and bad about them. Longevity being one of the myths bantered about. Caterpillar bases longevity on total number of gallons an engine uses over its lifetime.

There are several items of note worthy that should be checked. One is the oil pans. Since they are steel it's important to use a mirror and inspect the underside for rust. If rusting they need to be cleaned and painted. Do the same for the cooling tubes running to the turbos. They too are steel and prone to rust. The ext/intake valves need to be set or inspected at the proper service intervals. And as mentioned before make sure the cooling system maintenance is kept up. Over heating a 3208 is a bad thing and could cause head gasket issues. Keep spare raw water impellers on board. Better yet a spare pump.

Our current boat has about the same hours as the one you are looking at. One engine uses about a quart of oil every 50 hours or so. The other uses a quart or so every 25 hours.

Keep them cool, rust free and the required scheduled maintenance they will most likely last longer than you will owning the boat. Good luck and keep us posted of your decision.
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Old 09-05-2015, 01:16 PM   #13
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Have twin 3126 CATs and above advise good. In addition, have CAT heavy equipment, along with other engines. CATs require alittle more TLC in maintenance area, in my experience. Did the run from west FL up the Ditch to TN River several years ago. OP, send a PM if can be of any assistance. Good trip !
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