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Old 02-27-2014, 03:09 PM   #1
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Low hours older Cat 3208NA

Hey There-
I'm looking at primarily single engine boats in the 34' to 38' range, and have come across an '81 34' Californian with a Cat 3208NA that has a very low 372 hours on it, original engine according to broker. I know seals and gaskets will dry and crack from prolonged non use, but what other problems can occur in a situation like this, and what would you look for at the sea trial? Scoring of cylinder walls from moisture? Will oil turn to sludge? I've cleaned old bearings where the grease had turned to wax over the years, will engine oil do the same?
Thanks-
TW
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:10 PM   #2
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Be mindfull of coolant leaks. There is a little plastic tube with O rings that gos between the front cover and the heads that is prone to leaking. You have to pull the heads to change them and you need special tool A to remove them. or is it tool B.

If you do a search on cat 3208 coolant leak you can follow the replacement of mine.

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Old 02-27-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
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Just bought a 79 year 44 foot Atlantic with twin 3208 na. Has 4500 hours , after oil analisis and survey, mechanic said with proper maintenance could expect another 4500 hours, had all fluids changed, zincs , belts, hoses changed. Heat exchanger cleaned. Good luck
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:06 PM   #4
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SkipperDude

After reading your thread on the 3208 coolant leak, I have decided to stick with my current boat.....
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:25 AM   #5
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There is DA Book from each engine builder which specifys how to preserve an engine that is out of service.

IF this was done , the engine should be fine.

IF not a run to see how much it smokes at startup and how long UNDER LOAD NOT DOCKSIDE!! it takes for any smoke to depart would be wise.

If the engine runs clean (no white smoke) at low coolant temps during warmup 120F ,140F the cylinder walls are probably not pitted from rust.

If it takes +170F it would be time for a compression check.

These engines are the cheaper version of the CAT 1160 that could be infraned, cylinders replaced.

3208 are considered throwaway engines as the block must be sent to a machine shop to renew the cylinder bores.

When OK the engines will usually run for 7000- 8000 hours , and more if seldom out of use.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
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There is DA Book from each engine builder which specifys how to preserve an engine that is out of service. IF this was done , the engine should be fine. IF not a run to see how much it smokes at startup and how long UNDER LOAD NOT DOCKSIDE!! it takes for any smoke to depart would be wise. If the engine runs clean (no white smoke) at low coolant temps during warmup 120F ,140F the cylinder walls are probably not pitted from rust. If it takes +170F it would be time for a compression check. These engines are the cheaper version of the CAT 1160 that could be infraned, cylinders replaced. 3208 are considered throwaway engines as the block must be sent to a machine shop to renew the cylinder bores. When OK the engines will usually run for 7000- 8000 hours , and more if seldom out of use.
Every Cat 3208 I was ever around ( low 100s) smoked like a house on fire at start up. They will clean up after warming up but not as clean as some other similar size diesels, if white smoke after warmed up keep looking. This is my experience with equipment & mid range trucks, have never been around a boat with 3208 for power, a OA came into the marina last fall with twins but I've never seen it run.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:25 PM   #7
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You didn't say but if the 3208 has caught your attention and becomes all you are looking at, you may miss lots of other issues which are just as expensive or more so
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:13 PM   #8
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Just to be clear...if a 3208na has been well cared for, it is a great engine that will provide thousands and thousands of hours of service.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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After reading your thread on the 3208 coolant leak, I have decided to stick with my current boat.....
Ah man sorry I scared you. I will tell you this befor I started working on my 3208 I knew practically nothing about it. But it is really a pretty simple motor. Just lots of nuts and bolts. It comes apart and bolts back together. What surprised the hell out of me was that it started. It always starts. If I ever buy another boat I think she will have a 3208 n.a.

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Old 02-28-2014, 10:31 PM   #10
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Humm, 12 hours per year running time. Any idea if the owner changed the oil yearly? Sitting for 35 years in a marine environment is pretty abusive in itself. Bad hour meter maybe?
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:51 PM   #11
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FF is right on. It's pretty easy to tell just get her running. Pull the oil filler plug and look for sludge on the bottom. The white smoke indicates a blown head gasket. Though not always.
My 3208 will occasionally smoke if I forget to cover my stack if it rains. When the stack gets hot she smokes a bit. You really have to listen to it run. Listen for knocks. How does the rest of the boat look?

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Old 03-01-2014, 11:09 PM   #12
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Thanks All-

Thanks everyone for the info--
Skipperdude, thanks for the encouragement, my response was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but that is one scary story, mainly because I've been there myself. But as you say, in the end you know a whole lot about your gear, and that's a very good thing. I haven't gotten down to see the boat yet, and the engine is certainly not the only thing I'm concerned with, but that was the first big red flag that came up. FF's info was particularly informative, and if I have any questions a compression test sounds good. I like the model of trawler it's in, and if the engine isn't damaged from the non use, it might work for me. Another thing I've been wondering about--if you could find a boat that was in relatively good shape but with a crapped out engine, what does a repower run, with a modern Cummins or such? Any ideas?
Thanks-
TW
PS--I will try to find out just how the current owner took care of the boat. It's in really good condition supposedly, and the broker said he'd go down and start it frequently, just never took it out. We'll see...
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:39 AM   #13
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Another thing I've been wondering about--if you could find a boat that was in relatively good shape but with a crapped out engine, what does a repower run, with a modern Cummins or such? Any ideas?
Yeah...a LOT!!! the engine itself is not terribly expensive....$15k maybe. And that is just sitting there in a crate. But if you are planning on having somebody put it in, turn key?....Add another $10k for labor...depending on how everything is laid out. And that is if it is "plug and play". If you are having to redo the entire engine room to fit an engine that is very different from the one it is replacing, then there will be significantly more cost associated with engine mounts/bedding as well as transmissions and such. So $25k would be on the lower end of an estimate.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:44 AM   #14
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You can repower with a rebuilt 3208 for low dollars...especially because it will be a drop in. Plenty of rebuilt 3208s out there ...other than taking it out/in as a cost ...cheap to rebuild too. True they are out of production but many still in use and I have not heard of any parts shortages yet.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:11 AM   #15
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what does a repower run,

Depends on your skillset and EGO.

If you have the ability to do all the change your self , by selecting a quality rebuilt (happily with mechanical injection ) you can lower the engine cost by 2/3 or more.

Select a rebuilt common commercial tranny like a Twin Disc and save 2/3 again..

IF you can use a keel cooler dry exhaust , no seawater cooling , added heat exchanger and always dieing marine exhaust manifolds need to be bought.

An out of favor with marinizers engine can be had at low cost from many junk yards .

No matter what its still a load of work!

Engines buried under immovable pilot houses are harder than aft under deck engines , like in a sport fish.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:49 AM   #16
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Yeah...a LOT!!! the engine itself is not terribly expensive....$15k maybe. And that is just sitting there in a crate. But if you are planning on having somebody put it in, turn key?....Add another $10k for labor...depending on how everything is laid out. And that is if it is "plug and play". If you are having to redo the entire engine room to fit an engine that is very different from the one it is replacing, then there will be significantly more cost associated with engine mounts/bedding as well as transmissions and such. So $25k would be on the lower end of an estimate.
$10-25k!!! I need to come to Texas to earn a living. My business typically quotes 15 hours labour for an engine swap out & commissioning like vs like. 40 hours is standard for a different breed of beast going in but this includes everything. Say around $3150 taxes included for labour for the most expensive option, crane truck hire runs around $250 and all work is done in the water. Might get up by a few more hours if we need to chop holes to remove & replace but we do all this inhouse so can control costs for our clients. I dream of writing a $10k invoice. In Vanuatu that would make me a millionaire!
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:07 AM   #17
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Call Mr Caterpillar (Bruce (954)661-3208 , he gave me a lesson when I bought my boat. he knows everything about 3208
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:05 AM   #18
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I like the model of trawler it's in, and if the engine isn't damaged from the non use, it might work for me.

If the engine was nor pickeled by DA Book, for all that non use there WILL be some damage.

But for many folks its meaningless .

So ir coulds have been a 8,000 hour engine , but its half shot from sitting . 4.000 hours at the usual trawler 200 a year is still a lifetime.

IF New it would burn little oil, but the cylinders rusted a bit so it eats a gallon every 5 hours , so?

In great shape it might burn 10% less fuel per hour , so?

Many of these older engines work far better , with use , and a few oil changes than one would expect.

The few gal of fuel and oil extra per day would never be repaid , even with just a rebuild , never mind an engine swop.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:28 AM   #19
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$10-25k!!! I need to come to Texas to earn a living. My business typically quotes 15 hours labour for an engine swap out & commissioning like vs like. 40 hours is standard for a different breed of beast going in but this includes everything. Say around $3150 taxes included for labour for the most expensive option, crane truck hire runs around $250 and all work is done in the water. Might get up by a few more hours if we need to chop holes to remove & replace but we do all this inhouse so can control costs for our clients. I dream of writing a $10k invoice. In Vanuatu that would make me a millionaire!
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:00 PM   #20
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Hey, the engine may be fine, there are thousands of them out there. Check it out.
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