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Old 07-10-2019, 08:07 PM   #1
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City: Lafayette, CA
Vessel Name: Esprit
Vessel Model: 40' Tollycraft tricabin diesel
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Alternatives to Caterpillar 3208N OEM heat exhanger

Does anyone have experience with aftermarket heat exchanger cores for Cat 3208N engines. Cat wants over $2500 for each exhanger. I see a couple of sources (mr. cool, Hardin marine) for up to $1000 less than Cat OEM but am wondering if anyone has used these alternatives in the factory shell?

Alternatively has anyone rebuilt their exhangers i.e. taken to a radiator shop and had cleaned and resoldered? Is that cost effective?

It seems like Cat is jacking the prices for parts on the old 3208 so it tends to force the use of aftermarket suppliers. It isn't like a heat exhanger is rocket science.

It isn't urgent yet, they seem OK so far but I'm preparing for the inevitable.

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Old 07-10-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
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City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in Crisfield, MD
Vessel Name: Slow Hand
Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 10,122
Have you shopped around the Cat part number? There always seems to be a dealer somewhere that's willing to deal. Some of the rebuilders will sell parts for less as it's easy money. I'm guessing on a $2,500 item there is some room to come down.


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Old 07-10-2019, 10:51 PM   #3
City: Clearwater, Florida USA
Vessel Name: Seas the Bay
Vessel Model: 1981 42' Hardin Europa
Join Date: Aug 2016
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Maybe try ?

If they don't have it on their website, try calling them. They seem to be able to get almost anything 3rd party.

I used them to get all of the coolers, etc, for the Perkins in my last boat.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:17 PM   #4
City: Anacortes
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,088
How bad are they? Mine were 80% clogged and after an aggressive acid clean about 12 years ago, I’ve only had the end caps off twice to gently rod them to keep up. They originals are pretty hardy.

I’d take them to a radiator shop, get them cleaned and decide how bad you need spares after seeing how they look cleaned up. I’ve a sneaking suspicion they will look better than you think after cleaned.

I’d have no problem having one fabricated and saving a bit. Might save a few hundred each, but the material and expertise will still add up. I also watch the used market, though you don’t see them every day. Saw a pair, great condition I could get for cheap to keep in storage, but it was a days drive and even at almost 40 years old, mine are not anywhere near worrying me, so did not go get them. I just like to have options when things go bad.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:30 PM   #5
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City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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There's a couple tube bundles on eBay for the 3208.

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3208, caterpillar, heat exhanger

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