Should I consider doing my 3208 after coolers my 3208's myself??

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RickyD

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I tried to find Youtube videos on this for Cat 3208s. Mine is the 425 HP models. Can't find anything. Looking at the unit, the cooler is flat and on top of the engine. All bolts appear to be well accessible on top. Looks like I'd need to memove at least one or two pipes and hoses which can be a little troublesome with very short hoses. Has anyone done this job on this engine? I'm hearing some high prices so I'm wondering where the difficulty lies.
 
I have 6CTAs in our boat. I watched some videos on sbmar.com and Utube about servicing the aftercoolers and found that it is considered pretty critical. My boat is a 1998 so they are 25 years old. I pulled one aftercooler and couldn’t get the core out of the housing. I ended up buying a whole new aftercooler fro about $4K and put it on my port engine, really tough access on that engine. Then I tried getting the core out and couldn’t. I ended up taking the cooler to a machine shop and having them press the core out. It took 13 TONS of pressure to get it out. It appeared that the cooler had never been serviced. I then bought a new core for the other engine, about $2K. And put it in the housing that came from the other engine. Long story short, it is important to service the coolers regularly. You might check out the videos on sbmar and see how to service those and get some sense of how to service yours. Sbmar says to lubricate the cooler heavily with Acco Metal Lube to help prevent the experience I had of not being able to get the cores out. Cummins doesn’t lube the coolers at all and there is aluminum, bronze and cupronickel in close proximity. So it is a prescription for corrosion and having the core stuck.
 
I have 6CTAs in our boat. I watched some videos on sbmar.com and Utube about servicing the aftercoolers and found that it is considered pretty critical. My boat is a 1998 so they are 25 years old. I pulled one aftercooler and couldn’t get the core out of the housing. I ended up buying a whole new aftercooler fro about $4K and put it on my port engine, really tough access on that engine. Then I tried getting the core out and couldn’t. I ended up taking the cooler to a machine shop and having them press the core out. It took 13 TONS of pressure to get it out. It appeared that the cooler had never been serviced. I then bought a new core for the other engine, about $2K. And put it in the housing that came from the other engine. Long story short, it is important to service the coolers regularly. You might check out the videos on sbmar and see how to service those and get some sense of how to service yours. Sbmar says to lubricate the cooler heavily with Acco Metal Lube to help prevent the experience I had of not being able to get the cores out. Cummins doesn’t lube the coolers at all and there is aluminum, bronze and cupronickel in close proximity. So it is a prescription for corrosion and having the core stuck.

Thanks for the reply. I'm wondering about doing it on my Cat 3208s,
 
Join boatdiesel.com There are some very knowledgeable folks over there. Lots of info on the 3208s.
 
I have done it on my 375hp 3208TAs, was pretty easy work. I think it's even easier on the 425HP versions assuming you have good access to the top of the engine. Get a service manual for the procedure, I doubt there are any really challenging aspects to the work, it's just a radiator.
 
I know little about a 425 HP Cat 3208, but the location of it's aftercooler is similar to my 3408's aftercooler which are easy to remove, clean and test. I do it about every 3 years in about 8 man hours work for both engines. They are now 30 years old and work as new.

No special tools are required other than I machined a couple of plugs for the coolant pipes so I could pressurize the coolant side to reveal any leaks. You can eliminate this step if you send the aftercooler out for testing by a trusted and competent shop.

My aftercoolers are coolant not raw water cooled which likely helps with their cleanliness and longevity provided you keep the coolant in good shape. I clean the air side with a 2 hour boiling hot water/Dawn soak and numerous rinses until things are clean.

Provided you are careful with the installation of the o ring seals, this is likely a DYI job.
 
I tried to find Youtube videos on this for Cat 3208s. Mine is the 425 HP models. Can't find anything. Looking at the unit, the cooler is flat and on top of the engine. All bolts appear to be well accessible on top. Looks like I'd need to memove at least one or two pipes and hoses which can be a little troublesome with very short hoses. Has anyone done this job on this engine? I'm hearing some high prices so I'm wondering where the difficulty lies.


I was quoted some pretty high prices for this as well, and have the same 435HP engines. I watched one on someone else's boat, and the challenges seem to be around the struggle with the hoses and pipes, and also replacing the seals and getting it back together well. Other than that, I am not completely sure what drives the higher price.



The actual access is really easy since they are right on top of the engine, and pretty easy to clean once taken apart.
 
I too have the 435 HP version. I believe the PO of my boat messed up on preventative maintenance and skipped this service. As a result he had to rebuild the engine (good for me since he rebuilt both). That story was enough to scare me and soon as I got the boat home I paid big bucks to have them serviced. I needed piece of mind. My big issue is that there is not much room to get the port one out. I ended up helping the CAT tech with the removal and replacement. My thought process also was to watch the first time and maybe next time I could do it myself. And after seeing this done once I will probably save the money next time and do most of the work myself. I would probably take the core to a shop to clean and pressure test though.
I am assuming you have more room in your ER so if you are able I would say go for it. Don't delay, I believe the service interval is 2 years. I am going to go longer b/c I am fresh water and my season is 5 months.
Below is a picture of my core. Sorry it's sideways. Yours is probably similar. They are heavy. You can see a small bar welded to the top of the core - we attached a strap to that and used it to help lift the port one out.
Good luck and let us know of your success.
 

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I too have the 435 HP version. I believe the PO of my boat messed up on preventative maintenance and skipped this service. As a result he had to rebuild the engine (good for me since he rebuilt both). That story was enough to scare me and soon as I got the boat home I paid big bucks to have them serviced. I needed piece of mind. My big issue is that there is not much room to get the port one out. I ended up helping the CAT tech with the removal and replacement. My thought process also was to watch the first time and maybe next time I could do it myself. And after seeing this done once I will probably save the money next time and do most of the work myself. I would probably take the core to a shop to clean and pressure test though.
I am assuming you have more room in your ER so if you are able I would say go for it. Don't delay, I believe the service interval is 2 years. I am going to go longer b/c I am fresh water and my season is 5 months.
Below is a picture of my core. Sorry it's sideways. Yours is probably similar. They are heavy. You can see a small bar welded to the top of the core - we attached a strap to that and used it to help lift the port one out.
Good luck and let us know of your success.

Ok, I see the whole thing comes out. I thought there would be a replaceable heat exchanger insert sort of like the coolant bundle only flat.
 
Aftercoolers are a pet peeve of mine. So many boaters ignore them due to the service cost. When they fail, not if when, the failure ruins the engine. If not serviced regualy, you wind up having to replace the units. So pay $ now or pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ later. Makes no cense to me since there is so much good decimation on this critical service. I think the main problem is People look at hours and not marine aged. These parts should be serviced every 2-3 years especially in salt water.

A trick to the hose assembly problem. When removed replace all the hoses with the blue silicon hose. Yes pricy but saves so much time in assembly and disassembly the next time around.

Tony Athens as SBMAR.com has incredible information on this topic.
 
I too have the 435 HP version. I believe the PO of my boat messed up on preventative maintenance and skipped this service. As a result he had to rebuild the engine (good for me since he rebuilt both). That story was enough to scare me and soon as I got the boat home I paid big bucks to have them serviced. I needed piece of mind. My big issue is that there is not much room to get the port one out. I ended up helping the CAT tech with the removal and replacement. My thought process also was to watch the first time and maybe next time I could do it myself. And after seeing this done once I will probably save the money next time and do most of the work myself. I would probably take the core to a shop to clean and pressure test though.
I am assuming you have more room in your ER so if you are able I would say go for it. Don't delay, I believe the service interval is 2 years. I am going to go longer b/c I am fresh water and my season is 5 months.
Below is a picture of my core. Sorry it's sideways. Yours is probably similar. They are heavy. You can see a small bar welded to the top of the core - we attached a strap to that and used it to help lift the port one out.
Good luck and let us know of your success.

So it looks like I need to take the cover off, then get those short stiff hoses off and lift out. How hard was it to get those hoses off? they are short and stout. How did you do it? Luckily I have a couple feet of space over the top. All the bolts look accessible. I understand there is a gasket/seal kit. My dealer said it was something like $340. Does that sound right?
 
So it looks like I need to take the cover off, then get those short stiff hoses off and lift out. How hard was it to get those hoses off? they are short and stout. How did you do it? Luckily I have a couple feet of space over the top. All the bolts look accessible. I understand there is a gasket/seal kit. My dealer said it was something like $340. Does that sound right?

Sorry I can't be of much help in the disassembly b/c the CAT tech did most of the work but I don't recall it being too tough to pull the hoses off. You already got some good advice on the tools needed. Looks like my charge for gaskets/seals was approx. $120/engine. That was over 2 years ago. $340 sounds high for one engine. They might be throwing in some new clamps for hoses.
If you have a couple of feet above your engines you are good to go. Believe it or not I have about 2 inches!
 
I have never done it but wouldn't hesitate to do it. First off Get a GOOD impact wrench and good sockets. Throw away the Harbor Freight stuff.

Pre soak all the bolts with Blaster and let it sit a couple days. Then have at it.

pete
 
The set is better. You have more options for the hard to reach stuff.
 
Ok, thank you all for helping me get the confidence to do this service. Also, very helpful suggestions. I'm not going to tackle it until January but I'm going for it. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm thinking about doing my own YouTube video since it seems no one else has done so. The only thing is, I'm not the best mechanic on the dock, so I'd also be videoing and memorializing my mistakes. See you next year!! Merry Christmas all and a safe and sane New Year!!!
 
Film it!

Absolutely do a video!
 
You should look into a barnacle buster flush it will remove the built up calcium and save a lot of labor
 
You should look into a barnacle buster flush it will remove the built up calcium and save a lot of labor[/QUOTE

I’m going to pull out the port side, have it cleaned and tested, then decide what to do on the starboard side. The stb engine was rebuilt just before I bought the boat so I believe it must have been serviced then.
 
if you make a video

Ok, thank you all for helping me get the confidence to do this service. Also, very helpful suggestions. I'm not going to tackle it until January but I'm going for it. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm thinking about doing my own YouTube video since it seems no one else has done so. The only thing is, I'm not the best mechanic on the dock, so I'd also be videoing and memorializing my mistakes. See you next year!! Merry Christmas all and a safe and sane New Year!!!

Hello, i have also 457hp 3208 from 1990 they have only 3100h and 2970h on the clock had a full service some years ago from cat befor i got the boat, they run very smooth, start direct in 1 or 2 sec (hard to tell, but you get the picture)

i have opend the sb engine heat exchanger and it looks new nottig to sea just the anodes where complete disolved.
When you made a video, can you post it or give me a mail at pcuyper@jhz2.be

Best regards,
Patrick
 
Hello, i have also 457hp 3208 from 1990 they have only 3100h and 2970h on the clock had a full service some years ago from cat befor i got the boat, they run very smooth, start direct in 1 or 2 sec (hard to tell, but you get the picture)

i have opend the sb engine heat exchanger and it looks new nottig to sea just the anodes where complete disolved.
When you made a video, can you post it or give me a mail at pcuyper@jhz2.be

Best regards,
Patrick

I have not heard of 457 hp 3208s. I thought 435 was as high as they went. Are you talking about the coolant heat exchangers or the turbo after cooler heat exchangers? Or for that matter the oil coolers. I had the oil cooler on the port engine fail right after I bought the boat. That was expensive. Then I had the coolant heat exchange bundle fail on it. That was expensive, I just want to nip the after cooler in the bud. I think I’m going to make my first how to video on this one. Or maybe it will be a how not to.
 
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I understand there is no zing anode in the after cooler. I checked with a Cat parts guy, that is why I’m questioning which cooler you are talking about.
 
You should look into a barnacle buster flush it will remove the built up calcium and save a lot of labor

A after cooler cleaning does 3 things
1. Cleans the seawater side of the cooler
2. cleans the air side of the cooler for proper air cooling
3. Services the seal between the air and raw water side of the cooler where corrosion allows the water to leak into the air side of the engine. The most common point of failure in the after cooler system.


Barnacle buster can also clean the cooler to a point that exposes a hole. Once you clean a cooler it is imperative to do a pressure test to make sure there is no failure in the unit from cleaning

Barnacle buster does nothing for the corrosion problems most coolers suffer from. The seal between the seawater and the air side of the engine.

Barnacle buster does not clean the air side of the cooler. On the air side there is a build of condensed sludge of oil and gook that clogs the air fins, reduces air flow and prevents the correct air cooling affect.
 
sorry for the confusion

I understand there is no zing anode in the after cooler. I checked with a Cat parts guy, that is why I’m questioning which cooler you are talking about.

first the motors are 435hp and there is no anode in the after cooler

in my previous message i was refering to the anodes (3) from the cooling water heat exchanger (rond tube above the flywheel).

Best regards,
Patrick
 
A after cooler cleaning does 3 things
1. Cleans the seawater side of the cooler
2. cleans the air side of the cooler for proper air cooling
3. Services the seal between the air and raw water side of the cooler where corrosion allows the water to leak into the air side of the engine. The most common point of failure in the after cooler system.


Barnacle buster can also clean the cooler to a point that exposes a hole. Once you clean a cooler it is imperative to do a pressure test to make sure there is no failure in the unit from cleaning

Barnacle buster does nothing for the corrosion problems most coolers suffer from. The seal between the seawater and the air side of the engine.

Barnacle buster does not clean the air side of the cooler. On the air side there is a build of condensed sludge of oil and gook that clogs the air fins, reduces air flow and prevents the correct air cooling affect.


Greg is so very right, especially concerning aftercoolers!!!!:eek:
Barnacle buster treatment is really only a "stop gap" treatment (partially dealing with a small part of the necessary maintenance), maybe mid-season, to try to reduce engine temps by improving water flow throughout the raw water cooling side of the engine cooling system by reducing build up of salts, sea creature particles, etc.. However, ALL components of the raw water cooling system (aftercooler, heat exchangers, oil coolers, fuel coolers, tranny coolers, etc.) require periodic OFF ENGINE servicing that includes a thorough cleaning, replacement of gaskets and/or seals, (for aftercoolers heavy greasing used as a barrier), and PRESSURE TESTING. Pressure testing is the only way one can be assured that ALL of the various liquids stay ONLY where they are supposed to be. You don't want salt water (or even freshwater) in the engine oil, engine coolant, fuel, tranny, or the engine air intake, etc.!:banghead: These types of failures can be very, very expensive, sometimes requiring an engine replacement. Hence the need for PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.

For those boaters who operate in freshwater, or who moor in the off season in freshwater, or who regularly freshwater flush their engines, this full servicing can be delayed (time between services can be extended), maybe by as much as up to double the time? The recommendations I have seen state that normally this type of servicing should take place at about 3-5 year intervals (change the anti-freeze/coolant at the same time). However, as several on this forum have alluded, aftercoolers require servicing off engine even more often (every 2-3 years). I am not familiar with CAT aftercoolers, but on Cummins, (especially if not freshwater flushed), you have dissimilar metals in close proximity sitting in an electrolyte solution (saltwater). A perfect recipe for corrosion, often resulting in the parts essentially "welding" together (13 tons to separate)!!:facepalm:
I know that some here will say, "I don't do all of that and I have not had a problem". Lucky so far??? :facepalm: Potentially unaware of the lurking problems to come?? Some also are "real gamblers", and spend lots at the casino "hoping to win big". Personally, not the way I like to "roll". Also, we travelled a long way "off the beaten path" and I did not want to face a major breakdown while "out in the boonies", so I did my best to follow recommended PREVENTATIVE maintenance.
Your boat, your money, your risk tolerance. To each his own. :dance:
 
Greg is so very right, especially concerning aftercoolers!!!!:eek:
Barnacle buster treatment is really only a "stop gap" treatment (partially dealing with a small part of the necessary maintenance), maybe mid-season, to try to reduce engine temps by improving water flow throughout the raw water cooling side of the engine cooling system by reducing build up of salts, sea creature particles, etc.. However, ALL components of the raw water cooling system (aftercooler, heat exchangers, oil coolers, fuel coolers, tranny coolers, etc.) require periodic OFF ENGINE servicing that includes a thorough cleaning, replacement of gaskets and/or seals, (for aftercoolers heavy greasing used as a barrier), and PRESSURE TESTING. Pressure testing is the only way one can be assured that ALL of the various liquids stay ONLY where they are supposed to be. You don't want salt water (or even freshwater) in the engine oil, engine coolant, fuel, tranny, or the engine air intake, etc.!:banghead: These types of failures can be very, very expensive, sometimes requiring an engine replacement. Hence the need for PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.

For those boaters who operate in freshwater, or who moor in the off season in freshwater, or who regularly freshwater flush their engines, this full servicing can be delayed (time between services can be extended), maybe by as much as up to double the time? The recommendations I have seen state that normally this type of servicing should take place at about 3-5 year intervals (change the anti-freeze/coolant at the same time). However, as several on this forum have alluded, aftercoolers require servicing off engine even more often (every 2-3 years). I am not familiar with CAT aftercoolers, but on Cummins, (especially if not freshwater flushed), you have dissimilar metals in close proximity sitting in an electrolyte solution (saltwater). A perfect recipe for corrosion, often resulting in the parts essentially "welding" together (13 tons to separate)!!:facepalm:
I know that some here will say, "I don't do all of that and I have not had a problem". Lucky so far??? :facepalm: Potentially unaware of the lurking problems to come?? Some also are "real gamblers", and spend lots at the casino "hoping to win big". Personally, not the way I like to "roll". Also, we travelled a long way "off the beaten path" and I did not want to face a major breakdown while "out in the boonies", so I did my best to follow recommended PREVENTATIVE maintenance.
Your boat, your money, your risk tolerance. To each his own. :dance:

Thanks Tom. I have owned this boat for 5 years so I figure it is time. My Cat aftercoolers sit on top of the engine and I believe drain the seawater out so its not sitting in sea water. I don't think it is coolant up there. I'll know when I crack them open. I really brought this up because I heard it was going to cost big $$ and yet it looked like a reasonable job for me to do. I was looking for someone to say, noooo don't doooo ittttt. Or, git er done. So just for a quick test I cracked loose and retightened several bolts and every thing looks like I'll be able to take them out. The short fat hoses from the turbo, water pump in and out might take some effort. then I guess there are brass sleeves at the water connections that get knocked out so the heat exchanger can be removed. So, give me a couple more days past the holiday and I'm all in.
 
Another note on the air side of an aftercooler and egt.

As the air side gets dirty. You loose boost pressure and you exhaust gas temperatures will rise. So having egt guages on the boat is a good thing. Get a base line for your egt for the boat. It can tell you a lot about the boat. From a dinged prop to a dirty aftercooler.

Example
Egt increases with load. One weekend after running the boat all was fine. Follwoing weekend all of a sudden the egt was higher on one engine. Then I noticed the load was higher and fuel was also more on the port engine. Once I got where i was going, i went for a swim thinking i picked up a rope or something. Woah, the prop was damaged. I think I hit something in the marina the week before but did not notice. The rise in egt on one engine alerted me to something wrong with that engine.

If you know your base line of your egt's you can get a feel for when things need to be done.
As load increases at a given rpm the egt will rise. If it is an even rise for both engines it indicates a change to the boat. Dirty props, dirty bottom, clogged aftercooler on the air side. A rise on one engine indicates a problem on that engine. Its important to understand that changes in egt will not necessarily show up on engine temperature gauge. Your engine will be running at its popper temperature. The egt is your early warning system .
 
Coolers

No experience with Cats. Nothing on this thread says anything about after yours are off. I used to "boil" my heat exchangers cores on 6-71s every few years myself.
On the tool thing- BIG hoses are like elephant, uh, things. I took a brake spoon that one end was shaped like a food spoon (offset) and cut the other end off. End was thin & able to drive between hose and metal.
 

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