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Old 01-09-2007, 10:18 PM   #11
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Les; I have a little experience with marine & industrial 3208's factory tuned @ 125hp to 350hp, with routine maintainence, it will last you forever Check with your local Cat dealer for filters, Cat has their own oil & fuel filter factory and keep the oil filter prices right, and the quality is definitly up to specs. An industrial air filter with outer(washable primary) and inner(secondary) elements and a turbo precleaner assembly will also add to engine life.
Horsepower is a greatly overrated spec, cruising down the road you probably don't use 100hp, you only make rated hp @ close to max rpm with the throttle/pump @ max fuel (controlled by the internal governor in the pump) in a skoolie application you probably only run max power 5% of the time-acceleration and pulling a long hill whereas marine (high speed,high hp)and industrial (low speed,max torque) units run at rated power for hours on end at fixed speed, and have lifetimes in the thousands of hrs range.The single biggest enemy of 3208's is temperature, they like to run hard @ 180 to 195 F, make sure that the cooling system is kept in top condition and find something other than the engine to worry about.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:37 PM   #12
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Hi Paul,

Thanks for all the info. I'm not all that familiar with the 3208; before I bought the bus I read some good, some bad. I figured that put it somewhere in the middle and that was good enough for me! The one in my bus went in there 8 years ago. If the hubometer was done at the same time it has about 59,000 miles on it.

Temperature is the one area that has me concerned. The temp gauge runs very high and it seems to cycle from 200/210 to about 220/230 (the gauge is a bugger to read) but it does it consistently and when I check the engine compartment nothing seems very hot. That temp gauge is a l-o-n-g way from the engine and it's electrical; I'm a little suspect of its reading. I want to get the bus in soon and have the shop check things out anyway and do a service. The radiator has four nice fans on it:



You can see the two up top and just the upper rear corner of the back one of the two on the bottom. I can manually turn the bottom fans on from the back of the bus on the panel to the right. I don't know if they also come on with the top fans automatically.

I cruise easily at 60 mph turning 2200 rpm; 2600 is max according to the plate on this motor. At 2400 rpm I'm at 65 and I really haven't run it higher than that. Really no need to; I'm very happy at 60 and I have some reserve if I need it.

It has an air thottle which I'm not sure I'm happy with. When I try and hold a steady speed (like 55 mph on our local highway) the bus surges. I don't know if this is in the air throttle system or something the engine is doing. It's not stumbling, as soon as you ask for more it smoothly picks up and goes; it does it at every speed. It's another thing I want to have checked out. I'm not driving the bus much at the moment, mostly just working on the conversion part. I'll get it in for a checkup before I put many miles on it.
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:23 AM   #13
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That sure looks good from here, good and clean, no leaks, no dirt, both indicaters of proper of scheduled maintainence.

I think a mechanical temp guage installed at the rear monitor panel would be a good investment for comparison purposes.
I don't have much experience with air throttles, but the highway busses don't seem to have many issues and I imagine that a cable system with 40' of cable, would end up feeling like a hd clutch, my guess would be to look for excess play in the linkages at both ends of the throttle system and then check the governor buffer on the pump. Spend the bucks and get a Cat factory service manual for the engine, it's good info and will help you decide how involved you want to get with the engine(you need to be able to change the fuel filter and bleed the system). Hook up with one of your marine engine guys and pick their brain about the engine, try to get some hands on pointers about the routine stuff that you are comfortable doing yourself.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:05 PM   #14
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Thanks Paul,

I'll see what I can find out.

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:17 PM   #15
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I went to the bus auction yesterday, 5 dealers buying for resale, clean 1998 Thomas pusher, 6'6" 140K miles, 84 pax, 5.9 cummins, mt643, air brakes, webasto heaters, basement storage, 20% rubber $7000. + 2% premium&tax. fair 96 Thomas pusher, 6'6" 125k miles, 78 pax,3116 cat, mt545, air brakes 20% rubber, $1800. 96 &97 IH 3800's Thomas and Bluebird48pax, with T444E, mt545, wheelchair lift 100-150k miles $2-4.5K.
Just a general fyi for anyone looking at skoolies in todays market.
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:28 PM   #16
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It's like our own ticker tape! Thanks.
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