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Old 07-12-2017, 04:05 PM   #1
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Location: Kemper County, MS
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Cat 3208

I make no apology that I have driven trucks for the better part of my life.
Started with a "commercial" license when I was 17, upgraded to "CDL" when that mandate came down, and I still drive trucks as a delivery driver.
2,000,000+ miles worth.

That said, I wanted to point out that Caterpillar engines are the cream of the crop.
Just ask truckers (Owner Operators, not company drivers) and you will find this out.

My favorite as well are the Cats.
(followed closely by the 90's MACK engines.)

Yes, they "mark their territory" by slobbering oil out the crankcase vent tube (older engines).
Yes they will use a little more fuel.
Yes they need a cathouse to get work done or parts. (maybe lack of inferior parts are the reason for reliability ???)

But to dismiss the Cat because of the opinion of someone who never put 100,000 miles on one is just ridiculous.

I have had Detroits throw rods, Cummins engines just die, Internationals that couldn't keep from throwing a code longer than a week, and we won't get into the other engines and their common problems here and now.
(and I will also skip talking about the 2004 +up wallet unfriendly DPF/DEF engines entirely as I will NEVER buy one with my money)

But the CAT engine has rarely let me down for a major problem.

My favorite engine is the little 3208. Mechanical if possible.

Yes, it is a "disposable" (not manufactured to be rebuilt) engine, but it is a hard runner.
One I drove for over a year was in a concrete mixer. LOTS of high idle and sitting around at low idle.
Not a single problem, and I drove it like I stole it 6 days a week.
This one in particular had a 13 "Lo-Lo" tranny. (3 lo-lo's and 10 in the lo/hi ranges) It would pull a train it seemed.
A full 13 months of rough roads and hard running and all it ever needed was oil and filters. (engine wise)

I have driven trucks with everything up to the 550 Cat and this little jewel was the best of them all for reliability.

I can only imagine how great this engine would be in a 10,000 mile a year application.

It is sad they no longer make this one.
They are hard to find now, and harder to find running well.
But if I can get my hands on one, I will jump on one in a heartbeat.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:00 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 238
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
if i could not have my cat i would try to find and rebuild a old mack thermodyne as those would burn any fuel (i think even road tar)
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:57 AM   #3
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Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
What they say^

No finer satisfaction than to feel that old Cat go to work under your foot. Talk about positive response and torque to burn.

The rest of diesels are mere imitations of CATS.

John
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:35 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 238
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
I tell the kids that with my mechanical cat i can survive a emf bomb and keep running so we will be able to escape the zombie apocalypse that is coming
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:09 PM   #5
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I have near zero experience with diesels but researching on the internet, I see a lot of hate for the 3208.

Mostly from marine and farm applications where I guess they run the piss out of them.

It is also said that the Cummins 8.3 from the 90s is more economical with similar power (300hp) and more rebuildable.

The economy has me leaning toward Cummins but not by much.

I think they both are suitable for biodiesel if they have mechanical injection pumps.

I'm interested to hear how Cummins just die and if you think any durability differences would matter in that 10,000 mile a year duty (cruising slow and at night for best economy and least traffic)?

I just want to save a little money and not have to dread finding a replacement in 10-15 years.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:24 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Sorry but the internet says that elvis is still alive. So as it was stated above talk to owners. Ive drove mack,detroit ,cat,ih,allison and cummings. I prefer cat or mack. Cummings gave me problems with inj pumps but was not too bad. Towed it 4 times in 3 years on a truck before it had 300k on it swpre off them after that and allion made a air cooled diesel many years ago. Fantastic power but noisey as hell as it had a fan for cooling just like a propeller behind the grill
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:25 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 238
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
God im old
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:55 PM   #8
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Get what your gut tells you to buy.
Ya pays your money and you take your chances.
All of these are fine engines in their own respects and have their purpose by design. Some hold up better than others and only time will tell that.
In about 40 years of working around them in different applications in commerce and industry, I saw Cast everywhere. Running well form cold starting to operational temps and then running long and hard.
I would/am putting my life on one, an old one too but sure ain't ready to scrap yet. It'll likely outlive me doing about 10,000 miles a year.
It knows it is going to get driven when my conversion is about finished and that is when I will be thankful for what the drivetrain consists of.

John
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:55 PM   #9
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drop out View Post
I have near zero experience with diesels but researching on the internet, I see a lot of hate for the 3208.

Mostly from marine and farm applications where I guess they run the piss out of them.

It is also said that the Cummins 8.3 from the 90s is more economical with similar power (300hp) and more rebuildable.

The economy has me leaning toward Cummins but not by much.

I think they both are suitable for biodiesel if they have mechanical injection pumps.

I'm interested to hear how Cummins just die and if you think any durability differences would matter in that 10,000 mile a year duty (cruising slow and at night for best economy and least traffic)?

I just want to save a little money and not have to dread finding a replacement in 10-15 years.
people alot of times go on law of averages.. and of course internet forums are tough.. because you Rarely get the people on a forum that have bone stock engines that run perfectly.. and arent enthusiasts of career truck drivers.. so the people you see are the ones who want more power, make mods to their engines and either ruin them or they run crazy good.. or the complainers that have issues.. and theres no way to know if those wit hissues were partially self induced or if they were doing everything by the book and their engine just broke.. we all know theres all kinds out there...

there are plenty of ford pickups still running bone stock 6.0 Diesels in them that have never been touched.. they are the mundane.. that drove their truck to work everyday and maybe hauled mulch and a couple loads of firewood here or there.. or they pulled their small horse trailer or bike trailer or small /medium camper... the ones that arent likely to be on a forum because their truck worked.. and they dont really have an emotional enthusiasm for it.. its just there.. but of course the internet has all kinds of stories of blown heads and melted down oil coolers and busted transmissions, yada yada.. companies that make their living on selling "bulletproof" parts for said 6.0. even those ads bash on the 6.0. since they wantto sell parts to make "yours" run better and longer...

there are plenty of CAT motors out there.. Lots of thomas freightliner school busses from the late 90s into the early 2000s are still chugging away in school districts everywhere.. all of those you run across in the auctions that have run 15 years or more and have 160k miles on them... they likely havent had their engines rebuilt or blown in pieces all over the freeway...

are CAT engines more expensive to work on if they break? most likely yes.. are they more Prone to break? not really that I can see..

-Christopher
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:45 PM   #10
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,228
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drop out View Post
I have near zero experience with diesels but researching on the internet, I see a lot of hate for the 3208.

Mostly from marine and farm applications where I guess they run the piss out of them.

It is also said that the Cummins 8.3 from the 90s is more economical with similar power (300hp) and more rebuildable.

The economy has me leaning toward Cummins but not by much.

I think they both are suitable for biodiesel if they have mechanical injection pumps.

I'm interested to hear how Cummins just die and if you think any durability differences would matter in that 10,000 mile a year duty (cruising slow and at night for best economy and least traffic)?

I just want to save a little money and not have to dread finding a replacement in 10-15 years.
Cummins 8.3 is great. Cat 3208 is a dog for what it is.
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