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Caterpillar 3208 Solutions This sub-forum is hosted by Mike Hohnstein who has been at this kind of thing for 50+ years now, guess I'm addicted. The saga has been all about progressively larger shop space since then. Honestly, never wanted to get into the CAT 3208's that were originally considered to be a throwaway engine but that's all that works in a FC in my world. Same thing with my Ford toter, that came with a NA, too much effort to hang in a 6, so been at it with the CAT V-8 for 20 years now. In reality you can get excellent life out of a CAT 3208 if it's built correctly. Post your questions about the CAT 3208 engines here and Mike will try to help you out.

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  #1  
Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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Default 3208 low boost, low power, black smoke!

Trying to get a new to me bird up and running. Its an 89 with a 300HP turboed 3208.
Bought it not running and suspected a gummed up injection pump. Figured i would bring it to Cat and let them look into it since I'm up to my eyeballs in projects. They were able to get it running smoothly and sounds really good. Starts right up.

Here's what they did:

*Opened up the IP and found it to be gummed up. They cleaned it and replaced several of the pumps. They did this without removing the pump (i would have just removed and rebuilt but i didn't realize they did this till it was all back together).
*Adjusted the valves
*New Fuel filters, Cat and Racor
*Drained the fuel tank and cleared the lines.
*New air filter
*Replaced belts and some older leaking hoses etc.

The bus has a 12v fuel pump installed near the engine that works well.

They did not test drive it because the tags are in Non-Op status.

I drove the RV home and had a lot of black smoke and low power. I was only able to get 7lbs of boost at max throttle up hill. Most of the time i was running about 3-5 lbs. It felt like a boost leak. Engine starts right up and sounds smooth with no misses or weirdness. Just no power, I barely made it up the grade to Ramona going like 15 to 20 mph.

Here is what I've done so far:

*Checked to make sure i have full throttle actuation. I do.
*Checked for a boost leak between the turbo exit and the engine intake (including CAC). Zero leaks here. This holds 15psi all day long.
*Connected the intake hose and pressurized the system from turbo exit though the CAC to the intake at the head. This results in a huge loss of pressure. I was able to get up to 15psi after about 30 seconds but it would drop back to zero in 5 seconds.
*You can hear the leak on the passenger side of the engine head.
*I figured maybe one of my valves was in overlap so we rotated the engine a few times and the sound is still in the same spot.
*Removed one of the breathers on the passenger side head and you can feel the air coming out of it as you pressurize the system.
*We removed the valve cover and tried to pinpoint the air leak but couldn't. I will have a smoke machine on hand this week and will do a leak test with it this weekend.

I thought i would see what everyone's thoughts are. I thinking its either a bad valve seal or a cracked head but I'm more of a Cummins guy and this is the first cat engine I've worked on. Am i missing something?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-02-2019
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is online now
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Would have been nice to calibrate the rack but R&R of the pump obviously was too much work for the Cat house, on the other hand that would have been more costly.
You suspect an engine problem so,,,, compression check or better yet a leak down test would be in order. However head gasket issues are probable.
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Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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Thanks Mike,
In hind-site I would not have taken it to Cat and just done it myself. They were horrendously expensive and I'm not very satisfied with the results. Live and learn...
I've never done a leak down test. Know of anywhere online where i can learn how to do that?
I mostly wanted to make sure that a boost leak like that isnt just something that's normal on these.
I will get back to you guys when i get the smoke leak test done.
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Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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Probably worth noting that we sprayed soapy water all over the outside of the engine and there was no evidence of an external leak.

Mike,
If its a bad head gasket it would be a weird one. I'm not getting fuel in the coolant. I guess I could be burning oil but i don't have enough time on the engine to really notice that.
Do you sell remanufactured heads?
I really don't want to try to change that head in the bus. Sounds horrible.
If i pulled the engine i would most likely just upgrade to a Cummins 8.3 or something like that.
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Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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I'm gonna give this a try on Saturday:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0diWTupQAE
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Old 10-02-2019
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The insecure bald guy has some uses. 3208's are just fine, plenty of issues with 8.3 too, 35 years on a Cummins will have some wear and tear to deal with.
Frankly I'd do a 6V92TA for a real upgrade if an owner was adamant , however my 3208's run real well.
Many 3208's out there with machined heads, fresh gaskets and new head bolts, ready to run until the rings give it up.
By the way: are you SURE the engine is hitting on all 8 holes?? The adapters that fit between the injection lines from the pump and nozzles under the valve covers can fail and prevent fuel delivery. Checking requires removal, cleaning and air checking with a rubber tipped blow gun to verify flow. A failed adapter will not flow air, should flow both directions.
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Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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I'm not certain that the engine is hitting on all 8. It runs so smooth though i just figured it is. Plus the leaking when i pressurize the intake just doesn't seem right.
I'm going to pull the nozzles on that side of the engine, do the cylinder pressure test and I will pressure test the nozzles at the same time.
Hopefully between that and the smoke leak test something will jump out.
Sounds like pulling the engine isn't a huge deal. I do have access to a shop. I guess i will stick with the cat unless something is bad with the block.
Appreciate the input Mike.
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Old 10-02-2019
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And you dont have a squirrel nest in the intake or exhaust?
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Old 10-02-2019
waterweber waterweber is offline
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LOL, actually checked that. All clear.
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Old 10-02-2019
flyingjunebugs flyingjunebugs is offline
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Default Diesel muffler?

Hi,
My previous owner went cheap. Installed a gas muffler, really hurt power.
Now have a Donaldson Diesel muffler 51. Way better.
Here is some truck guys talking about it.

https://www.turbodieselregister.com/...4-or-5.211082/

Not likely it is your problem.
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