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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 07-18-2019
Ssmarinediesel Ssmarinediesel is offline
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Default High coolant temp, thermostats and coolant

Good morning all,
I own a 79 XV 35 with a 250 hp turbocharged 3208 that was put in around 1982. I’ve had this bus for a year and had noticed late November that the temperatures were running a bit hot when coming from Flagstaff to Phoenix. That was in winter and the ambient temperatures varied from 20 degrees leaving Flagstaff to 55 in Phoenix. After that I’ve only done short runs from the RV storage to the RV park where I spend a few days and then put the bus up. So this week I decided to take the bus up to Colorado to spend a month so I change the oil; check the fluids, load her up and head out at night which is when the ambient temperatures are cooler. Last night was particularly cooler which is why I chose to head out; about 30 minutes into the trip I start noticing my temperature running at 200 which is higher than usual, I usually see 190 - 195. I kept the Horton fan on manual to help and it kind of lingered. So I decided to pull in for fuel and check everything to make sure nothing was off. I headed back out and now the engine was running 185 and stayed there for a bit until I got to some mountains and had to do some climbing; I dropped the gear and started my slow climb and my temperature started going up, it went up to 205, maybe a little higher; it’s hard to tell with these gauges. I pulled over to the shoulder and put it in neutral to cool it off. It sat at that temperature for the next 10 to 15 minutes and then finally started coming down. While trying to cool it I checked for coolant leaks and checked for anything in front of the radiator. Everything seemed fine. When it cooled I limped to the neared exit and returned to the storage yard while watching the temps.

My questions,
1. Coolant, what coolant are you guys using in your 3208’s and what concentration. I noticed and feel that the coolant concentration on mine is a bit concentrated; I am goi g to confirm this morning with a hydrometer. This coolant was in it when I got the bus from an owner who maintained the bus well; it looked clean so I never changed it.

2. Thermostats (regulators) what temperature thermostats are you guys running, I’m a Cat marine engine mechanic and we use 180 but I’m clueless on the highway engines so i’d Like everyone’s recommendation. The reason I’m thinking about the thermostats is because the temperatures took long to drop even at neutral which I find to be odd and indicative of possibly a stuck thermostat.

3. Temperatures, what temperatures are you guys running? I ran last summer at no higher than 195 with an ambient temperature 95 degrees; that was in Florida, where there are no steep grades; however, my issue last night started while running flat terrain and the ambient temperature was about 90 as well.


So, that’s my post; I’m anxiously awaiting feedback, especially from Mike Hohnstein; I’d especially like his feed back.
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1979 FC35XV
Dania Beach, Florida
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Old 07-18-2019
B.Nyhof B.Nyhof is offline
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Cat has their own antifreeze coolant. That is what I run. 180 is right for the thermostats. My old FC ran between 180 and 200. Maybe a bit higher climbing a big hill. I don’t think your numbers are way off. How old is the radiator? A good cleaning with simple green or a coil cleaner might help too. Don’t use high pressure on it though. Brian
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Old 07-18-2019
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Crit Bliss Crit Bliss is offline
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Tell us about your radiator, how old is it?
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Old 07-18-2019
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Verify gage reading with infrared thermometer, change thermostats if they are more than two years old. I prefer Cat supplied units @ 185.
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Old 07-18-2019
Ssmarinediesel Ssmarinediesel is offline
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The radiator is maybe a couple of years old; the previous owner had a new core installed.

I went ahead and ordered the thermostats as per the serial number of the motor; they’re 180 degree which is a Cat part number 1028392 quantity two. I’m heading to the Cat dealer now to pick the parts up; fortunately I carry a lot of tools so I hope to be on the road at the same time tonight when temps are cooler.

As for the coolant; I’m going to measure the concentration; I’ve always been picky with my coolant concentration. I might go with the cat; but I’ll go with the DEAC coolant which is concentrated, and I’ll dilute it myself.

Does anyone know what the coolant capacity of these beasts is?
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Old 07-18-2019
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Steelwheels Steelwheels is offline
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Does your fan come on automatically and shut offf automatically, you may want to verify your temp readings with a infrared thermometer your gauge could be off.

Read about simple green before using it to clean your radiator, I think it causes some corrosion issues.
I like AC coil cleaner, get it at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
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Old 07-18-2019
Ssmarinediesel Ssmarinediesel is offline
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The fan clutch is a Horton; it does come on and off automatically; I had it on manual but if I switched it off it was still engaged. Regarding the accuracy of the gauge; my buzzer was also starting to go off.
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Old 07-19-2019
Cardiomonster Cardiomonster is offline
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Marcelino,

Wow, talk about a timely post! I too am suddenly having an issue with my thermostat and am very interested in advise from those in the know.

I took delivery of my first RV, an '82 33-FC w/NA 3208 Cat several days ago, and I am currently driving it home to AZ. Yesterday I drove 21 hours from Dearborn, MI to Little Rock, AR(875mi) and she ran flawlessly until right before my destination. After crawling up several very steep hills my temp gauge spiked to 200(had been running 180-190), so I pulled over after cresting the hill to let it cool. Shortly thereafter I shut it off, but when I restarted it the gauge was no longer registering ANYTHING?

My guess after reading the replies above is that these t-stats go bad often, so I will need to source and replace is most likely. I am very interested in the other aspects of your post.

If anyone knows where I might source a t-stat in Little Rock and how hard they are to change out it would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Matt
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Last edited by Cardiomonster; 07-19-2019 at 11:53 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 07-19-2019
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardiomonster View Post
Marcelino,

Wow, talk about a timely post! I too am suddenly having an issue with my thermostat and am very interested in advise from those in the know.

I took delivery of my first RV, an '82 33-FC w/NA 3208 Cat several days ago, and I am currently driving it home to AZ. Yesterday I drove 21 hours from Dearborn, MI to Little Rock, AR(875mi) and she ran flawlessly until right before my destination. After crawling up several very steep hills my temp gauge spiked to 200(had been running 180-190), so I pulled over after cresting the hill to let it cool. Shortly thereafter I shut it off, but when I restarted it the gauge was no longer registering ANYTHING?

My guess after reading the replies above is that these t-stats go bad often, so I will need to source and replace is most likely. I am very interested in the other aspects of your post.

If anyone knows where I might source a t-stat in Little Rock and how hard they are to change out it would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Matt

Welcome to WOG Matt!
Before you start taking things apart check your coolant level,if the coolant is too low the temp gauge will not read the coolants temp.


I would not say the stats go bad often.
I would be checking my fan belts and for leaks before i did anything else to your bus.
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Old 07-19-2019
Cardiomonster Cardiomonster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
Welcome to WOG Matt!
Before you start taking things apart check your coolant level,if the coolant is too low the temp gauge will not read the coolants temp.


I would not say the stats go bad often.
I would be checking my fan belts and for leaks before i did anything else to your bus.
Thanks Randy! It's been a long and interesting journey to finding "the one". I'll turn 50 next month, so just in the nick of time.

I will check the coolant level and start reading up on the specifics relating to that system. I ended up with the coach from Holland, MI currently named Folk Art. She is as good as I could have hoped for thus far and loving the experience of driving such a vintage beast.

On a side note - I did see a weld near the fill neck, so hopefully she hasn't been leaking again. No spots have appeared under so there's that.

Matt
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