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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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  #11  
Old 10-06-2017
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kunzelj kunzelj is offline
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Gut feeling is I have the same problem as what John McGinnis had. It sure looks like it anyway. After stopped it will leave about 10 drops of oil on the floor.

How much was the total bill to get those gaskets fixed?

It also feel like my 3208 might be worth this repair even at 4100 hours.
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Jeff Kunzelman
Oakville, Manitoba, Canada
1988 FC-35SB 300HP/ZF (2016-current)
1978 GMC Royale 26' (2015-2016)
1982 FC-33SB 250HP (2007-2009)
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2018
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kunzelj kunzelj is offline
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I dropped my bird off at a highly-respected diesel shop here in Winnipeg. They determined the oil leak was coming from the rear seal. The work order says:

diag and check for oil leak-customer says he has oil pressure at 120 psi-would also like fuel filters changed *NOTE: master switch is by drivers right knee


Correction:Pressure wash engine, Run engine to temp, found oil pan bolts leaking at the rear of the pan. Power steering pump at front of engine leaking what looks like engine oil. Down draft tube is making a lot of mess on the transmission, couldn't see any transmission leaks at this time.When the engine was running there was no oil coming out of the flywheel housing but once shut down for a few minutes oil started to drip out from the flywheel housing. needs oil pan gasket, rear seal.Install mechanical gauge, run engine and compare to dash gauge. Dash gauge read 40PSI idle and 120PSI at 1500RPM.Mechanical gauge read 40 PSI idle and 60PSI at 1500RPM.needs oil pressure sender and then retest.
_________

After they examined and determined the front axle had to be dropped, they told me they didn't have the right equipment to do the surgery. They sent me to a local bus company that has more equipment to do this job.

Any comments on the diagnosis, particularly the down draft part?
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Jeff Kunzelman
Oakville, Manitoba, Canada
1988 FC-35SB 300HP/ZF (2016-current)
1978 GMC Royale 26' (2015-2016)
1982 FC-33SB 250HP (2007-2009)
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2018
jwood jwood is offline
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Did this project on our 82, rear main seal, while working on transmission. Didn't drop the axle. Just slid the transmission back far enough to get access to front seal on the transmission. Used a rolling truck transmission jack. Call if you need too. 580-436-7873
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1994 BMC37
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  #14  
Old 04-26-2018
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kunzelj kunzelj is offline
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Thanks John. I have the ZF and it's bigger than the MT643, so dropping the front axle is required from what others are saying. This is what makes the job less appealing for most shops. Mike has said 16 hours minimum... so maybe 20 hours for a first time shop... maybe another 6 hours for other issues.

I'm going to see about taking my ZF to the Gear Center... seems like Canada's only heavy duty ZF shop. Good to get those seals changed while it's out. Also going to get the exhaust pipe changed that goes past the front air bag and get new insulation.

I miss some things about the older FC's....
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Jeff Kunzelman
Oakville, Manitoba, Canada
1988 FC-35SB 300HP/ZF (2016-current)
1978 GMC Royale 26' (2015-2016)
1982 FC-33SB 250HP (2007-2009)
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2018
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kunzelj kunzelj is offline
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Over the past two years I have made a few posts regarding the oil leak on my ’88 FC. I was a little disappointed it was leaking oil when I purchased it but understanding there are always things to fix on these buses. If you aren’t leaking oil now, you will be one day. Having owned an ’82 FC with an upgraded 250HP 3208 with 4-speed Allison, I figured this 300HP/ZF would be similar. It was an incorrect assumption. The 300HP/ZF configuration in a FC leaves very little room for some repairs. Blue Bird really pushed the FC platform to the limit with this engine and transmission choice. The size of the ZF, location of the front axle along with the air-to-air charge cooler make for tricky servicing compared to an older FC or newer SP.

Oil was leaking from the rear of the engine and it amounted to 1 quart per 500 miles or so. It was enough to make a mess on the underside of the bus and leave 10 drops of oil after shutdown. Not a huge deal but something to keep an eye on.

Over the course of the last 30 months the oil leak had gotten worse. I tried to slow the leak with Lucas Stop Leak, and whatever other magic oil you can think of. Straight weight oil? Tried that too. Nothing slowed the leak and probably made it worse. By this summer I was leaking 1 quart per 200 miles.

I had taken the bus to a local shop in Winnipeg that is very respected in the industry. They had the bus for a week and verified the rear seal and housing gasket was leaking. They also said they could not handle this job. Since the ZF is such a huge transmission, the front axle needs to be dropped. They did not have a hoist or the jacks required to do this repair. That was hard for me to believe.

I continued to call around to shops all over Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Alberta/North America to see if any would be able to handle the job. Many wanted me to leave the bus so they can look at it for a week. I did so in one case and it proved to be a waste of time. The Cat dealer was included, but I would leave them as a last resort. Cat dealers are typically very costly in Canada and not necessarily any better quality of work.
Other experts on this topic informed me to keep driving it. Others really had no advice at all. It was a pretty lonely place to be with such a problem. I had invested already $45k into this bus and I didn’t want to sell it at a reduced price because of an oil leak. Owning something that seemingly can’t be repaired is not very comforting.

I finally found a shop that was extremely competent. No pit. No hoist. They had the bus in and out in two weeks. They removed the front axle, dropped the ZF, pulled the rear main housing from the 3208 and replaced the gaskets and rear main seal. The ZF got all new Shell Spirax A295 oil in the process. The front axle got new slack adjusters, brake chambers and air hoses. The front steering stops were also loose, along with the front axle bolts on the drivers side.

We also discovered the rear main housing had loose bolts as well, and likely contributed to the oil leak. Everything has been torqued to spec. I drove it home today and it’s so nice to have no oil leaking from the engine.
I wasn’t willing to accept that a 3208 should leak that much oil. It was messy and always a worry to have the leak suddenly get worse on the road. It seems there are very few shops anywhere that A- can do the job, and B- willing to do it.

If you own an FC with a 300HP Cat, you will likely need to do this repair in the future. Be prepared… it’s big and a good idea to find a shop that can handle the job early on with the leak.

Once the front axle and transmission is out there are numerous things you can do at the same time, and the list can be endless. Exhaust insulation, full ZF inspection, front air bags, and on and on. I opted to only do what was necessary considering everything else looked to be in great condition and all my air bags are new.

The bus is all ready for Arizona in January!

Photos:

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AqBHTm1k3yUWhYAB4CEXoTSXqewMHQ
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Jeff Kunzelman
Oakville, Manitoba, Canada
1988 FC-35SB 300HP/ZF (2016-current)
1978 GMC Royale 26' (2015-2016)
1982 FC-33SB 250HP (2007-2009)
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  #16  
Old 11-17-2018
chiplamb chiplamb is offline
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Great news, Jeff! Enjoy the trip in Jan.
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1990 SP36 75k
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  #17  
Old 11-17-2018
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Nice write up Jeff! Now it will be good for another 30+ years.
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1987 35FC
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  #18  
Old 11-18-2018
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Is the blow by reduced from fixing the housing gasket
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Marcia Mehr
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  #19  
Old 11-18-2018
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Thanks Jeff for the write-up & pictures.
That settles the debate on how to pull the ZF out of an FC.
Do you know how many hours of labor??
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  #20  
Old 11-18-2018
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kunzelj kunzelj is offline
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Bill - It totaled 45 hours of labour and I believe they worked on it for three days total.

I think it's important for everyone to check their front axle bolts as well. He said that mine were not tight. You can see rust on the driver's side front axle where moisture was present from not being tight. Also good to check those steering stops on both sides.

Both my air lines were cracked up - also a really good thing to change and one front slack adjuster was not ratcheting properly. That's all pretty inexpensive stuff.

The blow-by is about the same. I have only my 250HP and Chip's SP to compare as I haven't seen any other 3208's running close up. At high idle and at 190F there is only a small stream of white smoke from the slobber tube underneath.
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1988 FC-35SB 300HP/ZF (2016-current)
1978 GMC Royale 26' (2015-2016)
1982 FC-33SB 250HP (2007-2009)
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