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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 07-22-2018
Charlie Fox Charlie Fox is offline
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Default 3 Questions

New owner looking around, familiarizing with my Bird and I'm wondering about...
1. I read how the Allison and 3208 need to be driven "hard". Is there a particular way I need to drive the ZF and 3208T combo?

2. Sometimes the meters show the alternator charging and sometimes it hardly registers over 12 volts. I've seen where it needs to be "woken up" so I blip the throttle up to 1500-1800 and it'll read 12.5+. Now I've added 300 watts of solar and when running it won't show charging. When I checked at the alt the gauges agree with the volt meter.
Question is 2 part a) Is that normal?, I wasn't aware the alt would change with the charge on the battery and b) It seems as if the choice of alternators is quite wide 120 amp, 160 amp, 200 amp, 1 wire, j mount...is there an upgrade alt?

3. The 3208T from the bottom looks just like a gas v8, is an oil change the same, and what are the 3 filters on the block?

These things are amazing in their simple complexity. As I look around it's just amazing how many wires there are in these birds, and how many aren't connected or cut or...

An addendum when I went to post this I was going to ask about the oil pan insulator/guard...didn't know the WOG can read minds.
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1989 FC Silver Edition

Last edited by Dieselbird01; 07-23-2018 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Moved posts
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2018
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Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Fox View Post
New owner looking around, familiarizing with my Bird and I'm wondering about...
1. I read how the Allison and 3208 need to be driven "hard". Is there a particular way I need to drive the ZF and 3208T combo?

2. Sometimes the meters show the alternator charging and sometimes it hardly registers over 12 volts. I've seen where it needs to be "woken up" so I blip the throttle up to 1500-1800 and it'll read 12.5+. Now I've added 300 watts of solar and when running it won't show charging. When I checked at the alt the gauges agree with the volt meter.
Question is 2 part a) Is that normal?, I wasn't aware the alt would change with the charge on the battery and b) It seems as if the choice of alternators is quite wide 120 amp, 160 amp, 200 amp, 1 wire, j mount...is there an upgrade alt?

3. The 3208T from the bottom looks just like a gas v8, is an oil change the same, and what are the 3 filters on the block?

These things are amazing in their simple complexity. As I look around it's just amazing how many wires there are in these birds, and how many aren't connected or cut or...

An addendum when I went to post this I was going to ask about the oil pan insulator/guard...didn't know the WOG can read minds.
I

If the alternator didnt cut back it would boil you battery banks. Chose the Alternator your happy with. The more amperage the less time it take to charge your battery banks.

Two oil filters and a fuel filter are what your seeing under your Cat. Much like changing your car oil except your dealing with 5 gallons of oil and you should fill oil filters and fuel filter before install.
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2018
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Having had a 88FC35 with the 3208 w/ZF I will attempt to answer a couple questions for you. Drive it like you stole it, but don't let it overheat as with any other engine. It will take time & experience to get use to the transmission up & down shifting. Your coach may have a downshift switch under the throttle so when your climbing a mountain or steep hill stomp hard on the throttle and it will downshift one lower gear, then you can use the shift pad to lock in place. The steeper the climb you may have to downshift more than once. Also practice using the electric retarder for decent, keeping the transmission in the yellow is your optimum goal, red is a no-no. Green is a go but once your engine is up to operating temp you will rarely see green unless it is extremely cold outside. Downshifting the tranny and using the retarder is important. As for the insulated oil pan cover, unless you're planning on dying in the coach and later buried in it, leave it alone the next guy may need it. In cold climates the engine block heater heats the coolant and the radiate heat warms the oil, hence the insulated oil pan cover. JMO

Oil change I did once a year or 10k whichever came first. You have 2 oil filters and one fuel filter on your engine. I always filled the oil filter before installing Rotello 15w40, and Dextron ATF in the fuel filter. This prevents air induction into the system. Your coach most likely has the 160 amp alternator, nothing wrong with it if it is functioning properly. I would question why the solar is on while running down the road, redundant I would think unless you are pulling extra large loads. The alternator will not charge until it is demanded, providing you have strong batteries. Weak batteries you may see more demand on the alternator. Just a thought for the future, ask a question in each thread, if you have multiple questions start more than one thread, this helps other in future searches.
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2018
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kg4rrx kg4rrx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birds_first View Post
Having had a 88FC35 with the 3208 w/ZF I will attempt to answer a couple questions for you. Drive it like you stole it, but don't let it overheat as with any other engine. It will take time & experience to get use to the transmission up & down shifting. Your coach may have a downshift switch under the throttle so when your climbing a mountain or steep hill stomp hard on the throttle and it will downshift one lower gear, then you can use the shift pad to lock in place. The steeper the climb you may have to downshift more than once. Also practice using the electric retarder for decent, keeping the transmission in the yellow is your optimum goal, red is a no-no. Green is a go but once your engine is up to operating temp you will rarely see green unless it is extremely cold outside. Downshifting the tranny and using the retarder is important. As for the insulated oil pan cover, unless you're planning on dying in the coach and later buried in it, leave it alone the next guy may need it. In cold climates the engine block heater heats the coolant and the radiate heat warms the oil, hence the insulated oil pan cover. JMO

Oil change I did once a year or 10k whichever came first. You have 2 oil filters and one fuel filter on your engine. I always filled the oil filter before installing Rotello 15w40, and Dextron ATF in the fuel filter. This prevents air induction into the system. Your coach most likely has the 160 amp alternator, nothing wrong with it if it is functioning properly. I would question why the solar is on while running down the road, redundant I would think unless you are pulling extra large loads. The alternator will not charge until it is demanded, providing you have strong batteries. Weak batteries you may see more demand on the alternator. Just a thought for the future, ask a question in each thread, if you have multiple questions start more than one thread, this helps other in future searches.

I've only seen yellow a time or two now over a few thousand miles- but then again not many hills to use it on down here. Watch your engine temps. I have to get out of the throttle for pyro readings on hills before I ever worry about getting hot.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg4rrx View Post
I've only seen yellow a time or two now over a few thousand miles- but then again not many hills to use it on down here. Watch your engine temps. I have to get out of the throttle for pyro readings on hills before I ever worry about getting hot.
Worry about the pyro on the climb up and the tranny heat on the down hill. Get that tranny in the red for a prolong period of time may cause a problem.
On the climb if your pyro get to heated you have the option to back off on the throttle. On your decent having control of the retarder, tranny gear selection, and speed are all important factors in keeping your tranny heat in the yellow.
Not much to worry about in your neck of the woods unless you go west of Chattanooga and run up & down Mont Eagle all day long. LOL Go to Colorado and you'll learn the importance to gear selection, retarder and tranny heat, and there is also the pucker factor you can add to the equation.

In my previous post I said electric retarder, it's not electric , I meant internal transmission retarder.
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95WB42MD S60, Mid-Entry "B-Rex"
88FC35 (SOLD)
Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN
2000 Jeep Cherokee
Our Blog
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https://allwheelappraisals.com/
Email or call only - please do not send PM

johns.mcginnis @ hotmail.com
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2018
Charlie Fox Charlie Fox is offline
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Rick thank you for the quick answers. I didn't realize that the alt had the ability to vari the charge.
and really 5 gallons oil, 5 gallons. Wow

FYI didn't mean to post in this thread. I started a thread specificly for this. I don't know how to delete a post.
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Fullerton, California
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1989 FC Silver Edition

Last edited by Dieselbird01; 07-23-2018 at 12:32 PM. Reason: moved post
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2018
Charlie Fox Charlie Fox is offline
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To be perfectly honest the furthest I've driven her is the 120 mile trip home and in reality I'm so over my head it's actually really funny.
1st rv of any sort...so her we go.
"I would question why the solar is on while running down the road, redundant I would think unless you are pulling extra large loads."
Not having driven any distance since installing the panels and since I thought the solar panels and charge controller took care of charging levels I don't understand that, do I need a cutoff?

As far as driving, I want to accelerate hard with solid crisp shifts?
I have yet to try hills with the retarder but I read that it could be kept on in flatland also to help with stopping, is that wise?

For posting I didn't mean for this to be posted in Mike's thread about jacks I had meant it for this as the starting post here. I was of the opinion that threads were meant for larger topics so I tried to group a couple of similar small questions together.

Out of curiosity doesn't the search, search content and subject for the search words or...For most everything I search first then I may ask.
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Fox View Post
To be perfectly honest the furthest I've driven her is the 120 mile trip home and in reality I'm so over my head it's actually really funny.
1st rv of any sort...so her we go.
"I would question why the solar is on while running down the road, redundant I would think unless you are pulling extra large loads."
Not having driven any distance since installing the panels and since I thought the solar panels and charge controller took care of charging levels I don't understand that, do I need a cutoff?

As far as driving, I want to accelerate hard with solid crisp shifts?
I have yet to try hills with the retarder but I read that it could be kept on in flatland also to help with stopping, is that wise?

For posting I didn't mean for this to be posted in Mike's thread about jacks I had meant it for this as the starting post here. I was of the opinion that threads were meant for larger topics so I tried to group a couple of similar small questions together.

Out of curiosity doesn't the search, search content and subject for the search words or...For most everything I search first then I may ask.
No need to turn off the Solar.

I used the retarder on our SP on flat ground sometime.
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2018
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I use the retarder all the time. I believe the ZF manual recommends it to help reduce wear on service brakes. It disengages with with go pedal down. Just watch the temps and you're fine.
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2018
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Keep in mind ZF will work well with a wide variety of lubricants, I'd consider 10/30 or 15/40 engine oil @ service time particularly if operated in hilly terrain.
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