Cat 3208 Engine Specifications

by Evan GillespieUpdated June 07, 2023
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Originally produced in 1975 through a collaboration between Caterpillar and Ford, the Cat 3208 diesel engine was extremely popular through its entire production run, which lasted into the early 1990s.

  • The engine was used in heavy trucks, including tractor trailers, garbage trucks, school buses and construction equipment.
  • The engine was also used in power plant and marine applications.

Use of the engine was widespread and its performance was reliable; as a result, many 3208-equipped vehicles remain in service long after production of the engine ceased.


The 3208 is an eight-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine with a V-8 configuration. It has a 114.3-millimeter bore and a 127-millimeter stroke.

  • Different variations of the engine weigh between 722 and 899 kilograms.
  • The engine displaces 10.4 liters.
  • It has a cooling system capacity of between 47.3 and 56 liters and a lube oil system capacity of between 12 and 15 liters.


Three versions of the 3208 engine have varying power ratings:

  • The version with the lowest power produces 210 horsepower.
  • The mid-range version produces 375 horsepower, and
  • The most powerful version produces 435 horsepower.

Compression Ratio

  • The compression ratio for the 210- and 375-horsepower versions of the 3208 is 16.5:1.
  • The compression ratio of the 435-horsepower version is 15.5:1.

Other Details

  • The 3208 has a forged steel crankshaft, and early versions had a cast iron camshaft, which was replaced with a steel camshaft in later versions.
  • Both turbocharged and non-turbo versions of the engine were produced.

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