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Gillig/Cat.. white blow-by.... Ryan Grace 10-30-03  
Hello,
I have a 72 gillg with a cat 3208 that is blowing excessive white smoke from the breather tube. There is not much exhaust smoke... just a little black puff coming out of a stop in first gear..
We make these run on veggie oil for a caravan to costa rica...
www.sustainablesolutionscaravan.org
Im wondering if these is a show stopper of a problem since we are about to depart for central america and an engine swap is not on my to do list...
any advice or leads on useable engines in the san francisco/LA area are appreciated.
Also, whats up with these cat motors? some say they are wonderful and others say they are worthless. I like the power/size ratio and not having to deal with a turbo. I like that a new rebuild from cat is 6700 bucks versus 10k for a DD rebuild... I guess its just a bummer if only one sleave needs replacing but... shouldnt you do the whole motor if you have it apart anyway?
They seem to have good power for such a manageable motor and my first two dont leak any oil and still look real pretty all yellow and clean versus all the dripping oil soaked 3000lb DD's my friends have.
Also, arent the cat parts easier to find in central america?

Thanks
Ryan Grace
Re: Gillig/Cat.. white blow-by.... Mark O. 11-4-03  
One reason the 3208 smokes a lot, particularly on start up, is the pistons are made in an oval shape. As the piston warms up, it rounds itself out, fills the cylinder all the way up, and then increases the compression thereby creating the optimum burn.

When a 3208 gets older and the pistons start to get a little sloppy in the holes, the smoking gets a progressively worse because you never get full compression.

As to the white smoke coming out of the blowby, I am thinking you most likely have a problem somewhere inside. I am thinking you have lost the rings on a piston or you have a hole burned through a piston. In any case, you are getting some of your compression going into your crankcase.

I am thinking that you may have run the fuel mix a little lean if you have been using veggie oil. If that is the case, your head temps may be running a lot hotter than you should be. If your head temps are running hot, you could have burned a hole in a piston.

As to the turbo, why in the world wouldn't you want a turbo? Particularly in a Gillig? Not only does the turbo motor produce about 20% more HP and torque but you don't lose nearly as much go as you go uphill. a turbo motor is going to use less fuel to do the identical amount of work.

If you decide you need engine work, it will be a lot easier and less expensive to purchase an engine in a box and swap them out. Doing an inframe on a 3208 is a real loser of a propisition.

Good luck.

Mark O.
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