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Old 04-09-2011, 01:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
mikey350
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Default 3306 Cat, probably been asked lots

What are these engines like? i have heard the 3406 was junk, and i have heard the same stuff about the 3306. We got a tractor right now we haven't used yet, with 8000 hours on it. It seems to run fine, but we don't know if it uses oil or not yet, haven't ran it much yet. It wont start on its own though, always needs a bit of either first start of the day. The fuel filter housing seems to be leaking down and air is getting inside, and even if you prime it she wont fire.


I know for a fact the fuel line is sucking air in, but i have heard that they can be that bad to start normally, and that some people even put lift pumps inline to help them start.

Would this be a good idea to do while im changing the line tomorrow? or should i just change the line and leave it. Might be some seals i was thinking in the primer gone, or the filter somewhere up there. This is in a PT 270 , 1978 i think
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mikey350 View Post
What are these engines like? i have heard the 3406 was junk, and i have heard the same stuff about the 3306. We got a tractor right now we haven't used yet, with 8000 hours on it. It seems to run fine, but we don't know if it uses oil or not yet, haven't ran it much yet. It wont start on its own though, always needs a bit of either first start of the day. The fuel filter housing seems to be leaking down and air is getting inside, and even if you prime it she wont fire.


I know for a fact the fuel line is sucking air in, but i have heard that they can be that bad to start normally, and that some people even put lift pumps inline to help them start.

Would this be a good idea to do while im changing the line tomorrow? or should i just change the line and leave it. Might be some seals i was thinking in the primer gone, or the filter somewhere up there. This is in a PT 270 , 1978 i think
Well I'm not a Cat man, but I'm curious where you heard that the inline Cat engines are junk

Kind of not fair to bitch about that it don't start right when you admit there is a fuel problem, can I ask why you even bought it if you think its a piece of sh*t
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What you are reffering to as junk, might be two of the best engines ever made. There is a reasone cat produced both those engines for 30 years plus. They still do in other parts of the world where is green police haven't taken over.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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ohh noo don't get me wrong, i don't think its a piece of junk or anything, i have drove the tractor the most of anyone on the farm so far, and i love it! but i did try googling some things about the engine because i had seen somewhere before about one of those engines being bad for having crank problems. I have been told by a few mechanics that too, and was wondering what people on here though from experience. Once the tractor starts she runs fine, and even starts fine if it is shut off and started soon after. That part im not too worried about, other than i have heard of people having air problems with certain engines and putting lift pumps to help them start better.

But is there anything i should be watching for with this engine, other than the obvious using oil, and any do's and don'ts or is it actually a pretty decent engine, and just use common sense?

Bought the tractor because it was dirt cheap horse power, done a bit of work to it so far but seems to be in decent shape so far.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A 270 I believe is a 3306, had one and it was a good tractor, not as good as a 280 or a 325 with the 3406 but that depends on what you want to do with it. The 3406 is the engine in the stieger we had that we ran new mains into at 5000 hours, but the 3306's I have been told you don't need to worry about. We have run 2 65 cats well over 10,000 hours without doing bearings and had no problems. I believe the old 270 stieger 3306 had glow plugs like the D5's of the time had, which might be somthing to look at. The later models of the motor were DI models and did not have plugs. If it has a 3406, that was the best cold starting motor I have ever seen.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The 3406 was the benchmark at one time. Very reliable engines and easy to repair or rebuild. If I can remember this correctly Cat even boasted a 1,000,000 mile overhaul claim on their highway engines. Anyway, we have 2 - 3406's...1 in a truck (1.3 million KM) and one in an Steiger Panther (9000hrs). No problems with either of them. We even boosted the power on the Panther and he pulls like a freight train until today. We also have a 3306 in an older Steiger Bearcat PT225 III (7900hrs) and we blew a turbo on it years ago. Other than that we've replaced the bottom bearings on it once and it keeps on running. Both tractors are semi-retired so they don't see much action anymore but in their days we worked them hard. On our 3306 we have glow plug warmers and if I plug that tractor's block heater/oil pan heater in for 3-4 hours and then fire up those glow plug warmers he will fire up in -30c weather everytime. It's never seen a whiff of ether in it's life. I don't know if our fancy 9520 could do that........

I'll second what 2388h said. The 3406 is a good starter in any weather. That Panther of ours can sit all winter and then on the first warm day of the spring I can sit in that tractor and crank him over for 2 or 3 seconds and he will start. Just make sure the shop doors are open 'cause he'll smoke like a demon. We've been extremely happy with those old Steigers....
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The CAT 3306 and 3406 engines are junk is real news to me.
The CAT 3306 had a reputation in their time of being one of the toughest engines around.
Our 265 hp upgraded to 285 hp 3306 in our 1987 early build CAT Challenger 65 had done some 8 thousand hours without any serious troubles and no pull downs when it was sold only a few weeks ago.
It used some oil but mostly when on the lighter loads. It was run at 1800 rpm to 2100 rpm with no duty cycle for at least half of it's life pulling an Australian built Grizzly 100 plate off set disc or a 84 tyne, 50 ft wide cultivator in heavy clay soils both of which made it's tongue hang out a fair bit!
At full revs above 2100 rpm the fuel consumption went up rapidly and at low revs of below 1600 rpm, sometimes recommended for light loads it really sounded bogged down regardless of how light the load was.

Likewise the 3406 some of which on the prawn trawlers in the Australian Gulf of Carpentaria were past 18,000 hours in the mid 1980's without any pull down maintenance.
Our 400 hp 3406 did some 10,000 hours on a Barrel Medic seed vacuum cleaner type harvester before being sold.
The main maintenance on it was the replacement of the big end shells at 3000 hours which the truckies recommended but which after pulling the shells proved to be totally unnecessary.
That 3406 ran for some 3 months of the year often operating for 24 hrs a day, 6 days a week with no duty cycle break and running at mostly close to full power and 2100 rpm revs for the entire time and this for some 12 years of operating our mobile Barrel Medic clover seed harvester.
The suction fan on that machine took close to 200 HP alone to drive plus thresher and all the other ancillary devices on a seed harvesting machine plus a home invented and built device that separated about 15 to 20 tonnes of dry dirt per hour from the Barrel Medic seed pods as they were sucked up and before the pods went into the thresher.
Man, that engine sounded good at full stretch bellow!

Selection of the right governors for the job specifications is essential for these engines as a truck engine governor has a different torque curve set up to say an tractor which in turn is different to a stable quick react industrial engine such as on generators or on a harvester in our case.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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ohh alright thats good news to me, i was mostly worried about the bottom end in these engines, but what you guys are telling me they are pretty good. I will have to fix the fuel line then and see if they really makes a big difference in her starting. We mounted a 30 gallon tank on the tractor, and a PTO hydraulic pump to run a air seeder with it this year, Only pulling a 36' air seeder.

Our 900 versatile is the same way with the RPMS and fuel consumption, its good under 2000 rmp but any higher and she eats the fuel up, not surprised if this engine is the same, but it shouldnt have too hard of a time pulling a 200 and some bushel cart and 36' disc drills with 10" spacings.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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clb, just to warn you our old 280 stieger we sold to our nieghbors met it's downfall for one reason, I guess the heads have a tendency to come lose after time on those engines and that happened on our old tractor, sucked dirt and ruined it. That is something to look for at 9 to 10 thousnad hours where you at at.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Run high end cat branded oil and fuel filters and do your fluid changes by the book and if it was in any kind of condition when you bought it you will run it a lonnnnnnnng time. I would have a cat any day over a cummins.I have owned and run ford,cat,cummins,detroit,mack,volvo,case,deutz and mercedes diesel engines and the worst one i had was the cummins
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