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The AERA Technical Committee offers the following information regarding cylinder block deck cracks on Caterpillar 3208 engines. This information provided by Caterpillar gives the correct procedures to visually inspect a cylinder block for cracks between the water port and the cylinder head bolt hole.


A 3208 engine cylinder block that meets the inspection guidelines can be expected to perform normally in the same application until the next overhaul. Never install a cylinder block that does not meet the guidelines provided by Caterpillar.

Caterpillar has approved the use of a cylinder block with cracks between the water port and the cylinder head bolt hole. However, the cracks must not extend below the depth of the bolt hole chamfer as shown in Figure 1.

I’ve noticed different style vibration dampers on a few late model GM engines. Can you tell me if these dampers are interchangeable or not?

The AERA Technical Committee offers the following caution regarding vibration dampers for 1996-2005 GM 4.3, 5.0 and 5.7L VIN W, X, M and R engines. Two different style dampers have been used during this production period, and using the wrong style damper may lead to accessory belt failure.

These engines are used by light duty trucks and many industrial applications. Intermixing parts from various engines may lead to a comeback and disassembly requirement if the correct combinations are not used.


Some engines use a reluctor ring located in front of the crankshaft timing sprocket. It is approximately .100″ (2.540 mm) thick and is intended for use with the shorter of the two dampers as shown on the left in Figure 2. The shorter damper measures 2.240″ (56.896 mm) at the hub.

The taller damper (shown at right) is used on engines that do not use the crankshaft mounted reluctor ring; it measures 2.340″ (59.346 mm) at the hub. Using the wrong combination of components will most certainly affect belt alignment and cause premature wear.

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