Hi - I am considering a 1999 3500 Express with Cummins 6BTA 370 HP engines or a 3700 Open with Cat 3208s. Would be interested in hearing from any owners of either as to the merits or drawbacks of both boats and/or engines for this boat model.
IMO not much out there that will beat a Tiara open so pick the boat that surveys well and that best meets your livability or fish needs. Both engine packages are mechanically injected and governed and considered reliable. Ultimately how the boat has been run, propped and Maintained will determine the better of the two. 3208 is widely considered a bulletproof engine (especially in the low and mid HP ranges) but is also heavy and some OEM parts are starting to get hard to find. 6BTA is also getting long in the tooth but there are a lot of them out there. For sure I would minimally have the engines inspected if not fully surveyed by Cat or Cummins. Could very well be the best money you ever spend.
I was looking at the 36 open but eventually found a nicely priced 38 from a dealer who took it on a trade.
One word of caution w the 35, I was told the smaller cummins pistons aren’t sleeved so you can’t rebuild them. I’m no mechanic so I can’t tell you more but I remember someone telling me this when I was up and down the east coast surveying Tiara’s in the 04 to 08 range. Hope this is helpful.
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Both the 3208 and B series Cummins are parent bore engines, meaning they do not have cylinder liners. That does not mean they cannot be rebuilt however, in fact they are rebuild all the time. As long as the cylinders are in spec they can be honed and put back into service with new pistons, etc. if the block is damaged from overheat, etc then more than likely they are not rebuildable although some mechanics will sleave the engine.
They are both pretty tough engines, again it all depends on how they were run and maintained.