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Old 06-20-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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Engine Questions

So I'm looking at ads for Californian 34's and I have come up with some questions about engines. Most of the LRCs for sale seem to have either Cat 3208s or Perkins 6-354s. So with respect to those two, here's what I have so far:

-- Turbo vs NA?
-- Cruising speed? Fuel consumption?
-- Parts availability?
-- Weak points? Things to watch for? Potential gotchas?
-- Things to look for when shopping?
-- Ease of maintenance access?

Thoughts/opinions/anecdotes gratefully accepted!
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Dick
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:13 PM   #2
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Our boat has 3208TAs at 375hp/ea. They have been reliable, and parts/service availability is excellent. The engines sip fuel at slow speeds, and there is ample power when needed.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:21 PM   #3
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OK, here goes; mostly opinion based on some facts:

The Perkins is an older engine than the Cat, but not much older. I presume it is the turbocharged version you are looking at. Parts availability and price, particularly the manicooler may be a problem with the Perkins. But otherwise, a pretty solid engine.

The Cat has more displacement and I presume it is the 210 hp NA model. Rock solid, heavy, will run forever. Parts are still available as hundreds of thousand were built for construction machinery, over the road and marine.

If I got it wrong and you are looking at a turbocharged Cat 3208, they are fine at moderate hp up to about 375. But 425 (which I can't possibly imagine being in a 34' boat) is too much for that engine.

Fuel economy will be the same- about 17 hp per gph at the upper rpms and 15 or so at displacement speed rpms.

All else equal, I would go with the NA Cat.

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Old 06-20-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
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and 15 or so at displacement speed rpms.

All else equal, I would go with the NA Cat.

David
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:06 PM   #5
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Another thing to consider is how much room the engine/s take up. CATs are great engines. But they're very large as well.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opu View Post
So I'm looking at ads for Californian 34's and I have come up with some questions about engines. Most of the LRCs for sale seem to have either Cat 3208s or Perkins 6-354s. So with respect to those two, here's what I have so far:

-- Turbo vs NA?
-- Cruising speed? Fuel consumption?
-- Parts availability?
-- Weak points? Things to watch for? Potential gotchas?
-- Things to look for when shopping?
-- Ease of maintenance access?

Thoughts/opinions/anecdotes gratefully accepted!
--
Dick
------------------------
You need to determine what you need in a boat. How fast or slow you want to cruise. The Californian 34', 38' and 42' were all semi planing hulls and depending on the engine size could cruise at speeds between 8 and 20+ knots. Most were all twin engine diesels and they all had solid heavy glass hulls, great open water boats. Whichever engine you choose had it's up and down sides. The Perkins and Cat options are all excellent, long lived engines as long as they're maintained. In some cases, exhaust parts, exhaust manifolds and elbows are no longer supported by Perkins and have to be purchased from after market companies. They can be a little pricey, but what isn't in boating.

Sounds like you're interest is in the 34' sedan, they range in engine option from 4 and 6 cylinder Perkins to the V8 Cat. They do have a narrower beam than the 38/42' LRC which are nearly 14' wide. If you're only interested in a 34' sedan, keep in mind it has less beam, smaller engine room, but can also be a faster boat with the same engines.

There are a number of Californian owners on here who own 34' and they can share their experiences with you, from their perspective.
Good Luck
Larry B
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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Perkins HT6 354. did 20,000hrs before rebuild in a 37' displacement trawler running at 7.5nm/h and 1.2 imperial gallons per hour.

All parts readily available from Trans Atlantic Diesel and almost any farm equipment outlet.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
OK, here goes; mostly opinion based on some facts:

The Perkins is an older engine than the Cat, but not much older. I presume it is the turbocharged version you are looking at. Parts availability and price, particularly the manicooler may be a problem with the Perkins. But otherwise, a pretty solid engine.

The Cat has more displacement and I presume it is the 210 hp NA model. Rock solid, heavy, will run forever. Parts are still available as hundreds of thousand were built for construction machinery, over the road and marine.

If I got it wrong and you are looking at a turbocharged Cat 3208, they are fine at moderate hp up to about 375. But 425 (which I can't possibly imagine being in a 34' boat) is too much for that engine.

Fuel economy will be the same- about 17 hp per gph at the upper rpms and 15 or so at displacement speed rpms.

All else equal, I would go with the NA Cat.

David
Somewhat agree about the higher RPM fuel usage- at full song (2800 RPM), my Cats are slurping about 20 GPH each.

Don't agree about the slow speed fuel burn: We idle at 600 RPM, which equates to about 4 knots. At about 1100 RPM, we're in the 7-8 knot speed, and the engines are sipping about 5 gph combined.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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200 Perkins heat exchanger is a $6000 Bill. Little high for a wear item.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:42 PM   #10
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200 Perkins heat exchanger is a $6000 Bill. Little high for a wear item.
Perkins don't make heat exchangers. Most are Bowman and several other mfg's will work.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:55 AM   #11
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200 Perkins heat exchanger is a $6000 Bill. Little high for a wear item.
Bowman (Perkins) heat exchanger $350.00

Caterpillar 3208 heat exchanger (core only) $1,853.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:00 AM   #12
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The engine I am referring to by Perkins has an aluminum heat exchanger, exhaust manifold. It is my understanding that to replace it is north of 6k. I have a 5.9 Cummins the PO installed because of this. Just what I have heard on the 200hp in Mainship Mk1, 2, 3 from multiple sources.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:01 AM   #13
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Perkins-Bowman-TAD = perfect replacement and inexpensive.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:09 AM   #14
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The engine I am referring to by Perkins has an aluminum heat exchanger, exhaust manifold. It is my understanding that to replace it is north of 6k. I have a 5.9 Cummins the PO installed because of this. Just what I have heard on the 200hp in Mainship Mk1, 2, 3 from multiple sources.
New Perkins heat exchanger (core only) $975.00

It's all about wise shopping.

This is one of the rare cases where it may be wise to shop Canadian prices at farm equipment outlets. Farm equipment in Canada receive a 30% subsidy.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #15
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I prefer inline engines because they are narrower and easier to get around than V8s. They have fewer parts to replace such as turbos, risers, etc.

Fuel use at the same speed will probably be the same with either engine.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:35 AM   #16
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This is one of the rare cases where it may be wise to shop Canadian prices at farm equipment outlets. Farm equipment in Canada receive a 30% subsidy.
I did not know this. Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:40 AM   #17
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According to the PowerBoat Guide, all Californian hulls are modified V. One of our log racers has a 34 Californian and he always complains about the lack of a decent keel to keep the vessel on track with a beam wind, and not skidding when rounding a buoy.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:04 PM   #18
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I avoid aluminum exhaust manifolds and heat exchangers within. I prefer steel or iron for manifolds and heat exchangers not on an engine. Mine is mounted on a bulkhead. It's easy to service and not subject to engine vibration.

I think the only big reason they are on the engine from engine manufacturers and marineizers is to form a self contained package for installation ease in any boat. It simplifies ordering parts too.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:14 PM   #19
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My 34 Californian has the Perkins 4.236. It's the 4-cylinder version of the 6.354. I have not had a problem with parts availability or cost. I agree with the previously posts that a narrow engine improves engine access, especially in the 34. Given the choice, I'd pick the inline engine over the V.

My steel Perkins exhaust manifold for my 4.236, shipped from England, cost around $1600. I could have bought a TAD aftermarket for less, but chose to stay OEM on the manifold.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:40 PM   #20
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Right now since I only have 2 hours on my Perkins 4-154's I'm going to say I prefer the narrow Perkins. I need to get my boat ready and updated for the rest of the summer, fall and possibly the winter. I'll let you know what I really think about the engines after I get some more time on them. As far as access and working on them I have good access and working on them shouldn't be difficult.
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