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Old 02-05-2019, 08:21 AM   #21
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Thank you all for the advice. I think we are leaning towards an early model Mainship 400 with a single Yanmar/Cat...We looked at a 1998 350/390 last weekend and I was surprised to see it aluminum railing which had corrosion, gelcoat was still in good shape though.... This would bug me pretty bad..Seems the 400 has Stainless steal which would be the norm...I am learning still but the wife is on-board as well!!!
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:41 AM   #22
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There was a stretch of time when Cat was having difficulties with the 3116's. Engines grenading between 500-1000 hours. It didn't impact all model years.

If you have a Cat 3116 that is over 1,000 hours, you're more than likely fine.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:16 AM   #23
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Caterpillar 3116/3126 Soft French Block Issues

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Originally Posted by jefndeb View Post
Hello all,,,,

So as I am doing my research, I have seen a few listing where it is mentioned that "this Mainship 390 has the preferred Caterpillar 3126 Diesel"

Should I set that as a "got to have" on my list?

Jeff
I think this is mostly a creative seller's 'marketing hook', and it's B.S. If anything, this probably stems from all of the trouble Mainship had with the infamous Caterpillar "soft block" issues that --began-- with the 3116, and the mistaken notion that this was somehow 'fixed' with the 3126. It was not. While SOME 3126 engines were built with the newer blocks, most were not.

Background: At the beginning, most (if not all) of the Mainship 350/390 singles had Cat 3116 (and later, 3126) engines. The story Jim Krueger of Mainship told me was that there were a large number of 3116/3126 engine blocks manufactured in France that were incorrectly alloyed and hence the cast iron was 'soft', which was a particularly big problem in marine applications due to the usage profile being very different from that of a truck or construction vehicle. These engines were 'failing reliably' within the first couple thousand hours.

After a long fight, finally Caterpillar approved a 'silent' warranty campaign where these blocks could be replaced by Caterpillar. In the end, the Caterpillar 3116/3126 engines gained a well deserved reputation for early-life failures. An unknown number of these engine block were replaced, leaving an unknown number of them still out there.

If you go to David Pascoe's website, you will find that this was a well-known issue by 1999. After 2002, the 'Caterpillar Problem' had gotten so bad that AFAIK, there were no more 390s getting Caterpillar engines and the only choices were Yanmar or Cummins. I myself have never heard of a 2002 or newer model that was delivered with a Caterpillar.


Also, if you want more details go here: https://boatdiesel.com/Forums/Powert...soft-block.cfm


Over the last many years since I looked into this issue and spoke with Krueger directly, I have heard many Caterpillar afficionados claim that "all of these blocks were eventually replaced under warranty". I know this is not true because when I looked at six different MS390s in 2012-2013, I found two "low hours" boats with Cats that had the french-block engine stamping designation.

Bottom line, unless a seller can PROVE that a Cat 3116/3126 does NOT have a French block, then you should steer clear.

In my experience, the only 'preferred' engines for MS350/390 single-engine models have been the Yanmars and the Cummins. If you can find a broker who will pull a "sold boats" report from Yachtworld, you will find (as I did) that there is generally a 15-20% price 'break' for MS390s with Caterpillar engines versus the 'preferred' Yanmar and Cummins examples.

That doesn't mean you should automatically walk away from a Cat 3126, but you should expect to pay less and you need to be very careful doing your research to make sure you are not getting a soft French block.

The biggest problem (for me) was that Caterpillar never PUBLICLY acknowledged the problem. This leaves buyers in the used market not really knowing whether the boat they are buying is a 'lemon' or not.

So, any Mainship 350/390 with any Cat 3116/3126 is definitely a BUYER BEWARE situation.

You will learn much more on this topic if you do a google search on 'caterpillar 3126 french block soft'.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:05 AM   #24
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As you can see everyone has an option, as one suggested, search, I liked boatdiesel dot com for this, become a member and just read the archives, with enough reading you can see trends etc. For Cummins I would also look at Tony Athens Seaborn website, he has alot of good articles on the subject, pay special attention to "marine age".
Read read and read some more and the picture will clear up for you. Good luck in your search!
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:27 AM   #25
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As I understand it, VOLVO has cornered the market by allowing the boat builders to not pay for the engines until the boat is sold. You would think with all the new VOLVO powered boat, they would have a chain of dedicated VOLVO dealers, but this is not the case.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:01 AM   #26
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Stainless steel rails on MS390

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...looked at a 1998 350/390 last weekend and I was surprised to see it aluminum railing...Seems the 400 has Stainless steal which would be the norm...
Don't be confused. Many 400/40/430 have aluminum rails. Mainship used the aluminum railings on --ALL-- of the models built through mid-2002.

For the 2003 model year, all Mainships (including the 390) were upgraded to stainless steel railings.

The stainless steel railings on our 2003 390 are some of the nicest, beefyest and well built railings I have seen on any boat. They are made of a fatter 1-1/4 inch stainless vs. the 1" rails used on virtually every other boat in this class. The stancion bases are massive and at least twice as thick as standard 'trawler class' construction.

The aluminum railings on the 2002-and-older Mainships were a simple (and in many ways, sensible) cost trade-off. They were excellent at doing their job (and also 'beefy' at 1-1/4"), but they did require regular maintenence (waxing).

In the end, there were a long list of things that Mainship 'fixed' for the 2003 model year, including the railings, that caused us to eliminate the older models from consideration.

We found that this is reflected in the price, as the 2003 and newer Mainships seem to have retained more value than the older models.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:49 AM   #27
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My personal preference would be Cummins.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:56 AM   #28
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Let me offer a few more of my "cents" on this topic:


Here is a quote from a post by Tony Athens made on his sbmar.com forum a few days ago:


"The 6LYA is a very good engine, and IMO, is as good as a 370 Diamond in many ways, but it is not forgiving, nor can it be “fixed” cost effectively when it’s abused to where it needs a rebuild."


The 6LYA reference is to the American assembled Yanmar 6LYA 370 hp engine offered in many Mainship 390s, 34Ts and 40s. The 370 Diamond refers to the Cummins 6BTA 370 hp engine. I can't really explain his comment about The Yanmar not being forgiving and can't be fixed effectively. Maybe the the former is due to its light weight that reacts quickly to loss of R/W flow and the latter is due to parts prices. It does have replaceable cylinder liners.


Here are some objective differences that I know of personally:


Pluses for the Yanmar: Compact and relatively light, better designed after cooler- doesn't corrode as much as the Cummins, Johnson R/W pump is solid.


Negatives for the Yanmar: Aluminum exhaust manifold- requires special antifreeze but no other problems if you use it, single 1/2" alternator belt- limits use of HO alternators.


Pluses for the Cummins: More cubes than the Yanmar, heavy bottom end that rarely wears out or fails, serpentine belt allows higher alternator power (although idler has been problematic), cast iron exhaust manifold.


Negatives for the Cummins: Poorly designed after cooler leads to excessive corrosion which requires regular servicing, Sherwood R/W pump fails early- Seaboard has a better one available, replacing R/W pump often requires raising the engine, heavier and taller than the Yanmar.


I have nothing to add about the Cat.


David
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:01 AM   #29
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Urban legends (again)?

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...= run quite a bit longer than the higher turning, much lighter weight Yanmar.
Never heard this before, so I checked...and it's apparently an urban myth (what we used to call an 'old wives' tale).

1) The 5.1 litre Yanmar 370hp 6LYA in our MS390 weighs 1,168 lbs. The 5.9 litre Cummins 370hp 6BTA "Diamond" engines in our 4788 weigh 1,140lbs.


So, since the Yanmar is actually a smaller displacement engine than the Cummins, and the Yanmar is actually --heavier-- therefore one should presume beefier construction on a "lbs-per-displacement" basis. These engines are virtually identical (with a slight edge to Yanmar) on a 'lbs-per-horsepower' basis. In any case, I don't think either of these is valid basis to trash an engine for 'theoretical longevity', but in any case, the notion of a "much lighter weight" Yanmar" is totally false.

2) The 5.1 litre 6LYA is rated for 370hp at 3,3000, the 5.9 litre Cummins is rated for 370hp at 3,000 rpm. Two takeaways here -- first, the rpm difference is nearly meaningless. Second, as we've learned over the last 40 years, smaller displacement engines running at faster RPMs to achieve similar horsepower result in --greater-- reliability, because they develop less torque for any given horsepower. This reduces the load on bearings, piston rings and everything else in the engine. Combine this with the incredible advances in engine oils, metal alloys and precision machining and it's easy to see why new, faster-spinning engines are more reliable, not less.

Sorry...I don't mean to contradict so flatly, but if we are going to trash a particular brand of engine, I expect we all want to get our facts straight first.

I own both the Yanmar and the Cummins. Both great engines. Slightly less troubles with the Yanmar...
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:20 AM   #30
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Again, Yanmar myths?

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"...Maybe the the former is due to its light weight that reacts quickly to loss of R/W flow and the latter is due to parts prices. It does have replaceable cylinder liners."


David

I presently own both the Yanmar 6LYA-STP and the Cummins 6BTA "Diamond". The Yanmar is 5.1 litres and weighs 1,169lbs. The Cummins is 5.9 litres and weighs 1,140 lbs. These are from the factory spec sheets. Yanmar specifies the weight as "dry", the Cummins sheet doesn't say wet or dry. Either way, the Yanmar is HEAVIER.



I would love to know where this myth about the Yanmar engines being 'light' came from???.


Tony Athens (whom I have hired in the past and worked with personally) is truly a wonderful resource, but he is a Cummins factory guy (even though he no longer works for Cummins). Certainly he is knowledgable across all brands, but I don't think his opinions on Yanmar serviceability are the definitive last word.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:41 AM   #31
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Never heard this before, so I checked...and it's apparently an urban myth (what we used to call an 'old wives' tale).

1) The 5.1 litre Yanmar 370hp 6LYA in our MS390 weighs 1,168 lbs. The 5.9 litre Cummins 370hp 6BTA "Diamond" engines in our 4788 weigh 1,140lbs.


So, since the Yanmar is actually a smaller displacement engine than the Cummins, and the Yanmar is actually --heavier-- therefore one should presume beefier construction on a "lbs-per-displacement" basis. These engines are virtually identical (with a slight edge to Yanmar) on a 'lbs-per-horsepower' basis. In any case, I don't think either of these is valid basis to trash an engine for 'theoretical longevity', but in any case, the notion of a "much lighter weight" Yanmar" is totally false.

2) The 5.1 litre 6LYA is rated for 370hp at 3,3000, the 5.9 litre Cummins is rated for 370hp at 3,000 rpm. Two takeaways here -- first, the rpm difference is nearly meaningless. Second, as we've learned over the last 40 years, smaller displacement engines running at faster RPMs to achieve similar horsepower result in --greater-- reliability, because they develop less torque for any given horsepower. This reduces the load on bearings, piston rings and everything else in the engine. Combine this with the incredible advances in engine oils, metal alloys and precision machining and it's easy to see why new, faster-spinning engines are more reliable, not less.

Sorry...I don't mean to contradict so flatly, but if we are going to trash a particular brand of engine, I expect we all want to get our facts straight first.

I own both the Yanmar and the Cummins. Both great engines. Slightly less troubles with the Yanmar...
I don't think I was trashing Yanmar. My comment was based on the fact that what was referred to by the salesman as the preferred engine was a CAT 3216, and the title of the thread was a comparison between that CAT and a Yanmar. The 3126 marine engine weighs just over 1800# and produces 250 HP at 2400 rpm. https://www.google.com/search?q=cat+...WP5ZS3EN0RThM:

The Yanmar 6Lya marine engine weighs a lot less, turns faster and produces more HP, so my expectation is that it would not last as long as the CAT, all other factors being equal. Perhaps that is what the salesman meant.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:10 PM   #32
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"The 5.1 litre Yanmar 370hp 6LYA in our MS390 weighs 1,168 lbs. The 5.9 litre Cummins 370hp 6BTA "Diamond" engines in our 4788 weigh 1,140lbs."

I have a hard time believing these numbers. As you said the Yanmar is dry and maybe the Cummins weight is with full fluids. Also some manufacturers leave out stuff like exhaust mixers. The Cummins sure looks bigger and heavier.

"Second, as we've learned over the last 40 years, smaller displacement engines running at faster RPMs to achieve similar horsepower result in --greater-- reliability, because they develop less torque for any given horsepower. "

It is often sometimes valuable to test a hypothesis at its extremes. Do you really believe that the 4,000 rpm Styer and Yanmar 4BY engines can last longer putting out 90 hp per liter than a Gardner putting out 127 hp or 12 hp per liter at 1,500 rpm?

You are correct that high rpm engines produce less torque to make the same hp as a slow NA engine. But the NA compensates with more beef, much more beef. Also high rpm does wear engines. Better metallurgy, cooling and oil helps, but....

David
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:49 PM   #33
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Quote:
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"The 5.1 litre Yanmar 370hp 6LYA in our MS390 weighs 1,168 lbs. The 5.9 litre Cummins 370hp 6BTA "Diamond" engines in our 4788 weigh 1,140lbs."

I have a hard time believing these numbers. As you said the Yanmar is dry and maybe the Cummins weight is with full fluids. Also some manufacturers leave out stuff like exhaust mixers. The Cummins sure looks bigger and heavier.

"Second, as we've learned over the last 40 years, smaller displacement engines running at faster RPMs to achieve similar horsepower result in --greater-- reliability, because they develop less torque for any given horsepower. "

It is often sometimes valuable to test a hypothesis at its extremes. Do you really believe that the 4,000 rpm Styer and Yanmar 4BY engines can last longer putting out 90 hp per liter than a Gardner putting out 127 hp or 12 hp per liter at 1,500 rpm?

You are correct that high rpm engines produce less torque to make the same hp as a slow NA engine. But the NA compensates with more beef, much more beef. Also high rpm does wear engines. Better metallurgy, cooling and oil helps, but....

David
Having owned a 370 hp Yanmar 6LYA in a 28' Albin and a 270 hp CAT 3306 in my current boat, and worked on both, it just doesn't seem plausible that the Yanmar will outlast the CAT, all things being equal in terms of maintenance and usage. The Yanmar is, IMHO, a 5,000 hour engine and the CAT is a 50,000 hour engine. Perhaps that is why, even though Yanmar makes industrial engines you won't see many large pieces of equipment sporting Yanmars.

Not having owned or worked on a Cummins, I have no opinion on that.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:11 PM   #34
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Quote:
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"The 5.1 litre Yanmar 370hp 6LYA in our MS390 weighs 1,168 lbs. The 5.9 litre Cummins 370hp 6BTA "Diamond" engines in our 4788 weigh 1,140lbs."

I have a hard time believing these numbers....

David

Ok...happy to help you with that.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:42 PM   #35
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Fifty-thousand hour Cat3306?

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...IMHO, a 5,000 hour engine and the CAT is a 50,000 hour engine.

Wow. That's incredible! I'm interested in what you saw after owning both that led you to believe that the Cat 3306 would last 45,000 hours longer?


One thing to bear in mind is that the Cat 3306 is a very different engine from a 3116/3126.


By the way, there is a "confidential" recall on Cat 3306 engines with bad connecting rods. Thousands of engines, as I understand. Might want to see if yours is affected.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:10 AM   #36
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Low Engine Hours = Buyer Beware?

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Thanks much...so as far as hours go,..... what would be considered low. medium or high...or is that another question that is really objectionable....
Thanks

No...it's a very good question.


Having been burned when I thought I was getting a steal on a 'low hours' boat, I've come to the conclusion that (in boats) "low hours" should be a warning flag, rather than a selling point.

First, you should read Tony Athen's article on "Marine Age" of engines. Several of us here have referenced it.

So, taking Tony's analysis a short step further...why would "low hours" be a cause for concern?

Most marine diesels fail because of neglect...and engines that are underused are very frequently neglected. After reading up on "Marine Age", remember that 'rust never sleeps', and that includes all forms of marine corrosion, electrolytic, galvanic, impressed current and crevice corrosion all take their toll and in many cases, it is >>underused<< engines that get the worst of it.

Here's an example.


A 20 year old boat is advertised as a "one owner" boat and it only has 480 hours on the engine(s). That means that this engine has been used an average of 24 hours per year or two hours per month. Two hours is barely enough time to get the engine and transmission thoroughly warmed up. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that this engine was run regularly once a month -- far more likely that this engine has had extended periods of disuse. Hmmm...so was anyone checking the anodes every month? Very unlikely. Was engine oil that "only had 24 hours on it" getting changed once a year anyway? Also unlikely. What are the chances that the owner understood the concept of "Marine Age", and maintained the engine accordingly? You get my drift...

A couple of observations:

Lower-priced, mass market boats (including Mainship) have always been especially attractive to first-time, less knowledgable owners in both the new and used markets. Moreover, an under-used boat (of any brand) may have been a wealthy person's status-toy. These boats are also very frequently underused. Over forty years of boat ownership, I have known dozens of boat owners that fit into either of these classes. The common theme is that they are 'boat owners' but not really 'boaters'. Boaters who own boats USE them, and boaters who use their boats tend to MAINTAIN them.

To me, this means that it is quite likely that an under-used boat was also under-maintained.

Any time I see a boat with less than 50 engine hours per year, I have to ask why, and I am very skeptical as to whether this boat was 'used enough' to ensure that it was getting regular attention and maintenence. Unless there is a known reason for extended periods of underuse (like sitting on the hard seven months per year in New England), a 'low hours' Mainship would scare me, no matter what engine it has.

If you are looking at 20 year old boats, you should be seeing somewhere between 1,500-2,000 hours minimum. Anything less should raise suspicions.

I am not saying that there are no underused marine engines that were properly maintained anyway. I am saying that the liklihood is "underused is under-maintained".

If you are seeing substantially more than 100 hours per year, this should not necessarily concern you. The "design goal" (intended use-case) for 'MP' (marine pleasure) use diesels is typically 250 hours-per-year across all manufacturers. When properly maintained (and setting aside any 'known' problem engines), any of the diesels you see in these boats should easily last 7,000 hours or more before rebuilding, if you are remaining within the performance envelope the engine was built for. In many cases (and depending on how hard you run it and how well you maintain it) you could see 10,000 or 20,000 hours.

https://www.sbmar.com/featured-artic...diesel-engine/
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:35 AM   #37
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I presently own both the Yanmar 6LYA-STP and the Cummins 6BTA "Diamond". The Yanmar is 5.1 litres and weighs 1,169lbs. The Cummins is 5.9 litres and weighs 1,140 lbs. These are from the factory spec sheets. Yanmar specifies the weight as "dry", the Cummins sheet doesn't say wet or dry. Either way, the Yanmar is HEAVIER.



I would love to know where this myth about the Yanmar engines being 'light' came from???.


Tony Athens (whom I have hired in the past and worked with personally) is truly a wonderful resource, but he is a Cummins factory guy (even though he no longer works for Cummins). Certainly he is knowledgable across all brands, but I don't think his opinions on Yanmar serviceability are the definitive last word.
"The Yanmar is 5.1 litres and weighs 1,169lbs. The Cummins is 5.9 litres and weighs 1,140 lbs. These are from the factory spec sheets. Yanmar specifies the weight as "dry", the Cummins sheet doesn't say wet or dry."

FWIW - the Cummins weight is for a dry engine.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:39 AM   #38
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When I bought Sonas in early 2016 she had just under 5000 hours on her engines. So for a 14 year old boat, that averages 357 hours per year. She had been cruised through the Caribbean, loop, north east, Gulf. Basically all over. Based on her logs and the half ton of marked charts on her. She also had maintenance logs and an extensive spare parts inventory. The boat was laid up every year at American Custom Yachts in Stuart and maintained there. I had Shearwater do the engines surveys.

I had no qualms buying her.

A lot of that was the above, but also I had been crawling around target boats for a couple of years, including Selene and SeaHorse. Some of the conditions of the vessels themselves and the ERs were deplorable.

There are a lot of things that indicate a well maintained engine, add to that quality engine surveys and you can make yourself comfortable.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:57 AM   #39
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Wow. That's incredible! I'm interested in what you saw after owning both that led you to believe that the Cat 3306 would last 45,000 hours longer?

.
Talking to a CAT engineer who helped in the initial design of the motor, and whose experience with it on the North Slope exposed him to genset applications that got that many hours without much difficulty. Those number of hours translates to around 2.5 million miles on a truck engine, which is strong mileage, but not that unusual. By the way, since Yanmar makes industrial engines, any thoughts on why you never seem to see one in an 18 wheeler, bulldozer, etc? Maybe there are some, but they seem kind of rare.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:28 AM   #40
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Talking to a CAT engineer who helped in the initial design of the motor, and whose experience with it on the North Slope exposed him to genset applications that got that many hours without much difficulty. Those number of hours translates to around 2.5 million miles on a truck engine, which is strong mileage, but not that unusual. By the way, since Yanmar makes industrial engines, any thoughts on why you never seem to see one in an 18 wheeler, bulldozer, etc? Maybe there are some, but they seem kind of rare.
"By the way, since Yanmar makes industrial engines, any thoughts on why you never seem to see one in an 18 wheeler, bulldozer, etc?"

Same thing with the Cummins 6B - only in light duty pickups. Any of the bus and heavier applications you see the 6c series.
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