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Old 10-03-2018, 10:44 AM   #1
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Perkins Diesels

I saw a boat for sale with Perkins diesels. I love the boat but am nervous about Perkins. Not likely Iíll move forward on the boat due to personal timing, but want to be less leery.

Oh, and I am cheap.

What I have heard-
Ancient
No parts any more
Parts available must come from the UK ( Iím in the US)

My good boat buddy Tom on here is a mechanical whiz, but sold it. Anyone with a Perkins currently able to comment? Any idiosyncrasies? Any difficulty ordering parts in the US?
Thanks
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:01 AM   #2
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I had no problem finding/buying Perkins parts. If you have not owned diesels up till now most all diesel parts will appear expensive - no matter what color engine you have.
Does this Perkins engine have a year and model to get more accurate answers?
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:02 AM   #3
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So far, so good with respect to parts for our 1984 6.3544s. All mechanical, no electronics save for a few readily-available relays. Supply problems with some of the replacement hoses, but automotive stuff is available. Lots of 'em are still around.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:57 AM   #4
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Perkins was used all over the US and North America. Most all parts for the engine are still available. The marinized side should still have good parts supply as well. Several companies still make marine parts for them if I'm not mistaken. They seem to be a popular choice for older lower powered diesel.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:59 AM   #5
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Love my twin Perkins 4.236s (naturals) and wouldn't hesitate to buy another boat with Perkins. No issues with parts availability or cost.

My friend's Cat 3208s needed risers. His cost was $4500 for all 4 riser on both engines. Mine cost well under $1000 for the same job on my twins.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:56 PM   #6
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Parts for the Perkins T6.354 in our boat have been never been a problem to source nor have they been more expensive than other comparable diesels. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase any vessel powered by Perkins after a complete positive engine survey.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:00 PM   #7
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I would recommend the Perkins diesels. They are used in tractors all over the US and many parts cross over and are much cheaper through farm supply houses.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:14 PM   #8
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I still like my 6.354 na . Mine is a rebuild from Trans Atlantic Diesel . 1500 hrs on OldBlue
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:44 PM   #9
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The turbo/aftercooled 6.354's up at 200hp and above use a multi-cooler for coolant and charge air that is prone to corrosion and very difficult to source if replacement is needed. I would be very cautious of a TA high hp unit.

Non-turbo and turbo with no aftercooler, good machines.

Some twin engine boats use a reverse rotation engine, those can be a pita to source parts. Make sure both engines spin the same way.
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:09 PM   #10
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Single 135 hp non turbo. No issues. Simple mechanical injection system. I would replace with same when the time comes.
These engine are used in Massey Fergeson tractors. Just about any tractor mechanic can fix.
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:11 PM   #11
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I had a pair of 1973, 4-236 in our old Gulfstar. Great engines, easy to work on, reliable, economical. I did have a parts issue with the coolant tank and had to get one from England, that was pretty expensive. Other than that, parts were readily available.


The only negative I have to offer on Perkins is that they leak fuel and oil a lot. It's called the "Perkins Patina" only partly in jest. Put a lot of fuel diapers in the budget.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:18 PM   #12
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Again I say sign me up fur a Perk.


I'll also accept a Furd Lemon.
I kid I kid. The Lehman is next to Perkins in reliability and parts availability I think.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:39 PM   #13
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Ours (6-354) is fine. It starts & runs like a top, burns zero oil, very economical fuel burn and best of all, it's a simple diesel & easy to work on when it does need repair. Like Ski mentioned, the clockwise engines are not as common (the original purchaser of our boat must've drawn a short straw because that's what we have...a right-hand one) but so far I've had no trouble sourcing the major parts I've needed (starter & circulating pump) from TAD in Gloucester,Virginia.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:37 PM   #14
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Hi All
Thanks for the volume and enthusiasm of the responses. With my old Lehman I had been used to easily obtainable parts typically from American Diesel. Good to know I can shop Perkins powered boats with confidence.
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:33 PM   #15
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There were 20,000hrs. on my Perkins HT6-354 when I rebuilt it. It has since been to Bahamas twice and Honduras twice from Toronto. I buy all my parts at Farm equipment dealers since they are subsidized and don't have the dreaded "marine" markup. 6-354's in all their versions are all over North America as farm equipment and generator engines.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:49 AM   #16
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If anyone has any parts issues with Perkins engine you can buy full rebuild kits from the OE manufacturers www.parts4engines.com for very economical prices.
boatpoker is correct when he says Perkins engines power Massey Ferguson tractors, forklifts, diggers, many JCB models and generators so there's no problem getting parts anywhere in the world.
For marinization parts the OE manufacturers are E.J Bowman of Birmingham. Great Britain and can be found at www.ejbowman.co.uk.

Either of these companies will of course naturally ship worldwide.
If you want economical shipping of parts from the UK (or to/from other parts of the world then use www.sendmybag.com.

As for some who say that Perkins are prone to leaks and to put plenty of diapers below them I would respectfully point out that its not true. There's a technical reason for any leak and a 'wet' engine is a sign of poor maintenance.
In short and no offence meant, fix it.

I've used Perkins engines right from the early P6's in farm machinery (and many other marks since) but have always had great service, reliability and longevity from Perkins.

Incidentally if anyone has to fit shell/main bearings during rebuild make sure that they are fresh stock as the later 'lead free' bearings have twice the life.
Don't be caught with someone offloading old stock.
I hope this is helpful to someone.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:54 AM   #17
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We almost didn't buy our boat because the starboard engine is contra-rotating and one of the major Perkins parts suppliers told us that parts for it no longer existed. They said to run away. I then got a second opinion from Trans Atlantic Diesel and learned that Perkins, for some reason, gave all parts on the reverse rotation engines different part numbers. Only about six unlikely to fail parts are different. Just look up the normal engine's part number and use it.


We love our 1975 Perkins 6.354's. I would consider Perkins a plus if I was looking for another older trawler as long as they were not turbo.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
We almost didn't buy our boat because the starboard engine is contra-rotating and one of the major Perkins parts suppliers told us that parts for it no longer existed. They said to run away. I then got a second opinion from Trans Atlantic Diesel and learned that Perkins, for some reason, gave all parts on the reverse rotation engines different part numbers. Only about six unlikely to fail parts are different. Just look up the normal engine's part number and use it.


We love our 1975 Perkins 6.354's. I would consider Perkins a plus if I was looking for another older trawler as long as they were not turbo.
My turbo was rebuilt at 20,000hrs. on my HT6-354
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:04 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Rambler View Post
If anyone has any parts issues with Perkins engine you can buy full rebuild kits from the OE manufacturers www.parts4engines.com for very economical prices.
boatpoker is correct when he says Perkins engines power Massey Ferguson tractors, forklifts, diggers, many JCB models and generators so there's no problem getting parts anywhere in the world.
For marinization parts the OE manufacturers are E.J Bowman of Birmingham. Great Britain and can be found at www.ejbowman.co.uk.

Either of these companies will of course naturally ship worldwide.
If you want economical shipping of parts from the UK (or to/from other parts of the world then use www.sendmybag.com.

As for some who say that Perkins are prone to leaks and to put plenty of diapers below them I would respectfully point out that its not true. There's a technical reason for any leak and a 'wet' engine is a sign of poor maintenance.
In short and no offence meant, fix it.

I've used Perkins engines right from the early P6's in farm machinery (and many other marks since) but have always had great service, reliability and longevity from Perkins.

Incidentally if anyone has to fit shell/main bearings during rebuild make sure that they are fresh stock as the later 'lead free' bearings have twice the life.
Don't be caught with someone offloading old stock.
I hope this is helpful to someone.
Yes and thanks. Very informative post.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:04 AM   #20
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To the OP, don't get me wrong. If I had a choice of what engine we had, a 40 yo Perkins wouldn't be the 1st one. I would much rather have had a Cummins or Deere or a host of later model engines but since we were pretty much firm on the kind of boat we wanted, we couldn't be to picky about the propulsion. So far, the turbo has not been a problem (knock on wood) and the heat exchanger isn't a manicooler style so we're good. My main gripe is the salt-water cooled iron exhaust manifold and after cooler. IMO it's a dumb design but ours was always a upper bay boat which was brackish to fresh water so they've lasted until recently. I've bypassed the aftercooler that got a pinhole in it because we cruise at a low RPM anyway & the exhaust gas temp doesn't get high. I'm not sure if I'll replace it or not. The exhaust manifold is another story. We're running on borrowed time with that ,so it will be replaced soon. When it does, I'll probably modify the plumbing so that it's incorporated into the closed loop freshwater circuit. Again, we don't push the engine hard for long stretches so overheating isn't an issue.
Therein is the dilemma. Is it prudent to spend $7-800 for an aftercooler housing & another $8-900 for an exhaust manifold (parts only) to keep a 40 year old engine going? That's almost 2 grand that would be a good start towards a later model engine. For us, it's the easy route to keep bolting on the new parts as long as the core engine is running so well.
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