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Old 12-22-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Cummins 555

I am looking for first hand experience with a Cummins 555 in a Trawler.
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Old 12-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
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Terry:

Post your question on boatdiesel.com. There are a couple of very knowledgeable Cummins guys there who should be able to help. Tony Athens runs a Cummins dealership on the west coast and Clark Leighs owns that engine in his personal boat.

You might want to PM Clark and start a dialogue as your concerns seem to be open ended. Tony, although super knowledgeable doesn't respond well to open ended questions.

That engine is of course two generations behind the most modern common rail engines, but being Cummins, parts should still be available.

David
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:06 PM   #3
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Hello Terry
I too have the V555M. Recently purchased a boat with them. So far no problems and they seem to be healthy engines. I will say they are older engines but parts are around but may take a few days to get. I just purchased all the manuals from cummins for the v555.

Which 555 are you looking at turbo or NA.

These engines take a long time to warm up and i dont keep them at 600-650 rpm for idle. When oil pressure is up we increase them till they smooth out around 700rpm. We leave the slip and idle out around 700-800 till temp comes up to 140. We increase about 200 rpm for every 10-20 deg increase in water temp. slowly bringing up rpm till temps reach 160ish then to cruise of 1750-1800. We do not rush the engines. They have lots of metal (approx 2200lbs) to heat and we believe in slow and steady. But do not wait at the dock for temp as it will take all day. We give it 3-5 min at start before lines off and about 5min for cool down at 650-700 prior to shut down. It helps since we have about 15 min no wake zone but still belive it is best for the 555.
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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Which one is it? Turbo or NA?...The NA is the perfect engines for a Trawler. Last time I saw a NA one, it was in a shrimpboat an it had over 9000 hours in it. It is a heavy, slow and cold engine. The comment above about taking time to warm up is a true fact about this work horse.

Go for it. I wish I had one available when I got my engine

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Old 12-23-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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Meridian I also have triple nickles. What do you want to know?
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:41 AM   #6
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I had them, the 270HP turbo variety. They started immediately and ran sweet. Had I not needed to take them out of the boat to replace my fuel tanks I would still have them. I was nervous about parts availability and wait times in Australia, not to mention parts cost (raw water pump about $1000) so I repowered.

Two things to watch are the exhaust mixer elbows and the exhaust cross-overs. The latter may well have been replaced already - a $6k item in stainless, fabbed in PNW to a high standard. The elbows can leak seawater into your turbo when they fail - as the PO for my boat discovered. So be careful with them.

Don't spend long times near WOT (fuel consumption discourages that anyway, 17 gph) and you should get long hours from them. As my engine surveyor said, they are a much maligned engine if the marinisation components haven't been replaced, but once that's done they are a very reliable engine.
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:58 AM   #7
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it's a turbo. I was looking for fuel usage at Trawler speeds and overall satisfaction. While boatdiesel.com has good info, most people posting are having problems. You seldom see someone say "mine has 4000 has and no problems".
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:25 AM   #8
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Not sure on the exact hours, but I expect mine has 4000+ and no problems .
I do have the NA aspired though...

As I put in a previous post, my pre-purchase research led me to believe that the poor feedback was where 555s were used in higher stress environments like express cruisers, and lower stress trawlers etc everyone seemed to love them. I am still in the latter camp!
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:29 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=meridian;200919 While boatdiesel.com has good info, most people posting are having problems. You seldom see someone say "mine has 4000 has and no problems".[/QUOTE]

Excellent observation.
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:31 AM   #10
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Excellent observation.
They used to be called "the silent majority."
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:26 PM   #11
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Meridian,

Our boat has the 270hp turbo versions. Between the previous owner and I they have not had a single hiccup in 12 years with normal maintenance. I can push our boat to 14k if I want ( I rarely do) and most of the time I just run about 8-9K. At 1350 RPM I run about 7K and at 1600 I run in the 8's. She really purrs at 3000 rpm but I rarely run her like that. I hold my breath when she starts to wind out. I have 39XX hours on the port engine and 35XX on the starboard engine. The port engine has the fishing valve on the tranny so I use that when we fish. Hence the more hours.

To answer your question:
We pull our 450 lb 16' dinghy everywhere we go. Last season I put 100 hours on the 7.5 Onan genset, 105 hours on the port engine and 98 hours on the starboard engine. I put 900 gallons in the boat. I am not very smart with those math type items but I would give that about a 9 GPH overall usage. I have been told that is pretty good overall usage by others but I am happy with that usage for 3 original diesels that start every time I go to the boat.

With that said, parts are expensive. I am dreading some maintenance on cooling parts, exhaust elbows, etc. coming up. To change the raw water impeller you have to stand on your head and bolt the water pump in place. There is no adjustment. I paid a mechanic to do it and with belts it was a boat buck.

Cheers!
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:06 PM   #12
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My numbers were 6 gph at 1500 rpm for 7.2kn, 8 gph at 1750 rpm for 9.1 kn and 13 gph at 2000 rpm for 10.1 kn. WOT, and that was 2900 not the full 3000, I could get 16 kn. 1750 was the sweet spot.

The engines were both 19xx hours. Not much for 31 years. But oil analyses were fine.

On one engine the turbo had been replaced - due to the mixer elbow failure. And on one engine there was a brand new raw water pump. Both engines had stainless crossovers. Not sure about other repairs as the PO didn't really have a maintenance log. With so few hours per year I figured that rust was likely to be the biggest issue! And it was to a degree, the engine mounts were a mess. I think the mixer elbow failure spayed water everywhere and clean-up afterwards was only basic.

As to standing on your head, just hope you never have to replace the port/outboard starter motor. Man, is that thing heavy! And limited to one arm access it really is a challenge.

The PO did say that he bought cheapo crossovers initially, $6.5k for the pair from Florida. But then had to replace them with higher quality PNW fabbed ones at $12k for the pair. No further issues. That was all in 2001 for a 1981 built boat. As he said, he had a lot on money in those items! My mechanic was saying in the cool PNW waters 6 years would be a safe lifespan for the elbows, but it must depend on engine hours as well. Less in warm water. And costly consequences or failure.

Incidentally, at those same rpms and speeds above (same transmissions and props), the John Deere 6068's (Tier II, turbo, no aftercooler, 201 HP at 2600) the fuel consumption is 3.2, 6 and 8.5. I am delighted with the repower. The fuel efficiency must come from the shape of the torque curve.

Sure new engines are a big hit, but a few parts orders from Cummins and mech hours for fitting and you will make quite a dent in the sticker price. Of course if you can source takeout parts and turn your own wrenches you will be miles in front keeping the 555's going.

Even now, if a bought a boat with 555's I would run them until either they needed to be removed (eg for fuel tank replacement) or had major issues. The time to baulk is when they need several boat bucks for something - once you start it will just keep mounting.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #13
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Hi Meridian,
I too have the 1976n V555M, the N/A version and have had since '85. It has run well for ~5,700 hrs now,but there are some things to look out for.
Now the diatribe. I took the liberty of copying my last post on B.D. to save some time.

I have a V555M, the natural so some things may vary but basically this is it.


ZINCS: -- One big one L.H. lower corner of the heat exchanger when facing engine.
--Another on the gear cooler. BE CAREFULL HERE. Cut the pencil to NO MORE THAN 9/16" from the shoulder or you risk damaging one of the water tubes and breaking the solder joint. These coolers are no longer available from Cummins although maybe from Sendure for at least $500 + . I found out the hard way. Yours could be different but be carefull. They are a weel built cooler though.

The heat exchanger zinc will last 40hr or so. The gear cooler should be checked often 15-20 hrs/ Check them often enough to figure out your changeout cycle. I would say the little one at least 2X or 3 X the rate of the big one.

COOLANT: ~ 40 litre each engine of 50/50 mix. [~10.5 usg ea]
You MUST use DCA or it must be present in whichever coolant you purchase if you buy a ready mix or risk liner damage. There are test strips available to check the concentration. Itīs not hard to do but must be done and maintained. Every 2 years.

I do mix my own with DISTILLED water and DIESEL low silicate antifreeze. One jug water and one jug A.F. plus 4/5 bottle of the DCA which is a pint bottle. Do not just pour the whole DCA bottle in or you will end up with a too high concentration requiring removal of a bunch and redoing it. I do the initial mixing in a 2 gal bucket. This mix should result in the DCA concentration at the low end of the OK range but in that OK range.

Install a new coolant filter if your engine uses one.

Then run the engine to heat it up, mix it up and when cool do the concentration test. Take it for a run under load for an hour or so. It is easy to add a bit more DCA to raise the concentration. It is a PIA and a waste to have to reduce the concentration.

Don't try running it in the slip as that will not heat this engine unless you run it for a LONG LONG time which is not good.

-- CUMMINS P/Ns
coolant fltr 4 unit DCA60 WF 2071
Additive - DCA60 DCA 006000LX
Coolant test strip 4 strip pack CC2602-A

The A.F. is your choice as long as it is rated DIESEL - LOW SILICATE

I do use whatever Cummins has on the floor which is Zerex Diesel low silicate.

RAW WATER PUMP:
SOme time after mine they changed to a cog belt drive. Mine has the twin V belts with a 3 plate design of sheave for tension adjustment. PIA. Be carefull as these plates are no longer available so if you break one or lose it you will have a big problem. Again, not hard to adjust but it is slow and a pain. The bolts do not need to be more than snugged up firmly to lock the plates. You will NOT get the belt tension exactly even.
I fully rebuild mine every 5 yrs with new impeller, new bearing, new seal, new cover gasket, new belts. The cam plate i replaced the last time although after comparing to the new one I didnīt need to change it. Itīs now a spare.
I also replaced the back wear plate and the cover plate. It did need it.


VALVES AND INJECTORS: Need the book, really is a must have.
DO NOT UNDO THE VALVE CROSSHEADS untill you have checked them and found they do indeed need adjustment. Leave them alone unless they need adjustment Other wise itīs just a whole lot more work AND you introduce another chance of error. They usually are fine. The valves themselves may need adjustment, or not.

INJECTORS: Must have the book for the procedure. You can use a torque wrench. NOT THE CHEAPO CRAP or chance damaging an injector. You can also search e-bay for the Cummins imjector setup measuring tool. I picked one up a couple years ago. In the past I made some probes for a dial indicator and used a mag. stand. Twas a pain but worked. The tool I bought is faster and less prone to causing errors.

The timeing marks are on the flywheel. There is a hole on the R.H. side when facing the engine front, just to the side of the PT pump.. The barring shaft is on the side of the PT pump with a hairpin to keep it from sliding into engagement accidently. The shaft is spring loaded with the hairpin an extra safety. I believe the shaft requires a 5/8 socket, maybe 9/16 but easily checked.

There is an owners manual on the Boatdiesel site in 5 parts that outline the procedure. Also a parts book. Both for a ī76 but it should all be the same. The fuel feed differences are in the PT pump, not the injectors.


These engine do live by the valve and injector adjustment though. There is no inj. pump timeing per se like many engines. The PT pump supplies fuel under varying but relatively low pressure. The injector finishes the job of timing from the camshaft and raises the pressure MANY times, apparently as much as up to 20K psi.

So take your time here and do it right.

ENGINE OIL:
I simply use Cummins Premium Blue 15/40 but as long as the oil is a major diesel rated oil you have a wide choice. Mine requires at a minimum CC, not been available for many years, but the oils now are up to CJ-4 so much better. CC & CD were 20+ yrs ago. Yours may need a more updated oil, engine yr. of mfgr. and the turbo, so with current oils you are covered.

Depending upon your filters you may need between 20+ litres up to 30L. I simply upend a 5 gal pail into the sump. I do have the bypass filter which holds ~ 5-6 L so subtracting that leaves your needs without the bypass filter at ~ 25L. The FF filter needs about 2 L. I would not put all that in right away the first time but maybe 22L and then start and check after shutdown. These pans, at least mine, hold enough that a couple litres or so low at idle is not critical.

If you have the bypass filter, a large black canister, then add about 4-5 litres of oil to it after changing the element. If you don't then no big deal.

When I bought the boat years ago I was told 32L. After a while i realized it should be about 30 tops . The engine , at 32L , was constantly using oil. At a high of 30L it goes many, many hours before I need add more. If you do not have the bypass you will simply have less oil in the system but the pan level should be the same.
I did monkey up a pump to fill the filters and prime the engine but before that I would disconnect the power to the fuel control solenoid and then crank the engine for two or three 15 sec shots. Then reconnect and let it start AT IDLE untill oil pressure came up.



FUEL FILTERS:
Yours will likely be different from mine. However, these engine can purge small amounts of air so are not nearly as picky about priming as many diesels. Just get the fuel close and it may stumble as the air is run out but it should smooth out soon.

I do not recommend just cranking and cranking although that will do it most times. Hard on the starter and maybe the PT pump.

I donīt know how your fuel system is arranged so you will need to have a good look. Hopefully the previous owner or builder made some provision to refill and prime the filters.

I have the primaries, then a standpipe, then the last ditch spin on. I have a small electric pump, normally valve isolated from the filters, which sucks fuel to fill the primaries. I just have to be sure to close the valve that isolates the tiny pump from filters. Once that is done I remove the standpipe plug and open the valve at the bottom and pour CLEAN fuel in. Then close the valve. I replace the plug after the engine is primed and running. Almost always the engine starts quickly and with a minimum of bumbling.

If there is a poor setup for filter priming then look up Tony Athensī squeeze bulb priming and set that up. Next year I will be changing my setup to spin ons and I think I will copy Tonysī idea.

As mentioned I do not warm it in the slip other than the time it takes to slip the lines and get moving after starting. Keep the load light and but increasing as the engine warms and it should serve you well.

You should have the owners manual at a minimum and the parts book. If possible the shop manual. They should still be available from Cummins on order, you will have to wait.

I hope I covered most of your questions.

If not then you can e mail me through the forum.

Good luck
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:52 PM   #14
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I am looking for first hand experience with a Cummins 555 in a Trawler.
Meridian, did your questions get answered?
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Meridian

Acquire Clark Leighs as a next door neighbor and your triple nickels will do just fine.

Clark, if your engines were to be replaced, what would be the engine of choice?
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #16
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Meridian

Acquire Clark Leighs as a next door neighbor and your triple nickels will do just fine.

Clark, if your engines were to be replaced, what would be the engine of choice?




Whoops, only found this question today. The 6bt 210 hp Cummins. One of these days I will actually get in there and measure as the 6bt is a tad longer and possibly taller.
Even if a down angle gear is needed that would be my first choice.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:39 PM   #17
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Anybody interested in a pair of used V555's? One removed in working condition and the other not so much.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:44 PM   #18
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Anybody interested in a pair of used V555's? One removed in working condition and the other not so much.
You might post that in the classified section
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:17 PM   #19
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Got a buddy with triple nickels the same age as my Volvos (1986) but he can get parts for his Cummins while I am SOL with the Volvos.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:53 AM   #20
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please contact me on these. Mark Harison 918-527-5710
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