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Old 09-18-2018, 10:13 PM   #1
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Engine reliability

Hi all, the wife and I are looking at 50-60' boats to eventually take to Alaska. We are looking at trawlers and motor yachts from the mid 80s to mid 90s.
My only experience with marine diesels has been the DD 8.2t. I did not have major problems with those but it hurt resale due to their reputation.

Since this is a vessel we will take into the PNW up to Alaska we will want to know what engines seem to have the best reliability, parts availablility and serviceability.

We will obviously carry as many spares as possible but things happen.

A number of boats seem to have the DD V series engines with a very wide range of HP.

Cummings, Volvo and Cat all seem common.

What do I need to know and are there certain engines in a series I need to stay clear of?

Thanks in adavance for your help!
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:14 PM   #2
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In Cummins I trust.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:27 PM   #3
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Think about it, you are considering 25-35 year old boats. The engines have made it this far... It all depends on how the engines were run and maintained at this point.

DD's are very re-buildable at reasonable cost to this very day.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:34 PM   #4
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Ford Lehman certainly is reliable - that's what I'm running. I passed on making an offer on a boat with volvos. I think certain models are better than others but many of the older ones don't have parts easily available.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:47 PM   #5
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We have Lehmans and they have been good. We had DD 6V53s in a previous boat. The advantage with DDS is parts are widely available and cheap. Almost any good mechanic can work on them. Cummins are also great.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:40 PM   #6
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I have the faithful Lehman 120s. But at 50-60 ft, is 240hp enough and how hard would they be working? Some might say just fine,but I don`t recall seeing a boat over 50ft advertised with Lehmans.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:08 AM   #7
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Well mine are the 225s and I donít really use all of their power. It was almost a negative when we bought the boat because I felt it was overpowered for our purposes. But having had the boat for 3 years now I kinda like having the extra power when we want/need it to make a deadline.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:22 AM   #8
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In the PNW you have an incredible dealer for CAT. They will get you the part even if they have to put it on a float plane and fly it to you. You will pay. Detroit parts are cheap and plentiful. Cummin’s is great as well but i’ve Heard 555 parts are not always easily available. I am not speaking bad about any other engines, just can’t speak up for them.

Considering the size/year of boats you are looking at the most common engines you will find are dd8v71, dd6v92, cat3208, luggers(jd6068). These are not the only acceptable engines, just the most common for the size/year you mentioned.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:27 AM   #9
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If you want reliability DD 71 series is probably best. 92 series goes thru rings and sleeves maybe 20% faster. The 53 series are in smaller boats and generators and seem to be as reliable as the 71s. I ran 53s in Vietnam, and considering the abuse, never had a failure. DDs are 100% mechanical, no injector pump, no bleeding problems, no circuit boards or electronic sensors. If you're looking for longer life between overhauls, a bigger natural engine is better than a smaller turbo engine. A 12v71 natural is about the same hp as a J&T 671, but probably will go twice the hours. I've been running diesels on my own since about 1961. I'm biased, DD are my favorite for reliability. On injector pump engines, many have problems getting the air out when bleeding the pump, and if the pump fails, the engine shuts down. On a DD there is no bleeding, you could loose an injector, but the engine still runs. DD 71 series naturals are continuous rated, and can be run above the ratings usually w/o harm. My current boat has twin 671 naturals manufactured in 1947. They're rated continuous at 1800. A PO cruised Canada to Mexico every year and ran at 2100. When I rebuilt them the hours were somewhere above 20,000. They push an 83', 80 ton boat at 10 knots using about 8.5 gph. 6-7 knots using about 4+ gph. The engines ran fine with 20,000 hours, too, just more fuel and oil use. I like the inline best, but there's really no difference. Most of the internal parts are the same. The 12v head fits the inline and the 8v head fits the 471. If you keep the rpms down, you can double the hours on most turbo engines.
Parts are world wide. 30 years ago DDs were the most common engine in fishing boats and small tugs. I've never been in a port that didn't have a DD mechanic.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:59 AM   #10
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Engine reliability and durability has more to do w maintenance and how the skipper runs it than engine brand.
All this talk about what engine is best is mostly nonsense IMO.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:11 AM   #11
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Thank you all for your replies!

This is not just about engine reliability but also about parts availability and serviceability.

There is no way to know how all previous owners treated an engine. You can only kind of know it's current condition.

So to me having ones that I can work on and get parts for is more important.

Please keep posting!
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:16 AM   #12
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While I agree with Norman Willy, there are some engine boat combinations I would stay away from. Sine the OP is looking at 50-60’ boats he should be concerned about high HP dd6-71 or 435 hp cat 3208. This is not a blanket statement there is a time and place for both those motors.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:36 AM   #13
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Avoid any vessel with VOLVO engines as parts are difficult if not impossible to find...and they will cost three times more than Cats or Cummins.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ancora View Post
Avoid any vessel with VOLVO engines as parts are difficult if not impossible to find...and they will cost three times more than Cats or Cummins.

Volvo's are like any other marine engine. Take care of it and you're good forever. Lots of us have them and they are just as good and reliable as any engine out there.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:06 PM   #15
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Engines

I think John Deere is another good engine supplier I have been very happy with.

Nordhavn uses them as OE & Kadey-Krogen uses them as OE.

So another to add to your list.

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Old 09-19-2018, 04:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
Engine reliability and durability has more to do w maintenance and how the skipper runs it than engine brand.
All this talk about what engine is best is mostly nonsense IMO.

Yup, kinda like which is better, Ford or Chevy?

We spent a wonderful evening with Tony Fleming a month ago. A few years ago he replaced his Cummins engines with MANS in his 65 foot Fleming world cruiser. The engines are now up to 5,000 hours and they look gorgeous. in this case it really does come down to care, going by the book and a well engineered boat.
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancora View Post
Avoid any vessel with VOLVO engines as parts are difficult if not impossible to find...and they will cost three times more than Cats or Cummins.
I would tend to agree about Volvo parts. We had twin Volvos in a previous boat. The parts were never in stock anywhere and would always take a long time to arrive when they were ordered. YMMV, but that was my experience.
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:06 PM   #18
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All generalities are FALSE!!!
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:10 PM   #19
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Cummins 855 BIG CAM is a popular choice amongst 50 to 70ft work boats in Oz
Makes number two on the list

http://capitalremanexchange.com/best...l-engine-list/
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:26 PM   #20
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It is the old Ford vs. Chevy discussion; who’s truck is better, but we all have our favorites and that’s part of the fun. OP, I am also in the wouldn’t do a Volvo again camp, but take anything you read on a forum with a skeptical eye and do your own due diligence.
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