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Old 01-10-2013, 06:49 AM   #21
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While the engine is a large item in a trawler , most folks will not purchase a boat based on the engine.

Some will avoid a specific brand (like Volvo) but few will base the selection on what is installed..
And that's what you want to watch - unwarranted predjudice against a particular engine manufacturer.

My advice - pick out the boat you like based on the boat's design, features, and construction. Then have a competent mechanic analyze the engine.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:56 AM   #22
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divebumbs the OP asked what engine is considered reliable and is a very valid question, a question some owners probably wished they'd asked before purchase rather than focusing on boat looks and accommodations.

Any high performance diesel that's turbo charged and producing a lot of torque for it's size is always going to be less reliable and require more maintenance than a normally aspirated low power diesel. The more stuff you put on an engine to increase it's power the more trouble it's going to cause. However if you want to go fast you have no other choice.

If you're happy cruising along at under 10 knots then a normally aspirated Perkins or FL would be hard to beat, but I have no experience with these engines. I do however have experience with the high power ones and would avoid them if possible. Just my opinion.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:01 AM   #23
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Any high performance diesel that's turbo charged and producing a lot of torque for it's size is always going to be less reliable and require more maintenance than a normally aspirated low power diesel. The more stuff you put on an engine to increase it's power the more trouble it's going to cause. However if you want to go fast you have no other choice.
Tim,

That's kind of a blanket statement and I don't agree with it. There are plenty of turbo boost engines that run trouble free if maintained correctly.

The technology has come a long way in the past 20 or so years. Keep in mind that in the 50's, 60's and 70's fuel injection on a gas engine was viewed in the exact same way. As were both turbos and Catalytic converters. Today they are way more reliable than any engine of the past.

There are plenty of Yanmars running turbos that run a long time without any real problems. The rap was high RPM for a diesel. The Audi V12 R-10 TDI turns 5,500 rpm. The power band is between 3 and 5k. They do this for 24 hours at a time. Twin turbos 1.9 Bar boast. Unheard of in Diesel engines.

The point is that they have come a long way on producing diesel engines. The blanket statement that all turbos are not reliable just isn't so in today's market. I agree KISS is not a bad plan but the last thing I'm worried about on my boat is the reliability of my turbo engine.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:26 AM   #24
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It's hard to get unbiased feedback from users of any particular item whether its boats, cars, computers, or washing machines. Many times people feel the need to "defend" their purchase decision and I understand that. My original post was not intended to cause controversy but merely to get first hand feedback of the history of performance of various engines.

To personalize it a bit, I am DEFINITELY A KISS kind of guy and plan to buy a slow moving trawler if that helps to keep it in context.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:56 AM   #25
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Any high performance diesel that's turbo charged and producing a lot of torque for it's size is always going to be less reliable and require more maintenance than a normally aspirated low power diesel. .
With the exception of a John Deere 4045, it is nigh impossible to purchase a new engine without a turbocharger. If you plan on being in boating for the next 20 years or more best you learn how to maintain a turbocharged and likely aftercooled engine.

Cummins remanufactured plan offers the 6B in a NA 210/220 HP version, still a favorite for the replacement of worn out 6s of any brand.

The OPs question and answer could also include "Run from any boat where the ER is not tidy and clean or lacks service space - no matter what the engine brand."
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:43 AM   #26
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Greetings,
Mr. sunchaser. "Run from any boat where the ER is not tidy and clean or lacks service space - no matter what the engine brand." Undoubtedly the BEST advice for ANYONE looking at boats! I might add to that-Beware of the "rebuild in a can". The evidence of this is over spray on hoses from rattle can "tune-ups". I'm using this boat as an example only and I am NOT suggesting that there is anything amiss with THIS particular boat just that the sloppy rust cover paint job would raise red flags for me. For $120K it might be worth a look.
http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/boatMergedDetails.jsp?boat_id=2484691&ybw=&units=F eetĄcy=USD&access=Public&listing_id=20704&url=
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:47 AM   #27
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With the exception of a John Deere 4045, it is nigh impossible to purchase a new engine without a turbocharger. If you plan on being in boating for the next 20 years or more best you learn how to maintain a turbocharged and likely aftercooled engine.

Cummins remanufactured plan offers the 6B in a NA 210/220 HP version, still a favorite for the replacement of worn out 6s of any brand.

The OPs question and answer could also include "Run from any boat where the ER is not tidy and clean or lacks service space - no matter what the engine brand."
I'm not positive and my boat diesel membership has lapsed so I don't have a quick list...but what about Beta, Perkins, Cummins, Yanmar, Westerbeke???? Pretty sure there's at least one or more NA models available from those manufacturers.

Granted over 150hp not many but for most trawler guys that's not an issue.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:03 AM   #28
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I'm a Cat man. I have a 3208 n.a.
I have done lots of work on mine and now I just know the engine inside out.
There is a thread running on the forum now ( Cat 3208 n.a.coolant leak) if you run through that one quickly you will see what I mean.
Parts are available almost world wide and the support from Caterpillar is exceptional.

You are always going to need parts at one time or another so availability is key.

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:19 AM   #29
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I'm not positive and my boat diesel membership has lapsed so I don't have a quick list...but what about Beta, Perkins, Cummins, Yanmar, Westerbeke???? Pretty sure there's at least one or more NA models available from those manufacturers.

Granted over 150hp not many but for most trawler guys that's not an issue.
To comply with Tier 4 emission standards, NAs are increasingly harder (if not impossible) to come by - as are details from marine builders. China remains dodgy on implementation of Tier 4 for all diesels, so lots of product brouchures refer to complying with Tier 2 to get those non marine China and Russian sales. Tier 4 for new marine use seems to entail electronic controls, turbochargers, after coolers, common rail and very good fuel filtering.

Dude says it right, Cat (they own Perkins so newer Perkins as well) will provide marine parts for a very long time on a wide variety of engines.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:29 AM   #30
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Greetings,
Mr. SD. Cat man huh? Good thing your not this.....then again....

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:36 AM   #31
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Thanks RT. Gave me a good chuckle.

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:42 AM   #32
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My advice - pick out the boat you like based on the boat's design, features, and construction. Then have a competent mechanic analyze the engine.
I tend to lean in this direction. Although, as stated before, I love Cummins. If I were a long distance cruiser, however, and spending months at a time aboard, Lugger would be in my ER.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:56 AM   #33
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My advice is to check for parts availibilty for any engine you are looking at. Some manufacturers do not support their older products, Volvo in particular.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:56 AM   #34
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How many engines are w/o a marinization. Engines where they make their own everything. Many are in-between w their own line of engines and then to compete better in the marketplace in a certian HP range or spot they buy base engines from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kabota, John Deere and many others. I think Yanmar and Volvo qualify in this way. Does Cummins Make all their own stuff? Probably not.

I was very drawn to a 47hp engine (Mitsu) (rated w a fan) tractor/industrial engine that was rated at 2500rpm. At first glance it seemed the best engine ever but it was too much power and it had a quite to very low mounted starter. The excessive power and the starter location moved me to choose a smaller engine rated at 3000rpm and a high mounted starter.

Of course issues like that starter aren't black and white. They come in degrees. How many "marine" engines have elements or lots of elements like the starter motor example I give above? NONE of our modern engines, that is the basic engine as designed .. is a marine engine. They are ALL designed and built for some other purpose and then converted to "marine" engines. I'm sure there is something lost in the "conversion" process. For example most all marine engines of the 50s had their flywheel mounted on the front of the engine. The engine could then be mounted as low as possible in the hull for best shaft angle and best CG.

What other things are lost in the conversion of truck to boat engine that is not obvious to most people (like us). There may be 30 or 40 things, mostly small that effect the performance of the engines in a boat. The location of the seawater pump on one of the old Perkins engines may be an example of this. The oil filter on my engine was not in a user friendly place (it would have been if the engine was on a tractor) and all these little things added up could make a fairly good marine engine that had a much better than fair basic block. Perhaps there was more to it like cooling or safety?

Obviously the ideal engine would be one that had an extremely long lasting and high performing BB (basic block) with it's details leaning toward the marine version in desirability. Then the ideal engine marinizer would cut a minimum of corners and minimize building to a price to build the best engine for a boat possible and still be price competitive. Utopia? Perhaps .... but they did it in the 50s.

So what say you gear heads? What are the features of a marine engine make it the best. What marine engines are the best and what makes them that way.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:57 AM   #35
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If I was looking at a boat in the 80's - 90's vintage, I'd make sure that it has Perkins or FL, just for parts availabiility and they seem easy to work on. The cooling system can be the most expensive part to replace. I didn't know at the time, but the Manicooler heat exchanger on my Perkins runs several thousand (like 6?) to replace. My engine surveyor didn't mention this to me at the time, and so far they have not given me any issues.
The transmissions should be reviewed with the same criteria.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:29 PM   #36
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I have had boats with Perkins T6.354, Ford-Lehman 120, and Cummins 6BTA. I have also worked and helped owners work on many of each of those. I have also worked on several Cummins 6BT engines in trucks.

For me the best by far of that group is the Cummins 6B series. They are very simple to maintain, most things are accessible (except the RW pumps on some models), parts (oem and aftermarket) are available everywhere including NAPA, and there is a lot of model to model interchangability. Any diesel truck mechanic can work on them if required. The base engines are built in huge volumes and the marine "add ons" are pretty robust in most cases.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:31 PM   #37
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We don't have a lot of experience with marine diesel engines and we are wondering what experiences people have had with various engines. I'm sure marine engines, just like any other product we buy, have some that are held in high regard and some that are not. We're wondering what peoples experiences are regarding different makes and models of marine engines when it comes to reliability, maintainability, availability, affordability, etc. It would be great information to know as we shop around and see various boats with various engines. We look forward to your experiences and opinions.[/QUOTE]

Whatever engine you get, make sure parts and service in your area are readily available, especially in the cold northern climate where the boating season are short. If you can not get parts and service in your area it may not matter how reliable the engine is. I donĺt recommend engines as they all need maintenance/service. How the engine was maintained and its present condition is important. Once you find THE BOAT let us know!
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:43 PM   #38
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If you are looking at previously owned boats, the brand name of the engine will often be less important than how well it has been maintained. On a much older boat, do ask around about parts availability. Some engines that were in common use a while back, (the Cummins "triple nickel" comes to mind as an example) might have been fabulous engines in their day, and maybe still are if well maintained, but eventually something will break and parts availability can be an issue.

I'm a huge fan of Perkins. Just personal preference and experience. There are many other good choices as well.

If hoping for a long lifespan from your engine(s), one of the old "isms" that seems to be consistently valid is the 2:1 ratio. See if you can find an engine that displaces two or more cubic inches for each HP developed. (Example would be a 354 cu in inline six producing 165 HP). Especially some of the newer engines rely on running much higher RPM to achieve rated HP. Most of those legendary 15, 20, 25,000 engines are slower turning.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:59 PM   #39
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Greetings,
Mr. SD. Cat man huh? Good thing your not this.....then again....

If SD looked like that he/she would get my vote for Hall of Farmer.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #40
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If SD looked like that he/she would get my vote for Hall of Farmer.
Wrong discussion? But I agree!
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