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Old 10-01-2016, 10:27 PM   #1
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Are Perkins Engines Problematic?

I'm actually shopping for a trawler in your area. I live in Gig Harbor. I like the look of your boat, but my broker has strongly advised me to stay away from the Perkins Diesel motors. He says parts are very difficult to find and expensive. What say you?

Jeff
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:16 PM   #2
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I've personally never noticed a problem.

Consumables, like filters and belts, are easy to find online - I buy those on Amazon.

Normal maintenance is easy to do, but I don't consider myself a mechanic, so for any real mechanical problems (like the starter rebuild and issue I had last fall) I have the work done professionally. The prices for that work on this engine is no more expensive than any other boats we've owned.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by my3star View Post
I'm actually shopping for a trawler in your area. I live in Gig Harbor. I like the look of your boat, but my broker has strongly advised me to stay away from the Perkins Diesel motors. He says parts are very difficult to find and expensive. What say you?

Jeff
I disagree with your broker. I owned a 1979 Perkins 6.354 turbo in my motor sailor for years and currently own two 1981 Perkins 6.354 in my Prairie 36. If I had had issues with the first Perkins I would have never bought a boat with twin Perkins. Good maintenance is key to reliability for any diesel motor.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:27 AM   #4
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snip.... but my broker has strongly advised me to stay away from the Perkins Diesel motors. He says parts are very difficult to find and expensive. What say you?

Jeff
I am no expert, but did a lot of research as I was shopping for a boat a couple years ago. I'd have no qualms about a Perkins whatsoever if it was the appropriate match for the hull and surveyed well.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:15 AM   #5
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I've owned 2 4.236 Perkins 85 hp naturals for over 9 years with no problem with parts. Needed an exhaust manifold once that cost $$ from England, but I had it in about a week or so. No problems with other exhaust and cooling parts.

These engines have been around widely in farm service for many years. Parts are readily available. Accessories like starters and pumps are easily sourced online.

I love these engines and would have no hesitation in owning two more. I prefer the simplicity and enhanced reliability of naturals over their turbo brethren, but wouldn't be concerned about anything besides the manicoolers on the turbo 6.354s. I've only heard they can be a problem...no experience.
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by my3star View Post
I'm actually shopping for a trawler in your area. I live in Gig Harbor. I like the look of your boat, but my broker has strongly advised me to stay away from the Perkins Diesel motors. He says parts are very difficult to find and expensive. What say you?

Jeff
Parts have never been a problem with our Perkins 6.354. I needed to replace the oil cooler ($800) due lack of service by previous owner, thats it in 5 years 760 hrs. With proper care it keeps on perkin
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:53 AM   #7
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Maybe

Maybe your broker thought you said Volvo? After all Volvo Perkins sounds very similar when you say them real fast....

Perkins is well known to be a solid core for a boat engine. I know of a boat builder that loves Perkins. I know I wouldn't hesitate to buy one in any boat I was looking at. In fact, I am looking at one now.
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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See how easy it is to vanquish yet another case of dockside misinformation, this time related by a broker. No doubt he has a listing similar to the Perkins powered boat that he would be able to sell you without a pesky commission split.

Keep shopping Jeff and might I humbly recommend enlisting the service of a new broker.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:12 PM   #9
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Mod note:

I've moved the posts related to Perkins engines out of the classified boat sale ad and started this new thread. Apologies to Mattkab for the thread drift.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:31 PM   #10
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Jeff

I'm with CP, unless the broker has something of substance, ignore him.

That said, does the engine in question have a mani cooler design? These are indeed problematic and pricey to get repaired. There was a good thread on TF about a very handy guy who did some rebuilding of Perkins manifolds, worth reading.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #11
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That said, does the engine in question have a mani cooler design? These are indeed problematic and pricey to get repaired.
I don't want to mislead, especially since this thread started off my for-sale listing, but I don't believe it does.

It does have an external heat exchanger, which I thought the mani-cooler design didn't have.

I'm headed down to the boat this morning for a bit, so I'd there's an easy way to verify, I'll check it.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:29 PM   #12
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Look, I'm not an expert by any means, but I just purchased a 1984 34 Mainship. The first two I looked at had original Perkins engines in them. The first had a obviously newer turbo on it. The second had a turbo taken off waiting 4 months to get a replacement. I spoke to a diesel mechanic about this and he relayed to me a horror story of someone waiting 3 years to get a manifold to replace his cracked one. Don't know how much weight to give these instances, but I decided to stay away from old Perkins and bought a 34' that had been re powered with a cummins. Your mileage may vary on this.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:30 PM   #13
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I have at the moment 2 4236 Perkins engines in boats and in my business we used 6 driving different blowers and pumps, they're ultra reliable.
All Perkins engines are based on industrial engines and designed to work hard and have a long life.
Perkins bought Rolls-Royce diesels where I did a stint in R&D and of course their technology, over time Caterpillar bought Perkins and each sell under their own brand but in fact some of the Cat engines started life as Rolls.ie the C9 was born as the Rolls-Royce Eagle diesel and designed to run as either left, right rotation on multi fuel.
Parts for Perkins are readily available worldwide and fitted to industrial and farm machinery and cheaper from an agricultural supplier
You can buy OE parts and overhaul kits from a company who supply Perkins email parts4engines.com
Brilliant engines, if you service them well they will serve you well.
The lifetime of a diesel is indefinite.


Just as an aside, Caterpillar wanted to buy JCB excavators who fitted Perkins engines to their equipment and because JCB wouldn't sell Caterpillar stopped selling them Perkins engines.
JCB promptly designed and built their own which is a great favourite with fishermen.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:42 PM   #14
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TAD for Perkins Engine Parts, Perkins Diesel Parts, Perkins Powerparts, Perkins Diesel Engine Parts
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:32 PM   #15
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Jeff

I'm with CP, unless the broker has something of substance, ignore him.

That said, does the engine in question have a mani cooler design? These are indeed problematic and pricey to get repaired. There was a good thread on TF about a very handy guy who did some rebuilding of Perkins manifolds, worth reading.
My broker specifically mentioned the mani cooler, supposedly cools 3 different fluids, as being a big problem and very expensive ($8k) to replace, if you could even find one. And if you had one made, the wait time was about 8 months to get it from England. He made it sound as if all Perkins motors had this issue. Coupled with difficult to find parts, he advised to stay away from that motor.

I also spoke to a diesel engine shop that was at the recent Seattle Boat show. There feelings echoed that of my broker. So, you can see how my perception has been created.

I appreciate all the replies. Thanks everyone!

Jeff
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:36 PM   #16
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I don't want to mislead, especially since this thread started off my for-sale listing, but I don't believe it does.

It does have an external heat exchanger, which I thought the mani-cooler design didn't have.

I'm headed down to the boat this morning for a bit, so I'd there's an easy way to verify, I'll check it.
I would be very interested to know if your boat has the mani cooler in question. Please post or send me a private message if you find out.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 10-02-2016, 04:13 PM   #17
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We've got two Perkins 6.354s which have not been maintained much in their 32 years / 1040hrs. Mechanics and surveyors who know these engines, like them; plenty still around.

I understand that, that when I get the deferred maintenance issues taken care of (overheating over 2200 rpm, dirty fuel plugging the Racors, the remaining original hoses replaced) all can be expected to be well.

In 1993, I crewed on a 1968 Columbia 57 (sloop designed by Bill Tripp) bringing it back to Boston from Charlotte Amalie, USVI, where it had been a marina queen for several years. Perkins diesel, wonderfully foul fuel (we'd pumped all the old fuel into one of the six tanks and put fresh fuel into the remaining five), lots of Racor filter elements, newly rebuilt injectors. On the 6 day passage, that engine failed on a daily basis, requiring filters, bleeding, threw a valve pushrod twice (hammered it straight and reassembled it each time), blew one cylinder's fuel line. I was hero for a day or so when I took a loose steel fuel line from a long-gone genset, found in a pile of stuff in the forepeak; I repeatedly heated portions of it to cherry red on the gas cookstove and bent it to fit the Perkins. Other adventures were enjoyed on this passage, too.

Still bought the FuHwa with the Perkins.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:39 PM   #18
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1971 Perkins HT-354-6 20,000hrs. when rebuilt and it could have gone much longer but I am fussy.
Almost all parts are available at farm equipment outlets or NAPA.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:01 PM   #19
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Hey, BP, is that a drop of oil I see on your ER floor? Errrr....nevermind, just a smudge on my laptop screen.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:18 PM   #20
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I love these engines and would have no hesitation in owning two more. I prefer the simplicity and enhanced reliability of naturals over their turbo brethren, but wouldn't be concerned about anything

As FlyWright is specifically speaking to the 4-236, I agree in spades, Having owned the 4-154, which is famous for leaking rear Main Seal, the running, parts, and reliability is of no concern to myself either. Great old model engines that would run on crude oil I swear!! (Okay, maybe not but- - - - - )

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