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Old 05-20-2015, 01:03 AM   #9
Scraping Paint
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Engine hours are all over the map and there are so many variables in boating, particularly recreational boating, that affect engine health that it is pretty much impossible to come up with any sort of rule.

FWIW, here are some specific data points that don't really mean anything...

1. A good friend in Hawaii runs a small fleet of tuna longline boats. They go out for a month or two, come in, unload, and go out again. My friend likes Volvo engines and his boats, all in the 70' range, are powered with single Volvo Penta turbocharged, aftercooled engines. They are never run over 1500 rpm and they are never shut down unless there is a problem. My friend gets really pissed off if he gets less than 30,000 hours out of an engine before it needs an overhaul. From what he's told me he's rarely needed to get pissed off.

2. Our boat, built in 1973, has just over 3,000 hours on it's two FL120s. They run great so far.

3. I've been told by Bob Smith at American Diesel that back when the Washington State ferries used FL20s for some task or another--- generators, hydraulic pumps, I don't know--- they routinely went 25,000 hours before needing an overhaul.

4, The FL120, assuming proper operation, service, and maintenance, is said to be a 12,000 to 14,000 hour engine in recreational boat service. Where that number came from I have no idea but I've beard it from people who know the engine well, including Bob and our diesel shop.

5. I know of a few FL120s that have accumulated some 8,000 hours and are still (last I heard) going just fine. This does NOT mean they didn't need pump changes, injection pumps overhauled, heat exchangers replaced, etc. along the way. It means the core engines are running fine.

6. I know of some FL120s that never made it to 3,000 hours before packing up in a major way. Due, I'm sure, to operator error.
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