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Old 08-06-2018, 05:22 PM   #1
City: Pentwater, MI
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 5
Perkins life expectancy

Hi All,

I am a new member and in the market for an older Mainship. I see many with the Perkins T6-354 that have 2500 plus hours. It seems like a lot, but I am used to gas engines. I have seen forums where they say these engines will last over 15K hours with proper maintenance. Can anyone corroborate that?



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Old 08-06-2018, 05:50 PM   #2
City: Seaford Va on Poquoson River, VA
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Old Glory
Vessel Model: 1970 Egg Harbor 37 extended salon model
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,190
Seen this thread, same discussion

Perkins T6.354 - 145hp, reliability?

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Old 08-06-2018, 09:31 PM   #3
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City: Chesapeake Bay,Middle River,Md.
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Vessel Name: Patty Ann
Vessel Model: Mainship 34 MK1 1980
Join Date: Jan 2014
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That's not many hours on well maintained T 6.354. If you like the boat get a engine survey and oil analysis. I have no complaints with our Perkins in our 1980 MK1.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:44 PM   #4
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City: Au Gres, MI
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Welcome aboard. Yes they can last that long but it does depend on the maintenance.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:03 AM   #5
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Had 3000hrs when I sold mine. Biggest issue was maxi-cooler one piece heat exchanger would corrode where internal tube bundle attached and at stainless bolts. I believe that piece is hard to find and thousands of dollars to replace.

I agree with above, you can trash an engine early or have it see lots of use, all depends on maintenance and upkeep.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:13 AM   #6
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City: California Delta
Country: California Delta
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Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
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I've got a pair of 41 year old Perkins natural 4.236 engines with about 3200 hrs on them. The engines are still running great with regular scheduled maintenance. The only repairs that have only required my attention are those to the accessories that hang on the engine like heat exchanger, oil/tranny coolers, manifolds and elbows.

I've been told by folks who know more than me about the engines that 10,000 hrs is not unusual for a well maintained natural diesel like these.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:33 AM   #7
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Country: FRANCE
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I've been working with Perkins engines for over 50 years and correctly maintained they'll see you under the sod first.
The 6354, along with its smaller 4 cylinder brother are considered the benchmark of diesel engines.
If a Perkins engines working parts become worn, cylinder liners, bearings etc are relatively easy to replace with rebuild kits from
For all marinization parts for Perkins engine go to who are the OE suppliers.
Boat engines rarely wear out, its the owners lack of TLC that causes the majority of problems.
If I may make so bold, most people service the engine at the start of the season which is absolutely wrong.
The engine produces tiny amounts of acid during the warm up period which is why its best to start your engine, check oil pressures are good and then place the engine under a light load until it reaches operating temperature, then you can run it hard, equally when you've finished a long hot run let the engine cool down at tick over speed for 7/8 minutes to dissipate any thermal stresses within the engine, this is particularly important for turbo charged versions.
To check if an engine oil is old, dab a little on your tongue and taste it, you will taste the acidity, now do the same with some new oil and you'll find it sweet its an old fashioned way, it won't kill you and it works.

At the end of the season change your engine oil, use flushing oil to clean the working parts, drain it and refill with the correct grade of oil, I use 15w40 series 3 (for turbocharged engines).
The working parts of your engine are now bathed in clean oil over the winter period ready for you to start cruising in the spring.
Update your records and write on the oil filter body the date of replacement.
It goes without saying that you would also change all the fuel filters at the same time.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:33 PM   #8
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20,000hrs on this 1971 Perkins HT6-354 when I rebuilt it.

Within that 20,000hrs there was one turbo rebuild and one heat exchanger replacement, other than that, nothing but normal maintenance
I rebuilt due to an almost imperceptible slap in #6.

It probably would have went another 5,000hrs .... but i'm a little picky
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Old 08-08-2018, 01:07 PM   #9
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For an eighties engine, 2500 hours is less than 100 hours a year. Pretty much a weekender. Very light use for a diesel. As said above, it’s all about how it was maintained.
Irish Lady
1984 Monk 36 Hull #46
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:08 PM   #10
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Same question here, except for the ones I'm looking at are a pair of the M135.
1989 and apparently 3000 or so hours (unlikely to have been rebuilt, so the hours should be accurate?).
The surveyor has pointed out the wet exhaust ports while out of the water - she's just been painted a month ago and motored about 20 mins to get to the liftout. He was impressed that there was no smoke at startup and absolutely no marks around the exhausts.
Waiting on oil analysis, but hopeful...
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:04 PM   #11
City: Anacortes
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They wont die from hours. 2500 is not too much. Likewise, you may not get 15000 hours just by doing oil changes on time or at the end of the season. Periods of disuse are like a cancer. Id rather have 5000 of consistent use than 2500 of unknown description. Unfortunately, there is no hours between use meter.

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