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Old 01-09-2021, 01:59 AM   #1
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Perkins 6.354s @ 5000 hrs

Been lurking around on TF to get some insight into the Perkins 6-354s with lots of good info. Found a strong candidate for our next boat (first trawler). Hours on the engines are about 5k, but the engine room and engines look tight ... super clean. Prior owner (before the current one who has owned only about a year or two and not used much) taught diesel repair at a local community college. I haven't seen records yet, but thinking these are well maintained engines. Assuming I'm right, any insight on what "surprises" might still be lurking around the 5k hr turn?

I've read lots of TF threads on the "engine hours" issue and the marine age article (https://www.sbmar.com/featured-artic...diesel-engine/). I know there's no hard and fast rule (mostly boat/boater dependent), and we're going to have a decent reserve fund day one, but curious what the experience of other Perkins owners with higher hours has been. Appreciate any insight.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:15 AM   #2
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"but thinking these are well maintained engines."

The problem on displacement boats is seldom the engines have been run at WOT too long, the fuel cost/noise aboard for tiny speed increase is too high.

The hassle is when the engine is not run for a period of time.

Da Book (the Service Manual) for each engine gas requirements for "out of service main".

Knowing what Da Book requires, if it was ever followed ,as it is sometimes ignored even for winter storage, is the question .

Some engines even have "out of service for 30 days" requirements.

A chat with the owner or a look at the maint log will tell a lot.

Having years of oil sample results shows a caring owner .

Just a look at the supplies kept aboard is helpful, if it is a couple of cases of good oil , not a collection of mixed discount cans, is a good sign .
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:18 AM   #3
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If those have raw water cooled cast iron exhaust manifolds then that is what is important to inspect.
I had the turbocharged version of that engine and salt water eats them up pretty badly.
If you can find a replacement manifold it will be pricey.
The base engines are pretty tough.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:19 AM   #4
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If those have raw water cooled cast iron exhaust manifolds then that is what is important to inspect.
I had the turbocharged version of that engine and salt water eats them up pretty badly.
If you can find a replacement manifold it will be pricey.
The base engines are pretty tough.
Spot on JL. About 20 years ago Perkins came out with a total re-design of their marinized engine line labeling it Perkins Sabre. Cat labeled and painted some of the PS engines yellow, kinda like trucks from Chevy or GMC. Like earlier Perkins engines, PS have proven to be good engines without some of the marinization issues.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:49 AM   #5
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Can you get the serial number from the engine? The first few bits identify the block and the build. They'll let us know more about the marinization bits, which are a common maintenance item, and therefore possibly deferred maintenance item, on those engines.

The basic 6.354(M) engine (TC builds) are very basic engines. Not a lot goes wrong with them unless something bad happens to them. They tend to leak a little at the back end of the valve cover because the gasket isn't supported or clamped well there. But, that is about it. The coolers are relatively inexpensive and can be gotten both from dealers and generic parts. The exhaust manifolds circulate raw water, so they corrode over time. This is a little unique to the Perkins. In practice, they last decades, but in reality, many are coming due. This part is a high few hundred dollars, but very available. Along with it on any such engine, the exhaust elbow similarly corrodes.

Some other versions of the engine have some more expensive parts, but they are still available. The "breadbox" intercooler on the MGT is a very expensive, but still available part, if it hasn't been replaced, for example.

Similarly, turbos often need rebuilt or replaced, just for being old and often times rarely really spun up.

Some of the other versions of the engines, the 6.354.4, for example, are really nice improvements -- but have some expensive coolers (manicoolers, multicoolers), that are available, but not necessarily cheap.

If we know the specific type, we can probably give more information.

But, fundamentally, those are very, very solid, sound engines.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:42 AM   #6
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Assuming I'm right, any insight on what "surprises" might still be lurking around the 5k hr turn?
Perkins HT6-354, 20,000hrs. when this photo was taken
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:33 AM   #7
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If that's an HT engine, it is a little bit of a rarer bird. I'd also be curious if either serial number has the letter X in it, meaning that it is contrarotating (versus reversed in the transmission, such as a 72CR). That makes it a but rarer and may make some parts a little harder, like the raw water pump.

The horizontal design let's fit in shallower space,, but there are differences between it and the more common vertical engines. For example, it has different oil pan set up and uses a scavenger pump setup. I'd have to see the build sheets to see the differences or look and see if I have a parts list or build sheet for it.

Fundamentally, it is a very good engine. But, I'd recommend chatting with a legacy dealer like S&W in Wilmington, CA or TAD in Virginia to find out if there any any common frustration points with parts availability.

My only concern is that there are fewer of those out there, so if any of the likely fail items aren't available or rebuildable, you can get into more money and you probably want to negotiate that buffer in advance.

Also, that does have turbos, which is fine. And, by my memory, which you'd want to check, have available replacements. But, they are one more thing to check as part of your inspection. Not a big deal, but you'd want to check it so you aren't surprised if they need rebuilt or replaced (depending upon how old the one there is, some don't have rebuild kits anymore and need to be replaced with newer, rebuildable equivalents).
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:57 AM   #8
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We have the 1980 6.354.4 (Range 4) naturally aspirated 135 HP engine with 5835 original hours. The Range 4 model has the Bowman integrated engine cooler/exhaust manifold. I’ve owned the boat for 15 years and put about half of hours on the engine. We cruise the boat in remote areas of Abaco and Exuma Bahamas. The engine has never let us down. The long block base engine is all original. It starts immediately and runs smooth. I change oil every 100 hours, run the engine at about 1700 or 1800 rpm - it uses no oil between oil changes. I am also a Tony Athens fan (marine age) so pay attention to anything that is a sea water interface. As preventative maintenance, have replaced hoses, engine cooler tube bundle, oil/transmission cooler, sea water pump, and exhaust elbow. Have also as preventative, rebuilt starter, injectors, and high pressure fuel injector pump. Early in my ownership, installed a Balmar alternator. Like you, I set aside a reserve fund to either rebuild or replace engine, but see no signs in the near term that it’s needed. By the way, most parts are still available from Perkins. For my engine, the only exception I’ve encountered was the oil/transmission cooler but an aftermarket replacement was available. There may be cooler parts issues with the higher horsepower turbo charged and after cooled models. You can call Trans Atlantic Diesel in Virginia with any parts questions you may have. You’ll need the engine serial number when you call. Would be happy to answer specific questions. Hope this helps, Jeff
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:29 PM   #9
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This is great info ... lots of good stuff to look at. Going to take a look at records and get serials.

Hey Boatpoker - I've seen that pic in another thread (forget which one) ... think you mentioned that you rebuilt it? What's the ROM on an engine rebuild or overhaul for this model?
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:57 PM   #10
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This is great info ... lots of good stuff to look at. Going to take a look at records and get serials.

Hey Boatpoker - I've seen that pic in another thread (forget which one) ... think you mentioned that you rebuilt it? What's the ROM on an engine rebuild or overhaul for this model?
An absolute and total rebuild including pistons, sleeves, rods, valves, bearings, crankshaft, washers, gaskets and absolutely every wear part for the entire engine except injection pump, injectors, turbo and heat exchangers was purchased directly from Perkins in England through a farm equipment dealer for less than $3k Canadian (delivered & taxes in) ... in US dollars I believe that is about $19.99 .

It should be noted that I had minimal slap in #6 piston, it ran great and I'm sure it would have lasted for decades but I had nothing else to do that winter.

It came into Canada as farm equipment which was duty free and as farm equipment (most were used as generators on farms) was heavily subsidized (30% if I remember) by our generous government.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:22 PM   #11
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Thanks Boatpoker ... what was total cost for the rebuild?
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:27 PM   #12
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Thanks Boatpoker ... what was total cost for the rebuild?
That was the whole thing. I did it in place over the winter while living onboard at Port Credit Yacht Club ... I did have some help from the strongest 190lb. 5'6" person on the planet to lie on top of the engine and straight arm that cyclinder head off
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:30 PM   #13
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Ha - sorry, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. What do you think cost for that would be if I had a mechanic/shop do it instead of doing it myself? Trying to figure out how much I should be saving for that eventual day (which hopefully will never come).
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:32 PM   #14
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Ha - sorry, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. What do you think cost for that would be if I had a mechanic/shop do it instead of doing it myself? Trying to figure out how much I should be saving for that eventual day (which hopefully will never come).
Sorry, I have no idea, I've always done my own work and I've never even paid attention to the number of hours involved.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:40 PM   #15
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No prob - you gave me a really good idea of what's involved. Thanks for the great info all.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:18 PM   #16
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I just bought a dealer rebuilt (they called it remanufactered) TC build 6.354 engine from a Perkins dealer.

It is the same long block as the marine engine, but came with no raw water pump; the industrial oil pan, manifold and cooling set ups; and a mechanically governed injector pump vs hydraulically governed pump, so those parts were moved over.

The engine was $8500. Shipping cross-country each was was $750. The refundable core charge was $4000. If I didn't have the accessories to swap over, that would probably have been another ~$5k.

The yard bill was about $800. There were also 3 days of mechanic time. I haven't yet seen the bill, but probably another $2400-$4000.

All in from nothing could easily be a ~$20k deal.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:13 PM   #17
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If that's an HT engine, it is a little bit of a rarer bird. I'd also be curious if either serial number has the letter X in it, meaning that it is contrarotating (versus reversed in the transmission, such as a 72CR). That makes it a but rarer and may make some parts a little harder, like the raw water pump.
Don't you mean the contra engine circulating pump and not the raw water pump? Our raw water pump is the standard Sherwood that fits either the CCW or the CW rotating engine that we have.
That's my only gripe with a contra Perkins. Some of the parts are a little more rare, which translates into more expensive and thus I'm not as inclined to carry the parts as spares. The circulating pump and starter are the 2 parts that I know of, neither of which do we carry onboard, but would if they were more available/cheaper. I'm not sure about the injection pump but I think they told me at Trans Atlantic that the injector lines are different, because of the different firing order. Marcus @ TAD said the stock alternator was happy spinning either way ,though I wish mine ran a little cooler. I'm not sure if it's because it's pushing air through the alternator case rather than pulling it or it's because we've increased the battery bank capacity or a combination of both ,but regardless ,it runs warm so we keep a spare one of them onboard, too. It's less than $100.
To the OP, ours has over 3500 hours on it and were very happy with the engine. It's still purring like a kitten and VERY reliable. I guarantee that I can go down there right now, with the block near freezing, and it'll fire right up. It'll put enough smoke in the air to cover a small state until it warms up but it'll start up right away!
All of that said, I am pulling it out next month or March to replace all of the gaskets and seals, plus the damper, as a maintenance precaution. Our rear main recently developed a small leak (coincidentally after using synthetic oil for the 1st and only time ) and it's easier to do everything that want to do while its sitting on the ground in a shop, not in the boat. I've not ruled out rebuilding it while it's out but again, it's coming out because of a few minor oil leaks, not because it's worn out.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:43 PM   #18
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Don't you mean the contra engine circulating pump and not the raw water pump? Our raw water pump is the standard Sherwood that fits either the CCW or the CW rotating engine that we have.
Yep! Thanks!

To my knowledge, the raw water (open loop) pump is the same pump, but it turns in reverse, the inlet and outlet are plumbed in reverse, and the fins of the impeller, when installed, are positioned in the opposite direction.

The fresh water (closed loop) pump has a cast impeller, so the fins can't be set in the other direction, so it is different. I think the same rebuild kit is used, though.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:54 PM   #19
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Can you get the serial number from the engine? The first few bits identify the block and the build. They'll let us know more about the marinization bits, which are a common maintenance item, and therefore possibly deferred maintenance item, on those engines.

The basic 6.354(M) engine (TC builds) are very basic engines. Not a lot goes wrong with them unless something bad happens to them. They tend to leak a little at the back end of the valve cover because the gasket isn't supported or clamped well there. But, that is about it. The coolers are relatively inexpensive and can be gotten both from dealers and generic parts. The exhaust manifolds circulate raw water, so they corrode over time. This is a little unique to the Perkins. In practice, they last decades, but in reality, many are coming due. This part is a high few hundred dollars, but very available. Along with it on any such engine, the exhaust elbow similarly corrodes.

Some other versions of the engine have some more expensive parts, but they are still available. The "breadbox" intercooler on the MGT is a very expensive, but still available part, if it hasn't been replaced, for example.

Similarly, turbos often need rebuilt or replaced, just for being old and often times rarely really spun up.

Some of the other versions of the engines, the 6.354.4, for example, are really nice improvements -- but have some expensive coolers (manicoolers, multicoolers), that are available, but not necessarily cheap.

If we know the specific type, we can probably give more information.

But, fundamentally, those are very, very solid, sound engines.

Was able to get more info on the engines today. Model: TG.354 ... Serials: TE20696u545234E and TE20696U547196E

Last mechanical survey was a couple of years ago... looked like they ran well, but a few things noted:
  1. Port Turbo was leaking
  2. Starboard exhaust manifold leaking
  3. Port main had coolant leak at main head (surveyor noted it was likely a loose hose clamp)
  4. Small engine oil leaks

I'm told that these have all been addressed. Engines ran well at last trial, but noted slight fuel haze running at temp on port side. Surveyor noted that enigines appear to have newer injectors and turbochargers. I'm an untrained eye, so I really can't tell about that. Obviously will want to confirm all of this with new survey and sea trial with a mechanic.

Only other note from prior survey (2019)(unrelated to the engine) that is a bit concerning is the observation of "many paint blisters, several osmotic blisters less than 1/2" in diameter". Also noted anti-fouling paint new in 2018 (and again noted many paint blisters). Haven't had a chance to follow up on this one yet. Again, if I go forward, I plan to have a full survey with haul out and see what the current state of affairs is. In that case, thinking I might have the same surveyor come out again and assess. Still going to ask some questions though before finalizing an offer.

Appreciate any other thoughts.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:02 PM   #20
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Where are you getting that model number from?

Those numbers read to me like normal rotation (one transmission should be counter rotation) turbo vertical (nit horizontal) engines.

See attached guide.
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File Type: pdf Perkins_Engine_Number_&_Location_Guide.pdf (117.5 KB, 11 views)
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