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Old 07-23-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
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City: Au Gres, MI
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Originally Posted by Ranger46 View Post
Hello all, my wife and I are new to this site and would like to thank everyone in advance for all the information posted and sharing that takes place.

A bit about us. We are currently living in Wisconsin searching for a trawler to begin our retirement in 2 years. We figured it would be best to buy a trawler now, learn as much as we can about proper navigation, piloting, equipment, etc as opposed to just buying one and going to Florida.

We have been searching for a trawler for six month now and even sea trialed/surveyed what we thought was the one. Not!

We are now looking for advice on 5 trawlers that are in our sights and would love to hear back from y'all on which engine set would be the best and last the longest if all 5 types were maintained properly. They are all pushing 45' semi displacement vessels

1.Engine Make Ford Lehman/ Engine Model SP225/ Engine Year 1988/ Total Power 225hp/ Engine Hours 1700

2.Engine Make GM/ Engine Model 6-71MTC/ Engine Year 1988/ Total Power 485hp/ Engine hours 1000 after new cylinders and pistons, original hours are 4000

3. Engine Make Caterpillar/ Engine Model T-3208/ Engine Year 1986/ Total Power 302hp/ Engine Hours 1790

4. Engine Make Cummins/ Engine Model VTM555/ Engine Year 1989/ Total Power 270hp/ Engine Hours 4000

5.Engine Make CATERPILLAR/ Engine Model T-375/ Engine Year 1987/ Total Power 375hp/ Engine Hours 2100

Please let us know what number you would pick 1-5.

Thanks in advance folks and have a great day and weekend!!!!

The Baxters
Welcome aboard. I have SP225s in our boat. they are very long lived engines and have great support from American Diesel. The only issue is the aftercooler. They are no longer available. If the aftercooler does go bad it is simple to bypass it. It takes about a half hour, some 1 1/8” hose and 4 hose clamps. Now you have a 180 hp engine and nothing else need to be done, no changing injector pump settings or anything else. I just bypassed mine just in case they were to go bad I didn’t want any engine damage. Besides I have never needed the 225 hp or even come close.

The Detroit Diesel engines will run forever also. The great thing is that they have been around forever so almost any diesel mechanic can work on them. Parts are available and cheap, relatively. The downside is that they are somewhat noisy, but it is a throaty exhaust not a high pitched whiny noise. They also tend to leak and burn some oil. Just keep oil absorption pads under the engine. The Detroits can usually be rebuilt in place unless there was catastrophic damage.

The Cat 3208 natural engines last well also but they don’t have replaceable cylinder liners. Usually they are rated at 210 ho if I remember correctly.

The Cummins triple nickel is an engine that I would not own. A friend had one about 10 years ago and had a hard time getting parts. And they are simply huge.

The Cat 375 hp is most likely a turboed 3208. I am guessing but from that vintage it is probably a 3208. This engine is going to be more problematic than a natural 3208 since more HP can be drawn from the engine. Depending on how it has been run it can be fine or it could have been ridden hard and put up wet and therefore nearing the end of life. Hard to tell without knowing how the PO ran it. Maybe a mechanic can tell, but I couldn’t.

It all depends on how the engines were run and maintained. A really great engine can be destroyed by running it on the pins and not maintaining it. So it comes down to the individual engine. Of the ones you listed, personally I would not consider the triple nickel. I would think about the 375 Cat and depending on history maybe get it. The others would not give me pause.

Good luck in your search.
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