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Old 03-04-2009, 11:06   #1
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Should high time diesel boat engines be avoided

I am going to purchase a boat. I would like opinions on high time diesel gensets or engine. High time meaning over 1500 to 2000 hours.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:11   #2
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1500 to 2000 hours on a diesel is not usually considered high time if it has been cared for and was a good engine to start with. Too much sitting unused can sometimes be worse. I'm not sure what is high time on a genset... they typically run flat out at 3600 rpm from cold start and dont last as long.

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Old 03-04-2009, 13:39   #3
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5000 is not considered high in many circumstances where the boat has actually been in use rather than set at the dock.

A diesel last far longer if used rather than setting stagnant and running the engine only for charging the batteries.

I would recommend you take the age of the boat and the overall condition of the boat and engine rather than just the number of hours on the counter. Also note that although the counter my have a high reading, you need to check the maintenance log and supporting documents as it may have had a rebuild that can effectively take the engine back to near 0.
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Old 03-04-2009, 13:50   #4
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Also, although probably not a relevant, The model of engine makes a differnce. I'm sure people on this board can help with their model experiences. For instance: a Caterpillar diesel will likely last longer than a lightweight Yanmar if both are treated the same. Mercedes 240D diesel cabs are noted for going 500,000 miles (at average 35mph thats about 14300 hours) There are boat diesels out there that wern't much good to start with either.....
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Old 03-04-2009, 16:31   #5
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Had a 1981 volvo 12 litre engine that did 15,000 hours before it started overheating. Replaced cylinder head, and engine did another 8,000 hours before we got rid of it. It may still be running today. I've heard of both Caterpillar and Cummins engines lasting as long or even longer. Engines in continuous use, seem to last longer than engines with occassional use.
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Old 03-04-2009, 17:50   #6
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Dirt or grit in the air, oil and fuel play more of a factor in the long term health of a motor than just the numerical hours. I know of more than 1 diesel that has gone over 15,000 hours and a few that did not see 2000 without an overhaul. A good mechanic can give you some insights, but a detailed engine maintenance log might be an even better source of condition.

I do flight instructing for the fun of it, and airplane engines that are run hard, but run hard every day will typically make it to TBO, but airplane engines that sit, though low time, rarely make it to TBO.
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Old 03-04-2009, 21:02   #7
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It could be an advantage...

A high time engine could be reflected in the price.

If you can factor a new engine into your purchase then what you get is a bonus.

Engines on boats are reasonably straightforward to replace, unlike interior furniture.

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