Thank you all for your comments about the 4-108 repower
. This is the situation.
was a remanufactured unit purchase
6 years ago from a supposedly reliable Perkins
place in Vancouver BC. KMG Industries. They only do Perkins
. The engine
only has 2600 hours on it and they have been "easy" hours with excellent maintenance
. The engine ran fine with the usual oil leaks
that Perkins (and the British) are famous for.
in SE Alaska
. This is basically a mastless sailboat as opposed to the masted motor
boats that are so common these days.
On July 11 I was cruising along with everything seeming just fine when, in about 4 seconds, the engine oil
pressure dropped to zero and a horrible crunching sound came out of the engine. I hope none of you ever have to hear a sound like that. I immediately shut down the engine.
Fortunately for me a passing commercial fishing
boat towed me to Juneau, about 40 miles away. I knew that the engine was badly damaged and that this was the end of this year's cruising season.
The engine has not yet been pulled from the boat to drop the oil pan and inspect the innards. My best guess is that a nut holding a crankshaft bearing fell off and the piston's connecting arm was just flying around. It is very difficult to find a good mechanic
in Juneau because although there are several thousand boats for a population of 18,000, most people do their own work.
I believe I have found a good man who has agreed to pull the engine in about two weeks from now. If by some miracle, the crank shaft is not damaged and he can can replace a bearing then I won't get a new engine. However, a rebuild
away from a factory, by a mechanic
costing $105/hr, will easily match or exceed the cost of a new engine. Also, the labor to pull and install a new engine is almost the same as that to pull and install a rebuilt perkins. about $4-5k. the price
of a re-manufactured perkins 4-108 from Transatlantic Diesel
is about another $10K, almost the price
for a new beta 38.
The Perkins may be reliable but it is 1950's technology. A lot has improved in engine metallurgy and sealing technology over the past 60 years. Finally, I have greater faith in Japanese engineering and workmanship than in British. Unfortunately the marinizing of the Kubota by Beta is done in England
so I may be no better off with the Beta than with the Perkins, although it won't leak oil.
I figure that with the Beta 38 the entire package with labor will cost ~$15k and if I rebuild
the old Perkins it would be ~$13-15K.
I know I won't get this money
back out of the boat which I probably will only cruise
for a few more years. But I don't really have much choice.
The boat is in Alaska
and I live in California
so I can't do this work myself. If I lived near the boat I could remove the Perkins, check out the damage and maybe even repair it. However, since I have to relay on a mechanic there is little difference in cost between a new Beta and repairing the Perkins.
To put this all in perspective I should tell another aspect of the story. As I said, on July 11 the engine self destructed and I was towed to Juneau. I was feeling really bad knowing this was going to cost about $15k. The next morning I made plans to have the boat hauled and was beginning to do the many close up chores required to leave a boat in Alaska for the winter. I must have been rushing too much because on one trip from my boat, across another boat that I was rafted to at the crowded dock
, I fell off that boat and broke my pelvis in 4 or 5 places!. Suddenly the new engine seemed like a trivial problem. I finally got off crutches today and am a free man.
I'll keep you posted on the repower