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Old 30-08-2012, 21:06   #16
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Re: 4-108 repower

Thank you all for your comments about the 4-108 repower. This is the situation.

My engine 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.

I cruise a Willard 30 trawler 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.

Richard P
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Old 30-08-2012, 21:53   #17
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Re: 4-108 repower

I am very sorry to hear about the luck you have had, it really hits home.

From what i have learn rebuild was a mistake that cost me $$$$ I really wish i would have repowered with the yanmar.

I can tell you I would trust TAD they have been around a long time and everyone knows them. Cost maybe alittle higher but myself i do not mind paying a little more for trust.

Dutch
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Old 30-08-2012, 22:47   #18
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Re: 4-108 repower

Dang, that is a series of hard luck. You are right about the Perkins being old technology. Just an old workhorse. For piece of mind a warranty on a new engine from a reputable dealer is priceless.
Good luck and I hope the engine problem is as simple as you could possibly hope for.
kind regards,
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Old 30-08-2012, 23:34   #19
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Re: 4-108 repower

Although my 4-107 in my Tartan Blackwatch ran flawlessly, it had the usual rear seal leak and vibrated the filling outta my teeth. I also had a Yanmar 4jh. Excellent engine and quiet. I have rebuilt my Westerbeke W46 (my current engine) and so far so good. It is based on the Mitsubishi 4dq5.
It's good to remember for those who call Westerbeke crap, that Westerbeke is a marinizing company, not a diesel company. Their W40 was the Perkins 4-107 and like John said, similar to the 4-108.
4-108's are easy to come by. Apparently a few have been sold to penny starved people on this forum...apparently too cheap.
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Old 31-08-2012, 05:26   #20
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Re: 4-108 repower

Richard,
Sorry to hear about your accident, man that's not a good way to end a boating season

If I were in your situation with the boat so far away, I would go with a repower and not a rebuild and it sounds like you're perfectly aware of the boat value issues. So, best of care and luck?

Tom
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Old 19-09-2013, 07:36   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpackard View Post
Thank you all for your comments about the 4-108 repower. This is the situation.

My engine 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.

I cruise a Willard 30 trawler 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.

Richard P
Richard,

What a story. Hope all is well now. I would love to hear how this all worked out and if you would recommend the Juneau mechanic... and if so who it was.

Thx,

Dave
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Old 20-09-2013, 12:19   #22
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Re: 4-108 Repower

I didn't read all the posts but there are two schools of thought. Keep and rebuild. You don't have to change any mounts, bell housing, couples, etc. OR Repower to a newer, lighter engine. Newer isn't always better. Having rebuilt my Perkins 4-107 I would go for rebuild. The only re-power I would even consider would be to replace the 4-108 with a 4-107. You can replace the sleeves yourself. May come in handy of you're in some tiny island somewhere and you need to do a rebuild.
Just my 3 cents on the subject.
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Old 20-09-2013, 14:19   #23
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Re: 4-108 repower

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnar View Post
I would like to tell you a little story about my Perkins 4-108. Around two years ago it was time to either repower or rebuild the old leaking motor I had.


I started by doing research online to weigh my options. The first thing I learn was that at the time most people that did repower went with either a yanmar 39hp or a Beta 38hp, I found that new Yanmar's ran around $9,998.00 with the gear drive and a Beta was about $1,000 cheaper with either one I would have to change the prop.


I then looked into rebuilding the motor, I have never rebuilt a motor before so I knew I would have to find a place to have it rebuilt or buy a rebuilt motor. The prices I found to have the motor rebuilt was close to $5,000 and the price for a replacement rebuilt from Transatlantic diesel was around $8,000. What I found was a rebuilt Perkins 4-108 from Jobbers inc. out of PA that claim to have been rebuilding motors for 60 years the Price from them was $5,500 plus core.


I placed my order with Jobbers inc. and received the motor within 4 weeks when the motor arrived it looked very nice but I was very confused due to the motor had glow plugs, after contacting them I was told the motor came out of a front end loader but was told it would not matter.

After I had the motor installed and the first time to run I was shocked to learn the Head had a crack in it, I was on the Phone so fast contacting Jobbers inc. they in turn found a head on Ebay and had it drop ship to me in Florida, After replacing the head witch now did not have glow plugs I was ready to run the motor. Boy was I shocked to learn the Motor had 5 psi Oil pressure, well time to pull the motor again just to find that the wrong Oil Pump was installed.


I then had the motor back in and running, alittle white smoke but not bad, I figured it was in fine tuning so after a few days I take the boat out for a test drive. Oil psi, temp, Volts all looked great I spent about 6 hours playing on the river.


Two weeks later I still have light wight smoke but decide to give it a chance to break in some before I address this more.

I set off for a trip north but after 18 Miles the motor dies and I found a marina and get docked over the next few days the motor would start fine and run fine at the dock but would die on its face under a load away from the dock so I decide to call in a pro ( L&J Diesel Services) out of Jacksonville FL. to come take a look. the service man comes and spends 4 hours working on the motor and tells me the Injector pump fell apart and with the other problems I told him about he thought the motor needed to be pulled out again. this was done a week later and sent to L&J's shop for the repairs.

After 6 weeks and another $2,500 I received the Motor back and told the light white smoke would go away on its own and the motor ran fine.

This is now 6 moths and over $10,000 for this rebuilt motor, the motor was installed again running great at the dock in gear changing rpm shifting. I then take the boat out and wow to dies again. i return to the dock and call L&J to be told it has to be something on the shaft or in the transmission hoping for the cheaper of the two I get a driver to go check the shaft for rope or anything but nothing was found. I found it hard to believe that it could be the transmission but pulled the motor and transmission and took it to Case Transmission Jacksonville FL. and ask him to check it.

At this same time my wife was in the hospital so I ask him to call me if he had found anything, I did not hear a word from him for a week so after placing a call to Case I was told the transmission was ready to be picked up. I was so confused at this point I go the next day to pick up the transmission while there I ask what was found wrong and was told nothing but he decided to rebuild it because of the problems I told him about. it was another $2,300.

At this point everything is installed and I do the same at the dock test and things seam fine, I take the boat out for a test and after 3 hours the motor dies again but this time it will not restart. I return to the dock and start checking what could be wrong as you can hear the starter turning over but the motor is not cranking, I first think it is the starter not kicking in so I remove it and have it rebuilt for $195 after reinstalling it the motor still would not crank over but the starter was spinning I again remove the starter and find the flywheel will move by hand as I have not pulled the motor back out yet I am not 100% sure if the Flywheel bolts broke or why but this is where I am right now.


So after all that I would say buy a new motor and have it installed.
I can relate to this story, as I have tried to keep my Perkins 4.108 going over the past several years and could have paid the cost of at least half of a new engine with the repair bills I have paid over the past two or three years. I have heard similar stories form others who have bought rebuilt Perkins, although some people have been very happy with them.

My Perkins is original to the boat (1976) so we (mostly the prior owner) certainly got our money's worth out of her. There are many people who tell me that these engines can go forever if properly maintained. My problem is that I am not handy, and it is not always possible to find a decent mechanic when you need one. I have canceled two mini cruising vacations (one each this summer and last) due to engine malfunctions (yes, I know it's a sailboat, but my wiife seems to think we should have other propulsion options as well). Our last race of the season, we were becalmed and had to be towed home (we would have made it eventually but prefer to remain employed). And even a well-running Perkins leaks a good amount of oil.

We have a heavier boat and have decided on a 54 hp Yanmar. I will let you know how it works out.
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Old 20-09-2013, 15:40   #24
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Re: 4-108 Repower

We replaced our 4-108 with a 56 HP Yanmar and it was close to a drop in.. Very little modification needed and the Yanmar increased our power almost twice what the 4-108 gave us at much less weight. Chuck
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Old 24-09-2013, 23:21   #25
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We replaced our 4-108 with a 56 HP Yanmar and it was close to a drop in.. Very little modification needed and the Yanmar increased our power almost twice what the 4-108 gave us at much less weight. Chuck
Would live to hear:

Total cost of your repower

Difference in fuel burn?

Sound volume change?

What rpms you use at Cruise?

Thx,

Dave
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Old 25-09-2013, 06:58   #26
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Re: 4-108 Repower

Dave, Our cost was about$15K. We burned slightly more fuel because we went a lot faster. The 4-108 was 28 HP at the prop, the Yanmar was 56 HP at the prop. Diesels sound the same, their noisy. The Yanmar is a high rPM engine and typical cruising was at 2800 RPMs and the engine would run steady at 3200 if we needed it. Unless you have the exact boat we had, these numbers are meaningless. Chuck
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