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Old 27-12-2014, 17:37   #1
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How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailboat a

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Old 27-12-2014, 17:43   #2
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

10,000 hours plus if it is looked after and given a bit of decent work.
The peripherals ( fuel pumps etc) ? not so long....
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Old 27-12-2014, 18:23   #3
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

I am at 28 yrs and 6500hrs and going fine so far. Volvo MD17D, original owner.
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Old 27-12-2014, 18:28   #4
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

Thanks, El Pinguino, seems I've read several of your posts. After years away, I'm getting another boat. Sea Sprite 34 and Contessa 32 are at the top of my list with Freedom 32 under consideration due to single handing as a geezer. With old boats come new problems and with inboard diesels it seems for what they cost to buy and repair, there are LOTS of issues with these little thumpers. To the point I'm considering passing up well maintained diesels (in a decently maintained boat) and going with something like a new Beta. Seems the all in costs are about the same. Opinions welcome.
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Old 27-12-2014, 18:29   #5
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

Give it clean fresh fuel. Clean air. Change oil and filter at factory's recommended intervals. Adjust valve clearance at factory's recommended interval. Keep an eye on water pumps, heat exchangers and exhaust systems. Keep it clean and dry. Every time it is started run it under enough load long enough so the oil gets stabilized at normal operating temperature. (Note that it takes longer for most engines oil temperature to stabilize than water temperature.).
10,000 hours easy. 20,000 hours with only a little luck.
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Old 27-12-2014, 19:24   #6
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

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Originally Posted by TanzerTom View Post
To the point I'm considering passing up well maintained diesels (in a decently maintained boat) and going with something like a new Beta. Seems the all in costs are about the same. Opinions welcome.
Sounds a bit extreme but if it is a very old engine in the boat you are looking at then just factor in the cost of a new one and then see how the old one goes. If well maintained it may go for a very long time....
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Old 27-12-2014, 22:15   #7
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

How long is a piece of string?
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Old 27-12-2014, 22:23   #8
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How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sa...

If it was treated like darylat8750 said, it will last, well pretty much forever.
I've always tried to treat an engine like he suggests, and always I've worn the vehicle the engine was in out before the engine, I have not owned a boat for that long however, but I have a tractor that has been in the family since I was 15 or so, Hobbs meter broke on it at around 12,000 hours, years ago. I think a tractor engine lives a harder life than a boat engine
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Old 27-12-2014, 22:45   #9
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

A friend here in Australia inherited an old motor-sailer, with a Gardiner diesel in it. It had been used by his dad. Since our friend is a guy who works on boats for other people, he wanted her to be perfect.

The Gardiner had 20,000 hrs. on it. He phoned them up and asked what service he should do on it. They said, "none, it's barely run in now!"

So, it depends on the manufacturer, the type of diesel, the usage, the maintenance. I do think the new, high revving diesels may not have as long life as, for instance, marinized tractor engines..

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Old 28-12-2014, 04:27   #10
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

We bought an 2004 ex-charter cat 3 years ago that had 7,000 hours on the motors. That's 1,000 hours per year. The Yanmar 3GM30F's still purr. A friend suggested to change oil & filters every 50 hours for the first couple of hundred hours, then back to recommended.

They continue to perform beautifully & use little oil, don't smoke & easily get to recommended revs. We have rebuilt the raw water pumps, adjusted the valves, added relays to the starter wiring, replaced one alternator etc they now have 7400 hours & our local farm diesel mechanic says they have many, many thousands of hours of life in them yet before a need for a rebuild


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Old 28-12-2014, 20:16   #11
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

Good on ya,

I hope they do keep running well. You've taken good care of them. They should.

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Old 28-12-2014, 22:28   #12
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

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We bought an 2004 ex-charter cat 3 years ago that had 7,000 hours on the motors. That's 1,000 hours per year. The Yanmar 3GM30F's still purr. A friend suggested to change oil & filters every 50 hours for the first couple of hundred hours, then back to recommended.

They continue to perform beautifully & use little oil, don't smoke & easily get to recommended revs. We have rebuilt the raw water pumps, adjusted the valves, added relays to the starter wiring, replaced one alternator etc they now have 7400 hours & our local farm diesel mechanic says they have many, many thousands of hours of life in them yet before a need for a rebuild


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We are planning to buy a charter cat also in the next 6 months so I was going to ask about the Yanmars but you have it here. Great performance.

Any others with some Yanmar specific experience to share?


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Old 28-12-2014, 23:10   #13
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

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Originally Posted by krafthaus View Post
We are planning to buy a charter cat also in the next 6 months so I was going to ask about the Yanmars but you have it here. Great performance.

Any others with some Yanmar specific experience to share?


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Not personally... but if you search the archives here on CF you will find a fair number of posts about Yanmar failures, problems and expensive parts that require regular replacement. For instance, our favorite SailorChick34 had to rebuild her Yannie when it wasn't all that old... read her entertaining and informative thread on the job.

The news isn't always as good as the splendid record related in the above post, so do pay attention to both sides of the story.

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Old 29-12-2014, 06:46   #14
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

RE high RPM Diesels.
It's true that wear rate increases with RPM, actually I think it's squared, but I'm no math guy. Lets just say if you double the RPM, you way more than double wear.
But it's sort of not that simple, it's speed that kills, usually piston speed as it's usually rings / cylinder wear that rips an overhaul. Old style, low RPM Diesels are usually long stroke, high torque motors and even though they are turning low RPM, the long stroke can cause to piston speed to be as high as a short stroke, higher RPM motor.
Plus modern machining is almost miraculous, the tolerances held by modern mass manufacturing now is better than a custom should could possibly do in days of old.
Look at how long automobile engines last now as compared to back in the day, so it's possible for a modern Diesel design to last a good long time if properly cared for, and these things don't seem to leak, not even a drop.
There are engines both old and new that have defects in design, try to identify those and stay away from them.
Me, I just can't stand green motors, it's a mistrust born years ago, probably not warrantied now
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Old 29-12-2014, 07:33   #15
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Re: How many hours should be expected from a diesel used in a coastal cruising sailbo

Hey guys and gals I'm a over the road truck driver here in the states. It's not uncommon for a diesel to get 20,000hrs and higher. If they are taken care of ie oil,water pumps,fuel filter, and so on. The thing that I do every year is to have the oil analysis That will tell you if you might need work done on the in side.
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