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Old 31-10-2012, 10:19   #1
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Perkins 4-108 diesel

I am thinking of buying an old Tayana on the west coast. The engine is a Perkins 4-108 with 4000 hrs on it. I'm getting conflicting opinions on the life span of said engine. This one seems to have been well maintained, complete with a maintenance log. How many hours will these babies last?
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Old 31-10-2012, 10:48   #2
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As long as you take care of them 8000 to 10000 hours. And they are very rebuildable as well as reliable
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Old 31-10-2012, 10:59   #3
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

It's a bit like throwing a dart. You dont know the history. I've seen one of those engines with less than 1000 hours that had the top of the crankcase (where it mates with the head) with a corroded area creating a head gasket leak. probably from the head not being torqed right or often enough... the hot gases etc get in there and eat away at the metal. It's just hard to say... it might go 8000 hours or it might be well worn. At least if it's got 4000 hours and running well, it's not suffering from lack of use. A compression test would be nice, not all mechanics are setup to do it.
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Old 31-10-2012, 11:13   #4
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

Actually if it has been well maintained it should go well past 10,000 hrs, maybe double that. You will have to keep up proper maintenance of course. What will kill it is running it very hot or letting sea water get into the cylinders. So make sure your impeller, heat exchanger, anti siphon valve and exhaust mixing elbow are kept in good shape. Also make sure that your fuel tanks are clean and your fuel filters are changed regularly.

Approximately 90% of diesel engine problems are fuel related. I may be a bit less than that on a boat diesel where the cooling system problems seem to be quite prominent.
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Old 31-10-2012, 11:26   #5
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

I've just ditched my working P 4-107 (essentially the same engine but with wet cylinder liners) for a new Beta. The problem was leaks: a quart of oil every few hours, diesel, water.

Now, except for gaskets and their famous leaks, these are very dependable beasts, and if you learn to tolerate the leaks, they may just work, essentially, forever. I've never had a starting problem with them, even in cold weather, and even if I mostly forget to use the heating device. And there are parts for them all around.

Not that I am trying to get you to ditch a working engine, but I do have to mention that my new Beta - same horsepower apparently - has just an unbelievable amount of torque compared to the Perkins. It is like night and day.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:11   #6
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

Some have found that a Walker Air Sep works wonders on the 4-108 for both oil leaks and keeping the engine room much cleaner over all. btrayors has mentioned that a number of times on this forum.
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Old 31-10-2012, 14:59   #7
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

Boy, thanks for all the great info. I will be sure to get a hold of those maintenance logs before I sign anything.
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Old 31-10-2012, 15:22   #8
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Actually if it has been well maintained it should go well past 10,000 hrs, maybe double that. You will have to keep up proper maintenance of course. What will kill it is running it very hot or letting sea water get into the cylinders. So make sure your impeller, heat exchanger, anti siphon valve and exhaust mixing elbow are kept in good shape. Also make sure that your fuel tanks are clean and your fuel filters are changed regularly.

Approximately 90% of diesel engine problems are fuel related. I may be a bit less than that on a boat diesel where the cooling system problems seem to be quite prominent.
Ditto...I have 7000 hrs on mine and it runs as well as when I got it in 92 with 600 hrs. I have friends with 12,000 hrs on 4108s. Of course you have elbows, injector/pump service, water pump rebuilds/ replacements but that engine is rock solid. I look for more than an additional 5000 hrs!
Clean fuel and regular oil changes is the key...study the log.
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Old 31-10-2012, 16:24   #9
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

They are great engines. Strangely, mine didnt leak anywhere!
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Old 31-10-2012, 19:13   #10
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

Just talked to the mechanic who did a survey on the engine. He says that a Perkins with that many hours is just about at the end of it's life span and I will need to do a re power in the not to distant future.
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Old 31-10-2012, 20:44   #11
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

If your mechanic says a 4000 hr perkins is done, get another mechanic!! My last one had 11000 hrs and still ran fine !! It was well maintained,Had no leaks to speak of !And burned no oil between changes. Ive worked on the same engines with much more hours then that!! Some in fishing boats in the PNW have many many more hours on them then 4000, with even half ass maintainence to should go at least 2 or 2 times that many hours !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 31-10-2012, 21:24   #12
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

I bought a used 4.108 with 4000 hours on it from a member here. Thanks, Beetle! I took it to my shop and re-sealed it. I didn't rebuild it because I measured everything and it was all still well within the wear specs. It doesn't use a drop of oil and starts right up every time.
NO REGRETS.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:04   #13
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

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Originally Posted by bsankey448 View Post
Just talked to the mechanic who did a survey on the engine. He says that a Perkins with that many hours is just about at the end of it's life span and I will need to do a re power in the not to distant future.
Any chance this mechanic is a stocking parts or engine dealer for Volvo , Yanmar or other than Perkins? Hummmmm....................
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:08   #14
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

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Originally Posted by bsankey448 View Post
Just talked to the mechanic who did a survey on the engine. He says that a Perkins with that many hours is just about at the end of it's life span and I will need to do a re power in the not to distant future.
Wanted: Mechanic must look honest.......
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:58   #15
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Re: Perkins 4-108 diesel

This mechanic is the Perkins mechanic at the service center and has been working on them for years. My yacht surveyor agreed with the mechanic and gave me the names of two more mechanics to question. I'm calling them today. See what they say. Who should I believe? Diesel mechanics or guys talking on the web?
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