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Old 02-03-2010, 13:55   #1
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Perkins 4-108 - Useful Life

To go with my rant the other day about "overhauled" engines. Must be due my budget but the "next" boat choices all seem to have the 4-108 engines.

So who has/had a boat with this engine; how many did you or have you gotten out of it?

(and yes a lot of disclaimers about how well it was taken of effects this, no-one disagree)
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Old 02-03-2010, 14:05   #2
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Treat 'em right, they'll last a VERY VERY long time.

Mine is 29 years young and doing just great.

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Old 02-03-2010, 14:15   #3
Don't ask if you can't handle it
 
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Treat 'em right, they'll last a VERY VERY long time.

Mine is 29 years young and doing just great.

Bill
How many hours? Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2010, 15:16   #4
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Ours (old boat) was 28 years old and God know how many hours. The hour meter was stuck on 4,000 hours, 12 years ago. They are very durable mechanisms. Leak oil like a b***h, however, and noisy.
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Old 02-03-2010, 15:21   #5
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Not sure. No hour meter. But, lots. Took me up/down ICW a couple of times. Lots of powering in Potomac, Chesapeake, Maine, Caribbean, etc., in 20 years I've owned her.

Still has good compression. Starts easily (with no glow plugs). Runs beautifully. Replaced several parts over the years, including oil seals. Doesn't leak hardly at all, especially since I fitted a Walker AirSep a few years ago which, inter alia, creates a negative crankcase pressure. Had injector pump rebuilt in St. Thomas. New circulation and raw water pumps, oil pressure sensor. Seasonal parts replacement: impellers, hoses, zincs, belts, etc.

Overall, a wonderful and reliable engine. I tend to name all the major equipment pieces on my boat. The engine room door says, "Old Reliable" :-)

Bill
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Old 02-03-2010, 15:27   #6
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How many hours? Thanks!
1 to 10K +
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:12   #7
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They will continue to run even in awful condition. I once delivered a boat that had a 4108 that decided to break. We got it to a boat yard and cranked it up so the mechanic could listen to it. It had about three pounds of oil pressure, and it made an awful racket, but it ran. When it was taken apart, the crankshaft came out in three pieces! This in an engine that actually ran!

My lady finally replaced the Perkins in her old yawl when it was 30 years old with untold hours. I think she's disappointed it didn't last for eternity.
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:16   #8
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I know a guy that ran his 4-108 for 15K hours in a sailboat with no problems.

I got about 7K hours on mine, starts right up, don't use no oil..Good shape.
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:26   #9
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Odd that there are a couple of replies that say the hour meters stopped working. On one of the boats I've checked into the current owner can only tell me the he has put about 900 hours on the engine since he got it, because the meter was broke when he got it. Is this a story of a workhorse engine with crappy wiring and instrucments?
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:40   #10
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Thumbs up 28 years old

Hour meter works & shows 3985...I think you could add 10k to that as it's only a four digit hour meter and there was 1500 something when I became the new caretaker.

Leaks oil a bit, always there when I ask.

Cheers
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:45   #11
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Crappy wiring and instruments? Perhaps a bit, but it's more likely that replacing the hour meter was low on most semi-impoverished sailors lists.
On the other hand Perkins are British. Perhaps you might be related to Joseph Lucas, whose Lucas Electrics furnished the electronics for most of the old British cars and motorcycles? He was known as the "Prince of Darkness", due to the propensity of his products to fail at the most inconvenient times.

"Gentlemen do not motor about after dark."
Attributed to Joseph Lucas
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Old 02-03-2010, 16:50   #12
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Odd that there are a couple of replies that say the hour meters stopped working. On one of the boats I've checked into the current owner can only tell me the he has put about 900 hours on the engine since he got it, because the meter was broke when he got it. Is this a story of a workhorse engine with crappy wiring and instrucments?
You may be on to something. I bought a boat with a 25 year old Perkins 4-108. It had dual steering stations and only one instrument panel worked completely and two engine meters both of which had stopped at different times over the last 10 years. Maybe the instrument panels just had some problems back then or the engines just outlasted the electronics.

It started up after the winter on the first crank though and used hardly any oil. Was noisy as heck though.

Jim
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Old 02-03-2010, 17:07   #13
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Mine has about 7564 hours (my hobbs works just fine). She does leak a little oil and smokes on start-up just a bit but not at all after warm up. The engine has always been there and pushes all 25000 pounds of me at 6.5 knots @ 2400 rpm and 1.2 Gallons/Hour. It's hard to ask much more than that IMO.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:39   #14
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My perkins 4-108 is still going strong and was new in 1985. Knock on wood. It did not come with an hour meter and I can only estimate the hours from fuel useage which is only about 40 gallons per year. I also estimate that the comsumption rate is around .75 gallons per hour at 80% of Wide Open throttle. Over a 25 year period this gives about 1333 hours and adding to that is a trip to Florida and Block island from the home base in the Cheaspeake so maybe another 600 gallons? giving an additional 800 hours so the engine really doesn't have that much useage even though it only sits idle for only 3 months out of the year and gets useage at least multiple times a week during the sailing season.

Just routine maintenance including last year changing the antifreeze to a heavy dury type. Found out later that such a change was not really needed because the 4-108 has dry cylinder liners and the heavy duty stuff is really needed some say for the wet liners. Figure it doesn't hurt as long as the green stuff was properly flushed out before putting in the heavy duty Prestone.

The other thing is that the heat exchanger which I've cleaned out several times during the 25 years, does not have a zinc. Several sources say that the zinc is not necessary with the rubber end caps which hold the exchanger tube in place. Anyone else out there hear the same thing? I don't really see where the zinc pencil would go anyway.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:16   #15
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It depends on who made your exchanger. Mine has a zinc.
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