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Old 01-12-2015, 10:10   #1
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Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Hey everyone,

I found a nice bristol 27 for sale with transferrable slip, the boat currently has a Perkins Diesel in it, however the condition is "unknown" stated by the owner. He slapped a 15hp merc on the back and called it good.

He states that when turning the key, it just 'clicks'. I'm trying to setup a time to view the boat this week and was curious on people's experiences with diesels.

I know its hard to say what's wrong without seeing it in person and fiddling with it, but my diesel experience is purely with generators ranging from 1kva to 75kva. Being raised in fiji, we strictly ran diesel at the resort and homes to provide power, while a majority of our boats ran outboards.

Between the maintenance of the outboards and generators three thoughts come to mind, a dead starter, poor battery(or connections), or a seized engine.

My guess(and hope) would be one of the first two.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:27   #2
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

By far the most common cause of this is a dead battery and/or bad connections. Easy to correct. Get the engine to turn over and go from there.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:47   #3
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkishel View Post
By far the most common cause of this is a dead battery and/or bad connections. Easy to correct. Get the engine to turn over and go from there.
That's what I was under the impression as well.

That being said, since this is not my boat, and the asking price is 4.5k OBO which in current state I would be offering 2k if we like what we see this Saturday

How would I approach the seller in terms of taking a look at the engine? Would I tell them that my offer is 2k and is on the condition that I spend a good 2-3hours trying to get her to turn over, and if she does turn over we can proceed?

I don't mind putting time in to swap out a few battery, clean up connections to see if I can get her to turn over(or start) just to have the owner come back and say now the engine is running, the boat is worth 10-12k and I'm not lowering
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:11   #4
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Sorry, I didn't read the original post carefully. Since the owner went to the trouble of adding an outboard, I'd have to imagine that there's more than just a bad battery connection here. This boat is being sold as-is, so you would be assuming the risks associated with things you can't verify; engine is toast, hull is delaminated, etc. Your offer should price those risks. So, if this boat is worth $2k to you plus the cost of a new engine plus the value of other risks, it's a good deal. If it turns out to be easily fixed, it would be a great deal. I wouldn't mess with the engine while it still belonged to someone else.
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Old 01-12-2015, 16:49   #5
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkishel View Post
Sorry, I didn't read the original post carefully. Since the owner went to the trouble of adding an outboard, I'd have to imagine that there's more than just a bad battery connection here. This boat is being sold as-is, so you would be assuming the risks associated with things you can't verify; engine is toast, hull is delaminated, etc. Your offer should price those risks. So, if this boat is worth $2k to you plus the cost of a new engine plus the value of other risks, it's a good deal. If it turns out to be easily fixed, it would be a great deal. I wouldn't mess with the engine while it still belonged to someone else.

Thanks for the response! I guess the time will really tell in terms of if its worth the value when I go to see it.

I personally would prefer to run Yanmar rather than Perkins, but who knows. I guess when I go to see the boat, I'll be able to estimate how bad the state of the engine is
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:33   #6
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

In my limited experience an engine that won't turn over is usually electrical issue and therefore manageable. One quick test would be to crank the engine by hand with a wrench on the crankshaft nut (turn it the normal way for that engine, my Perkins crankshaft rotate clockwise when viewed from the v-belt side but I don't know if they all do)... if it turns over then you at least know the engine isn't seized (but you know nothing about compression or anything like that), and the problem is probably in the starting circuit... if it doesn't turn by hand it may have seized from water in the pistons and probably is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

If it turns by hand then it's probably either the battery, solenoid or starter that has died. With battery you could bring your own and jump start to test, with solenoid you can jump it with a big screwdriver to test.

Can you ask the owner if it clicks once or multiple times? If there's rapid clicking it's most likely the solenoid that is clicking because it's not getting enough juice from the battery to trip it and send power to the starter. If there's only one click, then the battery is putting out enough juice to trip the solenoid switch but nothing's happening past that, so either the starter is jammed (fixable) or the engine is seized (toast).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
Hey everyone,

I found a nice bristol 27 for sale with transferrable slip, the boat currently has a Perkins Diesel in it, however the condition is "unknown" stated by the owner. He slapped a 15hp merc on the back and called it good.

He states that when turning the key, it just 'clicks'. I'm trying to setup a time to view the boat this week and was curious on people's experiences with diesels.

I know its hard to say what's wrong without seeing it in person and fiddling with it, but my diesel experience is purely with generators ranging from 1kva to 75kva. Being raised in fiji, we strictly ran diesel at the resort and homes to provide power, while a majority of our boats ran outboards.

Between the maintenance of the outboards and generators three thoughts come to mind, a dead starter, poor battery(or connections), or a seized engine.

My guess(and hope) would be one of the first two.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:38   #7
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

My guess is the engine is froze up, probably got water in it and is trash.. otherwise... why add an outboard?
Wonder what perkins goes in a boat that small? Maybe it's that bad Italian model they labeled a perkins years ago?
Take a wrench with you and try to move the crankshaft by hand. The owner is hiding something and laying dumb.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:32   #8
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

I have a Perkins 4-108 in my 1973 Gulfstar 41.It is a fine reliable engine as long as one keeps up with the internal zincs, coolant and oil and filter changes.I have changed the starter myself once, but I will never do it again.Rebuilt starter was $125.00 in New Orleans.Bring some big sockets (3/4" to 1 1/4" ) and a ratchet or breaker bar.I believe that all single Perkins engines under 100 HP have a clock wise rotating crank, but I would look it up online before proceeding.If one can turn the crank for two full rotation with no noticeable increase in friction, I suspect that the engine will run for less than $1,000.I would not try to make the engine run until you own the boat.Once you own the boat, pull the injectors, check the compression, and perhaps have the injectors tested, once it turns over.GOOD LUCK AND GOOD SAILING.
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Old 02-12-2015, 15:17   #9
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Thank you everyone for the great insight!

I figured if the crankshaft spun by hand it would give atleast some decent insight to it not being a complete dud(frozen). The owner keeps indicating that outboards are the best thing in the world, no smell inside(yet indicated fuel tanks are inthe cab :\), no troubles, no worries, and when something breaks, its "easy" to work on and far cheaper. He has no clue the model of the engine(i'd guess 4-107 or 108), or transmission, and states that its the 2nd or 3rd one the boat has had(as he described its another reason to not have an inboard because they "always fail" using this as a proof). To me, it feels like the owner may just want to sail, not spend money on maintenance, and move on when the bills are due.

I've never really been in the cabin when running diesel engines, but i figured if you have exhaust smell in the cabin,you have an exhaust leak, or if you smell diesel, you have a fuel leak. In terms of no troubles, no worries, sure maybe they have issues if you dont maintain them, but so will outboards eventually.

All things aside, i'd much rather run diesel, even if its stinky purely because they use FAR less fuel, which means i'm coming out ahead in terms of yearly fuel cost for operating that can be put back into keeping the boat afloat and powered.

That aside, when we go to see the boat, ill be bringing a volt meter, some sockets, and a wrench to see the state of the inboard. I dont think i will bring a fresh battery, however it may be an option if i decide to take a look at it a second time with a surveyor
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Old 02-12-2015, 16:11   #10
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
That being said, since this is not my boat, and the asking price is 4.5k OBO which in current state I would be offering 2k if we like what we see this Saturday
Thats the way to do it!
Be nice, but firm.
You will get your price!

Also, try turning the engine over by hand. Some small diesels have a hand crank for emergency starting. But you can almost always turn an engine over somehow...either with a wrench, or by rotating the pulley which drives the belts.

The clicking is the starter solenoid. When your car battery is dead, you get the same thing. Or could be a dead starter, or electrical contacts. Most of these are easy fixes. Whatever you see, don't let on if its fixable. He he wants more money, he can get the engine running himself.
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Old 02-12-2015, 16:44   #11
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

When I was a young fellow and a little less scrupulous than now (and quite a bit poorer) I went to purchase a truck from a fellow. He couldn't get it started and watching him fiddle around under the hood it was obvious to me that he had the distributor wired wrong. Eventually he gave up and I made him a low offer since "it won't start". After wiring the distributor properly it ran fine (but it wasn't much of a truck).

In the present case I would just try to turn over the motor. If it turns you can probably get it running but I wouldn't try to do that until you own the boat. If it seems to be seized that would be a supporting reason for your offer price.
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Old 02-12-2015, 17:12   #12
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

A fairly common cause of the situation you have described is one or both of the commutator brushes is either held off by its pigtail through wear, or one or both are frozen in the brushholder. The springs are not always able to beat a gummed brush.
This is sometimes an easy fix and on other occasions it requires soldering the new brush pigtail.
I presume (silly thing to do!) that it is a Lucas starter?

Just before this limit is reached (click but no response), it is common also to find that if someone holds the key in the start position, a whack with a lump of wood on the back end of the starter produces results, at least temporarily.
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Old 02-12-2015, 17:58   #13
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
Thank you everyone for the great insight!

I figured if the crankshaft spun by hand it would give atleast some decent insight to it not being a complete dud(frozen). The owner keeps indicating that outboards are the best thing in the world, no smell inside(yet indicated fuel tanks are inthe cab :\), no troubles, no worries, and when something breaks, its "easy" to work on and far cheaper. He has no clue the model of the engine(i'd guess 4-107 or 108), or transmission, and states that its the 2nd or 3rd one the boat has had(as he described its another reason to not have an inboard because they "always fail" using this as a proof). To me, it feels like the owner may just want to sail, not spend money on maintenance, and move on when the bills are due.

I've never really been in the cabin when running diesel engines, but i figured if you have exhaust smell in the cabin,you have an exhaust leak, or if you smell diesel, you have a fuel leak. In terms of no troubles, no worries, sure maybe they have issues if you dont maintain them, but so will outboards eventually.

All things aside, i'd much rather run diesel, even if its stinky purely because they use FAR less fuel, which means i'm coming out ahead in terms of yearly fuel cost for operating that can be put back into keeping the boat afloat and powered.

That aside, when we go to see the boat, ill be bringing a volt meter, some sockets, and a wrench to see the state of the inboard. I dont think i will bring a fresh battery, however it may be an option if i decide to take a look at it a second time with a surveyor
I think you are spot on... on most of this. I'd be surprised it has a 4-108 but ya never know! My 44 footer had a 4-108...
Diesel should not be stinky, and of course the problem with outboards is just that they raise in and out of the water in choppy seas.
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:31   #14
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
Thank you everyone for the great insight!

I figured if the crankshaft spun by hand it would give atleast some decent insight to it not being a complete dud(frozen). The owner keeps indicating that outboards are the best thing in the world, no smell inside(yet indicated fuel tanks are inthe cab :\), no troubles, no worries, and when something breaks, its "easy" to work on and far cheaper. He has no clue the model of the engine(i'd guess 4-107 or 108), or transmission, and states that its the 2nd or 3rd one the boat has had(as he described its another reason to not have an inboard because they "always fail" using this as a proof). To me, it feels like the owner may just want to sail, not spend money on maintenance, and move on when the bills are due.

I've never really been in the cabin when running diesel engines, but i figured if you have exhaust smell in the cabin,you have an exhaust leak, or if you smell diesel, you have a fuel leak. In terms of no troubles, no worries, sure maybe they have issues if you dont maintain them, but so will outboards eventually.

All things aside, i'd much rather run diesel, even if its stinky purely because they use FAR less fuel, which means i'm coming out ahead in terms of yearly fuel cost for operating that can be put back into keeping the boat afloat and powered.

That aside, when we go to see the boat, ill be bringing a volt meter, some sockets, and a wrench to see the state of the inboard. I dont think i will bring a fresh battery, however it may be an option if i decide to take a look at it a second time with a surveyor
If this is a Perkins 4.108, the big bolt on the crankshaft pulley requires 1.5" socket so you need to bring yourself a breaker bar and a socket size 1.5" to rotate the engine. When I looked for this size of socket, Home Depot does not have this big socket, but Lowes would have them.
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Old 05-12-2015, 19:19   #15
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Re: Perkins Diesel questions - starter?

This might be a months later, -but what did you find out when you checked the Perkins diesel? I have a boat in mind with a similar problem. Thanks!
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