I just finished rebuilding a Universal m-50 of about the same vintage for my 44 foot trimaran
. The engines are built around the Kubota engine block- mine is the V-1902 which has been standard for skid steer loaders for the past 30 years or so, yours is based on the kubota V-1502- a very similar engine with slightly smaller pistons and a slightly shorter stroke on the crank. Kubota is known for making very hunky, reliable small diesel
engines for a wide variety of applications.
That being said, I would recommend, at the very least, a compression
check of the cylinders and an oil analysis. Diesel
crankcase oil is usually pretty black from the high pressure in the pistons and the blowby combustion products- namely soot. Excessive soot or carbon in the oil may indicate worn rings, or incomplete combustion from poorly functioning injectors, but an oil analysis should be able to tell you this. Diesel engines can run for years, but they suffer mostly in a marine environment
and lack of use, as well as dirty fuel
. The diesel grows bugs or gets water
contamination which clogs the injectors leading to poor combustion and carbon buildup. My engine had rather a lot of pitting on the #2 and #3 piston, which I attributed to a small water
leak, and some detonation probably from water in the fuel
. Consequently, I completely rebuilt the engine with new pistons, sleeves, ground and lapped the valves and did a complete rebuild
. How well I did- well,we'll see. Personally, I would be rather uneasy on relying on an untested engine for such an ambitious crossing.