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Old 11-02-2010, 18:26   #1
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Useful Life of Perkins 4-154

I know the perkins engines are in a lot of boats and many people swear by them. I also know they can be prone to oil leaks and smoking and are rather primitive technologically compared to todays diesels. My question is what is a reasonable number of hours to expect on a well maintained perkins before a rebuild is likely? I know there are a lot of variables here but are we talking 5,000 hours, 10,000 hours or more like 2500 hours? Im looking at a boat with a 4-154 that was commissioned in 1984 and has 2200 hours. Looking at 25 years of age that does not seem to be an insane number of hours and of course an engine survey will tell more but perhaps some of you with more direct perkins experience can comment? I am not likely to consider rebuilding a motor like this and would probably opt for an upgrade when the time comes being a yanmar fan myself. The costs of replacement are high especially with bedding block changes and all the other system mods. I am trying to get an estimate on how many more hours if treated well this beast may give me. Thanks
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Old 11-02-2010, 19:16   #2
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If one is trying to speculate how many more useful hours does that engine on that boat you are looking at, have? - the answer can only be :- UNKNOWN.
However, if you are going to have the boat surveyed, it is worth getting the engine surveyed separately.
Does the boat have a log showing maintenance activity over the years ? What is the condition of other mechanical and electrical components, (that is a fairly good indicator of maintenance levels Did the owner have a scheduled plan for specific periodic tasks.
Does the present engine's 62 HP power curve match the boat's requirements?
Also need to know something about the boat :- designed hull speed, displacement, access to the engine etc.. ?

Also need to consider existing transmission, prop shaft and coupling - present exhaust sytem etc..

Assuming that the engine was maintained as per service manual AND was operated in terms of correct accepted operating practice; over the last 25 years PLUS a positive survey report from a qualified Diesel Technician. Then there is nothing to say that this engine cannot run another faultless 2,200 hours.
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Old 11-02-2010, 19:48   #3
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Get an oil analysis done . A friend who is retired diesel mechanic told me he's seen Perkins in service with 20k hrs.
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Old 11-02-2010, 20:07   #4
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mine has over 3000 and is running fine.

It's really hard to assess what might have happened over 25 years of operation. Get a good deisel mechanic, hopefully one that is familiar with perkins to look it over and do the oil samples.
Clean fuel, clean oil and clean air and they will run a very long time.
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Old 11-02-2010, 21:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laidback View Post
If one is trying to speculate how many more useful hours does that engine on that boat you are looking at, have? - the answer can only be :- UNKNOWN.
However, if you are going to have the boat surveyed, it is worth getting the engine surveyed separately.
Does the boat have a log showing maintenance activity over the years ? What is the condition of other mechanical and electrical components, (that is a fairly good indicator of maintenance levels Did the owner have a scheduled plan for specific periodic tasks.
Does the present engine's 62 HP power curve match the boat's requirements?
Also need to know something about the boat :- designed hull speed, displacement, access to the engine etc.. ?

Also need to consider existing transmission, prop shaft and coupling - present exhaust sytem etc..

Assuming that the engine was maintained as per service manual AND was operated in terms of correct accepted operating practice; over the last 25 years PLUS a positive survey report from a qualified Diesel Technician. Then there is nothing to say that this engine cannot run another faultless 2,200 hours.
What he said, except to add that the engine can go many thousands of hours more if properly maintained. And once it reaches the end, it can go a lot more with a rebuild.
Perkins are built TOUGH.
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Old 11-02-2010, 22:00   #6
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My mechanic says care for them and they'll go 8000. He thinks they were very well engineered and he's a Perkins mechanic. There aren't as many as other Perkins out there so there may come a time when parts are more difficult to find. Again his words. Mine is 30 years old and has 2600 on it. Moves my 19 tons through the water quite smartly.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:52   #7
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Thanks to all who have relpied. I certainly agree with all of the assumptions and do intend to get the engien and oil fuly checked out as part of survey. I have not made an offer on said boat yet and the purpose of my question was just to get a general idea of how many hours if well cared for these engines will go. It sounds like 5-8k is not unreasonable but of course this depends on a lot of variables.
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