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Old 22-10-2012, 09:43   #1
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Retirement Age of a Diesel Engine

Can anyone give me their informed take on what age a diesel engine is tired and ready for retirement would be (I am obviously referring to an engine that has been properly maintained). Would 3000 or 4000 or 5000 hours be a lot for an engine that is well maintained.

I am really just trying to get a picture of experience here, thanks.
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:48   #2
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

We replaced a Perkins MD50 that was still running quite well at about 4500 hrs. The boatyard dropped it off of the forklift so we replaced. It was still running well when we repowered. I'm sure most diesels can go up to around 4000-5000 hrs before an overhaul if well maintained and run regularly.
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:56   #3
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

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Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
We replaced a Perkins MD50 that was still running quite well at about 4500 hrs. The boatyard dropped it off of the forklift so we replaced. It was still running well when we repowered. I'm sure most diesels can go up to around 4000-5000 hrs before an overhaul if well maintained and run regularly.
Thanks for that info, much appreciated. I would imagine that diesels (if properly serviced and nothing weakens unexpectedly), should run for a long time, except that I suppose the marine environment does create extra stress on them). I just wonder how much longer your engine would have carried on for.
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:57   #4
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

5000 hrs is the turning point for most marine diesel engines.
Selling brokers will tell you 10,000. I am not buying it.

Does not matter if its a Green (Volvo Penta), Grey (Yanmar) or Red (Westerbeke).
They all will get you a good 5000 hrs
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Old 22-10-2012, 09:58   #5
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
5000 hrs is the turning point for most marine diesel engines.
Selling brokers will tell you 10,000. I am not buying it.

Does not matter if its a Green (Volvo Penta), Grey (Yanmar) or Red (Westerbeke).
They all will get you a good 5000 hrs
Thanks very much for that info ... just what I was looking for too as a budgetary guideline.
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Old 22-10-2012, 10:02   #6
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

I think a diesel is done if you cannot get parts for it. My perkins I think is original, boat is 37 years old. Hour meter shows 270 hours (yeah right). They just need to be rebuilt often. I heard and I believe the worst thing you can do to a diesel is not run it.
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Old 22-10-2012, 10:08   #7
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

Under conditions where the engine is run daily and for long periods I suppose they go to 10,000 hours. But most dont get that use, and some get short duration running that doesnt let them warm up good. If a long haul trucker gets 500,000 miles off his engine, at an average 50 mph that's about 10,000 hours. Those guys never shut the engine off..... except between hauls......
Based on my experience with cars and boats, I would say: the older an engine is, with the lower hours it has, the less total it will eventually run. ie: a 10 year old engine with 1000 hours will not last as many total hours as a 3 year old engine with 1000 hours. JMHO
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Old 22-10-2012, 10:14   #8
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Under conditions where the engine is run daily and for long periods I suppose they go to 10,000 hours. But most dont get that use, and some get short duration running that doesnt let them warm up good. If a long haul trucker gets 500,000 miles off his engine, at an average 50 mph that's about 10,000 hours. Those guys never shut the engine off..... except between hauls......
Based on my experience with cars and boats, I would say: the older an engine is, with the lower hours it has, the less total it will eventually run. ie: a 10 year old engine with 1000 hours will not last as many total hours as a 3 year old engine with 1000 hours. JMHO
Good information that makes sense to me thanks.
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Old 22-10-2012, 10:16   #9
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

I wonder whether a charter boat's diesel engine is likely to be a reasonable prospect as a slightly longer lasting engine given its regular maintenance schedule and the probability that the inexperienced charterers will have motor sailed more than they sail under cloth but then again they also probably abuse the revs and the gearbox?
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Old 22-10-2012, 10:34   #10
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

I had 7000 hours on my VW motor before I pulled it. After loosing a timing belt, I replaced the head and related parts and sold it. So, it's still out there somewhere. It's when one cannot gets parts is when it's time to retire it!
Maintenance is the key to longevity, and carrying important spare parts when away from civilization.

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Old 22-10-2012, 11:25   #11
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

i am counting on getting maximum hours out of my tractor engine--they run forever--as long as it has no holes in block and isnt seized up, is good.

realistically speaking--you are going to actually repower every 1250 miles???? geez..i would be installing new engines more than one time before i got from san diego to panama...is most unrealistic.....why not merely consider the way the engine runs as a reasonf or repower...makes sense...
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Old 22-10-2012, 11:29   #12
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluewaters2812 View Post
I wonder whether a charter boat's diesel engine is likely to be a reasonable prospect as a slightly longer lasting engine given its regular maintenance schedule and the probability that the inexperienced charterers will have motor sailed more than they sail under cloth but then again they also probably abuse the revs and the gearbox?
I've wondered that also. I suspect the gearboxes get abused. Some charter boats have engine drive refrigeration too... which may mean some prolonged idling time also.... not sure that's a big deal.
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Old 22-10-2012, 12:11   #13
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
I had 7000 hours on my VW motor before I pulled it. After loosing a timing belt, I replaced the head and related parts and sold it. So, it's still out there somewhere. It's when one cannot gets parts is when it's time to retire it!
Maintenance is the key to longevity, and carrying important spare parts when away from civilization.

.
True on the parts availability (was that a VW marine engine)??

What are the important spare parts to a marine diesel engine?
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Old 22-10-2012, 12:12   #14
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I've wondered that also. I suspect the gearboxes get abused. Some charter boats have engine drive refrigeration too... which may mean some prolonged idling time also.... not sure that's a big deal.
Yes I agree that an idling, or just above idle engine running the fridge shouldn't be a big problem ... I would think that would be easy work for a diesel?
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Old 22-10-2012, 12:33   #15
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Re: Retirement age of a diesel engine

my perkins 4-108 is 33 years old now and still running well. can't tell you how many hours as the clock was broken when i bought the boat and i've never fixed it - i keep an engine log instead. i'm pretty certain the engine has more than 2000 hours.
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