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Old 14-06-2024, 11:46   #1
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How many hours can an engine last ?

Hello,


I am planning to buy a sailboat with a volvo-penta 55HP engine with a saildrive. The motor is running fine and was apparently well maintained. But... it has more than 6000h.
Should I consider it is at its end ?
What is a reasonable amount of hour to consider the replacement of the motor ?
What are the alternatives ?
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Old 14-06-2024, 12:32   #2
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

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Originally Posted by henris View Post
Hello,


I am planning to buy a sailboat with a volvo-penta 55HP engine with a saildrive. The motor is running fine and was apparently well maintained. But... it has more than 6000h.
Should I consider it is at its end ?
What is a reasonable amount of hour to consider the replacement of the motor ?
What are the alternatives ?
Depends on your sailing patterns.
I would toss it and replace it with an electric.
I did a year ago - it has been great
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Old 14-06-2024, 13:06   #3
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

I've got over 3000 hours on my Chevy Duramax diesel. It's low mileage, 2018, 125k miles.

I've got well over 20,000 hours on a Ford 2600 tractor. I keep up with the maintenance, like the previous owner did.

I'd do an oil analysis, and let that be my guide.
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Old 14-06-2024, 14:33   #4
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

What year is the boat? 6000 hours on a diesel isn't that much really but if it's an older boat and all those hours were early on then it sat or wasn't run much, that might not be a good thing.
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Old 14-06-2024, 14:55   #5
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by henris View Post
Hello,


I am planning to buy a sailboat with a volvo-penta 55HP engine with a saildrive. The motor is running fine and was apparently well maintained. But... it has more than 6000h.
Should I consider it is at its end ?
What is a reasonable amount of hour to consider the replacement of the motor ?
What are the alternatives ?
The fact that the volvo has 6,000 hrs on it should be reflected in the price of the boat. A saildrive at 6k is in need of at the very least, a re race and a diaphragm renewal…..and the stuff that normally causes problems on engines ( turbo, mixer elbow, injectors and HP pump, heat exchanger, drive plate) must be requiring a major intervention at 6,000hrs unless the previous owner was extremely fastidious with his maintenance and engine expenditure. If the history of the engine maintenance isn’t recorded in the logbook and supported with receipts and invoices, assume the worst and budget for a repower or at least an extensive rebuild in the future.
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Old 14-06-2024, 17:21   #6
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

The rules of thumb I've heard that a properly maintained small diesel life is 10,000 hours. That's the point when the repair costs exceed the price of a new motor. I've never been faced with that life, so for me it's just a planning number.
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Old 14-06-2024, 17:33   #7
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

Well, if it were me, I'd consider 6,000 miles too much....not because of the 6,000 miles per se..
But consider you'll put on another 1-2,000 hours on it, you'll be stuck with trying to sell a boat with an engine that has 7-8,000 hours on it, which will go over like a lead brick.

And there is this. As one that has owned two Volvo diesels in the past, I can tell you from hard earned experience, that parts and maintenance requires you rob a bank first.

At the end of the day, if you are planning to keep the boat long term, you should consider re-powering it, and negotiate a price reduction keeping that in mind.
A new 55 hp diesel, plus installation, will set you back $10-15K.

Either that...or keep looking.
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Old 14-06-2024, 17:34   #8
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

meant to say 6,000 HOURS....my bad
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Old 14-06-2024, 18:41   #9
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

Ask owner for his maintenance log and reciepts for service and parts, big ticket items like exhaust elbows, mounts, heat exchangers, start batteries, water pumps etc should all be there - if not I would negotiate down on price in expectation that engine could fail any time between now and 10,000 hrs.
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Old 14-06-2024, 18:47   #10
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

The last time I spoke to Alaska Diesel, (3>4 years ago,) they said the Lugger engine should go 20,000 hrs.
I'll be worn out long before the engine.
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Old 14-06-2024, 19:24   #11
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

Henris the other way to look at it is if you put a lot more hours on the engine. Then when you sell the boat the next buyer is probably going to want a discount for a new engine. It also makes your boat less attractive to buyers when you come to sell and normally the boat with the newer engine is the one that sells first.
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Old 14-06-2024, 20:47   #12
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

A sail drive requires a big hole in your boat. The sealing membrane needs to be replaced once every 10 years, best case scenario.

It's probably a couple of days work and you need to haul out.
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Old 14-06-2024, 21:47   #13
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

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The last time I spoke to Alaska Diesel, (3>4 years ago,) they said the Lugger engine should go 20,000 hrs.
I'll be worn out long before the engine.
Lugger engines are fairly unique and they can rightfully claim 20,000 hrs, it helps that they rarely have a wet exhaust and are often keel cooled . The biggest single cause of failure with yacht engines that die young is the wet exhaust or heat exchanger problems.
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Old 14-06-2024, 22:25   #14
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

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A sail drive requires a big hole in your boat. The sealing membrane needs to be replaced once every 10 years, best case scenario.
A saildrive is a cheap way to add some space to the interior.
Yeah, just hang a bunch of aluminum in salt water 24/7 and hope for the best.
They're just great at catching anything and everything that's in the water.
A poor excuse at best for a proper propulsion system.
I'm convinced they're an apparition designed by someone with slicked back hair and a pencil mustache.
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Old 14-06-2024, 23:57   #15
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Re: How many hours can an engine last ?

There's no pat answer to this question.


You'll certainly want hours like that reflected in the price of the boat. A boat with a well-maintained engine with 2000 hours is obviously worth more (quantified by maybe 2/3 the price of a repower?) than one with a well-maintained engine with 6000 hours.


That said, you might -- or might not -- get another 4000 trouble free hours out of it.


Any diesel engine can fail at any time, but the risks are very low if the maintenance is fastidious and there are no life-shortening events like overheating, low oil pressure events, fuel in the lube oil, seawater backflooding events, etc., gradually increasing as the hours increase.


If the price is right, this might be something to not walk away from, but you will want a good engine survey done including a leak-down test and oil analysis, at your own expense.


The sail drive is a different matter and I agree with comments of others on this. At 6000 miles, if nothing has ever been done to the saildrive, it's time to have it out and seals and other wear points replaced. The price of the boat should leave room for this expense.


While you're at it, a large service of the engine could be done at the same time. Adjust valve clearances, pull and clean out all of the coolers, replace belts and hoses, replace coolant (do that every two years anyway), inspect and replace if necessary exhaust elbow. You might send the injection pump and injectors out for analysis.
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