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Old 02-12-2018, 09:08   #1
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Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

I'm looking at a late 70's Tartan with a high hours diesel, possibly to purchase. This is the original engine.

Owner bought boat 10 years ago w/5000 hours. He had same concern, and did an oil test at that time. All was 'normal'. Had another one done this past month, again 'normal'.

He says it has been maintained very well, and has been trouble free.

Is this a bet I wish to make? Is a rebuild likely needed in the near future? I'd like to get 10 or more good years sailing this boat without the need to replace the engine.

Is there a way to really know how much future maintenance, if not replacement, is necessary?
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:31   #2
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

There are tests like compression tests, but that is a limited thing, really only tells compression .....obviously.
A motor can have good compression but still have a failure.
To look at the engine as a whole, does it blow smoke, does it run smooth, does it have the power that you would expect, how does the oil look after running for an hour, running temp, oil in the coolant, bubbles or excess pressure in the coolant, a white film under the oil cap fill....the list goes on.
There are other vatriables....are you going to put a lot of hours on or just off mooring to sail, is the boat well priced or on the high end?
I wouldn't be scared off by the high hours unless there seems to be an issue
. You might get a marine mechanic (who is trustworthy LOL) to have a look and give his opinion. That can be difficult in itself though because although he would look at all I have mentioned, he cannot be absolutely sure there will be no issue.....exactly the same as a motor with less hours.
So....to answer your question....no. But you can take an educated guess......which is exactly the same as any other motor.
Good luck
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:36   #3
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

Itís been well maintained thus far. Continue to maintain it and donít abuse it.

I see no real reason why, if the boat is in otherwise good shape, and priced accordingly to not proceed.
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:24   #4
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

The most likely failure point is the cylinders and rings if the oil pressure and oil test is good. A compression or leak down test would give an idea of the cylinders parts condition. When bores get excessively worn the engine is harder to start in cold weather. A diesel needs about 500įF to ignite. Air as it compresses gets hotter. Leaky bores let too much pressure escape. Adding a block or pan heater will overcome this for several thousand more hours.

Best bet is to hire a good mechanic to do the compression or leak down test and also see a cold start.
The engine if well maintained and not abused could go 10,000 hours or more.
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:37   #5
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Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

In my opinion a compression test, especially a leak down test will tell you a whole lot.
Oil analysis arenít worth much, however opening an oil filter when itís close to time for an oil change can tell a lot, both are looking for metals, an issue with that is you donít get elevated metals until or unless an engine is in its death throes.
If itís got good compression, good oil pressure at idle when itís hot as in has been run decently hard for an extended time, cranks easily and doesnít smoke or consume excessive oil, makes good power, then itís likely got a long life ahead of itself, Diesels that arenít killed like run hard when they are seriously overheating, very rarely die a sudden death, usually they get old, smoking a lot, hard to start and burn a lot of oil even thousands of hours before they are truly dead.

If you buy it, find out what brand and viscosity of oil was used and stick with it, and how it was operated and operate it in a similar manner.
If for example it was never run over 2000 RPM, you donít want to start running it at 3000 RPM etc.
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Old 02-12-2018, 13:51   #6
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

I think all the good points are covered. The key one is to find a mechanic who really knows their stuff. They need to do the compression test, or a leak down test, and probably to use a borescope to take a peek inside the cylinders. Good marine diesels will run 5-10,000 hours between rebuilds, so you're in that range where how the engine was treated really means everything. Looking around, or asking your mechanic, for signs of neglect or good maintenance, mean more than the number of hours. Does the fuel filter show sediment? Is the fuel tank really clean, or has sediment built up in that? Does the engine start quickly and run well?

You might want to have the fuel injectors pulled, cleaned and calibrated, (all routine at any diesel truck engine shop) and have a mechanic show you what is involved in properly bleeding the fuel system, as well as changing the water pump impeller, filters, belts, thermostat--they may all be recently changed and perfectly good, but you'll need to know how to do that for routine maintenance anyway.

I'd disagree on the value of an oil analysis. For a whole $25 it *can* often tell you if there's catastrophic failure to come, and it will tell you if the current owner has recently changed the oil with a proper grade. Won't always tell you everything, but for $25 it can tell you if there's a red flag, like high levels of bearing metal in the oil.

Incidentally, there's no such thing as a 'Westerbeke" engine. They put out contract bids for everything, with varying results, and then assemble the parts from all of the lowest bidders and slather red paint over the finished job. That doesn't mean a Westerbeke is a bad engine--just that it really always has a secret identity.
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Old 02-12-2018, 14:17   #7
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

FWIW that is a Perkins engine, forerunner to the 4-107 (which Westerbeak likewise rebranded) and 4-108.



I wouldn't let the engine hours kill the deal if it runs good, starts in cold weather, doesn't smoke except when first started, oil and coolant look good, etc but I would definitely consider the hours in negotiating price. No matter how you slice it and dice it, you are 6000 hours closer to a rebuild than vs a new engine. You are 60% there, to having 10k hours. And TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER if you buy. As you can see, careful maintenance makes a difference.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:59   #8
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

Adjunct to this thread, is there a way to determine how old the engine is by serial number for a Westerbeke 100 hp??
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Old 31-01-2020, 06:24   #9
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Re: Westerbeke 40 w/6000 Hours- Deal Killer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieinFL View Post
I'm looking at a late 70's Tartan with a high hours diesel, possibly to purchase. This is the original engine.

Owner bought boat 10 years ago w/5000 hours. He had same concern, and did an oil test at that time. All was 'normal'. Had another one done this past month, again 'normal'.

He says it has been maintained very well, and has been trouble free.

Is this a bet I wish to make? Is a rebuild likely needed in the near future? I'd like to get 10 or more good years sailing this boat without the need to replace the engine.

Is there a way to really know how much future maintenance, if not replacement, is necessary?
Hey, I think I might have purchased that boat, was itís name whim? If so we cruised on her for 6 months and the engine ran beautifully. Weíre about to get moving on our 2nd 6 month season.
We had a me h look it over and he thought it was in very good shape.
Was just going over some threads and thought this might be our host since we had the same concerns.
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