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Old 05-07-2003
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gknopp is on a distinguished road
Engine Hours and Repairs

Im looking at boats in the 5-12 year old vintage and would like some guidance on engines.

- How many hours expected before an overhaul would normally be expected?

- What are the differences between the major makes of diesel engines found in sailboats


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Old 05-08-2003
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pblais is on a distinguished road
Engine Hours and Repairs

On sail boats an overhaul could be expected far sooner or later depending the one most important issue. How well was the engine maintained?

You can easily trash an engine in well under 1,000 hours with poor maintenance. They can go 4 times that with very good maintenance too. Simple things like changing the oil mean a lot. Dirt kills.

Sitting in a boat slip for a few years without being started is another great way to cause a problem too. Moisture, time, and electrolysis run on the calendar not the engine hours meter.

While a major overhaul is not for those with a light checkbook the other stuff can kill you too. Every other item attached to an engine block has it''s own maintenance program too. Water pumps and alternators each can die and make other damage.Batterry and fuel systems too can make the life of the engine better or worse.

Many boats in the 5 - 12 year range should have great engines if they were well maintained. Mine was maintained well and is about 10 years old with about 1500 hours. It also has had a few items replaced by prior owners. It''s never been rebuilt but I know a lot of money was spent on things like new motor mounts, a new transmission, and water pump to name just a few.

A decent boat surveyor should be able to spot any serious problems, but you may want an engine survey if the boat surveyor finds evidence of a problem. With a large trawler and multiple engines you just get an engine survey done any way but on a sail boat I would not unless the regular survey shows up something. There are some good articles on Sailnet about engines and it would help you to just skim through them.

You might after purchase get together with your mechaninc (I would meet one and know their name for the future) and have them go over things, do some preventitve things and change all the fluids and start yourself on a program where you do what you want and you have your mechinc do what you don''t. They can show you how to do some simple stuff and set you up with spare parts like filters, belts, and basic supplies.

Makes and models don''t mean anything compared to the maintenace record. Everyone has good and bad stories to tell. Don''t think one brand is bullet proof to problems.

One way to pick a good one for you is to find a mechanic near you. I live a few miles from one of the best Perkins mechanics on the east coast that has plenty of parts. I''m pretty happy knowing that but I won''t say Perkins is the "best". You don''t want the best engine, you want the one that starts and runs everytime you need it. Forget about the "mine is longer than your arguments". You''ll walk away more confused.
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Old 05-08-2003
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Engine Hours and Repairs

yeah.....what he said....(lol).

I had a 20 year old boat I sold that had the original design (Raw water cooled Yanmar 2QM-15). Don''t know how many hours because there was no hour meter, but I would guess at least 2000 hours. It worked fine after 20 years. It was a little hard to start onec in a while, but I think that had more to do with a possible small fuel/air leak and weak batteries. But once running that engine was great.

So unless the engine wasn''t taking care of you are probably fine. If you really think it was abused, you can have the engine run and then do an oil analysis, which can give a very good idea on whats good or bad on the engine. Ask your mechanic
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Old 05-08-2003
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Engine Hours and Repairs

As part of your survey process spend the money and have a mechanic survey the engine. While there is no reason a diesel cannot run several thousand hours a combination of the harsh environment and the tendency for owners to blow off maintenance issues can lead to an earlier demise.
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