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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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  #1  
Old 12-12-2012
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Cummins 4B 3.3

Owning an older Volvo with a lot of hours on it means that I always have the dreaded "repower" in the back of my mind. Recently I've been looking at a Cummins 4B 3.3 liter engine marinized by Trans Atlantic Diesels and I'm pretty impressed. My current engine is 62 hp at 3500 rpm, the Cummins is 65 hp at 2600 so it's a good match (with a new prop). Anyone have any experience with this engine or with Trans Atlantic? I gather that the engine has been primarily used for industrial equipment and generators and has been around for many years. Trans A is sending me their info. packet, they say this is one of their most reliable engines ever with hardly ever a problem of any kind (what else would they say since their trying to sell them). I'm pretty impressed with the fact that it puts out almost 55 hp at 1800 rpm. Seems like I would be at cruise speed down around 14-1500 rpm. I've always had great luck with Cummins in all the trucks I've owned so I'm seriously considering this. The price seems reasonable too, they quoted $9360 bobtail, not sure which gear I would run. Thoughts, experience, advice? Thanks.
TAD for Cummins 4B 3.3-M Engines - Cummins Diesel - Cummins Marine - Cummins 4B3.3M - 4B3.3M - Cummins Marine Diesel
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Old 12-12-2012
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

John,
To be completely honest my overiding concern with any diesel engine is the noise level. Our old Bukh in Raven was a fabulous wee thing, utterly reliable, easy to service but loud. Admittedly nowhere near as loud as the Volvo in earlier boat. Yanmar in current Womboat has proved reliable, no great problem to service and with quite bearable noise level. Seems a tadge thirsty but that may be normal given its over twice the size of Ravens Bukh. I do like the sound of cruising at 1500 rpm.

Ergo and while I've zero with Cummins have you heard the thing in operation ?
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

On the noise front I always thought the early Cummins Diesel pickup trucks were obscenely noisy.. but the marine version may differ.

Seems a good price, along the lines of what Pathfinder quoted me some 10 years ago for a 65 hp version of the VW Jetta TDI engine-based conversion.
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

Andrew- I've not heard it run, nor have I owned any equipment with a 4B in it. Apparently there are two 4B's, the 3.9 L and this 3.3L. The 6B is the one used commonly in Dodge PUs and is also very popular in marine applications. Some one here on the island has a 6B 375 hp in a power boat and it's no noisier than any other diesel. I think the difference in sound running this at 15-1800 rpm vs. my Volvo at 25-2700 rpm would be significant. Maybe I need to go to a power boat forum and ask about this, but it seems like a great alternative for sailboats, same weight, size, etc as the Yanmar, Beta, Volvo and it's non turbo. I don't think this engine has cylinder liners, but it should last 8-10,000 hrs+ and that should do me for as long as I will be boating:-))
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

Fast- I was quoted 13-14k for a Beta last year with gear so this seems right in the ballpark, maybe even low. And you're right about the pick up noise, at least from outside. My son has one and it's the quietest truck I have ever ridden in, and he get's 20+mpg on the highway in a 7500 lb vehicle.
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

I really like the 4B engines but they are certainly not the most sophisticated engines out there. The reason that I like them is they are really simple, reliable and very easy to work on. Many people are familiar with the 6B engines which are extremely well regarded.

The primary reason that I would say they are not as refined as other engines is vibrations. These are relatively slow turning engines with only 4 cylinders so there is quite a lot of vibration. Compared to a 6B, it is a lot more. In a vehicle (they came in a lot of vans), it is borderline annoying but I think that you could deal with this in a boat installation. If you did something like an evolution drive, I think that there would be very minimal vibration. Since you are coming from an older Volvo, it is likely to be slightly better on vibration but still way more than the newer Yanmars, Betas, etc. On the noise front, I think that they are really good sounding engines and pretty quiet for their design vintage. The '98-'02 24V 6BT engines were really loud and gave the B series Cummins a reputation for being loud but most of the rest of the line was not very loud all things considered. A good muffler would make it very quiet in my opinion for a mechanical injection engine. Compared to a common rail engine, it will be noisy and vibrate a lot but they are not bad for a mechanical engine.

Unfortunately, Cummins will no longer sell you a brand new 4B due to emissions. They will sell you a rebuilt unit which you can use in a repower situation but not in a new build. It sounds like you have found someone aftermarket who will marinize one though. If you get a OTR 4B, it is one of the easiest engines to marinize but it will still be really expensive due to having to buy a new alternator, starter, heat exchanger, water pump, etc.
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

Klem- Are you saying that you think any 4B sold now is a reman? I definitely didn't get that impression from Trans Atlantic but I also can't find much info. directly from Cummins. I think they are new engines (but will call and ask) for industrial equipment, not OTR applications. Thanks for the background info. I'll post what I find out tomorrow.
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Old 12-13-2012
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

I talked to Trans Atlantic and these are new engines from Cummins. They are rated Tier 4 so they meet all new emissions requirements. The engine is warranted by Cummins, the marinization accessories are warranted by Trans A. The fuel pump is electronically controlled(which I'm not too crazy about) but the rest of the engine is mechanical (analog guages, etc).
Is the Kubota all mechanical (BV2403)? I think it is but not sure. If mechanical the Beta would be at the top of my list with the Cummins second unless there is a big difference in price between the two. I'm guessing they are both fairly close on price, not sure what a marine trans runs, but $3k seems about right. The Beta has the option of custom mounts which would eliminate a fair amount of glass work I would have to do because the Volvo front mounts are about 3" lower than the rear and all the newer engines have both at the same level. Decisions, decisions.
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
The Beta has the option of custom mounts which would eliminate a fair amount of glass work I would have to do because the Volvo front mounts are about 3" lower than the rear and all the newer engines have both at the same level. Decisions, decisions.
In that case would fabricating metal 'stand offs' make more sense than glassing/reworking the beds? Years back we pulled an Atomic 2 and dropped in a Volvo 2001 diesel, ended up bolting 2" metal angle brackets to the original beds to adapt... just thinking out loud....
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Re: Cummins 4B 3.3

jrd22,

Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. My understanding is that you can no longer buy a 4B directly from Cummins for marine applications. I asked for a quote on one last spring and this is what I was told. They were happy to sell me a factory rebuilt unit provided that it wasn't going to go in a new boat. They were even more happy to try to sell me one of the VW tdi engines that they marinize in a joint partnership.

It sounds like the outfit you are dealing with marinizes the engines themselves. Maybe they exist because you can't buy them direct from Cummins anymore?

I have always found Cummins customer service to be pretty good so you could call your local dealer and ask. Given the choice, I would want to buy an engine marinized by Cummins over one done by someone else as Cummins is much more likely to be in business for a long time and I have confidence in their design and quality control.
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