Westerbeke 4-108: How many hours are too many? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-24-2007
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Westerbeke 4-108: How many hours are too many?

My good old boat has the venerable Westerbeke 4-108 with a little over 8,730 hours. The previous owner informed me that the hour meter ran 20% fast, but even assuming that is true we are talking 7,000 hours. I am looking at a 3 year cruise with circumnavigation aspirations and I don't want to refit a motor in the 3rd world.

With continued regular maintanence can I expect the 4-108 to carry through? She runs like a top presently. I've narrowed it down to a simple choice really.

1. Run the 4-108 until she dies. Then repower only if necessary. Or,
2. Refit the powerplant now so as not to have the engine worry during the cruise.
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Old 01-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWinters
The previous owner informed me that the hour meter ran 20% fast,
Gotta love good salesmanship!
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Old 01-24-2007
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LW...
"With continued regular maintanence can I expect the 4-108 to carry through? She runs like a top presently"

Isn't that a Perkins 4-108??

I wouldn't mess with her if she is indeed running like a top presently. HOWEVER...I do have some suggestions for your piece of mind:
1. Buy spares for all major engine components and install them NOW. This insures that they FIT and WORK while you are still here and close to distributors and low costs. You can save the presently working fresh water pump, fuel pump etc. as spares.
2. Round out your assortment of spares with a complete major spares kit like this:
http://www.tadiesels.com/perkins-4108-ck.html

3. Get your engine oil analyzed...it can tell you if anything is going on there that bears looking at.

4. Take a look at your heat exchanger and oil/cooler if you have one...these are the source of a lot of problems that build up quickly when you go cruising and put the systems under stress...nothing worse than finding water in your engine!


EDIT OOPS...looks like Westerbeke did have a 4108 too! My mistake...advice still applies
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Old 01-24-2007
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It is based on the Perkins 4.108 marinized by Westerbeke. Have you checked the hour meter yourself with a watch? No one can tell you what is left in that engine, anecdotess have reported 10,0000 hours is possible but you don't know how well it has been taken care of. I would be worried about as important of a part as the engine for a long term cruise. Perhaps Transatlantic or Diesel Parts in Houston can test it and tell you something more definative.
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Old 01-24-2007
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A compression test in addition to the recommended engine oil analysis will tell a lot about wear. Check the hot oil pressure at both idle and operating speed. If you keep what you have, it might be time for a set of new injectors, also.

Last edited by jones2r; 01-24-2007 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 01-24-2007
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O.K. I see now you are in Waterford next to me in Watergate. Call Randall Cesar the third over at Diesel Parts Sales on Canal street in Houston. He is very helpful and local.
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Good advice all around. Thanks for the ideas. I definatly don't want to go cruising with this in the back of my mind. Another quirk of my Mistress is that placard on the top of the engine shows it to be a 4-107. However, when you take a look at the number stamped on the block it reads 108XXXXX. Foley Industries http://www.foleyengines.com/TechTips/TechTip08.html sells an upgrade kit to take the 107 and upgrade it to the 50 hp 108. Considering the serial number on my block this has clearly been done at some time.

I guess in light of this I don't really have a clue as to how many hours are on this old 108.
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Old 01-24-2007
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"The previous owner informed me that the hour meter ran 20% fast,"
I must confess, I have simply never heard of a Hobbs meter running noticeably fast or slow or incorrect in any significant way. I'm sure there's always a first time, but like they teach pilots "Always trust your instruments".

For a diesel in a pleasure boat, 8000 hours *might* be time for a total rebuild, depending on how it was used and how it was maintained. I'd strongly suggest getting a mechanic and doing an engine survey. The oil analysis will run you about $22 and if the oil has been recently changed--that's a good way to hide problems, analyzing new oil tells you very little. Then there's also the exhaust elbow, the exhaust system may also be due for replacements.
Anything over 5000 hours is time for a good mechanic and an engine survey, with the results in writing. And sea trials, at least 1/2 hour under full load to see just how it behaves. Should be rock steady, no smoke, no temperature shifts, no oil slick in the exhaust, if everything really is OK.
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LW

I have been operating aircraft for aliving for sixteen years and on many more than one occasion we have found hobbs meters to be running to slow or fast. We get payed by how long A/C is in the air, so I can assure you that we watch this very closely.

KC
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Old 01-25-2007
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LOL ditto KC. Lot of .6's at the ends of my log entries. Another interesting issue is whether or not your meter starts counting when you turn the key on. Mine does. Original Westerbeke control panel that is 35 years old and the only appreciable time I have the key on and engine not running is to bleed my system. Just a thought.
Regards,
Red
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