Click for Horizon Click for Lurssen Click for Trinity Click for Dockwise Click for Westport

Cummins v8 na 320hp

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Santelia, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Hi everybody,
    I'm considering to buy a boat with twin Cummins V8 natural aspired 320hp (903 model?). Has anyone any experience with those old boys? General reliability? Useful lifetime? The boat is a 49' full displacement, so she cruises on 10-11kn and has max at 15kn. Any opinion on fuel consumption with such engines at hull speed?
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    6,284
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I have no experience with the Cummins 903's, but have always heard that they were good motors and lasted a long time.
  3. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Hi Capt J,
    thank you for your opinion.
    Any idea on how much smokey are the Cummins 903s?
    And typical lifecycle for such a use?
  4. Freespool

    Freespool New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Kemah, Texas
    All the good 903 mechanics are to old to get in the engine room anymore.

    Good engines. A little smokey at cold start up. They like to run a lot. The more they run the less trouble they give you.
  5. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Thank you Freespool,
    so, would I have to hire some whitehaired paleo-mechanic to make any extensive servicing? :D
  6. Freespool

    Freespool New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Kemah, Texas

    I think they quit making them in 1984 or so for civilian use. I built many of them years ago. The last one I worked on was probably 7 to 10 years ago.
  7. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    Vancouver BC and Florida
    Cummins

    I would question the 15 kts wot on a full displacement hull with that HP.
  8. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Ok Freespool, so you could be a precious source of first-hand information.

    @ dennismc, do you mean that 2x320hp are not enough or that a 49' full displacement has a structural limit at a slower speed?
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    6,284
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    A full displacement does not have the length to do 15 knots or be capable of doing that, a full displacements hull speed at 49' probably would not do 11 knots either. It sounds like the boat you're looking at is a semi-displacement hull, that's ok too.

    I'd hate to guess how much fuel those engines burn, but guessing with 320hp, they probably burn around 20-25gph for both at cruise rpm. I've always heard very good things about 903's and know of a boat that had 6500 hours on them without any rebuild or anything (a charter SF) and was running fine. I just have no experience with them.
  10. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Me too was wondering if 15 knots were actually possible at FD hull speed.
    The boat has a bow deep V and rounded lines in the aft half of the hull, while ending in a usual transom at stern.

    As far as fuel consumption is concerned, boat specs say fuel tanks are 660 gal (2,498 l) and cruise range is 700 nm. I thought that maybe, to reach that range, speed was intended to be not more than 7 knots. So it gave a fuel consumption of around 24.5 l/h, that's 6.4 gal/h.

    Where am I wrong?
    If I figure out how to do it, I'll put a hull picture to better talk about the matter.
  11. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    Jax FL
    If you’re considering a purchase, you really should have an ole white-haired surveyor on line (not sales person). He can help you figure the real hull design and fuel / speed.
    His brother or in-law may be the ole white-haired mechanic you’re going to need.

    Let your fingers do some walking (in the phone book) and call up some Cummins shops. They may give you some idea if they would / could work on those old beasts. Ask about for part availability in your future.

    I’ve just done light work on those 555s and 903s. So far, parts (hang on) have not been an issue.
    I like them, but then, I’m still running our old Detroit’s and like old simple engines.

    Good luck and keep in touch with us all.
  12. Jimbo1959

    Jimbo1959 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Stockton, CA
    903 nothing

    Very large, heavy engines. Parts are going to be hard to find. Smoke alot and probably leak quite abit. could be a can of worms. Get a good engine tech, take oil samples and maybe even a compression test.
  13. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Thanks. So it seems that I have to expect difficulties in find spare parts. And someone says they are very solid and long runner, while someone else says they are smokey and leaky. Should I consider to change them, what engine would you suggest for a twin set to run a 49' fd boat, around 20t displacement, at hull speed for long trips? High torque at low rpm, long lifetime, easy and very light maintenance needs, low fuel consumption are the goals to reach. I would add a low sensibility for less than perfect fuel...
  14. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    Jax FL
    I hope you have not purchased this boat yet. Re-powering this old girl could be expensive. Not just the cost of the engines, the gears, maybe shafts, controls, fuel lines and new water lines. Then the labor for r&r. And then, the fabrication of the engine beds for new mounting points. Hill time, Lift charges, ,,,

    Those old Cummins may look tall, but maybe not as tall as the new straight 6 cylinder engines that usually would replace it. Your going need a good local guy to offer what can fit before you fall in love with any engine brand yet. Or down angle clutch brand yet also.

    Rethink your purchase. Maybe easier (cheaper) to pick up a newer boat, with ready to go engines.

    Probably think about how long you’re going to keep this ship vs. money in/out.

    Or,, spend the bux on the Cummins. Parts are still out there. Maybe expensive. Maybe real expensive. May have to make or repair what you have. Get tight with a good machine shop.
    This could be cheaper in the long run than a repower.

    Keep in touch,
  15. SeaEric

    SeaEric YF Historian

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Easton, Md./Ft. Lauderdale
    If you like the boat, get it and the engines checked out thoroughly. If it's healthy, buy it. Run it and enjoy until the engine(s) quit. At that point, there will be many options. Repair, rebuild, replace. The point is liking the boat itself. There are plenty of old Cummins engines around to provide economical RTO replacement or parts supply. If and when the time comes, perhaps you will decide that it makes sense to re-power her with modern iron.
  16. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Hmmm... Have to evaluate many issues before hiring a good surveyor and engine tech to get a serious assessment...
    One point that I still didn't understand is the real fuel consumption of that boat with those twin cummins. The boat specs say that at cruise speed (let's say 7) she has a fuel consumption of 6.5 gal/h (700nm range with 660gal tanks). Someone else says that I'd better to expect 25 gal/h fuel burning.
    Any other opinion?
  17. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    Jax FL
    found some v-903-m data; This is the non turbo 903ci, v-8 engine.
    Max & light duty, 295 hp @ 2600 rpm, 220 kw, fuel 16.1 gph (61 lph).
    Continuous duty, 255 hp @ 2300 rpm, 190 kw, fuel 13.4 gph (50.7 lph).

    Not a fuel pincher, but for a natural, not to bad a fuel burn.

    A very rough way to guess fuel burn is;
    1/10 gal per hp per hour x .5.

    so 30 gal per 300 hp in half, about 15gph. it's not perfect but close enough to figure a salesman pitch is bs or not.

    I could not make out the load / rpm curves on the page I found, but S.W.A.G. from idle in gear takes 50 hp (2.5 gph) and scale up from there to max burn @ 2600 rpm. That line should give you a close burn figure per rpm.
    Don't forget to double your numbers for a twin engine boat for total burns. PLUS generator from .5 to 1 gph also.
  18. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Thank you for the figures, Rcrapps. I'll use the rough method for other engines too.
  19. 42hatteras

    42hatteras New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    New London Ct/Hope Town Bahamas
    Large and heavy for sure,but parts are readily available and I have needed very few parts in the many years I have owned my 903's.Afterall,903 ci @ 320hp is a recipe for low stress,high duty cycle and longevity. The 903M's @ 320hp well tuned should not smoke at all,it is the high hp 400 and over that smoke and only at start up due to the huge injectors used and the lack of complete combustion in a cold engine block.
    As far as leaking or burning oil? In ten round trips from New London Ct to Hope Town Bahamas I use 1 quart of oil in the port engine and nothing in the starboard engine,each leg of the journey.My overall fuel burn at cruise is 23/24 per hour.

    Could be a can of worms? Absolutely,but considering repairing marine propulsion systems is what I have been doing for a living for 4 decades that can be said for any engine,particularly lightweight high horsepower versions with marginal cooling systems that are the mainstay of my business.
  20. Santelia

    Santelia New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    La Maddalena, Porto Santo Stefano, Grado.
    Do you mean 23/24 Gals?

Share This Page