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Low Hour Diesel Engine

Discussion in 'Engines' started by Capt. CK, May 8, 2016.

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  1. Capt. CK

    Capt. CK New Member

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    Dallas, TX
    I'm new to the Forum and I'm looking for some feedback with those more experienced than I am on diesel engines.

    A little back ground first...I'm not new to boating as I've previously owned a Sea Ray 380 Sundancer and Carver 440 Aft Cabin both on inland fresh water lakes. I've been out of boating for about 10 years due to other demands but we're looking to get back in. We're at a different stage in life. :) This boat will be operated on inland fresh water lakes.

    We're looking at several Sea Ray 460 Sundancer boats. These obviously all have diesel engines which I'm not nearly as familiar with. Most have Twin 446hp Cummins 480CE engines but one has the Volvo TAMD 7.4 EDC engine.

    Two questions...

    1. The boats we're looking at are 12-15 years old and hours range from 175-1100. Knowing diesels have long life if maintained and operated properly I'm not too concerned with higher time engines assuming a survey revelas no issues. I am a little concerned with the lower time engines, specifically a 13 year old engine that has only 175 hours on it. Is the low time an issue to be concerned about?

    2. Cummins engines appear to be much more widespread as the standard propulsion with Volvo being an option. Any reason to be concerned about Volvo engines?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    1. Yes, I would be concerned about an engine that age with 175 hours. Freshwater you have a lot more leeway with low hours as you don't have the salt air and salt water going in and out of the exhaust pushing salt air into open cylinders. Get a good engine survey. 1100 Hours on most motors is a spring chicken.

    2. While Volvo makes a pretty good motor, I'd much rather have the cummins. Cummins parts and service are more prevalent, cheaper, and I feel they're a better motor.
  3. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    I would second Capt J's comments above.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The only thing I'd add is that a good survey of a specific engine tops any preconceptions you might have as to it's hours and prior usage. A 13 year old engine with 175 hours would certainly cause me to question it, but then has it been sitting unused for the last 7 years and never started or run or did the original owner let it sit and it's been run regularly the last six years or perhaps it's consistently been used more as a vacation cottage than boat and run consistently once a month for two hours six months a year while winterized the remainder of the year. How it was maintained is as important as how used.

    I totally agree on the Volvo comment. We had Volvo's on our lake boat but we had a huge Volvo dealership that did an excellent job servicing them there. On a boat I was cruising in many different areas, I would not feel as comfortable. Also, as they age, the part availability and cost becomes even a greater factor.
  5. Lepke

    Lepke Member

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    I've owned, operated, and maintained at least dozens of diesel engines. 2 were Volvo. I think Volvo is a lighter duty engine than Cummings and would be near my last choice. While the head, block and internals are probably as good as any, the way Volvo installs accessories, plumbs pumps, designs wiring and so on, appears to me, for easy factory assembly without any thought to servicing in the field. I've never worked on a Volvo that didn't leak salt water.
    Sitting is not the death of diesel engines it's painted to be. I've restored many diesels to running after years, sometimes decades, of sitting. Of the ones I followed, I didn't see a shorter life or increase of problems. Most didn't undergo storage preparation. None had frozen pistons.
    My current boat sat 6 years without any storage prep by the previous owner. 2 Detroit mains and Cummings and Perkins generators. After the usual checks and maintenance for stored engines, they started normally and ran without incident.
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    You have probably worked on older ones that had the filter on the outlet or pressure side of the SW Pump. They are good engines in Europe but the US customers should aim for something with a localized support CAT and Cummins are both good candidates for that prize.
  7. Capt. CK

    Capt. CK New Member

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    Thanks for the prompt input and responses.