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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default How long do modern diesel engines last?

    I've heard of simple diesel engines going on forever, but how long do modern diesel engines last?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    . Modern err... perhaps not but 1982 Volvo 40AQD 135HP. 2700 hours on clock,no oil added between changes.Original everything except starter motor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    I love my Lister. I wouldn't swap it for any modern engine. like oldgits it's 1982 3200hrs never uses any oil or water between oil changes (42pts every 250hrs). Very reliable, as soon as the starter starts to turn it's running, any temperature. No fancy electronic controls to cause problems, built to last. The first major overhaul is scheduled for 15,000 hours. I don't think many modern engines would reach 15000 hours.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    Pair of 1987 TAMD61A's, 3000 hrs (just about...) no oil usage, start within one rotation every time with no need for preheat. Maintenance and usage is key - religously stick to the maintenance schedule and I use the boat on average 3 times per month... Having just said that, surely setting myself up for a big bill next time I turn the keys!

  5. #5
    orizaba's Avatar
    orizaba is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    have to agree about the lister,mind you my bmc is 40 odd years old but has just been rebuilt,
    onto the question "how long do model diesel engines last"
    i had a montego turbo and an escort turbo diesel,both did over 250,000 miles the only things i changed apart from filters was the cam belts,
    cam belts aren\t a subject you hear about much on marine engines but most of the modern ones have them i would look at changing/checking them on a reasonably regular basis,they are not in the best of environments and are prone to failure with no warning,resulting in very hefty bills.
    the chain type tend to rattle but almost go on forever.
    the modern diesel is lighter ,most are quieter,reliable, as are most of the older engines ,but,where they fall down is they don't like overheating ,being made with ally heads etc they will warp easily ,it could be argued that cast iron heads will crack but over the years i've had far more problems with ally than cast, saying all that. with good maintanance a decent overheat alarm etc there is no reason why they shouldn't last as long as the older engines, would i swap my bmc for a modern one,in terms of "modern" being lighter/smaller yes i would,but i like the strength and simplicity of the older engine.its a fine and valid question to ask but,maybe harder to answer,i guess time will tell

  6. #6

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    It is quite common for industrial diesel engines to run 8000 hrs/annum e.g. generator sets - they run best on load. Worst thing for diesels is to run on tickover or light load. All need servicing!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Default KISS.

    Reading the constant and persistant bad experiences people have had with new engines laden with electronics , indicate that when looking for your next boat,you make blimming sure that the less "advanced" the engine it is,the better.
    So it uses a bit more fuel....................

  8. #8
    jcmmarine's Avatar
    jcmmarine is offline Registered User
    Location : Gosport/Europe
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    My boats 32 year old Fords with nearly 4000 hours are still very reliable and, except for initial start up, smoke free.
    A previous boat with 2.5 BMC (taxi engine) diesels was 33 years old, had 6500 hours on the clock, and and still going strong when sold.
    The 18 year old 1.9 peugeot diesel I used for commuting has done 193,000 miles, returns 55 mpg, and still does not need oil between changes.

    Regualr oil and filter changes are the secret.

    However, I have twice towed in boats with modern diesels that had eletronic control system problems.

    Stick with the old diesels with the minimum electronics
    Sailing is for fun, Engines are for going places.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    Anywhere between 10-20yrs, depending on usage (more is better, generally) and maintenance / TLC.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Re: How long do modern diesel engines last?

    Commercial fishing vessels here typically clock up 1,000 - 1,500 hours of usage every year, and many of them will keep going for 8 or 10,000 hours (or longer) quite happily before they need a major overhaul - and then they usually keep going for another 5 or 10k hours.....
    These are typically Cummins, John Deere, Caterpillar, Volvo, Perkins, around 200 - 300 hp - but I think that the same should apply to smaller engines?
    Feed them clean fuel and air, and change their oil regularly, and they should last a long time.
    Our engine (Volvo 2003T) gets maybe 20 hours of use a year (we usually sail everywhere, and the solar panel charges the batteries), and I am sure that relative lack of use is more detrimental than if it was worked hard. Need to use it more....
    Here is a useful guide to Barbados -


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