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Sportfisher engine selection

Old 11-20-2018, 06:59 PM
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Default Sportfisher engine selection

I am in the market for a second boat. I have noticed a decent amount of sportfishers on the market. I am a center console guy, but my curiosity has me looking at 40 foot range sports.

What diesels have a good reputation for durability/longevity, and what should I stay away from?

I noticed some of the Luhrs boats have gas engines... Are these lower quality boats in general? Why gasoline on these?
Old 11-20-2018, 07:19 PM
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Cummins and Cats in that order.
Old 11-20-2018, 07:25 PM
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No luhrs
Old 11-20-2018, 07:31 PM
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Service records should be priority for decision making. Any good diesel could have a short life if not installed and maintained properly.
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Snapper Smacker View Post
I am in the market for a second boat. I have noticed a decent amount of sportfishers on the market. I am a center console guy, but my curiosity has me looking at 40 foot range sports.

What diesels have a good reputation for durability/longevity, and what should I stay away from?

I noticed some of the Luhrs boats have gas engines... Are these lower quality boats in general? Why gasoline on these?

Cummins gets the nod, great product, supported almost anywhere you’d want to go.
Gassers are worth consideration if you don’t go out an awful lot, MUCH cheaper to buy/replace, though a little more expensive to feed.
Old 11-21-2018, 12:38 AM
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Hello, Cummins, CAT and Yanmar are all excellent, many HP ratings available. Volvo and MAN have good engines, but parts are VERY expensive, last but not least Detroit Diesel, a real love/hate engine, been around so long in everything from boats to tanks to buses, I think Noah had a couple in the ark, in any case, might be worth getting an inspection and asking the seller for old invoices for service, hope this helps.
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:42 AM
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just repowered a 44' sportie and after much deliberation Cummins QSM11 won the battle. Scania was my preferred choice but the cost difference and the difference in network support made Cummins stand out. The Cummins Qsm11 is rated up to 715 hp and the Cummins 5.9 series is bombproof up to 450 hp for lesser horsepower. The cummins recon program gives you a 2 year warranty right out of the box and is for the most part a new engine as all parts must fall within new spec.I have owned aset of Yanmar 465hp motors and I never did anything to them in five years except oil, zincs and valve adjustment when scheduled, problem being Yanmar has nothing to offer in the 400-700 hp since the new Tier ratings came into effect. Good luck in your search
Old 11-21-2018, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by TURN_TWO View Post
Cummins and Cats in that order.

Agreed! But I don't necessarily agree with the "no luhrs" comment. It should be "Luhrs" but the decision to get any brand depends more on what you want than the keyboard captains that have never been on one. It is hard to say whether gas or diesel would work for you but my opinion is that gas is inappropriate in any boat from about 32 feet and up. Even if you do like the gas engines, they are extremely difficult to sell in bigger boats, especially sport fishing boats. The decision to get a Luhrs or any other brand will depend on your pocketbook, use and simply what you like. So don't discount any brand until you go take a look. Make your own decision.
Old 11-21-2018, 05:26 AM
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Many hit on it, it really comes down to the age of the diesel (not necessarily hours) and the service it received. The market has dropped a lot on the fly-bridge sport-fishing market which 10 years ago was hot, so good buys are there, just do your homework with the diesel and look for soft spots in the decking and bridge areas. Complete engine and hull survey a must!
Old 11-21-2018, 06:24 AM
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Modern boats ( 2005 newer) in the 40 foot range will have engines around 450Hp to 800 hp give or take depending on the boat. Cummins, MAN, Volvo, Caterpillar, Yanmar all built engines within that HP range. MTU/Detroit Diesel if you get older. There has been a lot of change in technology lately in Diesels specifically related to Government mandates regarding emissions. I wouldn't necessarily be afraid of any particular brand, just be sure you have competent service providers on which ever brand you end up buying. I've found that the engine in the boat is largely determined by what the Manufacturer needs to power it and their space requirements. It would be helpful if we knew what models and years of boats you are considering to give more accurate advice/opinions about the engines used at the time and what to look out for.
Old 11-21-2018, 06:37 AM
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be careful with the QSM dry exhaust/turbo cooling issue, if you come across a boat with those engines. Do some research on it on boatdiesel. For some reason it does not get a lot of play on this forum, in fact people go out of their way to defend the engine when it has a very real design flaw.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Snapper Smacker View Post
I am in the market for a second boat. I have noticed a decent amount of sportfishers on the market. I am a center console guy, but my curiosity has me looking at 40 foot range sports.

What diesels have a good reputation for durability/longevity, and what should I stay away from?

I noticed some of the Luhrs boats have gas engines... Are these lower quality boats in general? Why gasoline on these?
What years are you looking at? Hard to answer the question without knowing that. Motors from the late 90's early 00's are vastly different than motors of the last few years.
Old 11-21-2018, 07:25 AM
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Cummins 6CTA 8.3 at 450hp is one of my fave engines. I have done hundreds of engine surveys and this one rarely has issues (aside from the crappy sea water pump). So much so that I sought one out to put in my new build. It's been in there for ten years and now has about 3800hrs. A few very minor issues (sea water pump, leaky oil sender, needed new hoses, clean HX's twice), that's it. Rock solid.

6BTA 5.9 up to 370hp is pretty good too.

On more recent boats, QSB and QSC (common rail) are very nice. Just keep away from lightning.

All mfr's make some gems and also make some turds. And even the gems have certain things that need extra attention.

I could write a book on this topic, but have to get back to work!!
Old 11-21-2018, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by HarborRd View Post
be careful with the QSM dry exhaust/turbo cooling issue, if you come across a boat with those engines. Do some research on it on boatdiesel. For some reason it does not get a lot of play on this forum, in fact people go out of their way to defend the engine when it has a very real design flaw.
Ok, gotta ask, have you owned or repaired these engines? There is no design flaw in these motors. Fact: In the higher horsepower ratings they were and still are designed to be hot turbo and manifold. This is how they make there power
Fact: getting over 5,000 hours out of these motors before having to fool with the turbo or exhaust manifold is very common in the marine world. Fact: iF YOU OVERPROP OR OVERLOAD THESE ENGINES IN THE 670 AND 715 HP RATINGS YOU WILL BE REPLACING EXHAUST MANIFOLD GASKETS AND/OR MANIFOLDS AND THE TURBO. Fact: If you prop the engine to be at 70-75% power at 2100 with a 20-21gph fuel burn you are set up correctly. Before purchasing these motors I researched and spoke to many mechanics and certified dealers to nauseum on this subject. Always seems the people who "read it somewhere" know more than the owners or people who work on them. No different than 92 series Detroits, if you pull the hp rating away from the top they will go for several thousand hours
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Old 11-21-2018, 05:47 PM
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I have a buddy who bought a 41 Luhrs with these. Engine room burned (not a complete loss) from heat igniting materials around the engine. Was a rental type boat so who knows how it was propped, used, or abused. Anyway plan is to prop it a little light and keep the heat down a tick. No doubt the QSM11 is known for high trouble free hours but this is something to pay close attention to. I myself am now running 650HP 8-92's and am well aware of proper coolant for wet liners and avoiding any overheat EVER! Disaster is always lurking so run them safe and well maintained for those high hours.

Keezdisease has researched this and it seems this one will be set up in the safety zone.

Many, many horror stories about bad Diesels are born from abuse and lack of maintenance. QSM11 is on the way to being remembered as one of the legendary good ones from all that I have heard. And I will keep my "old" 8-92's alive for a very ling time as well.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:31 PM
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The advice is welcome and I thank you. All great starting points for my research prior to a buy.

If you are an actual sportfish owner, who do you recommend for surveys and inspections? I am in North Florida. Are surveyors regional or will they travel within the continental coastal states? Most likely purchasing in Florida. I want to have a list of surveyors/inspectors and what inspections are necessary. That way when I come across the right boat Im ready. If anyone has had any negative experiences, please share those, but maybe only in PM, so as not to cause problems on the forum.

I am very grateful for all the advice. Thanks.
Old 11-21-2018, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by madhatter1 View Post
I have a buddy who bought a 41 Luhrs with these. Engine room burned (not a complete loss) from heat igniting materials around the engine. Was a rental type boat so who knows how it was propped, used, or abused. Anyway plan is to prop it a little light and keep the heat down a tick. No doubt the QSM11 is known for high trouble free hours but this is something to pay close attention to. I myself am now running 650HP 8-92's and am well aware of proper coolant for wet liners and avoiding any overheat EVER! Disaster is always lurking so run them safe and well maintained for those high hours.

Keezdisease has researched this and it seems this one will be set up in the safety zone.

Many, many horror stories about bad Diesels are born from abuse and lack of maintenance. QSM11 is on the way to being remembered as one of the legendary good ones from all that I have heard. And I will keep my "old" 8-92's alive for a very ling time as well.
madhater when I bought this boat it had 892 naturals in it original from 77 I believe. I turned the key in ft pierce Florida and took her home to northern chesapeake just draining off about 5 gallons of oil from her port engine. Little did I know until I checked compression she was down to half the spec listed. Gotta love them Detroit’s. If they start they will go.
Op I wish you well in your search.
Old 11-22-2018, 12:30 AM
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Hello, OP, if you are buying an older diesel, during a survey do get an oil analysis done, but get someone who knows what they´re looking at to interpret it for you, at first glance they can look like everything is about to blow! A common thing here is to get a fuel test done too, just gives you an idea of the kind of fuel run through them and whether the tanks need cleaning! Again the surveyor should be able to tell you how good or bad it is. In my experience nothing seems to kill them quicker than poor cooling, poor quality antifreeze and pumps that haven't been serviced in years, some mechanical engines put up with more abuse, anything that has electronics will likely have sensors monitoring systems and they can be finnicky about all sorts of things and are very reliant on battery tension being correct. IMHO I would try to get a domestic brand of motor, Cummins, CAT or DD, should be more service agents and technicians, should have better parts availability too, also on sportfishers, have a good look at the engine room, Can you reach everything? or do you need to be a Chinese circus contortionist? The easier things are to service, the more likely they will have been checked, I say again, previous invoices are a good sign, Also get the surveyor to check the rams that raise the engine hatch, some are really at their limit for the weight that they lift, a common upgrade here is to swap the electrical units with hydraulic ones, hope this helps.
Old 11-22-2018, 04:25 AM
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Sporties don't have engine hatch's with hydraulic rams. Those are on expresses.
Old 11-22-2018, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Snapper Smacker View Post
I am in the market for a second boat. I have noticed a decent amount of sportfishers on the market. I am a center console guy, but my curiosity has me looking at 40 foot range sports.

What diesels have a good reputation for durability/longevity, and what should I stay away from?

I noticed some of the Luhrs boats have gas engines... Are these lower quality boats in general? Why gasoline on these?
Looking for a quality sportfisherman in the 40+ foot range is like looking for unicorns. If you find one, its demands on you will make it -- and not your center console -- your first boat.
  • Most of these boats were poorly designed, poorly constructed, and, horribly maintained. Henriques, Hatteras, Viking, Post, Cabo, and post-1996 Oceans generally pass the design/build test, but often these are compromised by engine selection, inadequate maintenance, or bad operations.
  • Practically none of them will have operational logs, maintenance documentation, and test records that you should see.
  • Money is often the root cause of these problems: a good rule of thumb is that a twin-engine diesel sportfisherman with a generator, air conditioning, and a flybridge will cost about $1,000 per foot per year if professionally maintained. (A knowledgeable DIY'er can reduce this number somewhat.) This number includes slip rental, insurance, lubricants, coolants, cleaners, waxes, bottom paint, reserves for engine/generators/air conditioners, and two haulings per year -- but not fuel. On a boat with turbo-charged diesels, you can expect that engine maintenance will run about $6,000 per engine per year.
  • Poor operating practices can cut the life of diesels to less than 500 hours.
  • An engine survey with fuel, coolant, engine oil, and transmission oil testing will cost about $3300 and a decent survey around $1500.
  • As a general rule, diesel engines with horsepower greater than or equal to the displacement in cubic inches will have a substantially shorter life expectancy than its lower rated relatives. Even in the absence of overhauls, things can get expensive in a hurry. For example, replacing all the injectors in a six cylinder diesel, changing oil, valve lash adjustment, and related work can cost upwards of $14,000.

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