Ship Diesel - Engines

engines in general

To the following (in USA and Caribbean mostly distributed) diesel engines we have practised questioning since end of 2002. On their result we will report from now on currently:


market coverage USA

evaluation USA




1 = very good

Ford Lehman




















Volvo Penta










The USA market coverage and evaluation we wrote down in 2002 from the mobile USA skipper network in Trinidad (channel 68 VHF) and do not take over any guarantee for correctness. Age means average agein years. These reports seem to be, however, very similar for instance to the reports of SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association 1996 and 2000). Here it strikes that Yanmar became between 1995 and 1999 market leader in USA, however, of clearly increasing lack is reported.

Which one is best, which one is worst?

Top ?


According to this statistics Yanmar, Ford Lehman and Perkins seem to be the best engines, with small differences.
Yanmar has indeed the best rating, but the Ford Lehman or Perkins engines are on average twice as old as Yanmar engines. If Yanmar engines will still have their good rating if they have achieved the double average age from today must turn out first.
On the other hand, Ford Lehman and Perkins do not offer (any more) small engines which have clearly more problems in the statistics than the large engines.
Yanmar on the other hand has various small engines in the statistics and is number 1 in the rating in spite of that.
Perhaps all 3 manufacturers are identical good. Yanmar. Ford Lehman and Perkins seem to come with the least risk of all engines.


In the field reports of the charter companies the Ford Lehman does not occur virtually. After that the Perkins is unambiguously the best engine. First comes Perkins, Yanmar comes second.

Flop ?


According to this statistics Volvo Penta holds the last place. In the inquiries of SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) Volvo Penta occupies this last place since at least 16 years, indeed in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000.


Also in the field reports of the charter companies the Volvo-Penta is the engine with most problems, in a regardless way, whether small or large engines.


The questioning of the skippers occurs basically in Caribbean because the engines are there exposed to highest demands through heat, salt, high humidity and high numbers of hours. Here those groups will talk from their point of view, that are affected immediately from construction and quality of the engines:

Fitters from chartering-companies


are the best informants. They do not have any own economical interest in nice and friendly information, because they must pay daily for the mistakes of the manufacturers and designers. They suffer most from deficient constructions and from that do not see any basis to be silent over that. Especially large chartering-societies have good overview of all usual producers and models.
MOORINGS, currently biggest chartering-company worldwide, has only in Tortola BVI 250 ships running. There no constructional flaw remains undetected.

Fitters from workshops


are good informants since they have little own economical interest in nice and friendly information. Since they repair only few brans mostly, overview is missing a little bit sometimes.

Workshop managers of authorized workshops


have indeed sometimes more know-how tan fitters, however, mostly own economical interest in their products can not be excluded.



are only potentially good informants since we do not know how skippers handle their engine. We only publish opinions of skippers, if


the report is mainly positive, because either then the engine was maintained well or it is so robust that he bore also bad maintenance,


the report is negative, this report, however, from the workshops is confirmed,


the report is negative, this report, however, from the other skippers is confirmed.

The names of the skippers, their ships and their statements can be requested and checked on the Hugo mobile German speaking skipper network daily between 09.00 o'clock and 09.45 o'clock local Caribbean time on USB 8140.

own observations


in workshops and ships on which is repaired.

Copyright © Infocenter. All rights reserved. Last UpDate: