Just having a discussion with an old retired truck driver about 6-354 Perkins. General opinion is they were the 120hp range engine of choice far beyond anything else on the market at the time with companies having their own competing engines offering Perkins as original spec.
My memory was the prediction given to me by old hands in 1965 when I bought my brand new Commer (well the bank bought it). I was told by several people that it will be pretty substandard until it has 20,000 miles up then will come good. I could not see how this would be but set off on my first run to Sydney. I was absolutely devastated as it hardly got to the top of Pretty Sally and on the flat was struggling at 35mph. I sort of got used to it for a few months and suddenly at around 20,000 miles as predicted it seemed to be pulling better and soon I was going over rises one gear higher than before. Within another 5,000 miles it was almost two split gears higher and had no trouble cruising at 45 mph and even 50 mph if it was a low load with no wind resistance.
Almost everybody on the forum has driven a Perkins at some time.
I drove one in a AT4 6 series bogie tipper (lazy axle), went ok, but I had just got out of a F1800 V8 petrol International. Certainly noticed the lack of grunt. I loved the twin sticks in the Loadstar giving 15 speeds over the 10 in the Dodge. The boss loved the difference in fuel consumption though.
My first experience with Perkins engines was when my brother and I purchased a wheat farm in central NSW we bought an old Massey Harris 745D to pull a 14disc International A12 sundercut plough. The L4 Perkins was a tired motor and while it pulled the plough well the oil pressure dropped from 55psi down to 5psi when hot. It never let us down farming 200-30 acres a year.
We were getting worried about the oil pressure so after a few years making some money from our wheat we bought a 9G Chamberlain with reconditioned motor at a clearing sale. The Perkins 4-270 (an upgraded L4 with a different head and direct injection) maintained 60psi even when hot but alas shortly after broke the crankshaft at the middle main bearing where we found a razor blade hade been placed under the bearing because the crank journal was worn .We couldn't afford to fix it so out with the 4-270 and in with L4 (same block so bolted straight in) still ran at 5psi for a few more years till we bought a Fiat 900.Then we bought a Massey Ferguson 510 20ft open front header powered by a Perkins6-354, another great motor that never let us down, it had other mechanical failures but never the motor. I eventually bought another crankshaft for the 4-270 , had it tunnel bored and rebuilt it and put it back in the Chamberlain. Then rebuilt the L4. I found a Chamberlain Countryman 6 at a good price and bought it ,another Perkins 6-354 but only putting out 76hp . Then disaster stuck and most of the farm was sold. I eventually bought an ACCO1850B with a 27ft tray and another 6-354 motor. A great truck but a little slow on the highway, I used to move my toys around and taking them to rallies. I ended up selling it to a friend for a farm truck. Now the only Perkins I have are the Chamberlain MK11 (L4 Perkins) and a Massey Ferguson 1100 (6-354Perkins). I have had a great run out of Perkins motors, the only one that let me down wasn't the motors fault .I can only praise them.
You can't have too many toys!
The following user(s) said Thank You: cobbadog, Lang, PaulFH
We had 745 Massey tractors tandem piggy back. When the L4 motors tired they were replaced with 4/270's, Massey Harris had estimated the gear box life relevant to motor life so next thing the most used gear teeth would lose their facing.
The cylinders had two O rings at the bottom with a drain hole in the block located below the top one, water drip there resulted in a match being inserted in the hole and hoping the lower ring held.
Both model motors did well, the weakest points being water pump and generator bearings.
The photo shows two 18 disc Chamberlain ploughs, One on it's own behind one tractor was asking too much however the tandems could handle the pair comfortably.
The following user(s) said Thank You: 180wannabe, Lang, Mrsmackpaul, PaulFH, asw120, oliver1950, COFFMAN
Possibly the best thing about Perks was the "Perpetuity Perkins Scheme"......you could buy a factory reman long motor for around $800 in 1967,to around $1200 in the early 70s...........most trucks that were earning money got a new motor every year.............as far as I could see ,the exchange was in name onely,as the motors were 100% new made...........I think at the time ,there was no tax on recoed stuff.....or something...........the other trick was all Perkins motors had tractor versions,so you could get any spares sales tax free,........then there was the Indian made spares ......you could buy a Perkins 354 piston,rings ,liner etc cheaper than a Holden piston ($12 ?) ........the Perk s were magic motors.
The following user(s) said Thank You: 180wannabe, Lang, Mrsmackpaul, PaulFH, oliver1950
Im not 100% sure,but I think the Perkins L4s and the 4/270 were Australian made at a factory in Gippsland ......there was also a bigger version of the 4/270 called a 4/312 that was used by Masseys and also by John Deere (maybe)
The following user(s) said Thank You: 180wannabe, Mrsmackpaul, PaulFH, oliver1950
It was common for the early (1960/70s) Perk 354s to have poor oil pressure.......shoulda said "no oil pressure"........the motor in my D1310 which worked for 25 years without so much as a blink from the oil gauge ....even on a cold start......so it seems Perks dont need oil pressure............even a good motor would lose oil pressure after a couple of hours ,and newbies would drown the motors in oil,which ended up flooding the clutch.