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MauriceMynah

Re-engining A Boat.

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As some of you know, I'm looking to acquire a different boat, but some I've been contemplating have rather old engines. I am not engineering minded (I need a workshop manual just to pump up the tyres on the Volvo) 

I find myself wondering if I buy something with an old engine, how much would I be looking at to re-engine it. 

Not including the cost of the engine itself, roughly how much do members reckon it would cost to have the job done?

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Remember that piece of string? How long was it? There's the problem. Each situation will present it's own unique challenges. Some may be a straightforward swap, but it's usually the ancilliary stuff that racks up the man-hours. Instrumentation, and re-positioning pipework and electrics. Most new engines come with their own instrumentation, which might involve new panels, etc. It all adds to the work involved. I doubt even a boatyard can give an average price, every install is different. Of course, you're probably looking at extra for the coal bunker and chimney, too. 

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I wonder if It may be more economical on any given boat to get estimates for an engine rebuild. That way everything is already in place and these engines seem to last forever with good maintenance.

Bear in mind that my knowledge is equal or less than your own, I needed a torch to find where the dipstick went back!!

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1 minute ago, Ray said:

I needed a torch to find where the dipstick went back!!

always thought the dipstick would be holding the torch :default_hiding:

  • Haha 4

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Two boats I've looked at were both built in the late 60s early 70s with Perkins engines of the same age. They were each about 10k below my ceiling, and that had me wondering. 

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Having been through the process of procuring a new engine recently, I'd say to definitely consider a rebuild depending on what the engine is.

A newer engine will be revvier and more responsive to the throttle, but will cost you a shed load of money and in the case of a (Kubota based) Nanni or Beta once that engine has done its 15-20,000 hours there is no rebuilding it. Not going to be your problem in reality, but something to think about when factoring in the cost.

An old Perkins, BMC etc can usually be rebuilt and I think there is a lot of confusion about what that actually means. When you do a full rebuild, most of the important internal components are replaced and what was an old, leaking engine that was down on power becomes pretty much a new engine inside an old block.

I don't know what it costs to rebuild but I do know what it costs to re-engine and it's not cheap. Personally, if it weren't time critical and / or I could pick up a donor engine to get rebuilt while I'm enjoying my boating and then swap out when ready, I would seriously consider going that route.

There is a obsession with having to have a 'new' engine, which I think comes from people being used to how bad engines have got in cars - But obviously a marine diesel is a very different beast and an old one isn't an especially scary thing provided it is looked after.

 

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There is a lovely bounty 37 for sale at nya it's engine has been looked after by boulters 

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21 minutes ago, Paws said:

There is a lovely bounty 37 for sale at nya it's engine has been looked after by boulters 

Is that the one where 1976 has exploded inside of it?

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And yet, I know of someone who HAS had a rebuild recently, and the thing is now worse than it was before. They were based in the Midlands and the engine has already been back 3 times - despite being advertised as "engine rebuild specialists" and apparently having a good name, it has been nothing but a pain.

I think it is ok now but that is after considerable input and work by people in a local yard!

Good to see differing views - MM you might as well make your own mind up I am afraid. I know what I would do....!

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Then that's an engine which hasn't been properly rebuilt, so you can see how misinformation spreads.

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Thats as maybe, but its hardly misinformation as I am merely recounting the experience of one individual who chose the rebuild route and ended up with nothing short of a disaster.

If that question were now put to him, I know what his answer would be - how do you know it was going to be a "properly" done  when you send it away to so called "experts"? With a new one you do not have that issue - or would you????

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You could give Pacific Cruisers a call .I believe their fleet all have replacement engines (japanese) so might have an idea of labour cost.  Very friendly brothers. Worth a call.

Nigel

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If I were considering re engining a boat I would seriously look down the electric propulsion route along with a diesel generator (Panda) to recharge the battery bank where shore power is unavailable .

This would also mean that electric heating could replace the noisy diesel type 

edited to add , I’m sure chip fat diesel would run the generator too

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If you want an idea of prices MM, it may be worth a look at CALCUTT BOATS. They do recon 1.5 or 1.8 versions of the BMC engine plus gearboxes and loads of spares. But! the main question is what constitutes a reconditioned engine?  Some engineers just stick a set of piston rings and valve seals in and that`s it. Others do a more comprehensive job and include pistons, valves, valve guides, big end&crank bearings, head skim, crank grind, piston bores honed or ground and fuel system overhauled. It can be a minefield. Hope you know a good fitter to advise you.

Paul

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Yeah, I think it is a tricky one. A full, proper,  rebuild is indeed more than just piston rings and seals. For many engines you can find the overhaul kits online to see what they contain.

Certainly for the engine we were looking at rebuilding the kit included complete pistons, con rods, bearings and all manner of things and of course a full set of seals. 

@marshman what I meant was that because of this you can see why opinion varies and people think it's not a viable option when actually done right it very much is.

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7 hours ago, MauriceMynah said:

Two boats I've looked at were both built in the late 60s early 70s with Perkins engines of the same age. They were each about 10k below my ceiling, and that had me wondering. 

Hi John,

Why not give Graham a call at Maffett Marine. He was raised on Perkins diesels ever since he was a small boy, and has a good reputation for engine re-builds and maintainance.  When we used to hire from Maffetts, they always re-built their engines rather than replaced them, and we NEVER EVER had any problems with them.

Personally, i would go down the re-build route, as if in the case of Marshmans friend you have an issue, at least you do have someone to go back to.

The best advice i can offer is to do some research into both, and make your decision, but ALWAYS ask for a "written quote" with a garunteed time frame for the work, and NEVER an "estimate", which are usually woefully short of the final bill.

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When I did my old RLM31 I wanted rid of the old 2.5bmc's as they were noisy smelly old things and the engine bearers were rotten too, so for the princely sum of about £2500 I rebuilt and marinised a pair of 1.9 peugeot diesels, rebuilt the enfield outdrives and glassed in 3x5" iroko bearers to stop them moving about, obviously it looked like a real bodge job when finished.....

SS850629.JPG

Unfortunately the long welds would keep cracking on the heat exchanger/manifolds so in the end I went for bowman bits but they did some serious miles before I did that, just needed a weld up once a season.

By rebuilt I mean bores honed, new rings, mains,ends,swirl chambers,water pumps, cambelts and tensioners,impellors, valves recut and lapped, then again I work in an engine shop....

SS850604.JPG

No I don't fancy doing it again before you ask!

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Reconditioning was never on the cards as I suspect the price of a new engine would make it a better bet. 

Basically my thinking is thus... If a re-con engine was as good and significantly cheaper, who would ever buy a new engine? I believe that the "re-con" engine is significantly cheaper, but not as good. If I can afford a new one, a Beta or Nanni, I would prefer to go down that route. All I need to find out now, is roughly how much a new engine would cost to fit.

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12 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

Reconditioning was never on the cards as I suspect the price of a new engine would make it a better bet. 

Basically my thinking is thus... If a re-con engine was as good and significantly cheaper, who would ever buy a new engine? I believe that the "re-con" engine is significantly cheaper, but not as good. If I can afford a new one, a Beta or Nanni, I would prefer to go down that route. All I need to find out now, is roughly how much a new engine would cost to fit.

I was quoted approx £16 to 18k if I wanted to replace my engines for 4 cylinder Nanni engines , so I would presume a 3 cylinder would be in the region of 6 to 8k

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13 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

I believe that the "re-con" engine is significantly cheaper, but not as good. 

That's the perception, but by what measure?

Newer engines are often revvier and more responsive, but are not necessarily more fuel efficient and as mentioned above will usually have a finite lifespan.

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We had a beta 25 fitted into our Elysian 27 four years ago at Ludham Bridge. I wouldn’t compare our costs with any other as our old engine was petrol and we also had lots of other work done at the same time, but I am sure Lbby as well as others would be more than happy to give basic prices. With their experience they have an idea what needs to be done and problems that may arise. We have been more than happy with our new engine and don’t regret spending the money, apart from anything else, Diesel seems to last forever!

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When we had a new engine fitted in Lightning, we replaced our old Perkins with a volvo D255. It turns out the D255 shares the same engine block as the old Perkins unit, so there was no need to change any of the engine mountings and positions or gearbox mountings etc.  If you do some research, you may well find a new engine that again shares the same block as the original, but with more up to date fuel efficient heads and injection etc, which again could save you a few pounds. We also sold our old engine (as a good runner with high hours) to recoup some cash.

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With the current thinking regarding diesel engines I would certainly not be re-engineering for another diesel installation at this time. As the general motorists demand for diesel decreases in the coming years there will be reduced availability along with higher prices (which we are already seeing on the forecourt).

Keep, rebuild or just nurse what you have if you can and wait for the new technology to find it's way afloat.

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