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Saani

Trad boats with engine room : are they always vintage engines?

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Hi , I have a question about trad boats with boatman’s cabin and engine room etc are all those engines generally vintage? I ask because as a novice I may be better off with a more modern engine according to a post just read, but are older style engines more difficult to maintain etc? Thanks again to all who keep answering my posts.

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3 hours ago, Saani said:

Hi , I have a question about trad boats with boatman’s cabin and engine room etc are all those engines generally vintage? I ask because as a novice I may be better off with a more modern engine according to a post just read, but are older style engines more difficult to maintain etc? Thanks again to all who keep answering my posts.

No they are not all traditional engines, some have relatively modern tractor engines marinised by Beta but if you are going to (in my view) waste living space with an engine room you might as well put something in it that looks the part.  Having the engine in an engine room often makes maintenance easier sebaceous you can get all around it but if its old you should make sure spares are still  available because the last thing you need is to have to buy another engine because some vital part is either no longer available or is a prohibitive price because you have to have it made specially for you.

 

I would add that many do not have oil filters as standard, contain over a gallon of oil and require 100 hour oil changes. That can get expensive because nowadays the oil required is regarded as somewhat special (low or no detergentcy).

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Personal view - older engines aren't more difficult for the owner to maintain, although spares can be a problem, but they are more difficult to get the average boatyard mechanic to maintain. With Lutine, the first thing that foxed one or two was that it was air cooled, so when it overheated, the really hadn't got a clue what was going on!

 

Specialist mechanics and parts are available, but price and especially time can become a factor.

 

It's a personal view, but to me one advantage of an engine room would be that it's also an onboard shed where tools, overalls etc can be kept and waterproof clothing be hung up to dry. 

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I love my engine room! It’s far from a waste of space...ideal for drying wet clothes! 

 

It might help to be mechanically minded with a vintage engine...and some engines...like mine!...require 7 gallons of oil every 450 hours...but that’s all part of the charm. I wouldn’t want a digger engine!

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51 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

  Having the engine in an engine room often makes maintenance easier sebaceous

 

You're certainly going to get greasy wherever the engine is!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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4 hours ago, Saani said:

Hi , I have a question about trad boats with boatman’s cabin and engine room etc are all those engines generally vintage? I ask because as a novice I may be better off with a more modern engine according to a post just read, but are older style engines more difficult to maintain etc? Thanks again to all who keep answering my posts.

 

Old engines are much easier to maintain than modern because they are usually fitted in an engine room. They and you are protected from rain and weather, there is room to see what you are doing rather than clambering around under the floor. Lots of modern Beta tug engines in engine rooms too. 

 

Mending an old vintage lump is a different matter though. Maintenance (i.e. oil changes, new drive belts etc),  is a completely different skillset from diagnosing and repairing breakdowns. Parts for long-discontinued vintage diesels depend on a million things when you can't just go to the manufacturer's service agent. This is where a Beta tug engine is good. Parts are still available from Beta.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, frangar said:

I love my engine room! It’s far from a waste of space...ideal for drying wet clothes! 

 

 

Our tumble drier is ideal for drying wet clothes - and takes up a tiny fraction of the space. Of course having a modern engine makes it easy to generate the power needed to run the drier.

 

But biggest problem with an engine room is that in many cases, the prop shaft runs under the floor and thus the back cabin has to have a raised floor, reducing headroom massively.

Edited by nicknorman

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5 hours ago, Saani said:

Hi , I have a question about trad boats with boatman’s cabin and engine room etc are all those engines generally vintage? I ask because as a novice I may be better off with a more modern engine according to a post just read, but are older style engines more difficult to maintain etc? Thanks again to all who keep answering my posts.

Sadly, I have a trad 71ft boat built by one of the best builders but the numpty who originally had the boat made chose to install a soulless Mercedes van engine. To top that, it's a rattly smokey lump and is an embarrassment. I dream of something more in keeping with the boat. Like others, I love my engine room. Our engine is offset to one side as we have hydraulic drive. This gives us a great space for an airing cupboard and fold-down ironing board (yes, some of us still iron). We can walk straight down the centre of the boat end-to-end. One day we'll swap the engine for a "proper"one.

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31 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Our tumble drier is ideal for drying wet clothes - and takes up a tiny fraction of the space. Of course having a modern engine makes it easy to generate the power needed to run the drier.

 

But biggest problem with an engine room is that in many cases, the prop shaft runs under the floor and thus the back cabin has to have a raised floor, reducing headroom massively.

It must be shame leading such a bland life! I prefer my boat to have character. 

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47 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Our tumble drier is ideal for drying wet clothes - and takes up a tiny fraction of the space. Of course having a modern engine makes it easy to generate the power needed to run the drier.

 

 

I suspect my Paramo waterproof boating jacket is not supposed to be tumble dried. 

 

You put your wet waterproof gear in the tumble dryer at the end of a day of wet boating then, Nick? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, frangar said:

It must be shame leading such a bland life! I prefer my boat to have character. 

If “character” means not being able to stand up in the cabin, you can keep it!

28 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I suspect my Paramo waterproof boating jacket is not supposed to be tumble dried. 

 

You put your wet waterproof gear in the tumble dryer at the end of a day of wet boating then, Nick? 

 

 

If it is waterproof, why would it need to be dried?

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22 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

 

If it is waterproof, why would it need to be dried?

 

It needs to be hung up somewhere to drip when I take it off, and an engine room is the ideal place. I presume you hang yours up in the tumble dryer. 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

It needs to be hung up somewhere to drip when I take it off, and an engine room is the ideal place. I presume you hang yours up in the tumble dryer. 

 

No we hang it up at the back. I don’t really want to say “in the engine room” - partly because purists will say that the space at a “trad stern” with a modern engine at the back, isn’t a proper engine room, and partly because it doesn’t suit my argument?

 

So yes I think a trad stern with a modern engine at the back meets all requirements - waterproofs can be hung up to drip dry and other clothes out of the washing machine (or when it was decided to work locks in shorts and T shirt in pissing rain) go into the tumble drier, powered from the modern engine. Without losing a lot of space in the middle of the boat and having a back cabin with low headroom. And, in the case of a vintage engine, having to endure smoky exhaust at light loads.

Edited by nicknorman

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8 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

And, in the case of a vintage engine, having to endure smoky exhaust at light loads.

 

My Kelvins have CRYSTAL CLEAR exhausts in normal use. Agreed I can't say the same for the Gleniffer, which smokes enthusiastically, sometimes chuffing up beautiful elegant towers of smoke rings. But I know you don't appreciate engines with a personality :giggles:

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
Rearrange the words into the correct order :D

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7 hours ago, Saani said:

. . . but are older style engines more difficult to maintain etc? 

I’ve had both a vintage engine, a Kelvin K2, and a bog standard BMC 1.8 for over twenty years.  I can tell you that the BMC has caused far more problems than the Kelvin.

The Kelvin needed new rings; the magneto had to be refurbished and a nut shattered in the water pump. Other than that all I did was have regular oil changes and a couple of new alternator belts.

 

On the other hand the BMC has needed a new starter motor; a new lift pump; a refurbished injector pump; a new alternator; two new water pumps -one internal and one for the heat exchanger; a skimmed head and head gasket; re-ground valves and the bottom belt pulley which sheared off.  

 

And that’s before I’ve had to spend a fortune on the hydraulic drive.

 

I would add that if you have a vintage engine, you need to belong to one of the specialised support networks. There is an amazing amount of expertise out there. 

An engine like a Kelvin is extremely easy to service.  You'll need a set of Whitworth spanners.   After all, it was designed for non-technical North Sea fishermen to be able to work on. The instructions that come along with the engine are full of bits of advice like "tighten up very tight" for cylinder head nuts or "as hot as a man's hand can bear", for the engine  temperature.  The magneto points and the spark plug gaps are measured in the thickness of fag packets. 

 

Perhaps I should mention that my Seffle was a bit more challenging.

 

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4 minutes ago, koukouvagia said:

I’ve had both a vintage engine, a Kelvin K2, and a bog standard BMC 1.8 for over twenty years.  I can tell you that the BMC has caused far more problems than the Kelvin.

The Kelvin needed new rings; the magneto had to be refurbished and a nut shattered in the water pump. Other than that all I did was have regular oil changes and a couple of new alternator belts.

 

On the other hand the BMC has needed a new starter motor; a new lift pump; a refurbished injector pump; a new alternator; two new water pumps -one internal and one for the heat exchanger; a skimmed head and head gasket; re-ground valves and the bottom belt pulley which sheared off.  

 

And that’s before I’ve had to spend a fortune on the hydraulic drive.

 

I would add that if you have a vintage engine, you need to belong to one of the specialised support networks. There is an amazing amount of expertise out there. 

An engine like a Kelvin is extremely easy to service.  You'll need a set of Whitworth spanners.   After all, it was designed for non-technical North Sea fishermen to be able to work on. The instructions that come along with the engine are full of bits of advice like "tighten up very tight" for cylinder head nuts or "as hot as a man's hand can bear", for the engine  temperature.  The magneto points and the spark plug gaps are measured in the thickness of fag packets. 

 

Perhaps I should mention that my Seffle was a bit more challenging.

 

I wouldn’t classify a BMC as being a modern engine.

31 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

My Kelvins have CRYSTAL CLEAR exhausts in normal use.

 

That seems to be the exception!

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On 27/08/2019 at 11:05, nicknorman said:

I wouldn’t classify a BMC as being a modern engine.

 

As it could well date from the 1960s it may be about 60 years old, no wonder it needed a bit of an overhaul and new auxiliaries. I wonder how a 50 or 60 year old Kubota or Isuzu will fare in the future.

 

Vintage engines are likely to be designed to be suffer less stress than an modern engine so are likely to be less prone to breakdowns in the long term.

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On 27/08/2019 at 10:27, nicknorman said:

 And, in the case of a vintage engine, having to endure smoky exhaust at light loads.

Why do you think they have to be smoky at light loads?

 

If knackered, maybe, but if in good order, then no.

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13 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Why do you think they have to be smoky at light loads?

 

If knackered, maybe, but if in good order, then no.

Obviously it depends on the make/model, but as I understand it, most old designs of engine are very prone to smoking under light load. The technology (fluid dynamics, I guess) to get good atomisation and mixing at low loads simply wasn’t as good 80 -90 years ago as it is now. It is certainly rare to see a vintage engine that doesn’t smoke at all. Perhaps there are just a lot of knackered vintage engines about?

24 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

As it could well date from the 1960s it may be about 60 years old, no wonder it needed a bit of an overhaul and new auxiliaries. I wonder how a 50 or 60 year old Kubota or Isuzu will fare in the future.

 

Vintage engines are likely to be designed to be suffer less stress than an modern engine so are likely to be less prone to breakdowns in the long term.

I think the difference is that a BMC retains the design from 60 years ago, whereas a new Beta etc has a more modern design which is cleaner burning and more reliable and better suited to driving large accessories. The other difference is that BMCs were (I think) not subject to the uniform marinisation that you get with a Beta.

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2 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Why do you think they have to be smoky at light loads?

 

If knackered, maybe, but if in good order, then no.

It all depends upon how well the designer met the need for adequate swirl in the combustion chamber in direct injection engines. Most, if not all the common vintage engines seem to be direct injected although RN seem to have a novel design. 

 

Adequate swirl is required so as the fuel droplets burn more air (oxygen) is carried onto the droplet thereby displacing the CO2 and CO. If the swirl is not adequate the burning droplet will stop making CO2, and start making CO. As the oxygen gets further depleted the droplet stops making CO and produces just C or carbon. How this process plays out depends upon the fuel droplet size and the degree of swirl. As the speed and degree of swirl depends upon piston speed many direct injection and thus trad engines will tend to smoke on idle, however well maintained they are. This also applies to modern DI mechanically injected engines. despite my best efforts the DV36 smokes at low speed and on idle. A chat with TW Marine revealed the lengths Bukh went to when it was discovered hos their engines smoked in canal use which was not the case for sea based engines. Shire engines also have a tendancy to smoke on idle as do older Listers but in the latter case some may be down to lack of maintenance.

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On 27/08/2019 at 11:00, koukouvagia said:

I’ve had both a vintage engine, a Kelvin K2, and a bog standard BMC 1.8 for over twenty years.  I can tell you that the BMC has caused far more problems than the Kelvin.

The Kelvin needed new rings; the magneto had to be refurbished and a nut shattered in the water pump. Other than that all I did was have regular oil changes and a couple of new alternator belts.

 

On the other hand the BMC has needed a new starter motor; a new lift pump; a refurbished injector pump; a new alternator; two new water pumps -one internal and one for the heat exchanger; a skimmed head and head gasket; re-ground valves and the bottom belt pulley which sheared off.  

 

And that’s before I’ve had to spend a fortune on the hydraulic drive.

 

I would add that if you have a vintage engine, you need to belong to one of the specialised support networks. There is an amazing amount of expertise out there. 

An engine like a Kelvin is extremely easy to service.  You'll need a set of Whitworth spanners.   After all, it was designed for non-technical North Sea fishermen to be able to work on. The instructions that come along with the engine are full of bits of advice like "tighten up very tight" for cylinder head nuts or "as hot as a man's hand can bear", for the engine  temperature.  The magneto points and the spark plug gaps are measured in the thickness of fag packets. 

 

Perhaps I should mention that my Seffle was a bit more challenging.

 

The point here being that most of the items on KK's list are ancilliaries. The weak points in modern engines also tend to be the ancilliaries.

 

   Vintage engines only got to be vintage, and available in reasonable quantities because:

 

A. They were successful when available new, so sold in substantial numbers  ( like the Kubota/Mitsibishi base construction plant engines  for modern marinisations); 

B  They were reliable and durable in use, so they survived; ( Again like successful modern plant engines, but older ones used to achieve this through generous design rather than tight tolerances)

C.  They are repairable and wear tolerant, so tended to work on and on, surviving through another generation of engines. ( Modern stuff tends not to do this- when it is eventually worn, its worn out and the bits and labour charges  make the cost of repair comparable with a replacement engine.)

D.  They ended up in the corners of boatyards, plant depots and scrapyards as a future resource.

 

KK's remarks on support networks are very important.  Unless you buy a Gardner, where there is still a fair commercial spare and repair network, you are into anorak territory.

 

N

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6 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

I think the difference is that a BMC retains the design from 60 years ago, whereas a new Beta etc has a more modern design which is cleaner burning and more reliable and better suited to driving large accessories. The other difference is that BMCs were (I think) not subject to the uniform marinisation that you get with a Beta.

Both Kubota and BMC are indirect injected engines so they should be fairly similar combustion wise although Kubota probably have the edge because of computer modelling of the combustion process and gas flows. Newage/Tempest marinisations of the BMC were as uniform as Betas. BMCs in their day were used in all manner of industrial applications with some continually running in jungle clearings with and engineer flying in once a month to refuel and service them. I know this from an interview I had for a company in Reading supplying a large range of BMC powered industrial equipment.

 

Now, when you compare things like bearing area, piston design, conrod size and so on you will find the largest and thus probably the least stressed are the trad engines, then BMC, then the Mitsubishi/Kubota/Isuzu engines and finally the modern engines automotive engines. What has allowed this to happen is material & oil technology but the fact remains that modern engines must be more highly stressed.

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