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Donna

What engine types to avoid/look for

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Newbie here.

 

When looking at boats, are there certain engines that I should avoid or look for? I am terrible at DIY and electrics and all that and ideally want a cheap to run engine that won't break down, not interested in'vintage' etc as I don't have a lot of money to pay for repairs and won't have a clue how to do anything by myself

 

EDIT we will be moored in one place 90% of the time, in case that makes a difference

Edited by Donna

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When I was buying the boat I was interested in/bought had a Beta Marine 1305 and the surveyor liked the boat and engine.

 

It's not had much use as moored at a marina. Must get a new starter battery and oil/filter change as not run for around 2 years since having an oil/filter change and Marine 16 added to the diesel!!

 

Jamescheers.gif

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If we ignore vintage engines and I would add air cooled Listers (only because they tend to be old & worn out) then they are all much of a muchness but spend some time researching the cost and readily availability of spares. On that front I would avoid the common yellow ones and bluish green ones for inland use. (not the darker, almost British racing green ones).

 

Personally I would prefer a hydraulic gearbox to a mechanical one, especially older Hurths.

 

How are you going to keep your batteries fully charged? That is a far more important question.

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I'd say the engine should be the least of your worries, generally. Make sure they demonstrate it starting, from COLD.

 

If it's nice and clean, with no oily mess in the bottom, chances are that it has been looked after. Check the dipstick for oil, and the coolant level. You should get a chance to test-drive before any money is involved. There, you can feel for how the engine runs, not to mention possible steering problems, rudder alignment, reverse gear etc.

 

If you don't plan to use it in cold weather, be sure to 'winterise' it so that it starts next summer.

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I think your biggest problem will not be what engine but more to do with the lack of use of said engine.

 

The other problem before you get to that is, the boat you eventually love will have an engine (hopefully) and you will be stuck with whatever it has fitted.

 

Nice boat, rubbish engine

 

Rubbish boat, nice engine

 

Nice boat, nice engine. If you are lucky.

 

Has anyone mentioned, get it fully surveyed.

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Thanks! What things should I be worrying about more? I wouldhave thought the engine wasthe most important thing ?

 

Very helpful

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Guest

The hull and superstructure are the most important things. They keep you afloat and keep the rain out. A good engine is of little use in a sunken boat :)

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As per Catweasel, plus does all the equipment on-board comply with the required standards, will it kill you.

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japanese engines are now the most common engine in boats nowdays their is a reason for it they are good reliable and generally not needing a lot of repairs

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Thanks! What things should I be worrying about more? I would have thought the engine was the most important thing ?

 

Very helpful

 

Well, it's the most expensive item to replace if / when it goes wrong. If your '90%' means "we're really not going out at all"- aka we're really liveaboards in a marina, then the engine is even less important, you can always punt it to the pumpout station....

 

I'm biased - but to me the choice of engine can indicate the quality of the build of the boat. A Beta Marine marinised Kubota indicates something good about the builder / owner.

I suspect that will cause a lot of controversy .......

I could go into more detail..

More importantly - for you - it's the condition of the engine bay that says more than whatever engine / gearbox is in it.

Look at the layout (you obviously will) BUT also note the quality and condition of the cooker. fridge, washing machine (if any), electrical switchgear and panel - is it a mess of wires or neatly in a box. Is the bathroom practical with a shower bath (rather than a shower tray) and a comfortable loo, rather than something stuffed into a corner.

A boat can look pretty - but a badly designed and sloppy layout can be a nightmare to use and maintain.

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Newbie here.

 

I am terrible at DIY and electrics and all that

 

and won't have a clue how to do anything by myself

 

 

This might be a personal thing of mine, but I'd walk away from the occasional boat you see with a rubber cam belt, Ford D series, the occasional Volkswagen engine etc.

Based on the aboveextract from the OP's opener, I think you could have posted your otherwise helpful advice in Chinese, Starry! :)

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japanese engines are now the most common engine in boats nowdays their is a reason for it they are good reliable and generally not needing a lot of repairs

...and please note, not all of them are marketed under Jap names. So you may find a boat with a Mitsubishi or Isuzu engine, which are of course Japanese - but Thornycroft and Beta engines are also marinised versions of Japanese engines. In general terms Jap = reliable - however, if you lose your heart to a boat which has an engine you have never heard of, don't worry. This happened to us when we bought our first boat years ago, it had a Petter and I was scared stiff about what I'd do if it conked out - but it never went wrong in the four years that we owned the boat.

Edited by Athy

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Can't beat a BMC 1.5 in my opinion.... easy to work on, spares readily available, economical to run, I specifically sought out boats which had them.

And in my opinion, you can't beat a Beta BD3 'Tug' engine. Also easy and cheap!

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.. and I love my Mitsubishi K4D.

 

I know you said you don't want to do repairs, but even so I do think it's worth looking at how the engine is installed ie how easy it is to get to all the various bits and to see what is going on. Some installations require a contortionist, and make it less likely you will spot a new water leak, or some oil in a new place.

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Can't beat a BMC 1.5 in my opinion.... easy to work on, spares readily available, economical to run, I specifically sought out boats which had them.

sorry star i woudnt have one given me but thats my personal opinion based on varies engines in our marina always going wrong usually in a very expensive way

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Probably the most important thing is to learn to love DIYing well on your boat. BOAT means Bring Out Another Thousand. If you don't learn DIY then everything will cost big money.

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It's hard to find a boat that ticks every box: price, layout, length, stern...preferred engine make was on my list but you'd hardly view anything if you made it a must-have.

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Most modern engines with reasonably low hours won't need a lot of work, but they'll all need servicing. No DIY skills and no money to pay someone else to do this could be an issue.

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Donna

 

What Southern Star meant was that some engines drive a critical part by a glorified rubber band, exactly the same as most cars do. If this rubber band fails on a diesel that is running (this is when they usually fail) expect a four figure repair bill. The majority of engines in boats are not like this. To prevent failure the rubber band should be changed very regularly and if you do the job wrong then its a four figure sum to put right.

 

Look at the front of the engine where the belts are. If the front of the engine has a large plastic cover over it or a thin tin one held on by a FEW screws then it has a timing belt. Some makes that could be like this - some models from one a maker could well be different. As SS say VW and I will add Lombardidi (also may have a proprietary fuel system), Peugeot, and Ford XLD.

 

I agree with SS, best to avoid these engines.

 

I would say that if a BMC can be the hire company's favourite then then there is not a lot wrong with the basic (very basic) design, one post makes me think there may be a dodgy local engineer about. They are however getting in years and production moved abroad many years ago so now there are only a very few outlets supplying anything more than service spares. If I had not managed to find a boat with a Bukh engine I would have been very drawn to a BMC 1.5 but not having one would no be a deal breaker for me. Please note that Thornycroft marinised BMCs engines before they moved to Japanese base engines.

 

Now and again a company sees an opportunity to import engines from lesser known Asian makers. These are arguably best avoided, one like this marinised by a well respects company is the Shanks. On not account get this confused with the Shire range which is based on a different engine maker.

 

"Reliable" makes of engine: Beta, Nanni, Thornycroft, Isuzu and the Canaline range from engines plus seems, to be gaining a good reputation. Three more that are also reliable but may have a cost of spares issue are Vetus, Volvo-Penta, and Bukh. Apart from Vetus these are rarer in canal boats.

 

Remember if you want to check on an engine you can always ask here and maybe post a photo so we can check the advert/vendor is not mistaken.

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Whilst most of the mainstream modern engines will do you very nicley, the way they are installed can have a huge impact , much more than brand A or B. Look for one that has been factory marinised .

 

Look for a neat and tidy installation and good access to belts and filters etc, even if you are paying someone else to do the servicing.

Pools of oil and water in the bilge are a bad sign.

Also look at the batteries can you access them for topping up ?

 

Top Cat

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I suspect that by now OP will be thoroughly confused.

 

I suggest that the best idea, as proposed by Tony B above, would be to take photos of the engine installation on your proposed boat and ask for opinions here.

 

Tony

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I suspect that by now OP will be thoroughly confused.

 

I suggest that the best idea, as proposed by Tony B above, would be to take photos of the engine installation on your proposed boat and ask for opinions here.

 

Tony

And you will still get 50 different replies.

:)

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