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FluffyVal

Which diesel engine would people recommend for a narrowboat

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5 hours ago, peterboat said:

It would appear that BMC 1500 has two types depending on the fuel filter I have the one they dont have!!

I would guess you have a cav pump ... so long as you use the correct bs rubber pipe and jubilee clips , with the use of a couple of compression fittings and a bit of 5/8" copper pipe you could adapt the one they stock to fit :) 

Rick

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3 minutes ago, dccruiser said:

I would guess you have a cav pump ... so long as you use the correct bs rubber pipe and jubilee clips , with the use of a couple of compression fittings and a bit of 5/8" copper pipe you could adapt the one they stock to fit :) 

Rick

I could have but as I had the lynch electric motor I decided that electric would be quieter and cheaper in the long run! In the past I had a run in with the BSS man over fuel pipes and tails on them, I was right and he was wrong but it cost a repeat visit to prove the point, so no diesel engine = no hassle with fuel pipes perfik.

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Fair enough Peter  ... like everything boating it's personal choices ... funily enough the bsc man I used had to be convinced jubilee clips on fuel pipes were permissable but I have my own full bsc mannual which is useful to argue certain points although a lot is still left that is open to interpretation which can cause major headaches.

Rick

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12 hours ago, peterboat said:

It would appear that BMC 1500 has two types depending on the fuel filter I have the one they dont have!!

Probably more than two when you take into account the vast number of "Fred in a shed" marinisations. The Newage, Tempest & Meaks marinisatons all had the same fuel filter filter in the same place. so the spill rails were the same. However didn't the bath tub come from the Broads? If so experience tells me to expect many weird and wonderful contraptions from there.

Perhaps the hardest thing to get hold of would be the fuel filter banjo with the thread on one arm but if that was the problem I would fit two single branch banjos and a longer bolt or T into the leak back pipe close to the engine and fit a separate leak back from the filter head.

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So to get back to the OP's point, about what is the "best" diesel engine for a narrowboat, bearing in mind that she admits to little knowledge of engines.

So she needs a fit, forget and then service type of engine - so not a vintage type, as she has little mechanical knowledge (or interest?)

I suggest there are four basic groups, in declining order of suitability for her requirements:

1) Best - a modern Japanese engine, properly marinised, e.g. Barrus Shire or Vetus to name but two. Reliable, widely understood, although spares can be pricey.

2) Secondly, one of the popular boat engines commonly found from the previous generation, e.g. BMC 1.5/1.8, Lister SR/ST. Again, reliable and widely understood, potentially can still be very reliable but now getting on in years so there are good ones and bad ones - but cheaper as a consequence.

3) Not recommended: Less common makes, frequently ex-car engines, often with marine conversions of questionable quality, as noted in post above, e.g Ford, Peugeot, VW. Not widely understood on the cut, and may be horribly bodged and/or just plain unsuitable for the task.

4) Least. A vintage engine, which may be reliable, but requires some mechanical knowledge to work with it, they aren't fit & forget, e.g, Russell Newbery, National, Gardner, old Listers, Armstrong Siddeley. Not only are you in the hands of specialists to repair these (unless you have the the ability to do it yourself), but spare parts are often hard to find and/or very expensive.

Does that seem a fair summary? It would not be my pecking order, but my circumstances are different!

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5 minutes ago, D. W. Walker said:

4) Least. A vintage engine, which may be reliable, but requires some mechanical knowledge to work with it, they aren't fit & forget, e.g, Russell Newbery, National, Gardner, old Listers, Armstrong Siddeley. Not only are you in the hands of specialists to repair these (unless you have the the ability to do it yourself), but spare parts are often hard to find and/or very expensive.

You perhaps need to define "old Listers", as you have also included Lister SR/ST engines much further up your pecking order.  Many would argue they are themselves "old Listers".

Quoted build dates are something like...
HA & HB 1958-1970
HR          1968-1991
SR           1967-1976
ST           1972-1983

So for example the smaller SR engines went out of production a long while before the bigger HRs, (I must admit I'm surprised it is 15 years!).

Someone like RLWP would need to offer an opinion maybe, (he works on them all the time), but I'd argue that from the perspective of finding spares or an appropriate engineer, an "H" series engine is no more an "old Lister" than an S series engine.  Similar comment applies to either, I would say.  And there is no greater technical knowledge needed to own and run an H series engine than an S series one, in my view.

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13 hours ago, D. W. Walker said:

So to get back to the OP's point, about what is the "best" diesel engine for a narrowboat, bearing in mind that she admits to little knowledge of engines.

So she needs a fit, forget and then service type of engine - so not a vintage type, as she has little mechanical knowledge (or interest?)

I suggest there are four basic groups, in declining order of suitability for her requirements:

1) Best - a modern Japanese engine, properly marinised, e.g. Barrus Shire or Vetus to name but two. Reliable, widely understood, although spares can be pricey.

2) Secondly, one of the popular boat engines commonly found from the previous generation, e.g. BMC 1.5/1.8, Lister SR/ST. Again, reliable and widely understood, potentially can still be very reliable but now getting on in years so there are good ones and bad ones - but cheaper as a consequence.

3) Not recommended: Less common makes, frequently ex-car engines, often with marine conversions of questionable quality, as noted in post above, e.g Ford, Peugeot, VW. Not widely understood on the cut, and may be horribly bodged and/or just plain unsuitable for the task.

4) Least. A vintage engine, which may be reliable, but requires some mechanical knowledge to work with it, they aren't fit & forget, e.g, Russell Newbery, National, Gardner, old Listers, Armstrong Siddeley. Not only are you in the hands of specialists to repair these (unless you have the the ability to do it yourself), but spare parts are often hard to find and/or very expensive.

Does that seem a fair summary? It would not be my pecking order, but my circumstances are different!

I would add that if you get a new (for example) beta 43 engine which are used in their mini diggers and baby tractors spare parts are available from places other than beta and so can be more reasonably priced.  They also have a good reputation for reliability and so the only spares the op will hopefully require for many years are just the normal service items such as filters, drive belts and oil etc, and these are not that expensive from on-line suppliers.

Edited by Chewbacka

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34 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

I would add that if you get a new (for example) beta 43 engine which are used in their mini diggers and baby tractors spare parts are available from places other than beta and so can be more reasonably priced.  They also have a good reputation for reliability and so the only spares the op will hopefully require for many years are just the normal service items such as filters, drive belts and oil etc, and these are not that expensive from on-line suppliers.

Do Beta make diggers and tractors? I thought they marinised Kubota engines, which are used in a lot of plant.

There tends to be a fairly good secondhand market for ex-lifeboat engines, usually at the £2000-£3000 range for those suitable for a narrowboat.  They tend to come with less than 200 hours on them and should have been well serviced. 

The whole point of a lifeboat is that they need to start first time you need them,  so they get looked after often by one of the people who would be relying on it at need!

 

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2 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

Do Beta make diggers and tractors? I thought they marinised Kubota engines, which are used in a lot of plant.

There tends to be a fairly good secondhand market for ex-lifeboat engines, usually at the £2000-£3000 range for those suitable for a narrowboat.  They tend to come with less than 200 hours on them and should have been well serviced. 

The whole point of a lifeboat is that they need to start first time you need them,  so they get looked after often by one of the people who would be relying on it at need!

 

Correct the base kubota engine is used in plant equipment and Beta buy a few and marinise them.  I must be more precise in future.

Edited by Chewbacka

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I seem to remember my friend Alan had a Petter engine in Phobos, we’re talking 1981-2.

The controls were two spinning brass wheels, does anyone know if the wheels are available on other engines.

( I realise I am really showing my ignorance here but I am willing to learn)

 

Also does the engine you have in the boat have any good or bad knock on effect on the stern gland maintenance

Edited by FluffyVal

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9 hours ago, FluffyVal said:

I seem to remember my friend Alan had a Petter engine in Phobos, we’re talking 1981-2.

The controls were two spinning brass wheels, does anyone know if the wheels are available on other engines.

( I realise I am really showing my ignorance here but I am willing to learn)

 

Also does the engine you have in the boat have any good or bad knock on effect on the stern gland maintenance

 

1. The wheels are part of the control mechanism, much the the single lever most boats use today so with a bit of ingenuity they can be fitted to any engine you are likely to buy. Personally unless it was a tru;ey historic boat I would go for ease of use and fit a single lever control.

2. A rigidly mounted engine that is perfectly aligned with the shaft will have the least effect on the stern gland as long as it stays in line and rigid. A flexibly mounted engine with no flexible shaft coupling will have the worst effect, followed by one with a single element flexible coupling. A flexibly mounted engine with a twin element flexible coupling plus thrust block should have zero effect on the stern gland. Examples of this are the Aquadrive, Pythondrive, long Centaflex, and twin universal (Hooks) joints

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