Last year we bought a Contest 32.... the smallest boat we thought it was feasible for our family of 4 to take off in. So far we're pretty pleased. A little compromise on performance, and wheel steering rather than the tiller we'd like, but she's a tardis of a boat for our small family and sails better than we had hoped. However with a baby and toddler on board we haven't really got to know her as well as we'd have liked.
We have a vague plan that in 6 or 7 years time when our now 1 and 3 year old are old enough to appreciate, it we may take off for a couple of years. Depending on if you talk to HWMBO or myself there is between about 30% and 70% chance of this happenining.
We always felt that if we were to take off in her we would replace the engine..... it's a volvo penta MD17C, 30 years old and we are told that it is very hard/impossible to find some spares. (regular service items fine). She was significantly under budget so there is money in the pot to do this. To add to the mix, the gas water heater installation has been condemed so we now have no hot water. (Don't think a calorifier on the raw water cooled 30 year old volvo would work too well).
So we put her in the water this year and she was overheating. Checked thermostat, impeller, raw water in, and finally took off exhaust manifold and found a blockage in the water jacket. Unblocked it and hopefully when i put it back together next week it will be fixed. However it got us thinking..... if it's not fixed should we replace the engine now rather than throwing money at an engine we were probably going to replace anyway.....do we plan to replace it even if fixed, or are we crazy to think about replacing an engine that works, just because parts may be a bit tricky in the future if we have a breakdown?
Anybody got any thoughts?
Results 1 to 10 of 32
15-04-12, 20:02 #1
To re-engine or not.... and if so when? Opiniions please
15-04-12, 20:30 #2
Went through this process when deciding whether or not to leave the BMW D7 in our boat.
The spares were hard to find and pricey when you did find them, a situation that was only destined to get worse. There was no doubt going to come a time when a part broke that was impossible to find. To guarantee a few years trouble free use, a complete rebuild on the D7 would really have been needed and this would have paid for a large chunk of a few year old Yanmar. The difference in cost between rebuild and replacement could almost be made up by selling the D7.
It was a no brainer - update for a very minor extra cost over the rebuild of an obsolete donk.
15-04-12, 20:36 #3
We replaced a 25 yr old merc , could have lasted a bit longer but heading towards a major refurb needing removal from the boat and costs were not that different between a new engine and replacing an old technology refurb, never looked back, quieter, more economical and reliable and peace of mind. replaced a 42 merc with a 42 hp vetus.
15-04-12, 20:50 #4Registered User
Location : Northamptonshire / Fambridge
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
My view, for what its worth, is that if the boat is a keeper and you expect to re-engine at some point, sooner has to be better than later. You get maximum benefit from the new engine plus you don't risk losing faith in the boat due to successive engine related problems.Marine electrical engineer 07961 531633
15-04-12, 20:59 #5
I agree with Brigantia. Just changed my 34 yr old MD7a with a 20hp Beta and only wish I had done so before spending almost £1000 over the past three years on trying to sort out the old engine.
Maybe if you can do your own engine repairs, it might be worth waiting until you are sure it's the right boat for you - if in a couple of years you decide that you need something a bit bigger for a family of four, a new engine will make the boat more saleable but you won't recover what you spent on it.Jonathan / Aeolus
15-04-12, 21:26 #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
Yes, if you intend to keep the boat, bite the bullet and replace it. You will find when you get your quotes there is little to choose between the prices/spec of the 4 main competitors, Beta, Nanni, Yanmar, Volvo. Choice comes down to which will fit best, has the best placed ancilliaries and can get the best package deal. Do not be tempted to try and salvage anything from your existing set up - you will need a new prop anyway and the rest of the stern gear and exhaust will be past it as well. Take the opportunity to install a calorifier while you are at it, and probably upgrade the electrics to take advantage of your greater charging capacity.
15-04-12, 21:27 #7
If you have the cash set aside, do it now. As previous posts have said, the pleasure of a new engine and knowing that its reliable, and won't let you down is great compared to the ongoing uncertainty.
And a new engine opens up several new posibilities - calorifier, extra charging with a different alternator........
And most likely under engine you'll have a quieter and smoother life.
15-04-12, 21:31 #8
16-04-12, 07:44 #9
Thanks for replies..... guess we just need to make sure that she's a keeper now. Really hard to be 100% sure as our needs with a 1 and 3 year old may be different to when they grow. Also watching friends buy much bigger boats than ours to go cruising as a couple, makes us quesiton our sanity about 4 on a 32' boat. BUT she IS a tardis.
16-04-12, 07:55 #10
If spares are problem and you don't have sufficient mechanical aptitude to overhaul and refit the engine installation youself, then a re engine is a good move, especially as the current ones are smoother, quieter and more efficient.
In my case, my 30year old Perkins 4108 with its ancient charging system, leaking seals and corroded exhaust manifold looked fit for the scrap heap especially as the previous owners had had starting and charging problems
So before spending money I took the cylinder head off to check for bore wear and cracks in the cylinder head. The bores showed little wear and the head barely in need of a decoke. I replaced the valves and springs, sent the injectors and pump away for overhaul and again, nothing other than a routine service was required.
So this pointed to the engine being sound and once I had replaced all the fuel system seals, replaced the Perkins heat exchangers and manifold with a Bowman combined one, replaced the engine mounts, upgraded the alternator and refitted all the electrics, I now have a first time starter with many years of service left.
Clearly none of this would have made economic sense if I'd had to pay someone to do all the work.