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Old 09-17-2009
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Valiente Valiente is offline
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Seeking opinions on best diesel repower for long-haul voyaging

My mechanic has just informed me that due to the paucity of parts, rebuilding my 22 year old Westerbeke W-52 diesel could cost nearly as much as a new one. I told him I'd send him some rebuild kit links from Australia at a tenth of the price of Westerbeke's, but this has me thinking of the upside of repowering with a new, warranted diesel.

So I will throw it out there to the esteemed readers: If you were to purchase a new diesel in the 50-60 HP range to power a steel 41 foot pilothouse motorsailer (the sailing qualities are strong enough that we will sail more than motor), what would you purchase and why?

Some particular considerations:

1) This hypothetical repower would be going into a long-distance cruiser. We are looking to circumnavigate.

2) This will be turning a 19 x 15 VariProp four-blade feathering prop on a 1.25-inch shaft.

3) The engine will be on soft mounts and attached to an Aquadrive universal coupler/thrust bearing installation.

4) The engine would rarely be used to make power without pushing the boat. Extensive solar and wind generation are the primary amp-makers, not an alternator. The engine, however, once on, would be run at load until fully warmed up...like a "poop pump" run every four or five days a few miles out of an anchorage. At that time, I would be happy to make amps from a 90-100 amp alternator.

5) The engine would probably be run 800-1000 hours per year. Ease of maintenance, ease of acquiring spares and sheer robustness are prime considerations. Weight is not, nor are complications like intercoolers, turbos, etc. If I need to service the thing, I want to have it as simple as possible.

I am leaning toward Beta Marine's Kubota-based engine, but I would love opinions. I am cross-posting this to Cruisers' Forum and Sailnet to gather as wide a response as possible.

Thanks!
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