Thanks for getting in contact. I am fully knowledgeable on the L25, having serviced mine for the last 22 years and know Stephensen Marine very well, having ordered parts from them before. I also deal with Sheridan Marine who are also knowledgeable on Watermota and still rebuild J type gearboxes. I have also attached a thread I am running with Nate, another L25 owner. It would be good to keep in contact to share maintenance tips with the engine. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thread with Nate:
It is good to connect with a fellow Bristol 32 owner, and with the same mechanicals. I am very familiar with the L25 engine and gearbox, having maintained mine for over 22 years. The engine is based on the UK ford 1600 cross-flow engine officially named the Kent engine and it powered many types of Ford car and only recently replaced by new designs. The engine even powered the Lotus elan twin cam as well as the ford cortina, ford Anglia and other models. The Kent engine was an extremely rugged, reliable and flexible unit. The Marine engineering company Watermota jointly with Exeter University took the Kent engine and developed a diesel marine version and called it the Sea Panther supporting two types of gearbox, a Hurth and a Watermota J type. Watermota subsequently licensed the engine to be sold in the US by Westerbeke as the L25
One option for the Bristol 32 was to be powered by the L25 coupled with the J type gearbox, as installed on our boats. Although people may now 'sneer' at such an old engine from the UK, the unit is in fact extremely rugged and reliable if service is maintained properly and will last for several thousand hours of service without major overhaul. The J tyope gearbox is also very reliable as long as you service it regularly, and most important, maintain good propeller shaft alignment with the gearbox output shaft (should be ok with about 3 thou mating gap).
Watermota stopped making the engine many years ago, and spares are getting harder to find, but I have built up some good connections in the UK. Believe it or not the engine is still used on boats on the Thames river, and still doing good service in some sailboats in the UK. The J type gearbox is also still in wide use on the Thames River.
My connections include Sheridan Marine in the UK who still manufacture and recondition the J type gearbox.
Stephenson Marine in the UK who recondition and sell the Sea Panther (L25) engine.
I have also located a used marine parts dealer in the UK who knows the engine and can find spares - In fact I have just located a J type gearbox that I am going to recondition for my boat ( my gearbox prop output shaft is worn - probably due to previous mis-alignment or rope round the prop)
I have also located a used engine at a local Westerbeke dealer here on the west coast who is willing to sell it in parts as spares
Finally I have just rebuilt my fuel lift pump and have a couple of spares that I will recondition - if you need one just let me know