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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 01-09-2013
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Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

I was looking at the Beta and Universal engines at 25HP. Both are based on the Kubota engines. I don't know about Westerbeak, i just noticed it is available.

Beta Marine has 2 at 25HP
Beta 25 - 3,600 RPM, TMC40 Trans. (Smaller block than the Bata 28)
Beta 28 - 3,600 RPM, TMC40 Trans.

Universal has 1 at 26HP
M-25XPB - 3,000 RPM, ZF Trans.

Westerbeak has 1 at 25HP
30C - 3,600 RPM

Some of you who have gone thru the repowering process must have researched this already. Any experience, opinions and comparisons of these engines is appreciated.

Last edited by 73Morgan; 01-11-2013 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

I'm in the midst of a re-power now, I choose a Beta 38 to replace a 30 year old Westerbeke 50 (41hp). The primary rational for choosing the Beta was it would be the best fit with little or no engine bed modifications needed. I also found that Beta has considered access to regular maintenance items important and that has resulted in some logical engineering. The impeller, oil filter, oil pump, etc are located at the front of the engine, a dream compared to my old Westerbeke 50. I will actually enjoy changing the filter and impeller and be able to do it in a matter of minutes vs. hours, that = a better maintained engine IMO.

Most T37C are or are approaching 30 yrs old, several owners have already completed a re-power. I found a few who went with a Yanmar (3JHE), another with a Westerbeke (44 I think?) and a couple with Beta. Both the Yanmar and the Westerbeke required significant modifications to the engine bed I believe. The Beta allows for custom feet (added cost of course), and therefore has resulted in an almost perfect fit, only requiring the drilling of new holes for the forward bushings/isolators. Thats is pretty awesome and worth a lot in my opinion.

Yanmar is one of the only purpose built marine engines I know of, maybe Volvo as well? Some feel that is important, I don't. I know Beta had some issues early on in its development but has made some significant improvements to their marinization of their line of Kubota based engines (IIRC, it was a poorly engineered heat exchanger, since redesigned). Nanni, another line of Kubota based engines is very similar to the Beta line, worth doing a comparison.

By the time the fall boat show came around, I had narrowed my choice down to a Nanni or Beta, ultimately Beta won my business because of the response I received. After my initial contact with Beta Marine US via email, I received a call the following day. Since that initial call, Stanley at Beta has been quick to reply and answer all my questions satisfactorily and then some. I cant say that was the case when I contacted Nanni, Yanmar, and Westerbeke. Excellent customer service goes very far in my book, if the engine is a good one that is yet to be determined...I'll let you know in about 30 or 40 years, I hope

I think you will find they are all pretty closely priced, and they all have different selling points that you may or may not find valuable. A Goggle search using tags such as Marine, Diesel, Problems, etc should yield you some results worth reading. Also, most of the engine manufacturers have specific forums, I know Beta does. Some time spent searching them and see what the threads read should also provide some insight.

Often you will find folks will tell you that their choice was the best because they chose it (I am trying not to do that here). Are they really giving you unbiased information, or just their opinion and want to tell you what they choose was the best because they chose it?
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Last edited by T37Chef; 01-09-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

I'm not in the market right now, thankfully, but this is a wonderful post. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

My Universal 5432 now has just a bit more than 1000 hours and runs well. I'm hoping for many more years!

That could be another thread or poll, how many hours do you have on your diesel?
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

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Originally Posted by bwindrope View Post
I'm not in the market right now, thankfully, but this is a wonderful post. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

My Universal 5432 now has just a bit more than 1000 hours and runs well. I'm hoping for many more years!

That could be another thread or poll, how many hours do you have on your diesel?
My Universal 5424's hour meter broke at 3800 hours, years ago. I just installed a new meter, with 20 hours on it now. The engine shows no signs of wear and runs perfectly.

Yes, I'd say you should have many more years!
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

This is one of those times where spelling counts!

Kubota

Beta

I'v heard very good things about Beta repowers. HXs are aftermarket items, and other than raw water pumps are the only things added to Kubota engines to "marinize" them.

Regardless of what engine replacement you are considering, the effort required to change engine beds should be high on the list of "issues" in any repower. If you have almost no work to do on the stringers, you will have a much more successful project (assuming the rest of the equipment fits).

Good luck.
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
This is one of those times where spelling counts! Kubota, Beta
Correction noted and made.

Thanks to all who posted here.

At this point I am leaning towards the Beta 25 (25HP), the smaller block is a better fit and more powerful than the smaller Universal (which is only 20HP). TMC40 transmissions seems to be somewhat more reliable than the ZF. As originally stated by T73Chef Beta has been very attentive to my questions and I was given an Itemized quote. Compared to Universal where I was referred to a dealer who gave me a very vague quote. Beta includes a few things as standard equipment in the package. Without getting into details of the Universal quote, pricing is quit a bit better with Beta.

I am a little confused about the performance comparisons between the two Manufacturers.

The Beta 28 uses the same block as the Universal M-X25PB. The Beta is rated at 25HP 3,600 RPM max, and the Universal is rated at 26HP 3,000RPM.

I am not certain but I think the smaller Beta 25 uses the same block as the Universal M3-20B. The Beta is rated at 25HP and the Universal is rated at 20HP (3,600 RPM is the same).

Being that they use the same blocks shouldn't the ratings come from the Kubota and be the same?
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by 73Morgan View Post
Correction noted and made.

Thanks to all who posted here.

At this point I am leaning towards the Beta 25 (25HP), the smaller block is a better fit and more powerful than the smaller Universal (which is only 20HP). TMC40 transmissions seems to be somewhat more reliable than the ZF. As originally stated by T73Chef Beta has been very attentive to my questions and I was given an Itemized quote. Compared to Universal where I was referred to a dealer who gave me a very vague quote. Beta includes a few things as standard equipment in the package. Without getting into details of the Universal quote, pricing is quit a bit better with Beta.

I am a little confused about the performance comparisons between the two Manufacturers.

The Beta 28 uses the same block as the Universal M-X25PB. The Beta is rated at 25HP 3,600 RPM max, and the Universal is rated at 26HP 3,000RPM.

I am not certain but I think the smaller Beta 25 uses the same block as the Universal M3-20B. The Beta is rated at 25HP and the Universal is rated at 20HP (3,600 RPM is the same).

Being that they use the same blocks shouldn't the ratings come from the Kubota and be the same?
Lots of possible variables:

1. Bore and stroke may or may not be the same

2. Different camshafts, lift and duration

3. Different valves, more or less "curtain" area

4. Different injectors and or injector pump with different governor settings

5. Possible different combustion chamber configurations

6. Other stuff

7. Mfr's different methods in determining HP and torque readings

Paul T
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Old 01-11-2013
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

"The Beta is rated at 25HP 3,600 RPM max, and the Universal is rated at 26HP 3,000RPM."
As Paul said there can be a number of differences. It sounds like Beta is running the under more conservatively, which may mean cheaper parts needing to be run that way, or may just as well mean they've engineered the engine more conservatively so it will last longer. There's a lot you can do to reduce stresses on an engine, which means longer life but lower performance. Where you decide to make the compromise between the two isn't a matter of right or wrong in many cases, it is just a matter of optimizing the product for a specific use.
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

If one were to judge Universal vs. Beta SOLELY on the price for replacement parts then Beta (Kubota) wins hands down.
Replacement glow plugs for a U 5434 diesel from Torreson marine are around $100/per. The same glow plugs (from a Kubota tractor dealer) are $8/per. Quite a mark up.
Of course you have to know how to jiggle the cross reference of engine block #s to find the equivalent Kubota part but it is worth doing the research as anything with the name "Universal marine" will cost a premium.
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Old 01-12-2013
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Re: Beta vs. Universal vs. Westerbeak Engines

Beta has already done a lot of that work for you

betamarine - Engine Part
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