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bvermeer 02-10-2013 02:54 PM

Beta Marine
A year ago I installed a brand new Beta 20 with a Sea Prop 60 saildrive leg into my Islander Bahama 30, replacing an aging Volvo MD7A. I performed the installation myself with assistance and direction from the local Canadian Beta representative. All went well. I have over 100 hours on the engine to date and am really pleased with how the unit performs. However, and there always seems to be a "however", the unit makes an unusual clicking noise in gear (forward or reverse) at speeds under 1500 rpm. The clicking noise is louder than the running diesel at that speed! The noise can be heard from a distance before the engine can be heard. Having spent considerable resources on sound insulation in the engine compartment, I have found the level of this noise unacceptable. The local distributor does not have an answer. Assuming it was the saildrive unit I enquired with Technodrive, the parent company for Sea Prop. Technodrive responded to my enquiry almost immediately and suspected the connecting device between the transmission and engine. They had not had a report of this type of noise before. I subsequently enquired with Beta in England, twice. I have sent two messages since early December 2012 without a single response. I have also sent them a sound file with the noise, no response. All I am asking is to have them set up my configuration in the factory to see if a similar noise is being produced and at what level. Unfortunately, ripping the engine and saildrive unit out of the boat at this point is beyond my financial capabilities. The engine and saildrive unit are working well and I suspect I will have to learn to live with the noise. However, if you are in the market for a replacement engine I cannot recommend a Beta unit only because of the level of service and response from Beta England. The least they could do was respond with something, anything! I am more than willing (and have done so in the past) to give kudos to companies that back their product. This will be the first time that I have publicly condemed a company for any reason. Usually if I have a problem with support I simply stop recommending a company to my clients and stop purchasing any of their products. As can be imagined, I have stopped recommending Beta to my clients and am stuck with a noisy unit that reminds me every time I use it of the lack of support.

Faster 02-10-2013 08:15 PM

Re: Beta Marine

The local distributor does not have an answer.
Have they been any help in trying to contact Beta? Have they come out and 'listened' to the noise? I'd expect that they would be your first avenue for answers/redress/solution and that they'd be interested in finding out what's gone on there.

Is this an unusual combination? Has the local guy done this before or on another boat?

One thing you might do is to take a long screwdriver, and place the handle against your ear and press the blade in strategic places on the engine/drive.. you may actually be able to pinpoint a more precise location where the sound is coming from. It's quite unlikely to be engine related, I'd guess.. and much more likely to be in the drive itself, or the connection between the two.

Stu Jackson 02-10-2013 11:19 PM

Re: Beta Marine
Have you tried the telephone? Many times email goes unanswered. Don't ask me why...

CalebD 02-10-2013 11:28 PM

Re: Beta Marine
From what I hear most owners who have re-powered with a Beta engine are quite happy. I'd say that your complaint has only to do with the sail drive unit. I'll go one step further to say that I'd avoid putting a sail drive system in any sailboat if avoidable.

My $.02.

bvermeer 02-11-2013 02:12 AM

Re: Beta Marine
The local distributor believes the noise to be "gear lash" out of the sail drive unit. But he doesn't know for certain as this is the first Sea Prop 60 that he has encountered. Although not a "mechanic" I have plenty of mechanical experience. And this does not sound like "gear lash". If it is, the gear box is in real misalignment. The sound file was originally provided to him and he forwarded it to Beta. I actually went out and purchased mechanic earphones to localize the noise, and it's certainly coming from the sail drive / engine connection area. And yes, as mentioned, the engine is purring along nicely and the thrust from the sail drive Gori folding prop is better than expected. My beef is the lack of response from Beta to e-mails to their "customer service" mailbox. Not even my local distributor can get an answer to my request. If your new car has a problem you can bet your dealer would be addressing your concerns. Like I said, I give credit where it's due, but on the other side of that coin.......

Islander 36 Maintenance

Bert Vermeer
s/v Natasha
Sidney, BC

klem 02-12-2013 05:22 PM

Re: Beta Marine
Have you done back to back tests in gear and out of gear? Ideally, you would unhook each component and move down the line that way until the noise reappeared but that is an awful lot of work. A mechanic's stethoscope definitely is a good start.

Can you post the sound clip where we can hear it?

bvermeer 02-12-2013 07:11 PM

Re: Beta Marine
Yes I have. The sound file (which the Sailnet system won't allow me to attach) has the engine in and out of gear and the clicking noise is quite distinct and noticable. Unfortunately, the engine/sail-drive unit is joined together on a bed and I am not able to separate to test unless I remove the engine. This is something that I am prepared to do, if there are alternatives available from Beta. My request to them was to set up my system in their factory and then test for the noise. I could do that as well, using an electric drive on the saildrive unit to eliminate the diesel noise and focus on the clicking noise. However, if there is no options available from Beta on connecting hardware between the engine and transmission then I'm doing it for nothing (and it's somewhat of a big job!). Beta does not have schematics available that describe the connection inside the saildrive unit. Neither does Technodrive. Without some direction from Beta I am at a loss. If you're interested I can flip the sound file to an e-mail address.

Stu Jackson 02-13-2013 01:37 PM

Re: Beta Marine
Bert, if the "engine is purring away nicely" and you've localized the issue to the gear drive, what do you expect Beta to do? Othger than not answering your emails...have you tried calling them yourself?

Faster 02-13-2013 01:46 PM

Re: Beta Marine

Originally Posted by Stu Jackson (Post 989644)
Bert, if the "engine is purring away nicely" and you've localized the issue to the gear drive, what do you expect Beta to do? Othger than not answering your emails...have you tried calling them yourself?

That's kind of my thoughts too... clearly it's not Beta's problem, but still it would be nice if they'd at least respond..

I wonder what kind of history there is with the Seaprop drive.. there seems little opportunity for misalignment there, have you contacted them about the noise? Their website looks good, but I'd not heard of them before this. What do they say?

I also find it a bit strange that your original supplier isn't more interested in getting to the bottom of this.

jrd22 02-13-2013 04:15 PM

Re: Beta Marine
Like Faster above, I'm disappointed to hear that the dealer hasn't been all over this trying to solve the problem, especially since I'm contemplating writing Beta a large check in the near future.
Please keep us updated to any new developments.

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