Join Date: Jun 2006
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I have a Westerbeke W52 and concur that perhaps unlike Yanmar and definitely unlike Volvo, there are non-marine spares that are applicable for rebuild and repair purposes.
May this never be a issue with you...
However, if your pattern of usage is "light", diesels hate "light" (10 minutes at low revs from a cold start, head to wind, off...sail for three hours, cold start, 10 minutes back...shut off for a week).
"Light" wears engines in my non-mechanic (but strongly suggestive via anecdote) far more than "regular" or even "heavy". It is possible to kill a new diesel in under 1,000 hours this way.
Sooo... if you intend to motorsail a lot, or to run your diesel for an hour at 2,400 RPM before you switch off, then get the Yanmar. They seem efficient and popular and somewhat lighter, perhaps even more compact.
If you aren't going to do that, get the Westerbeke. It may wear out just as fast as the Yanmar, but it may be a great deal cheaper to fix. They also have about the best shop manuals I've ever seen...which your mechanic will appreciate.
Please understand that there are few awful marine diesels, but that marine diesel usage, when combined with salt water, close, sometimes poorly vented "caves", and ignorance of basic maintenance, can drastically shorten the lifespan of a diesel engine, no matter what the make.
The old, heavy Perkins and Lister engines that drive old cruisers regularly go 10,000 hours between rebuilds, or 20 years for most people. That's because they get oil changes every 100 hours, clean coolant, block passage rinses, clean air, decent venting, zinc changes and, most importantly, hours and hours of runtime at 2,200-2,400 RPM or so, which is the point where fuel efficiency is best and speed is maybe only a knot below maximum.
Diesels, like dogs, thrive on routine....