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  #1  
Old 01-21-2009
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Westerbeke 33, can it be rebuilt?

I have a Westebeke 33 that has a cracked piston. On inspection by mechanic I have been told that because the cylinder walls are slightly pitted (hard to see but cylinder walls are not smooth and shinny) that the engine would need to be rebuilt. This would include reboring the cylinder walls.

The rub is that mechanic thinks this is not possible since cylinder wall tolerences on W 33 are too little to allow reboring. I need to verify that this information sounds reasonable because I do not have a clue and the only option is to buy a new engine, which is what the mechanic wants to do.

Opinions and comments please.
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Old 01-21-2009
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You can discuss your engine with the support staff at Hansen Marine Hansen Marine Marblehead MA. They know their Westerbekes. They would charge about $6,500 to rebuild that engine if you ship it to them. My advice would be to consider a Yanmar.
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Old 01-21-2009
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I went to a web site for westerbekes engine parts and they showed pistons in two larger piston sizes than stock.

If the walls are so thin why then does the manufacture offer over size pistons and rings??

Makes ya wanna say---HUMMMM
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Old 01-21-2009
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What you should do is price re-building the Westerbreke and compare that with replacing it with a more reasonable cost engine, like a Beta Marine, Kubota-based one... if there isn't a big difference, it might make more sense to buy new than to rebuild. Westerbreke tends to have fairly expensive parts IIRC.
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Old 01-23-2009
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For me, this comes down to usage pattern and access. You never just think of it as a rebuild or a new diesel, because a new diesel might need work on the stringers, new glassing, new alignment, new stern tube, new mounts, new wire runs, new hoses and so on.

Then you think: Am I going to feed this beautiful new engine from my nasty old tanks? So tear 'em out. New hoses, new tanks, new filters, new vents.

Then you think: My power band is different. Shouldn't I have a new prop? New shaft? PSS? Thrust bearing? Drive Saver? Insulated engine box? New venting and fans? Bigger alternator? Entire set of spares?

Before you know it, you've put 20 grand into some old boat that's going to look pretty silly with its oxidized gelcoat and wire halyards and ancient rebuilt head and poorly insulated icebox and...

...time to get a new boat?

Here's a pro-tip: Find out if the W-33 is in fact a "marinized" version of a Mitsubishi or Isuzu tractor diesel. My W-52 is the same engine as a Mazda R2 diesel as found in the B2200 series and Ford Ranger series of 1980s light pickups, for instance. Find rebuild kits for those engine (compare specs between your manual and the "other" diesels to confirm.

Then have an auto rebuilder do the job. Take a diesel course and do the basic disassembly yourself, but leave the injectors, pistons, cranks and bearings to the pros. Much cheaper, and the engine can go back into a cleaned up, repaired engine bay at a fraction of the cost. With the money you save, you can buy a new fuel system and maybe a folding prop!
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now you ruin all our fun with a sensible post.... meanie...
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Old 01-23-2009
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Kerr :

A re-bore takes so very little material away, that I think your mechanic is telling wee stories. Classically, pistons are offered in oversizes and there will be a range available, typically in +0.25, +0.5, +1.00 mm on the standard diameter. You choose according to the amount of scoring on the cylinder walls, then look up the recommended piston-to-bore clearance, then you take your barrels to a machine shop, and they do it for you. It is not too expensive.... in 1997 it cost me about £20 per bore, and about £72 per piston (Mahle) and there were 3 of them.

Westerbeke will not make pistons, I understand. Pistons are made by others. Typically, if you turn the piston upside down and clean off the gum a bit you can see the part number on it and the manufacturer... Mahle is one of them I have seen.

Be careful, there may be a slim possibility that the motor might already have been re-bored, so you will have to measure the bores at present, then choose.

Could you send a wee picture of the piston and the bores? I was interested in what was meant by a "cracked" piston, and bores rarely score unless there is a lubrication failure, so it would be interesting to see them. Has the piston shed lumps of itself into the crankcase?

You might get away with just a single new standard piston (and no re-bore) if the scoring isn't too bad, which will be about $100 plus your gaskets, and for an older engine, it can run for years yet. As long as the bottom end is sound and you have not complained of excessive bottom end noise???, you will probably be OK.

I don't know your mechanic, but I have seen often in the past a doom-prophet promising to fix a motor at great expense when there isn't a lot wrong with it. Be careful.

Take some pictures for us. It would be interesting to see what this "pitting" looks like.

.

Last edited by Rockter; 01-23-2009 at 12:39 PM.
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I'm wondering what it is that made you call in a mechanic.

Did he look in the engine with a bore scope?
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Old 01-26-2009
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Unhappy Westerbeke 33, can it be rebuilt?

thanks you all for your responses. The engine was removed from the boat, the head taken off and one piston was cracked completely across the top. The westerbeke 33 model has a history of cracked pistons, I guess it just finally caught up to me. Upon inspection, by eye, of the cylinder walls it was clear the walls were scratched and scarred, and some brown material that looked like rust, were in each cylinder.

I was told by mechanic that in his opinion the engine was shot and needed to be replaced. Again, according to him the tolerances of the engine made it difficult and unlikely to be successful. I have to trust what he tells me because I have not other way of knowing.

At this point we have identified a Westerbeke 44 to be the best replacement given dimensions, weight, power, etc. When I am done I will have spend the equililent of 33% of the boats value...not sure what else to say, or do, I am between the perverbial rock and a hard place. Again, thanks for your responese....Jim
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Old 01-26-2009
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Kerri :

You must have more money than you have time.
What "tolerances" is he talking about? Does he mean that this motor cannot and could not ever be re-bored because the liners were too thin in the first place???
Maybe he is right, but could you find time to take a picture or two?

I am genuinely interested and want to learn too.

Last edited by Rockter; 01-26-2009 at 10:19 PM.
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