I am going to see a boat this weekend that has an old, 1975, diesel engine - Westerbeke 4-91 with 3200h on it. It appears to be in good condition and I think it had a good maintenance and some upgrades over the years. Since I am new to diesel engines I would like to know your opinion on the Westerbeke as the engines themselves, parts availability (letís say in Caribbean and South America) and also on the age of this particular one. 3200h sound a lot but is it for diesels? I canít say anything about compression or how it cranks since I did not have chance yet to see it.
Maxim, to put you in the ballpark, I''d describe your issues to be...
1. Does Westerbeke still support the engine with parts? (Call them to find out)
2. If not, what level of remaining supply is there among parts suppliers - e.g. you might call TransAtlantic Diesel and ask them.
3. 3200 hours can be a lot for a diesel, tho'' many carry on for double that time or even a bit more. It depends on how well it''s been cared for (over its entire life, not just while in the hands of the last caring owner), how it''s been used, etc. I would definitely survey the engine along with the boat, if you get to that point. Over-temp, low compression, etc. issues - deservedly - would lend weight to your requesting a price adjustment.
My impression is the Westerbeke was (and mostly still is) an old-time New England firm with strong technical competencies but conventional manufacturing and marketing behaviors. They have been dragged into more modern methods due to heavy competition but have successfully responded with a healthy line of products. OTOH the ''75 model, like my ''79, is probably a low-rpm, heavy, now probably not supported beast of limited further life. You''ll need to think of this when considering the purchase.
You can check for parts at:
We bought a 1986 boat with a Westerbeke W-33 with about 3300 hours. Engine sea-tested ok, but subsequent starting problems in the Fall led to the discovery of low compression and to a complete rebuild. Use $10,000 as a ballpark. Always get a compression test with an engine survy before purchasing(darn!).
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