Join Date: Jul 2002
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Beneteau 331 or 361
I''m not sure Westerbeke has ever made 100% of an engine, not that it absolutely matters. Yanmar is what today we like to call ''vertically integrated'', meaning if they were in the bakery business they would be raising chickens in henhouses to supply the eggs to add to the flour to make the dough for the pies.
Is this automatically a better arrangement than e.g. Westerbeke buying a Mazda, British Leyland or Mitsubishi block and ''marinizing'' it for boat use? I would guess it depends. (I do know that, when times get tough, I''d like to reduce the # of henhouses I own). My Yanmar 4JH came with ''Yanmar'' belts and I had to search some to find a suitable but more affordable replacement. (''Vertically integrated'' companies control close to 100% of the aftermarket parts distribution, which is one of the reasons this business model exists. When you are at the Parts counter, you will find out whether YOU think it''s a great idea or not...). My Westerbeke has Dayco belts, for which NAPA offers a substitute of equal quality.
Some buy an engine ONLY if it has a readily accessible parts supply chain that is non-marine (e.g. Kuboto tractor engines, marinized by a UK outfit). Others feel this is just one variable, and not necessarily a universally important one. Yanmar gets a lot of marketing leverage out of it, even if/when it''s not deserved.