I am not locked in.
However, I am veritably locked in (by my own choosing) for a few reasons.
1) I want this done in a reasonable time frame and both teaching myself how to and doing it will eat up time I can spend on project parts I am more comfortable with (electric systems, wiring, head systems, tiling in the head, water systems, teak/brightwork, etc). I can then learn about engines through servicing first and build my knowledge.
2) I want the warranty on my engine that comes with using an authorized dealer. Since I plan to start in the Sound for a while it is good to have a warranty in my home port.
3) My marina is not cheap for things like boom truck/fork lifting. $150 an hour and a minimum of 1.5 hours. This can add up really fast. Though the framework method would alleviate some of it.
4) I do not have to pay work yard fees for the entire time my boat is in the repower shop, AND, the guys there will let us work on her when they are not. Free work yard hours is a big bonus when it costs $2500/month to be in the work yard! That is a month or so for free, before we work from the slip.
5) My knowledge of marine diesel engines and systems is limited, by working with these chaps on this I am able to pickle their brain on other systems. Similar to what I can do here but face to face.
6) They have proven time and again to not be greedy, telling me if I do not need to add something, or pointing out cheaper ways to do something. They are also quick to point me to thing I can do solo and have generally been very helpful.
7) They are going to be spraying her for us as well, we will have sanded, washed, and taped her off by the time they get her so it is going to be a less expensive paint job. But seeing as how they are doing two major jobs for us. One of which we are not allowed to do in out Marina, working with them on both makes a good deal of sense. We are not allowed to erect a tent and spray her ourselves in the work yard, it is roll on and brush back, or let them spray her. Spray looks better and is much less labor if we do all the prep.
Now I know that with the combined knowledge of everyone here I could likely do this myself. I intend to utilize this forum to build on my knowledge simultaneously anyways. But I am also younger, and still work full time. After Tuesday, when my vacation is over I am able to work on the boat from about 6am-11am then I have to run to work for a full day; after which the yard is closed. I cannot afford to keep her for months in the work yard with so little time to work on her. Moving it over to their shop alleviates that part of the financial burden. Allowing me to do work on her this month and then not having to pay yard fees next (though still being able to do some work), after which we can work in slip ($500/mo as opposed to $2500/mo).
On a final note, one side is sanded and evened out to be washed with cleaner today. Teak gunwale on the port side is almost sanded of its white aging and should be done today. Starboard side paint should be sanded and ready by tomorrow, with me getting to the gunwhale starboard tomorrow to begin it if I can finish the port side today. Cockpit's ancient teak caulking is almost removed so we can begin up there. Moving along.
Engine decision should be made tomorrow once I talk to the distributor and get some actual measurements. It is looking like the 54 hp naturally aspirated is going to be smaller. But considering the similarities between the 4jh5e, 4jh4te, and 4jh4hte I have to be careful to make sure.