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Biting the bullet

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OK, so after PADDLING my boat 4 miles last Sunday night after both motor and wind resolutely died, I've decided that the IRD can wait for their money - I'm spending my saved-up end-of-year tax on a new engine.


Does anyone have particular feelings when it comes to new Yanmars/Volvos, around the 3cyl, 20hp-ish range? Personally I'm leaning towards a Yanmar, as I'm planning on starting a circumnavigation within the next couple of years, and I'm thinking parts availability/prices around the world...


That said, I have a Volvo gearbox at the moment and the new Volvo will apparently bolt straight on - no alterations required. It's a v-drive, by the way. I've also been quoted a much lower price on the Volvo. But do I really want a little green demon in my boat...? I'm not so sure! The Volvo dealer assures me that the new ones are fantastic (as they would) but from what I gather parts are still more expensive than the Yanmar equivalent?


And am I unfairly dismissing all the Nanni's, Bukhs, Lombardinis, etc on basis of parts availability around the world?


Perhaps one or two of you fine people could also point me in the way of a friendly (read: hard up and willing to negotiate) dealer too?


My apologies if you're experiencing any deja vu right now - I was sure I started a motor-related thread some time ago but I'm afraid I can't find it now.

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If you buy a new Volvo it should last the trip with no more than routine maintenance (mine did), but Volvo bits cost a lot, you can get generic filters etc, but then Volvo get pissy about their warranty, but then in out of the way places you won't be going to "authorised Volvo places" anyway.

Tough call.

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Volvo parts dearer than Yanmar parts???? Really???? Hmmm ... wouldn't have thought so.


My experience with Yanmar dealers is that the price of genuine Yanmar parts is horrendous. Take engine oil filters as an example: - a genuine Yanmar labelled oil filter is about $120 - generic oil filter (same filter made in the same factory as the Yanmar branded filter) is about $25. Bear in mind that some of the Yanmar engines are actually Toyota units (some are kubota - just like the Beta marine engines) and you can pick up an oil filter from your Toyota dealer for about $20-25.


Yanmars have a reputation as being super reliable, etc .... so why are so many internal engine parts (valves, pistons, bore liners, bearings, etc) sold? Yanmar dealers have a policy of not selling workshop manuals in an effort to prevent owners from doing their own service and repair work.


I don't think that Yanmars are a bad engine brand, but I don't think that Volvos are lemons either. Pretty much any new modern diesel engine is going to be a reasonable unit that with care and maintenance will go to the moon and back.


I was talking to a friend that has Volvo in his 54 footer and he was saying that parts prices weren't that bad for the Volvo.


I would seriously do some checking around for the prices of common service parts (filters, impellers, exhaust elbows, etc) for yourself rather than just taking it as gospel that X is cheap and Y is not.


You may want to have a chat with Smithy09 about the prices of Yanmar parts - he's just recently had an eye-opening experience.

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You might want to look into the Beta engines as well - rumour has it that their pricing is (or has been) hard to beat. Think Fineline went that way.


Presumably - while I understand your reaction to your engine letting you down, which has happened to most of us at some stage - whatever happened to your engine is terminal? or the last in a long series of failures?


The rule of thumb seems to be that you need to add 50% to the cost of the engine by the time it is installed. Sounds high to me too but I keep hearing the same thing again and again.

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Can't give you any specific information - however a few thoughts:


- http://www.theengineroom.co.nz/ - have spoken to these guys about doing a new beta engine in the past which would have been able to be set up to bolt on to my volvo saildrive. Really friendly and came with a good recommendation.


I would personally look for an engine that it is easy to get spare parts for the 'non marinised' version - (for example an engine that is based on say a kubota). That way certain parts should be cheaper and easier to obtain if you can buy them from the local tractor supplier in far away places.


I've got an older volvo diesel in my yacht which runs fine. However I find the spare very expensive. Wishing I had purchased the spare one that came up on trade me a year ago and pulled it down for the experience and for spares!!

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I went for a new Beta 25hp and its a great little engine. Bolted straight up to the Volvo saildrive so the install was very easy. Same engine bed just different engine mounts. Beta do customised adapters and engine mounts to bolt straight on to most saildrives and gearboxes.


While you are away you can buy most parts from beta or a nanni dealer (or a kubota tractor shop) but I suspect if you get it installed properly you won't need any parts for a long time.

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If your boat is small enough, get an outboard. Then you can take it to the mechanic rather than the other way round - big savings. Nearly every little village in the world has an outboard mechanic, some very good at getting things going again with very little in resources. When it does eventually go terminal unscrew it and replace it.

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go for something that's kubota based and reach some compromise as to just how many HP you realistically need which'll affect diesel consumption (as well as how much you need to carry) and, before you bugger off, get a spare exhaust mixer to take with you

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A couple of other random thoughts:


- a Coastguard membership @ $97 annually entitles you to an unlimited number of assists of up to 30 nm (along with a bunch of other stuff, and also a sense of supporting a worthwhile service). Sure, you would still have an engine to be repaired (and the ignominy of having been towed in) but it probably would have reduced the impact of the situation


I've decided that the IRD can wait for their money - I'm spending my saved-up end-of-year tax on a new engine.

- best you aim for enough to start your circumnavigation reasonably shortly - while most people here would agree that a boat engine is an essential purchase, that particular organisation may not be so accommodating in their view.

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