Follow This Project On Facebook

Lately I have just not had time to post updates to this blog. I do post activity on this project more frequently on Facebook. If you are interested in whats happening, I encourage you to click 'Like' on the Facebook badge below. Or go to

Posts to this blog will happen infrequently, if at all. The blog will remain accessible for historical purposes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Engine Analysis

So the joke with my wife is that I change my mind about which engine to use every three or four weeks. Even though we wont be ready for one in at least a couple years, you gotta think about these things! The thing is, every time you learn more information, it sways your decision one way or another. What follows is the latest analysis. I reserve the right to change my mind in the future . Selection Criteria or Requirements Given in highest to lowest priority.
  1. 75-100 horsepower
  2. low revs would be nice, but it needs to drive a hydraulic pump (which prefers higher revs), so something in the "middle"
  3. fuel efficient
  4. Established parts and service network
  5. Reputation for reliability
  6. Easy to maintain
  7. Naturally aspirated (non-turbo)
  8. Reasonable cost

Volvo Penta D3-110

  • 110 hp at the crankshaft
  • 3000 rpm
  • 5 cylinders
  • 146 cu. in.
  • 582 lbs.
  • turbo charged

Currently the favored engine. Available as OEM equipment on Halberg-Rasseys and Nautor Swans (both reputable production sailboat makers). Plenty of power. Nice midrange rpm (compared to other engines). 5 cylinders means smooth and low vibration. Lower displacement plus CAN-bus, common rail technology means it should be good on fuel efficiency (computer controlled injection, no complex mechanical injector pump). I don't care for turbo charged (one more thing to maintain or break) but I am discovering most other requirements can't be met without going to a physically LARGER engine, which I can't do given the current constraints of the engine room. So, I may have to learn to live with a turbo. Of course, the Volvo is high on the initial+maintenance costs. We had one in our sloop years ago and know this first hand. But, they are also quite reliable. MSRP is about $18,000.

Click here for a link to the engine specs.

Westerbeke M64A

  • 64 hp
  • 2600 rpm
  • 4 cylinders
  • 182 cu. in.
  • 678 lbs
  • naturally aspirated

A close second. Low on hp. Nice rpm for reduced wear, but ok for hydraulics. A bit on the heavy side and no turbo! If I decide to cut hp, this would be ideal. Though it seems one of the complaints with original Westsail 42 owners is the lack of power with their original engines (often they were a 50hp Perkins 4-108). This engine uses the old tried and true Perkins block (I dont know if it is the same block as the 4-108). Fuel consumption might be a bit high. Given the shape of the engine, this one can sit quite low in the bilge which would be good for space conservation. MSRP is about $10,000.

Click here for a link to the engine specs.

Yanmar 4JH3-HTE

  • 100 hp
  • 3800 rpm
  • 4 cylinders
  • 122 cu. in.
  • 503 lbs
  • turbo charged with intercooler.

A distant third. Good hp, but high rpm which means more wear (though plenty to drive hydraulics). Light, but turbo charged AND intercooled. Probably good on fuel efficiency. Rumour has it Yanmar will be replacing this model series this year with common-rail technology (my guess to compete with Volvo). MSRP is about $12,000.

Click here for a link to the engine specs.

Other Makes

Perkins/Sabre - Sometime in the past CAT bought Perkins, then bought Sabre (a UK based engine maker). CAT moved all of the old Perkins designs under the CAT brand (which they do not sell in the marine market, at least as far as I can tell), then rebadged the small engines from Sabre as "Perkins/Sabre". So, even though they have the "Perkins" name, they are NOT the old tried and true Perkins engines. They are Sabre engines, whose track record is hard to research. With CAT behind them, I am sure the support is excellent. Though it looks like some of the old Perkin's blocks are being used in the Westerbekes.

Isuzu, Kubota, Vetus, Iveco, Etc. - There are a number of smaller brands out there. But market share of these and support network is not known (yet). I still have more data to collect (and more opportunity to change my mind!).

I will throw open the comments if anyone has more data, suggestions, ideas to add.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,
My wife and I are also building a boat from a bare hull. We have a 53' Skookum hull that was purchased in 1978 and never really worked on. We are currently framing the back deck. We are also in Washington State. Let me know if you'd like to compare notes. My email address is Please don't publish my email address in your blog.