In my previous two entries, I have written about the work I have been doing to the engine in our sailboat. I knew this engine was 29 years old and had well over 3000 hours on it. I felt strongly that I was going to do whatever it took to get a reliable engine in our boat. We have big plans and I did not want to spend the entire trip worrying about the engine or worse, having a major breakdown in a place with no way to get service.
I looked at what it would take to replace the engine. I ran into many roadblocks. The first problem was that Yanmar (the brand of the engine that we currently have) did not have any replacement engines. As we all know the supply lines on just about everything around the world have been disrupted by the Pandemic. We would have to wait until at least September to get a new engine. There is also the issue that I wrote about the local dealers and their complete lack of customer service.
I felt like I had no option. I needed to see if my engine could be repaired. That is what I have been doing for the past month. About two weeks ago, I was searching for information about repair options when I found a company that I had not considered. It is a UK company called Beta Marine. Beta takes the Kubota tractor engine and marinizes it for use in boats. They even have a specific line of engines for the sailboat replacement market. I am not the first person to do this.
The funny part is that Kim and I were driving the other day and talking about our options, when a large tractor trailer truck was next to us loaded with Kubota tractors. I commented how nice the tractors looked. I guess someone was sending me a message.
I was amazed to find that there was a company right here is Gulfport that does engine replacements for Beta. I made contact with them and they have been very responsive. They even helped me find a local mechanic that knows the Yanmar engine. He came out yesterday and spent about 45 minutes with us. The bad news is that he pointed out a noise the engine was making and even isolated it to which cylinder it was coming from. I had heard the "knock" , but didn't know enough about these engines to know if it was a problem. I told him about our plans and he said, "I would not trust this engine". That is all I needed to hear. After spending the time with us, I decided to trust him. He also would not take any payment. I was stunned.
Kim and I have spent the last 24 hours doing research, measuring our engine compartment and making phone calls. I even called and spoke with the master dealer for Beta Marine USA. He talked to me for a half hour and answered all of my questions. He told me to call him anytime and promised I would be happy if I decided to install a Beta.
We have decided to move forward with the engine replacement. We have ordered a Beta Marine 38. It is a little bigger in both horsepower and physical size than our current Yanmar 30 horsepower 3HM35F, but it should fit with a couple of small modifications.
The engine is in North Carolina now and will ship next week. We are hoping to begin the replacement just after we return from our son Mark's wedding on July 14. The replacement will be completed by the local dealer, but I am sure I will be right in there making sure I understand what is going on.
I am sure this replacement will have it's challenges, but we are ready with an open wallet to make it as perfect as possible. We are expecting it to cost around $20K all in.
I am hoping that this engine will give us the confidence to travel more freely on inland waterways. We are still planning to go to the Bahamas next year and then up the east coast of the US and much of that may be with the motor. The east coast is notorious for difficult sailing conditions off-shore.
Today, we have a new tropical storm, Elsa. It is still a few days out before we will know if it will come to this area, but we have to be ready to evacuate our marina if it comes this way. Our life is full of challenges, but we still love what we are doing. We are happy to have this difficult decision out of the way and moving forward with the new plan.
|Just another beautiful sunset in Gulfport, Mississippi|