Installing A New Marine Diesel Engine

What’s it like installing a new marine Diesel engine? Is it a small job or a big one? Well…any job on a boat seems to take far longer than intended. But what’s involved in an engine swap out?

When my husband Simon said he wanted to replace our Westerbeke 7.5 kW with a Northern Lights 7.0 kW generator I asked, ‘What’s involved?’ Simon explained to me that it’s relatively straightforward. You disconnect the old generator, pull it out of the boat. Put the new generator in and connect it up. Simple.

‘Yeah right!’ I thought. Nothing is simple on a boat.

Getting a new generator, however, seemed like a good idea. We were able to ship the engine down to St Martin from the States (saving $4,500 if we bought it in St Martin), a friend was available to help us do the job (saving us even more money over using a boat ‘specialist’) AND we were next to the Caribbean’s largest boat supply stores if we needed parts. Considering that we are going to head for the Pacific within the next year or so, we really needed a more reliable (and newer) generator.

For some reason, however, I imagined that we’d head over to a slip and somehow use a travel lift (boat crane) to get the engines in and out. Not once did I visualize an actual massive crane! Anyway, watch the video and you’ll get an idea as to what the project was like. There is very little talking due to the fact that everyone was a bit stressed.

Installing A New Marine Diesel Engine Video



So, there you have it. Overall, there weren’t too many issues. At one point the crane driver locked onto our backstay with the crane hook and I darn near died from anxiety, but that was probably the worst of it. From a girl’s perspective, all I can say is that you want to cover everything with old sheets and somehow place protective mats everywhere. It’s a messy and bumpy job!

The end result? We can now hit heat/start and our generator always starts. Imagine that! For seven years we’ve done everything we could to keep our Westerbeke going. When we took her out she was still running, so she’s got life in her still. We managed to sell the Westerbeke to someone in St Martin. We were asking $1500 for the Genset and all the spares. The spares alone were worth $500. A guy offered $800 and we agreed to sell her.

When the day came for the guy to collect it, he said he would only give us $500. I really get annoyed when people do that kind of thing. Simon and I discussed things and decided we’d rather give it away to someone with better character. So, I’m not sure where our Genset went. I do wish her well and hope that her next owners love her as much as we did.

Installing a new marine Diesel engine was definitely a learning lesson.

Our Diesel Engine Swap Out Photos








Installing A New Marine Diesel Engine

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Posted by The Sailing Traveller