Learning about Marine Diesels

Our new 35' Ericson has a failing Universal Atomic 4 gas engine. Before we bought the boat we heard tell that it would cost around $5-6k to replace it with a used diesel. This might very well be the case, but if so we haven't found a source!

Curiously, the way to get quotes on a new engine and installation is most easily achieved by starting with the manufacturers website. This does require that you know the major manufacturers, but that's easy when you do a google search for "marine diesel" and get some ecommerce site. Here is one example chain:

  1. http://www.google.com/search?q=marine+diesel
  2. http://www.marinedieseldirect.com/ (this site is mainly for parts, but lists manfrs: universal, westerbeke, yanmar, volvo penta)

  3. http://www.google.com/search?q=universal+diesel
  4. http://www.westerbeke.com/products/diesel_engines.cfm (Westerbeke owns Universal; this page lists engine types)
  5. http://www.westerbeke.com/products/diesel_engine_detail.cfm?eng=19 (The M-25XPB is about the right size and power for an Atomic 4 replacement.)

You can't buy or get installation quotes on this site, so we have to do a distributor search (a tile on the left hand side). It all works via HTTP POST so I can't easily past the link here, but here's the result:

TDC Equipment
15886 Manufacture Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Contact Information:
Main Contact(s): Ms. Cindy Tutt, Mr. Terry Brown
Phone: (714) 373-8099
Fax: (714) 898-1996
Email: tdcequip@ix.netcom.com
Web: www.tdcequipment.com

I all and talk to Rod who gives me a quote for an engine kit for $8216 and $200 frieght charge. He also tells me that he's a distrubutor, not a dealer, and that a dealer could give me a better deal. Having worked with Yanmar in the past, Rod stated that Yanmars are generally louder, run at higher RPM for equivalent power (implying higher wear, I guess), and would be more expensive. In addition, Universal offers the best warranty (5 years parts and labor).

Rod refers me to Carl Mintson (sic?) at CC Marine 818 414 1503. I call that number get voice mail that refers me to 310 823 4821. I speak to an office person who can't give me a quote, but who will pass along my info to Carl and he *might* get back to me today, and *might* be able to squeeze in an estimate in the next few weeks. I find out that CC Marine is located in Marina Del Ray at the Windward Marina (which is a bit of a haul).

Now, I might be able to get a more complete dealer list out of TDC - this would be useful because it seems that Carl is rather busy. I go to http://www.tdcequipment.com/ and use the "dealer locater" feature (another POST driven feature that I can't link to).

Captain's Locker
194 Marina Dr. #100
Long Beach,CA 90803 Joe Prada/ George Sears

Email Id : Captainslocker@hotmail.com
Fax : (562) 596-7381
Phone : (562) 598-6611

I spoke to George, who has a kindly voice and was very helpful. I mentioned that we were concious of price, and he generously gave me the name and number of a mechanic who had some refurbished engines for sail ("Leif" 310 301 9011), and a man who listed a used diesel at the store ("Axel" with a 20B2 for $3k 626 487 5741). George also gave me a quote for the same 25XB kit that TDC quoted me, and the price was $1000 less. Finally, he cautioned that there are other parts and costs associated with repowering - for example the instrument panel ($170-300) does not come with the engine. I was aware of this but grateful for the advice. (Indeed, everything from exhaust to fuel storage to engine mounts to propeller and shaft might have to change under certain circumstances).

At the end of an hour of searching and calling and asking questions, I have some good information, and some messages waiting to be returned, but still no quote.

There is no good place to put this particular nugget of information, so I'll just tack it on to the end of this post. There exists an odd little site http://www.dieselenginetrader.com and I discovered a used 25XA off a 1990 Catalina, asking $5k obo. Here's the full ad:

Universal M-25XPa from 1990 Catalina 36 for sale. Zero hours since major
overhaul by Universal Dealer.

New: Cylinder liners, rings,bearings, seals, gaskets, valves, valve seats, valve guides, injector nozzles, water pump, air filter, silicon hi-temp hoses, fuelhoses, filters, crankcase oil evacuation pump, dual Veebelt sheaves, R&D damperplate, raw water pump, auxiliary power take-offpulley, R&D flexible mounts,1-1/4” npt exhaust flange.

Refurbished parts: flywheel, crankshaft, block, head, manifolds, 12 V electricstarting motor, 120 amp Powerline alternator, Hurth50 trans, 3 ½” dia heatexchanger.

Exhaust manifold, engine oil pan, bell housing, heat exchanger, intake manifold have been powdercoated white for extracorrosion resistance. Engine assembly top coated withDuPont Imron LP White.

Temperature alarm & gage, oilpressure alarm, tachometer, voltmeter, “Catalina” enginecontrol panel. With sparefresh and sea water pumps. Universal Service Manual. Photos and service receipts available. Best offer. 949-260-9716 Will ship anywhere. mcrahan@powerengineering.com.

(I called and left a message)

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