Please feel free to forward this or any email we had on the engine installation discussions to potential customers who want to know how well it worked out for me. I did the installation myself on the BV1505 engine. I have read in European magazines about the popularity of Kubota engines with Beta and Nanni brands, which are seemingly mainstreamed into production boats there. The following criteria were used to select Beta:
– I needed a brand that was supported in the US
– A well engineered, modern engine design, light, compact, and quiet.
– I liked the idea that the block parts were available in many tractor and construction equipment dealers (all the Yacht club people I spoke with who know the trades knew about Kubota). If any thing did go wrong, the parts would be affordably priced… Not the case with all brands – Buyer beware. My philosophy in business is that if you go with the popular brand (starts with a Y) you won’t be disappointed but the company and its dealer won’t work as hard to keep you happy as the aspiring brands. The other fact of life is that the larger orders get the attention. This proved to be very true in my case. I received far better support and timeshare for installation advice from Sound Marine Diesel than I ever would have hoped to get from a local Y dealer, despite the distance. Add to this the fact that you are buying a $7-10K range engine, and some fisherman wants a 35-70K engine in the 250 and up HP range, guess who will get the attention? So, using a product and brand that specializes in the power range that you need has value as well. If you are a capable do-it-yourselfer, (as I thought I was until I measured my prop shaft short by 3 inches -oops) this type of support (email, phone) and accessibility to answers works wonders.
I would not call any repowering operation a simple and painless one. There are always some glitches. But getting answers prior to the next steps or just bouncing off ideas for 10 minutes on the phone helps a lot.
Finally, the engine: So far, can’t really tell its Mean Time Between Failures, since it has run quite well. But observations are:
– No problems, seems quite to expectations, out of the box.
– I love to show my friends the nicely thought through features like the oil pump and the serpentine belt, and the easy access. Even the boat yard (a Y dealer) liked it.
– The boat (C&C 40 hull #60) is happier with this engine than the previous Westerbeke 30, for sure. I was, indeed, 10 HP short, and it is nice to stay at 2K RPM in light air and achieve a good target speed.
– The engine seems 20dB quieter than the old one at idle. We can hear each other in the cabin and the vibration energy transmitted to the hull is a LOT less.
– The fuel consumption is a slight increase, given the higher power.
– The engine is 20% less weight and half the volume than my old W-30, and 50% more power (And I am therefore glad I repowered instead of rebuilding)
– The engine design is quite well thought through. These British marinizers must have gone to US engineering schools!
– Starts like a champ
– The stainless elbow is quite a nice feature
– The Iskra alternator is delivering the specified amount.
– The engine temp seems very stable at all power outputs.
That’s about it. Good engine, good service, and Joe is simply a good dealer who helps out his customers and focuses on providing quality support and value to his customers, in a timely fashion. I got the time I needed to get the advice I needed.
I hope this helps anyone considering a Beta or Sound Marine Diesel LLC.
Managing Director, Satellite Radio Products