This was undoubtedly the biggest and most expensive change we made to Sparta. The original engine was a Westerbeke 60 from 1978. Why they advertised it as a 60 is beyond me as it produced a maximum of 53hp maxed out and the torque curve dropped significantly at max RPM. I will admit though, the old engine still pushed Sparta along at 7 knots at between 1600 to 1800 RPM with minimal fuel consumption. To the left is an original advertisement for the engine in 1978. After 30+ years its life has come to an end. It really isn’t cost effective to invest in an engine this old. The parts are much harder to come by and it has almost become a full time job to keep it running. Similar to the used submarines the Canadian government bought from Britain, they knew better but continually patch them up or dispose of them in fire sales. Our engine came to its demise last year when after spending hours trying to get it running. We discovered the fuel pump was having issues and the cylinder compression was 100psi straight across the board. 100psi consistently in a lot of engines is a good thing, but this engine was supposed to have approximately 350 to 400.
Coming from Alberta and being a self proclaimed diesel expert and owner of many over the years I decided on the Cummins 4B marine engine. It has a impressive torque curve at very low RPM, which means consistent power and low fuel consumption (without a turbo). They are simple and inexpensive to modify or to increase HP and completely mechanical with no ECU to program or have fail, not to mention cheaper to purchase than the other major engine suppliers out there. I’m not saying there aren’t other reliable marine engines out there, I’m just saying some I would trust more with my life than others in a dangerous situation. I believe there are to many Perkins and Yanmars out there and people are being falsely informed how wonderful they are. In most cases they require a turbo to reach usable horse power at very high RPM’s, which means poor fuel consumption and a much shorter life in the harsh marine environment. These are in most cases also a disposable engine. If poorly maintained or maxed out hours at excessive RPM’s, they become nothing more than an anchor destined for the recycling depot. Whereas the Cummins can be completely rebuilt and overhauled at a fraction of the cost of re-powering your entire boat. Also because of the operating efficiency at low RPM’s the life expectancy of the Cummins is infinite properly maintained and I believe this engine will out live me. A Cummins is bulletproof! IMHO