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Westerbeke vs Yanmar

Aug 20, 2017
10
O'day 26 Kismet Gig Harbor, WA
I'm planning to retire and do the cruising I've dreamed of for the last decade. I'm wondering if any of you have any helpful information on Westerbeke vs Yanmar diesel engines. I'm leaning towards Yanmar but found a great boat with a Westerbeke. I'd hate to let my ignorance of Westerbeke engines cause me to miss out on a good boat.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,415
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The big problem with Westerbeke is parts availability. WB is no longer in the marine engine business.

Yanmar parts are expensive, but generally available as Yanmar continues to make diesel engines.

WB did not make their engines, they marinized engines from other manufacturers. Some of the engines Mitsubishi blocks. In theory it should be possible to cross reference to the OEM to get parts, however, it is difficult to find such a cross reference list.

Over on the Sabre Sailboat Yahoo group there is frequent discussions about WB and their shortcomings. Many Sabres have Westerbekes. Some refer to the engine as Westerbeasts. Here's a link to the Sabre Group, anyone can join, even if you don't own a Sabre. :)
 
Jan 4, 2013
217
Catalina 270 Rochester, NY
"The big problem with Westerbeke is parts availability. WB is no longer in the marine engine business"

Westerbeke still lists parts for their old engines such as mine, a 20B Two. There are many websites such as
https://discountmarinesource.com/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=10043
that sell Westerbeke parts. A lot of the parts, such as impellor and oil filters are generic. Here at the club plenty of people are getting parts for 40 year old Atomic fours.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,551
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
A 15 or 20 year old engine from any manufacturer is going to have the same availability issues. Its going to depend what you're looking for. Even the generic parts are stocked at home and on the boat, and that approach wouldn't change with any other power plant.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,415
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
My experience has been with Volvo and Yanmar, not Westerbeke. Sabre put Westerbekes in a lot of their boats and over on the SabreSailboat group there are many threads about difficulty finding parts, not being able to cross reference parts, and a couple of models that had significant design flaws that resulted in major repairs.

Apparently many of the parts, like the raw water pump are not built by Westerbeke, but are from another vendor (Johnson?) but the vendors model numbers are not readily available so the boat owner is back to buying red WB parts. Compare this to how Beta Marine turns out engines, they give you the Kubota part numbers so you can go to any tractor store and buy parts.

My boat was originally built for the VI charter trade. It has the optional Yanmar, not the standard Westerbeke.
 
Aug 20, 2017
10
O'day 26 Kismet Gig Harbor, WA
Thank you to everyone weighing in on this. I think I'm going to keep looking and find a boat with a Yanmar.
 
Dec 27, 2012
467
Precision 22 (Sold), O 240 (Sold), Precision 28 Somers Point
I haven’t had any problems getting parts for my Westerbeke. They can be pricey. I replaced my motor mounts over the winter for my 12C two. I went with the factory mounts which cost me $800.
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,393
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
Having owned Westerbeke, Perkins, and Yanmar I would pick the Yanmar hands down. The others were ok and they ran when I asked them to for as long as I wanted but they were old technology compared with the Yanmar. Difficult to maintain, leaky, and noisy. I actually purchased a Perkins 4-108 to replace a Westerbeke 4-107 and after a couple of years it looked as beat up and rusty as the Westerbeke, although it started, ran fine, and never let me down. Well, except that one time when the oil pressure sensor failed and allowed about 4 quarts of oil to drain into the bilge. But that's another story......
 
Jul 30, 2012
3
custom 33' bluewater cutter toledo, oh
My Westerbeke M-35 is a Kobota V1200 engine. I can get all parts (at a much lower price) from the local Kobota dealer or on line. The Westerbeke manual is identical to the Kobota manual except the part numbers are changed. Illustrations and text is the same.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,415
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
My Westerbeke M-35 is a Kobota V1200 engine. I can get all parts (at a much lower price) from the local Kobota dealer or on line. The Westerbeke manual is identical to the Kobota manual except the part numbers are changed. Illustrations and text is the same.
That's interesting and unusual. Of course you still have to paint the parts red. :)
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,441
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
One always need consider, when cruising, where you might be when needing engine parts, etc. Yanmar actually has a kind of global parts distribution “network” out there, for lack of a better way to put it. A recent part I needed for my Yanmar sail drive could not be dropped-shipped to my actual location. A Yanmar parts distributor (in Long Beach) had to order it for me (not unusual) then I had to make arrangements to get it to me. Altogether, it took a few days, but I was in no real hurry. Whereas that may not sound too convenient, consider your plight if there were no parts distribution network AT ALL b/c the manufacturer is out of business! How will you get it?, how long will it take?, what will it cost?, and—the big question—will it FIT?!! I’d go Yanmar. Of course, the on-line system of Kubota mentioned above might work as well. However, I was talking to an actual person who was helping me.
 
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Aug 20, 2017
10
O'day 26 Kismet Gig Harbor, WA
Thanks for that! That is what I was thinking. If I'm going to be out there sort of off grid it's good to know there is that support network in place. The idea of parts being under different names or makers and not being standardized is not comforting.
 
Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
WB is no longer in the marine engine business.
That's not so. Consider what "in the business" means. They are still in business, still supply parts, and still sell marine engines, except not in the domestic market. I have found them to be responsive and very helpful. My local dealer, Hanson Marine, is extremely helpful, and knowledgable.

Special parts, like bell housings and exhaust manifolds, may be tough to source; but virtually every other part is available. Can't say that for the JS gear on my 38B-FOUR, but it's not WB's fault that that manufacturer no longer makes parts. And, there are alternatives.

Accessories, like raw water pumps, alternators, starters, injectors, etc., are no problem.

...parts for my Westerbeke. They can be pricey.
That's funny. Yanmar parts are like twice the cost of other makes.

Example: Yanmar private-labels the Racor 220R fuel water separator filter assembly. The Yanmar replacement filter element is $50. The exact same element from Racor is $25.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
3,441
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I'm planning to retire and do the cruising I've dreamed of for the last decade. I'm wondering if any of you have any helpful information on Westerbeke vs Yanmar diesel engines. I'm leaning towards Yanmar but found a great boat with a Westerbeke. I'd hate to let my ignorance of Westerbeke engines cause me to miss out on a good boat.
One alternative; remove the Westerbeke and insert a Yanmar. Wouldn’t have to be a totally new one.
 
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Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
One alternative; remove the Westerbeke and insert a Yanmar. Wouldn’t have to be a totally one.
Yanking a perfectly fine Westerbeke and install a Yanmar of probably unknown condition, just on speculation that you'd have less trouble in the future sourcing parts is borderline insanity. Here, instead of scouring the web for, let's say, a water pump, you're scouring the web for an entire engine and gear, dealing with alignment and mounts, electrical and fuel, and so on, and spending a few thousand in the process. And, wen you're done, you have an extra engine kicking around. Crazy.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,441
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Yanking a perfectly fine Westerbeke and install a Yanmar of probably unknown condition, just on speculation that you'd have less trouble in the future sourcing parts is borderline insanity. Here, instead of scouring the web for, let's say, a water pump, you're scouring the web for an entire engine and gear, dealing with alignment and mounts, electrical and fuel, and so on, and spending a few thousand in the process. And, wen you're done, you have an extra engine kicking around. Crazy.
Well, could always by a new Yanmar to satisfy that concern. Sell the perfectly good Westerbeke as a replacement to a Sabre owner who needs parts, but would rather just replace to whole unit. I don’t think it’s crazy to take steps to address one’s apprehensions. Look at all of the money being, in my view, wasted on e-navigation equipment just to find one’s way across a 20 n.mi. wide channel to an island that anyone on a S-SW compass course from Long Beach could see 6 to 10 n.mi. distant (on a low visibility day) before eventually running into it, etc.:yikes:
 
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Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Well, if money is no object, why not buy a new boat with a Yanmar? :)
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,551
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
Let's spend 10x all the maintenance money that would ever be spent on the engine to swap it out with another engine that is exactly minus a different colour. Parts, off the grid, are parts that are not available at the corner cabana.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,415
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
To go back to the OP's original question, Yanmar or Westerbeast, the answer is not a simple answer such as one brand over another.

A well maintained WB is a better choice than a poorly maintained Yanmar.

Likewise a WB with very low hours might be a better deal than a Yanmar with high hours.

Some WB models seem to have been more problematic than other models, do the research to find out which models seem to be more problematic.

If factored into the purchase price, then buying a boat with a marginal WB leaves room in the budget to repower with a nice Beta, a company that doesn't try to hide its heritage or force you into buying parts from a sole supplier.

There are other parts of the power train that are perhaps more important. For instance if you like high cost periodic maintenance with a big hole in the bottom of the boat, then get a Volvo Sail drive or one of the other sail drives out there.