Diesel repower E-29

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
About the only major fit factor that I can think of is height.
Back in the day, one of the reasons for the boat builders to choose the A4, was that the flathead block design would fit under interior furniture so well. The lack of equally-affordable small diesels was an additional big factor, until marketing demand and newer small diesel designs merged in the late 70's, augmented by consumer concern about potential fire risk with gasoline, saw a fast change to the "diesel era".

Other than the Yanmar YSM-8 and -12, with their single horizontal cylinder, the low height of the A4 let it go under settee seats in some Ericson's and the Catalina 30, to name only two.

Smaller boats could have part of a quarter berth over or nearly over the engine, too.

Often, depending on model, later diesel conversions may require some cabinet woodwork changes. I have seen the A4 in an E-29 up close, and do not recall what the engine compartment fit was like... that was some years ago. It seemed roomy, IIRC.

Since, in very round numbers, it will cost you about 12 to 13K, if you shop carefully and do a lot of the work yourself, to put in a new Beta20,
The real question is how long you plan to keep the boat.
Love them 'round numbers' and so I always say that about a decade is the deciding factor. Amortizing these major expenses in use and fun works well, over (enough) time.
Are you eyeing this boat for purchase and upgrading? IIRC your bio here sez you own an E-32, now.

Anyhow, you are looking at one of the last of the E-29's, produced about the same time the then-new E-30-2 was being produced, so it would have every incremental production upgrade possible, in what was a long production run. A small diesel would have been an option when it was built.
Attach some pictures when you can and please tell us the 'story'.

Opinions on sale today: one cent..... :)
 

jdenlinger

Junior Member
Thanks for the reply. We had to sell the 32-3 when we move d to FL due to draft. Big mistake. We are now moving back to CA ASAP but want something (Ericson) smaller due to our age and cost of slips. Have seen many E29s but all Atomic 4. That is my currenr=t rationale. What I really want is a real clean E28-3. Had 2 and loved them.
 

frick

Member III
I repowered my E29 19 years ago. With a Yanmar 2gm20f.
Its was 50 pounds lighter than the A4, but a bit taller.
I built a box top and insulated it. The yanmar came with all the controls and cables.
FYI, I pulled the fuel tank, Cleaned it and reused it.
Also a one in shaft fit inside the existing tube. Of course I had to re-prop as well. put on a two bladed prop till I found the right Martek Folding Prop.

When I was calling around and ask why Yanmar? The most frequent response is we put them in and they never come back
 

jdenlinger

Junior Member
I repowered my E29 19 years ago. With a Yanmar 2gm20f.
Its was 50 pounds lighter than the A4, but a bit taller.
I built a box top and insulated it. The yanmar came with all the controls and cables.
FYI, I pulled the fuel tank, Cleaned it and reused it.
Also a one in shaft fit inside the existing tube. Of course I had to re-prop as well. put on a two bladed prop till I found the right Martek Folding Prop.

When I was calling around and ask why Yanmar? The most frequent response is we put them in and they never come back
thanks much. Appx cost?
 

clayton

Member III
rbonilla has a thread posted with an E28 for sale in Colorado, with a trailer. His last post was from a couple weeks ago.
 

debonAir

Member III
From my research.. you can get a used boat with used diesel a lot cheaper than a new diesel for your boat. Unless you have a real emotional attachment to your current boat and have the means, there's no good reason to switch to diesel now, especially if you add in the cost of moving your boat from FL to CA. Figure the boat's gone 3 or 4 decades fine with an A4 and the A4 can be rebuilt or replaced super easy without having to change out all kinds of other things (prop, shaft, fuel lines perhaps, exhaust that will break when you swap, etc.).

On the other hand, as mentioned, Beta Marine makes drop-in A4 footprint diesels which would be a great way to go if you decide to go that way. Except for the fire potential issue and a bit more range, the gas engines are smoother, quieter, and less smelly.

Finally, you might want to consider an electric conversion. If you aren't doing long passages the electric conversions are starting to make a whole lot of sense. No noise, no smell, no water pump or exhaust system, etc.. no fuel issues, well except for charging.,, if you are in a slip, then that's solved. Good luck and let us know which way you go!
 

windsurferman

Junior Member
My 1973 E27 was repowered with a Yanmar20. Works beautifully and will probably last longer than me.

If I were to repower my boat at this point I would seriously look into an electric setup as I only use my engine for at most a few miles every time I go out. It's a sailboat.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
About twice the price of rebuilding the a4
Bingo. That's one of the main reasons we replaced our old diesel. It was gong to cost at least half or more of the price of the new Betamarine, mounts, panel, trans, wiring, trans. coupler, and also a warranty. If we had rebuilt or replaced every worn out part of the old power train, we would *still* have a 1988 engine. I had become pretty darned good at diagnosing it's problems and finding workarounds for its foibles, but it finally occurred to me that I was becoming a servant to the engine.
BTW, the quiet of the newer design was worth some real $, as well. Technology does indeed move forward in 30 years. :)
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Just some additional info to add.. I worked with List Marine in Sausalito to service my engine back in June. My 1982 Universal 25 is almost 40 years old, so I had brief discussion with List about engine replacement and what they recommend in the event that I wanted to repower down the road. They use Yanmar engines and he mentioned that although the cost for the Yanmar engine is higher than an equivalent Beta, they get good pricing on Yanmar. The previous two boats that we used (for about a year each ) in a fractional leasing situation were Yanmar (and Beneteau 38.1 and a Hunter 40) and I was very happy with the smoothness/response of the Yanmar (both with sail drives, so that may have contributed to it.) I don't have experience with Beta but it seems there are happy customers using that engine as well and I think there is a plug-in replacement for my U25 - a big plus.

btw, when I bought my boat, I didn't really research the cost of repowering it. How much could a 25hp diesel engine replacement possibly cost ? So I thought maybe 5-10K at most. I was WRONG....lol. Now that I have heard some costs thrown around, the engine replacement has moved significantly DOWN on my list of priorities. Maybe 2025 :). But since I am an EV enthusiast, I am watching the electric market also. With battery tech and electric drives improving each year, I think that may be the way to go if I can wait a few years.
 

windsurferman

Junior Member
With battery tech and electric drives improving each year, I think that may be the way to go if I can wait a few years.
I agree. The California mandate for all cars to go electric may not be necessary as the technology matures. Batteries are getting denser. Motors are getting more efficient. Regen technology is improving. Soon electric power over ICE will be a no brainer.

The cost and smell and complexity of internal combustion engines would already be replaced by electric motors if cost were not a consideration.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Yeah, if and when the Atomic 4 ever becomes unrepairable, I might very well drink the electric Kool-aide. Or boat-hop.
For me, one of the best features of the E29 is the wide-open interior and double quarterberth. I rearranged the FWC to get the engine compartment back down to its original flush fit. I doubt that any other engine would fit under the quarterberth. But many others feel differently.

Coincidentally, last night I watched some YouTubers demonstrate the regenerative charging on their fancy Oceanvolt motor. They didn't start getting significant charging until the boat speed got over six knots. So that might be one aspect that's a bit out of reach for boats like the E29 with insufficient WLL. Anyway, I'd probably be more likely to use some sort of home-brew conversion for this dirt-cheap boat.

So far, the A4 is purring right along, though some of the ancillary components did need to be replaced when I got it. It wasn't anything like the cost of an engine replacement.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Yeah, if and when the Atomic 4 ever becomes unrepairable, I might very well drink the electric Kool-aide. Or boat-hop.
For me, one of the best features of the E29 is the wide-open interior and double quarterberth. I rearranged the FWC to get the engine compartment back down to its original flush fit. I doubt that any other engine would fit under the quarterberth. But many others feel differently.

Coincidentally, last night I watched some YouTubers demonstrate the regenerative charging on their fancy Oceanvolt motor. They didn't start getting significant charging until the boat speed got over six knots. So that might be one aspect that's a bit out of reach for boats like the E29 with insufficient WLL. Anyway, I'd probably be more likely to use some sort of home-brew conversion for this dirt-cheap boat.

So far, the A4 is purring right along, though some of the ancillary components did need to be replaced when I got it. It wasn't anything like the cost of an engine replacement.
It would seem that regen speed is going to be very dependent on the design of the prop , motor and optimizing for your boat.
 
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