Diesel to fit in E29 without modifying cover height?

sgwright67

Member III
So far, both E29s I have looked at with diesels have required a modified engine cover to provide clearance for the taller (than original A-4) engine. This surprised me since several makes (Universal, Beta) market their engines as A-4 drop-in replacements. One boat has a 4 cyl Universal (FWC) rated at 25hp, the other a Volvo MD6b (RWC) at 10hp.

I am considering the boat with the MD6B, and although the engine is reported to run ok, if I do need a replacement, I'd prefer to return the engine cover to its original design. Does anyone have a diesel in their E29 with original engine cover? Is it fresh water cooled? Was the A-4 mounting in the E29 unusually low profile? Or did the two boats I've seen just end up with whatever engine was available for cheap, and the resultant hacking of the engine housing?

Thanks!
 

Parrothead

Member II
If the diesels in the two boats you have seen were Atomic 4 replacements their positions were determined by the existing shaft log and strut angles.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
So far, both E29s I have looked at with diesels have required a modified engine cover to provide clearance for the taller (than original A-4) engine. This surprised me since several makes (Universal, Beta) market their engines as A-4 drop-in replacements. One boat has a 4 cyl Universal (FWC) rated at 25hp, the other a Volvo MD6b (RWC) at 10hp.

I am considering the boat with the MD6B, and although the engine is reported to run ok, if I do need a replacement, I'd prefer to return the engine cover to its original design. Does anyone have a diesel in their E29 with original engine cover? Is it fresh water cooled? Was the A-4 mounting in the E29 unusually low profile? Or did the two boats I've seen just end up with whatever engine was available for cheap, and the resultant hacking of the engine housing?

Thanks!
Usually the most difficult part of an engine swap is fabricating new mounts, especially if the bed logs (i.e. glassed in wood or metal uprights) are very much different than the factory positioning.
Building a solid mounting for the new engine's mounts can be a time consuming part of the work. A friend of mine changed from an ancient German V-twin diesel to a new Yanmar.... and both of us still chuckle at the memory of him down there under the companionway with a power planer producing a wonderful inches-deep pile of mahogany shavings around his feet when I looked in on him!
(This was an early Cascade 36, FWIW)

The room for an overhead-valve engine, like most modern diesels is the next challenge in changing from a flathead gas engine like the A4. Owners of 70's Ericson's and a herd of Catalina's with the horizontal-single-cylinder Yanmar diesels have similar stories of dealing with the extra height of new diesel engine designs when they replaced their original engine.

Note that unless you reconfigure the shaft log (Oh My... that's way above my skill set) you are going to have to align that new engine with the existing shaft. That will dictate where the mounts have to go.
Check my photo in my blog here for the pattern in place for our new Betamarine last year. Lucky us, only the height and angle had to be slightly accommodated for the new Beta engine.

BTW, some parts of your narrative puzzle me. I am not aware of Universal building a 25 hp four cylinder diesel. Their most common older design was a 21 hp three cylinder and a lot of those were factory installed in early-80's Ericson's. Our boat had the later-80's iteration of that engine, a 23 hp three cylinder engine.

Regarding the boat with the Volvo, I admit to never owning one, but all the mechanics I know dislike them passionately. OTOH, having said that, the early single and twin Volvo's do have a reputation for long life, with the caveat the parts (when needed) are more expensive than for most other similar engines. And, further caveat.... any (!) small diesel from the 70's is likely to parts availability challenges going forward. Even the very-reliable Yanmar YSM series will invoke some serious challenges nowadays seeking parts.

Regards,
Loren
 

sgwright67

Member III
Usually the most difficult part of an engine swap is fabricating new mounts, especially if the bed logs (i.e. glassed in wood or metal uprights) are very much different than the factory positioning.
Building a solid mounting for the new engine's mounts can be a time consuming part of the work. A friend of mine changed from an ancient German V-twin diesel to a new Yanmar.... and both of us still chuckle at the memory of him down there under the companionway with a power planer producing a wonderful inches-deep pile of mahogany shavings around his feet when I looked in on him!
(This was an early Cascade 36, FWIW)

The room for an overhead-valve engine, like most modern diesels is the next challenge in changing from a flathead gas engine like the A4. Owners of 70's Ericson's and a herd of Catalina's with the horizontal-single-cylinder Yanmar diesels have similar stories of dealing with the extra height of new diesel engine designs when they replaced their original engine.

Note that unless you reconfigure the shaft log (Oh My... that's way above my skill set) you are going to have to align that new engine with the existing shaft. That will dictate where the mounts have to go.
Check my photo in my blog here for the pattern in place for our new Betamarine last year. Lucky us, only the height and angle had to be slightly accommodated for the new Beta engine.

BTW, some parts of your narrative puzzle me. I am not aware of Universal building a 25 hp four cylinder diesel. Their most common older design was a 21 hp three cylinder and a lot of those were factory installed in early-80's Ericson's. Our boat had the later-80's iteration of that engine, a 23 hp three cylinder engine.

Regarding the boat with the Volvo, I admit to never owning one, but all the mechanics I know dislike them passionately. OTOH, having said that, the early single and twin Volvo's do have a reputation for long life, with the caveat the parts (when needed) are more expensive than for most other similar engines. And, further caveat.... any (!) small diesel from the 70's is likely to parts availability challenges going forward. Even the very-reliable Yanmar YSM series will invoke some serious challenges nowadays seeking parts.

Regards,
Loren
I'd forgotten about the height needed for the taller OHV heads, which makes sense. The Universal on the other boat was an M4-30, but the stated rating was 25hp, so maybe detuned, or just an error, since the model number implies 30hp. It fit quite nicely even with FWC, only requiring about 2" of extra height, which could be accommodated with extra foam in the bunk. So perhaps this is the closest one can get in this boat.

I've done a bit of reading about the Volvo MDs, and while they do seem to be durable, parts can be an issue, especially since the MD6a/b were only made for 2 years. The current owner indicates that it runs well, but takes a while to start when cold, which is typical. I wonder if anyone has rigged a solenoid activated compression release to increase cranking speed and aid in cold starts? Still waiting to actually view this boat, so I will know more once I do.

Thanks for the info.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I am probably wrong about the Universal model you are looking at. They do often have a Model Designation that does not tell the rated HP. My former M25XP model was a 23 HP engine.
Keep posting as you find out more.
:nerd:

And I also hope that someone with a late model 29 logs in and has info about a "factory" diesel installation.
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
>>> solenoid activated compression release

The Universal (Kubota) compression release is easily operated by a simple cable. I've never needed to use the release, but Kubota recommends it for tractors in cold weather.
 

sgwright67

Member III
I am probably wrong about the Universal model you are looking at. They do often have a Model Designation that does not tell the rated HP. My former M25XP model was a 23 HP engine.
Keep posting as you find out more.
:nerd:

And I also hope that someone with a late model 29 logs in and has info about a "factory" diesel installation.
Hope so...

It also just occurred to me that this note on the survey might be explained by the shaft being moved aft due to the engine replacement from A-4 to MD6B:

"The distance between the front of the strut and the aft of the propeller is longer then best practice (normally max distance 1.5 times the diameter of the shaft). This over time will increase wear on the cutless bearing and may cause excess vibration."

Also, at a rated 10hp, the MD6B might be a bit underpowered for the 29?
 
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kapnkd

kapnkd
If the diesels in the two boats you have seen were Atomic 4 replacements their positions were determined by the existing shaft log and strut angles.
Not so sure about the 29' but with our 32-II, the Westerbeke 2 cyl went right in with no modifications other than turning two of the mounts upside down to mate up to the prop shaft correctly.

Think the two boats are fairly similar in the engine compartment....
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Hope so...

It also just occurred to me that this note on the survey might be explained by the shaft being moved aft due to the engine replacement from A-4 to MD6B:

"The distance between the front of the strut and the aft of the propeller is longer then best practice (normally max distance 1.5 times the diameter of the shaft). This over time will increase wear on the cutless bearing and may cause excess vibration."

Also, at a rated 10hp, the MD6B might be a bit underpowered for the 29?
Based on photo searches, that seems to be common with some Ericsons. To my knowledge, no explanation has been discovered*, although one might speculate that it had something to do with the distance between propeller tip and hull. When I replaced my drive shaft, (which wasn't stock anyway) and switched to a smaller diameter propeller, I shortened it up some. IIRC, I split the difference and shortened it half-way to the recommended length. Probably could have gone shorter, but 1.5D would be getting the prop pretty close to the hull.

No vibration noted before or after, but the old bearing and shaft were worn. No wear on the new parts after six years.

* Maybe the explanation is simply that all the ones like that have been modified?
 
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Kevin A Wright

Member III
I replaced the A4 in my E27 with a Perkins M20 3cyl diesel. I did have to raise the cover about an inch to do that. I also had to add wooden rails to raise the engine bed about 2" to get the shaft to line up. But compared to all the other things I had to do for that engine swap (new shaft, stuffing box, exhaust system, fuel lines, controls, etc, etc. etc.) raising the engine cover was about the simplest thing on the list. I used the existing one and just added a teak board to the bottom edges (which were unedged teak plywood to start).

If you can find one that fits without the modification, great. But if it needs it, don't let that slow you down.

Kevin Wright
E35 Hydro Therapy.
 

Dave Hussey

Member III
So far, both E29s I have looked at with diesels have required a modified engine cover to provide clearance for the taller (than original A-4) engine. This surprised me since several makes (Universal, Beta) market their engines as A-4 drop-in replacements. One boat has a 4 cyl Universal (FWC) rated at 25hp, the other a Volvo MD6b (RWC) at 10hp.

I am considering the boat with the MD6B, and although the engine is reported to run ok, if I do need a replacement, I'd prefer to return the engine cover to its original design. Does anyone have a diesel in their E29 with original engine cover? Is it fresh water cooled? Was the A-4 mounting in the E29 unusually low profile? Or did the two boats I've seen just end up with whatever engine was available for cheap, and the resultant hacking of the engine housing?

Thanks!
I know this is a late reply, but hopefully useful to somebody. I think the E29 and E27 have similar dimensions in the engine compartment. I have a 1976 E27 with that same engine (Volvo MD6B) and it fits under the unmodified engine cover. There is one thing to look for that might be a variable with this engine and that is some installations have a reduction gear box added to the reversing gear box which adds length to the installation, requiring the engine-room cover to be modified...I don't have that. Good engine.
 

kapnkd

kapnkd
So far, both E29s I have looked at with diesels have required a modified engine cover to provide clearance for the taller (than original A-4) engine. This surprised me since several makes (Universal, Beta) market their engines as A-4 drop-in replacements. One boat has a 4 cyl Universal (FWC) rated at 25hp, the other a Volvo MD6b (RWC) at 10hp.

I am considering the boat with the MD6B, and although the engine is reported to run ok, if I do need a replacement, I'd prefer to return the engine cover to its original design. Does anyone have a diesel in their E29 with original engine cover? Is it fresh water cooled? Was the A-4 mounting in the E29 unusually low profile? Or did the two boats I've seen just end up with whatever engine was available for cheap, and the resultant hacking of the engine housing?

Thanks!
I replaced the A-4 on our ‘73 E32 back in ‘91 with a Westerbeke 18hp 20B model. It was a perfect fit and only had to flip two mounts upside down to fit the engine mounts.

Sadly Westerbeke discontinued this model BUT I just saw one listed on eBay for $4250.00 that is 15 years old - with supposedly only 2 hours on it. Maybe worth your time to check it out to see if it would also fit in your 29’s compartment.

I’ve been more than happy with the performance and reliability of my 20B over the years.

(Pardon the foreground wiring, we’re in the process of rewiring the boat having moved the main electrical panel.)
FF485A15-076C-4962-B134-16369C31C5C5.jpeg
 

Mcrazzle

New Member
I have a '72 E29 that has a new Universal in it. The previous owner replaced the engine a year before I bought it, so I don't have much detail on how it was done, however; It does not have a modified engine cover.
 

frick

Member III
When I replaced my A4 in the 1971 E29.. I did a bucket load of research on which diesel is the "best"
90 percent said Yanmar... why? "Because they never come back after install them."
I put in the Yanmar GM20F (in 2002) and I have never looked back.

It is a taller than the old A4, and much lighter as well. We (my boat yard) laid in some starboard plastic to get the height and angles right.
FYI the new one inch shaft did fit the original tube, so we did not have to place that.

I did build a box to cover the gm20f. It drops into the same place as the old cover and rides 4 inches taller. I still have the use of the quarter birth, and I still have plenty of storage room under the cockpit,

Embrace the beast,
 

wynkoop

Member II
I suspect a Yanmar 1GM10 would push you at hull speed in an e-29. I am just finishing the replacement of my Palmer p-60 in my e-27. The 1GM10 is smaller than the P-60 and I had to add height to the engine bed to get the shaft aligned. I suspect the same would be true of the dropping it into an e-29. I suspect for some things I might miss the extra power of the P-60, but Bruce King told me back in the 1980s that the e-27 only really needed 6HP to move it along.

One thing I really like about the 1gm10 in my boat is the ability to swing it in and pull it out all alone. It is light enough that I can manage it by myself if it ever has to come back out. I had the marina drop it on the cabin sole when the P-60 was pulled, and I moved it about for fitting and install all alone with no issues.

I will also add it is easy to convert the 1gm10 to fresh water cooling which I have done. I expect I will be able to give a first start and dockside run test in a couple of weeks depending on other things that may keep me from getting to the boat.
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
I suspect a Yanmar 1GM10 would push you at hull speed in an e-29. I am just finishing the replacement of my Palmer p-60 in my e-27. The 1GM10 is smaller than the P-60 and I had to add height to the engine bed to get the shaft aligned. I suspect the same would be true of the dropping it into an e-29. I suspect for some things I might miss the extra power of the P-60, but Bruce King told me back in the 1980s that the e-27 only really needed 6HP to move it along.

One thing I really like about the 1gm10 in my boat is the ability to swing it in and pull it out all alone. It is light enough that I can manage it by myself if it ever has to come back out. I had the marina drop it on the cabin sole when the P-60 was pulled, and I moved it about for fitting and install all alone with no issues.

I will also add it is easy to convert the 1gm10 to fresh water cooling which I have done. I expect I will be able to give a first start and dockside run test in a couple of weeks depending on other things that may keep me from getting to the boat.
I'd be curious to know about your FWC mod to the 1GM10. Perhaps you could start a separate thread (or blog post) and provide some more info on that?
 

wynkoop

Member II
I plan to do a posting on the conversion from the P-60 to the 1GM10 when I am finished. At the moment I have to keep focused on finishing as my marina sent everyone an eviction notice. They are taking out the small boat docks, dredging for ships and putting an amazon warehouse on the warf. They have given us all to April 1 to leave!

Now other marinas in NYC are price gouging those of us evacuating! I have to get Silver Maiden in operational condition before I write the conversion article, but I am taking photos every step of the way.
 
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