E-32-3 Re-Power options?


Member II
OK. Not sure to ask this here or start my own thread, I guess I'll continue with this thread. (Loren feel free to move it if that is best)

Looks like we are going to repower our 32-3. No need to get into the reasons, just mostly peace of mind. (Current engine hasn't any more problems that any 35 year old engine, probably less problems than most).

I have quotes for the Beta 25 at roughly 10k and the Universal M25XPB for about $600 or so more.

Install for the Universal from the local diesel guy is estimated at about 3k, if he does it all. He is a Universal dealer and is pushing that
setup, but would be willing to "help" with a Beta install. Probably around the same cost if he did the complete install. He is somewhat difficult to pin down and get a project done in a timely fashion, but is very good.

I would like to do as much myself as possible, and have some experience after having converted our old E27 from the A4 to electric.
I also have a couple of friends with experience in swapping out diesels who are more than willing to help out.
I lean toward the Beta, but of course, wonder about stepping on the Universal guy's toes.

*So, really, I am mostly looking for good and bad points about the engine choice, not necessarily the politics.

The boat is out of the water for the season and I hope to remove the old M25 before the snow flies, with the goal
of being back on the water late May to early June next year.

As always, thanks for your input



Ericson 34
@mordust See this thread.

Also, my next door slip mate has an Ericson 35. He replaced his original engine with a Westerbeke M25XPB about five years ago and would not recommend the engine to anyone else. This is his second engine and third transmission. I did not ask details because I knew of the warnings in the above thread.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Even tho the other engine thread was relevant, it does seem like it might be easier to search for and find with it's own address.
Interesting/depressing to hear about your friend's problems with the Universal. While I have zero evidence, sometimes I wonder if the Westerbeke company is getting tired out, and perhaps suffering from complacency in their OEM market... they had great "easy money" decades of darned-near-locked-in contracts with Catalina and Ericson, to name only a few. That's only my opinion, of course.

The E-32-3 with the replacement Betamarine25 in our YC now has a new owner and he likes it a lot, also. The original engine was a Universal model M25 (21 hp).


Member III
I went from an old Universal to a Beta 25 a couple of years ago. I worked under the direction of the local dealer, but did a lot of the work myself, which is a great way to do it, if you have the time, tools and some basic skills. Here are a few thoughts:

25HP sounds like a lot for the 32-footer. How about the Beta 20 which is smaller?

The Beta is not that different from the Universal. It uses the same Kubota block. In addition, most (all?) of the connections will be roughly the same (water, fuel, exhaust, alternator, heater, etc.). Anyone who can do one can do the other.

The Beta really is nicely "marinated". The things you need access to are right there: filters, dipstick (with a nifty pump), belt, raw water pump, heat exchanger. Maybe a new Universal is just as good, I don't know.

There are two tricky issues: attachment to the boat and alignment with the prop shaft. Unless you already know how to do these, I would get help.

Beta has some choices for control panels. I recommend the high-end one with real oil pressure and voltage gauges.

I think you are right to want to replace an old engine with a new one, especially if you plan to keep the boat for a few years. You'll probably be repowering at some point, so why not do it sooner rather than later? Peace of mind is a great thing on the water, where "S happens".


Member III
The betas are well done with the kubota blocks and get good reviews. From info in other threads the biggest issue seems to be alignment with the shaft and a 4 point mount vs 3, which might require modifying the engine stringer beds or modified brackets to fit the existing stringers. I'm sure this was posted recently, hopefully someone can direct you to the correct thread. If you have the help available and have done a similar repower previously, and most importantly, the time to do this yourself you might save quite a few boat bucks. As to hp, the 23 hp m25xp is adequate for the 32, a couple more hp shouldn't be an issue. Most sailboats are shy on hp, after all they're sailboats and shouldn't need an engine. Smirk smirk. Worrying about stepping on the universal guys toes should be the lowest consideration on your priority list. He is bidding on a job, and as you said, is difficult to pin down. If you choose an alternate solution he should already be prepared to accept that. I have lost plenty of jobs to other contractors who underbid me or were available for the customers timeline. Hope you find the best solution, keep us posted.

Kevin A Wright

Member III
I just wrote the check (one hour ago) for a new Beta 30 for my E35. Did a lot of studying before I went that way, since I could have gotten a new Yanmar here in a few days and it will be a 4 to 6 week delivery for the Beta (they assemble them to your order).

You really can't just go with the length of a boat to determine what HP to use. Need to know both the length at the waterline as well as the displacement. The E35 is a lot heavier at 13,000# displacement than a lot of similar length boats.

Once you pick a HP, the other thing to check, check, and recheck is measurements on the engine you plan to use. And you need to base all these measurements off the propeller shaft mating with the engine coupling. General dimensions are OK to make a rough cut of options but it will all come down to the details. Much easier if you don't have to rebuild your engine beds or the engine compartment itself to get it to fit.

The Beta 30 is only about 15# heavier than my Universal M25 (which is only really 21hp) but is 3" narrower and about the same height above the motor mounts. And only an inch longer with the tranny I chose.

Other thing to look at is the tranny vs the type of prop you have. The Beta tops out at 3600 rpm and the old Universal was about 2600. So either you need to change or repitch your prop (your engine dealer will be able calculate what you need) or choose a tranny with the right reduction ratio.

The other plus on the Beta is it was obviously marinized by sailors. Not a bunch of engineers who have never been let out of their office. Just about everything is accessible right up front where you can work on it. I'm actually eager to do my first oil change with the built in oil sump pump! And the heat exchanger slides straight out for cleaning and inspection with O ring seals. On my M25 I couldn't even check the tranny oil without draining the coolant and removing the heat exchanger which was bolted on right above it (of course with the zinc on the bottom where you couldn't see it but just barely reach it and only turn the wrench 1/8 turn each time).

And while I don't expect to need parts for a very long time, if needed, it's a Kubota tractor block so parts are readily available and much cheaper than going with some of the other suppliers.

Good luck, do your homework, and you'll have decades of trouble free use.

Kevin Wright
E35 Hydro Therapy


O34 - Los Angeles
Just an alternative idea, but have you considered buying a remanufactured swap M25? Example: https://www.dieselenginetrader.com/engines/Universal/M25XP/16382

If my M25 were to give up the ghost, I think I would be tempted assuming I could convince myself the seller is reputable. Of course there is no replacement for and engine that is factory new, there would be a lot of savings and downtime avoided by doing a swap.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Not a 'bad' idea, but you still have to totally re-do the horrible OEM Universal wiring harness and very likely replace/upgrade the fragile Hurth model 50 transmission. Will the "rebuilder" provide a new torque plate? That should be a requirement while you have it apart.
How does one vet the unknown "rebuilder" and really know just what was done?

Keep in mind that that a lot of new parts are provided with that new Betamarine engine package.
IMO, it ends up being all about how much labor you can put into the project, and how long you intend to keep your boat.
And, of course,.... money.

Kevin A Wright

Member III
Actually one of the local diesel guys wants to buy my old M25 and rebuild it since it's got a newer tranny on it and I'd already pretty much done the top end on it. Kubota rebuild kits are only about $450 and then he'd have one on the shelf if someone wanted it. And I put that money against the new engine.

Kevin Wright
E35 Hydro Therapy