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Old 26-10-2005, 18:46   #1
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Universal Diesel Engines

I have a Universal diesel engine in my 1989 C & C 30 MKII. It is a
three cylinder model M3-20 with a Hurth tranmission. When I bought the boat ( only 3 weeks ago ) I took it out for a few hours one afternoon with the owners prior to the purchase. We did some sailing and also motored for a while.
It starts good, idles smooth and seems to have lots of power under load. Compression tests showed the three cylinders had very similar PSI and was not far from original. It has 544 hours.
Has anyone had any experiences with these engines ? Any things to look out for ? I understand that they are fitted into alot of Catalinas.

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Old 26-10-2005, 21:29   #2
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Good reliable engines, easy to get parts for. Probably a marinized Kabota. Even easier to get parts for.
My "opinion", Yanmar, then Perkins, or Universal depending on boat size. They go down hill from there. (excluding the big power guys like CAT, Cummins etc.)

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Old 27-10-2005, 02:42   #3
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Torrenson Marine (Marine Diesel Direct) has a good Engine Forum:

And an on-line Universal Manual:

And Engine Articles:

Hurth HBW Manual at:
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Old 27-10-2005, 16:58   #4
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The Universal engine will run until it rusts into a large hunk if you take the time to maintain the filters and change the oil on a regular basis. They are a marineized version of the Kubota tractor engine. Filters are available from NAPA for the oil and fuel.
You can get some good information from the Catalina owners web sites, i.e. . They have had many years of experience.

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Old 28-10-2005, 09:38   #5
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I had a universal m25 in a Catalina 30, had very good luck with it and agree with changing the oil and filters, with the Hurth transmission you should keep it in rev. when sailing. MIght want to check your owers manual.
Also check the fuel line to the engine, mine was installed wrong when I got it.
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Old 28-10-2005, 10:53   #6
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my bristol 31 has a universal m30, 5424 and did not come with manuals. i ordered the owner, service and parts manuals on line from for short money since i prefer to have durable manuals on board. nicely written, even i get it and they structure the owner's manual like the old VW for idiots book where they tell you what not to do what they tell you what to do.
properly maintained, that engine will outlive all of us.
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:31   #7
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Good motor, It is a Kabota D950 motor. Buy parts for the motor at NAPA. Injectors are $18.50 each etc....goodluck, Matt
Matt Hager
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Old 12-11-2005, 03:13   #8
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Thanks guys,

I'm glad to hear some positive feedback. As mentioned, the parts at Napa are probably alot better price than at a marine dealer.
Before I put the boat in the water, should I be opening up the stuffing box and replacing the packing ?
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:51   #9
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Re-packing the stuffing box would be a good idea. With a "new' boat you don't really know when it was last done or the condition of the packing. Doing it on the hard will give you lots of time and you can always go to the marine store if you've got the wrong size packing or any other little hitch develops. (it usually does on boat jobs ). Congrats on the new boat, lots of C&C 30's up here in Toronto.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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