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Old 05-10-2018, 10:05   #1
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30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Need Advice… 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine. I understand its running well at the moment but I’m worried it could ‘spoil my day’ when I least want it to. I will be using it extensively during 2019. I do have experience with diesel engines/machinery so could take the wrenches to it pretty easily, but these…? I would like to tap into the collective mind before committing myself.
What I’m also interested in is knowing if it’s easy to swap out for a small Yanmar motor and trans and call it good if I need to. If it happened it would likely be a DIY project. The Bukh looks manageable without its giant flywheel and trans…
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:07   #2
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

The little Bukh I had was a good little engine. You might want to check on parts availability though.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:34   #3
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

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Originally Posted by Steven UK View Post
Need Advice… 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine. I understand its running well at the moment but I’m worried it could ‘spoil my day’ when I least want it to. I will be using it extensively during 2019. I do have experience with diesel engines/machinery so could take the wrenches to it pretty easily, but these…? I would like to tap into the collective mind before committing myself.
What I’m also interested in is knowing if it’s easy to swap out for a small Yanmar motor and trans and call it good if I need to. If it happened it would likely be a DIY project. The Bukh looks manageable without its giant flywheel and trans…
My uncle had one of those that he used extensively over a 15 year period & it seemed very good. He used to fresh water flush it after outings as had fresh water at his marina. They last a long time IF you feed them clean air/fuel & do oil changes.
Personally i wouldnt swap it out for a yanmar unless you wanted to save weight
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:42   #4
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Steven:

You are in Minnesota, you say. There are several Bukh dealers in Quebec. Here is one of them:

Seagulf Marine Industries Inc
815 Mill Street
Montreal, Quebec
H3C 1Y5
Canada

Tho' they prolly deal mainly with larger engines than yours, it's worth a call to see if they can procure parts for the baby engine for you.

Here is the contact data for the factory n Denmark. I'm sure they'll be perfectly friendly and that they speak English - sort of :-)


Aabenraavej 13-17
DK-6340 Krusaa
Danmark
E-mail: bukh@bukh.dk
CVR-nummer: 21165395

TrentePieds
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:42   #5
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
My uncle had one of those that he used extensively over a 15 year period & it seemed very good. He used to fresh water flush it after outings as had fresh water at his marina. They last a long time IF you feed them clean air/fuel & do oil changes.
Personally i wouldnt swap it out for a yanmar unless you wanted to save weight
that is a general sentiment from the internet, but this one is 30 years old... i would buy another one if i thought it was going to last 30 years, there are some salvage units available from decommissioned ships coming out of India
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:50   #6
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30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Any engine is a crap shoot, add that it’s an old engine just ups the odds.
Some will tell you to get an oil analysis, if it makes you feel good, do so, but without a steady history, it will be meaningless, and even with a history, it won’t mean much if anything at all.
I maintained a fleet of Military helicopters for 20 years, and not once did an oil analysis ever tell us a component was failing before we got chip lights and other indicators first, and I never not once removed a component based on an oil analysis.
However opening and inspecting your oil filter is a worthwhile endeavor.
However being raw water cooled corrosion is likely to be your biggest problem, however your way up North and cooler temps and the winters being spent out of the water has to really decrease corrosion over a Boat kept in the tropics for example.
Myself, I would not change a good running engine based off of just age, but it might be prudent to start setting money aside, cause nothing lasts forever.

BTW, my Yanmar turned 31 this year, and my little airplane engine is over 70 yrs old, but was overhauled only 40 yrs or so ago, and got a new top end just 6 or 8 yrs ago.
But it’s not salt water cooled either.
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Old 05-10-2018, 15:04   #7
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven UK View Post
that is a general sentiment from the internet, but this one is 30 years old... i would buy another one if i thought it was going to last 30 years, there are some salvage units available from decommissioned ships coming out of India
Our yanmar was installed in 1980. it's salt water cooled & although I've had to completely rebuild it that's only because of lack of care of P.O ( long story). The one & only good thing he did though was change the engine anodes & the inside is fine corrosion wise.
I'd agree with A64 don't toss it from age alone. Does it start easily? Does it smoke much?Is there any knocking?Is the oil pressure ok? If it passes all those dont worry about it too much. Bukh parts are very expensive I've heard but then so are Yanmars & Volvos. Just think it's the "marine" designation that makes them quadruple the cost
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Old 05-10-2018, 15:43   #8
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Steven:

You are in Minnesota, you say. There are several Bukh dealers in Quebec. Here is one of them:

Seagulf Marine Industries Inc
815 Mill Street
Montreal, Quebec
H3C 1Y5
Canada

Tho' they prolly deal mainly with larger engines than yours, it's worth a call to see if they can procure parts for the baby engine for you.

Here is the contact data for the factory n Denmark. I'm sure they'll be perfectly friendly and that they speak English - sort of :-)


Aabenraavej 13-17
DK-6340 Krusaa
Danmark
E-mail: bukh@bukh.dk
CVR-nummer: 21165395

TrentePieds
I did look up the local dealers and there is one close to the boat in TX, basically I want a ‘way out’ if something goes wrong. I.e. go on eBay find something that will fit and has good parts backup and stick it in. Hopefully it won’t come to that but I do like to be prepared.

Thanks guys and girls (I don’t know who’s what) I’ve gained enough anecdotal evidence to make a decision... love this (virtual) place
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Old 05-10-2018, 15:52   #9
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Age in years is, IMO, less important than engine hours and maintenance during those years. Bukhs are considered reliable and long lived engines by most folks. Close friends of ours had a 3 cyl 36(?) hp one in their cruising boat. It went over 10,000 hours and was then rebuilt and went another 11,000 hours before it was retired.

All in all, likely a more reliable eng than a used Yanmar purchased off gumnut or Flea Bay.

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Old 05-10-2018, 19:16   #10
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

What they said. Keep it as long as it keeps running well. If you are really worried, stick an outboard bracket on the stern and buy yourself a 4HP Tohatsu or similar, so you have a backup. Or make yourself a pair of oars long enough to row in to your slip with. But if it sounds good and doesn't smoke, it is probably still perfectly healthy.



Fresh water sailing, huh? I bet if you take care of it and don't put too many hours on it, it will last for another 30 years.
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Old 05-10-2018, 20:06   #11
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

A little while ago a sailor near to me had a problem with a Bukh. The "Mechanic" did not correctly locate the oil filter. It bled dry and seized, then started again, and seized again.


At that time I found a place in the UK that would sell a factory reconditioned engine for a reasonable price and trade in the old engine. The transport by ship across the Atlantic was about $250. The engine had a guarantee. There were NO changes needed in the engine compartment.


Please consider keeping it, they are magnificent engines, and its why they are used in lifeboats.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:44   #12
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

This one is easy since I have a Bukh 20HP that is 38 years young. Motor is rock solid. Change the oil and they last and last. Bukh motors power 25% of all lifeboats on the planet, or so I’m told.

Parts, not a problem. Go to LSM Diesel in Denmark. They have been the factory distributor for some 60 years. You will find their website online. They are the distributor the factory recommends. The factory does not sell direct to end users.

Eric the owner of LSM speaks perfect English and knows every nut, bolt and screw on these motors. He will ship to you by DHL so it only takes two days to get any part you need and he has every part.

You can order off the website which is very detailed or call Eric. Just remember the time difference.

It’s a simple motor that if taken care of will last and last. Be thankful you have it, I am.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:43   #13
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

If it has hand starting then it's a real marine engine unlike modern engines that need electrics to start. electrics and salt water are often not a good mix as we all know yet manufacturers insist on "progress" towards starting failure.
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Old 06-10-2018, 13:55   #14
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

Bukh 20 is one of the best marine engines ever designed, and one of the simplest and most reliable. Which is why it is chosen for lifeboats around the world. No need for a heat exchange and the extra weight and fresh water pump..

They do need periodic maintenance--as does any other engine--and they can be used with a heat exchanger. Keel cooling works well with this engine.

I have never owned one--but some of my friends have. All of them were enthusiasts. I do not know if it still stands, but they used to have an exchange system for old Bukhs in Australia, and possibly elsewhere. They took yours as part payment for a refurbished one--a one-day switch.
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Old 06-10-2018, 14:39   #15
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Re: 30 year old 20hp Bukh raw water cooled engine

In response to the question/comment by “turtleofdart”. The Bukh DV 20 does have a hand starting crank and a compression release.
I have started mine a couple of times to try it. Even hand started it once when I had a low battery. Not hard to do.
I have had mi e for 17 years.
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