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Old 15-01-2021, 11:28   #1
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Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

I have a Contessa 35 sailboat from 1977. The engine is the original and it is time to replace it with a new one.

My first question: Is there a Contessa 35 owner in this forum, who has experience with the installation. The installation seems to be quite complicated. The new engine can not be placed on the old foundation and it is necessary to make some fittings.

My second question: I am in doubt whether I should choose a Volvo D2-50 or a Yanmar 4jh45 for shaft mount. I would like to get some pros and cons before I make my final choise.
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Old 15-01-2021, 11:59   #2
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

What was the original engine?
Have you considered a rebuild?. No experience with the engines you want but search for Volvo black box failures on this forum. It would make me run scared.
I'd go for Beta myself as cheaper parts but I guess you'd hope not to have to buy much on a new engine.
I'm sure you will get advice from others with experience on those engines
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Old 15-01-2021, 12:11   #3
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

Don't know what the hp ratings are for those engines but from the m=number of cylinders would seem like they are overkill for the boat. A 30hp engine should be more than adequate for a boat that size. Have a Yanmar 3GM30, 27hp in my 35', 13,000# displacement boat and it's a great match for fuel consumption, size, weight, and cost.
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Old 15-01-2021, 12:32   #4
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

Don't rule out Beta Marine. They can do custom engine brackets that may mean that you can reuse your old engine beds. The labor savings of not having to replace or modify engine beds is tremendous. I swapped engines in my boat in less than a week, largely because of custom brackets.

On an engine swap planning is everything. Plan each step carefully and the replacement will go smoothly.

Stay away from Volvo engines. They are good engines but their parts prices are obscene.

Beta engines are marinized Kubota tractor engines and other than the marinization components, parts are available everywhere.

Disclaimer: no relationship to Beta other than a satisfied customer.
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:40   #5
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

I have a 33ft Westerly dating from 1991 with an 18hp Volvo Penta 2002 which I am contemplating replacing. It has been suggested I should fit a Beta 25hp. I'm erring towards a Beta 30hp or a Perkins 29hp. I’m not as far down the line as you are but I have done some research.

I also have a useful book that you might want to track down – “How To Install A New Diesel Engine” by Peter Cumberlidge (Adlard Coles Nautical). You can get it on Amazon UK. It’s probably got more information than you need. But it’s full of diagrams etc and will help you along the way. I haven’t fully read it, but will be when I am further down the line.

I think you need to think about the following:

Engines and Parts
From my reading and research, I have learnt that most Marine Diesel Engines are marinised tractor, car or van engines. The more you know about what the base of the engine is, the cheaper and more plentiful the parts will be as you ought to be able to use the equivalent car or tractor parts in many instances. Beta engines are marinized Kubota tractor engines which are used all over the world. I have heard that Yanmar parts are quite expensive. I had to pay 150 for a short piece of replacement metal water pipe on my Volvo Penta which I thought was extortionate. Also check the cost of oil and fuel filters on different engine makes – they can vary wildly.

Engine Mounts
As per a previous post, these may need to be moved or re-inforced.

Gearbox and Gearbox ratio
Does the new engine come with a gearbox? Or will you fit it to your existing gearbox? What is your current gearbox ratio and what is the ratio of the new Engine gearbox? That may have an impact on your prop.

Prop
Which way does the prop on your current engine turn? Most turn clockwise. Mine turns anti-clockwise. That means I will probably have to get my very good Brunton Prop re-engineered to turn clockwise which will add an extra 500 or so to my re-engineering cost.

Electrical/Ignition board
Does the new engine come with an Electrical/ignition board – the Betas do and you have choices there. Will the new board fit the space where your current ignition board is? Or will it involve some ‘cutting and pasting’ which will add to the cost.

Weight
What is the weight of your current engine? What is the weight of your new engine? If there’s a big weight difference, it may affect your sailing performance.

Alternator
What size is your current alternator? What size of alternator does your new Engine come with? That may affect your electrical system.

Your Old Engine
Don't forget that if your old engine has some life left in it, you may be able to sell it on once it's been removed.

Hope this helps for starters. The Peter Cumberlidge book will give you much more!
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Old 16-01-2021, 10:57   #6
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

If you have ever been in a seaway when the wind is blowing hard on the nose you will need a good strong engine to get you through, and that is with your sails up, tacking to and fro to avoid slamming too much into the waves. In my opinion you need at least one HP per foot. If you can go larger then do so. The extra hp will mean you do not stress the engine too much when you really need the extra muscle. I have a 43 monohull, with 75hp Yanmar. I have been exceptionally impressed with its performance in some very difficult situations and would recommend Yanmar to anyone. Bear in mind you also need a good propeller, sized correctly to your boat and engine.
Good luck
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Old 16-01-2021, 11:40   #7
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

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Originally Posted by SJFK View Post
If you have ever been in a seaway when the wind is blowing hard on the nose you will need a good strong engine to get you through, and that is with your sails up, tacking to and fro to avoid slamming too much into the waves. In my opinion you need at least one HP per foot. If you can go larger then do so. The extra hp will mean you do not stress the engine too much when you really need the extra muscle. I have a 43 monohull, with 75hp Yanmar. I have been exceptionally impressed with its performance in some very difficult situations and would recommend Yanmar to anyone. Bear in mind you also need a good propeller, sized correctly to your boat and engine.
Good luck
With respect, i have to disagree in part. Diesel engines like to be run fairly hard and if you make hull speed at 50% throttle because an oversized engine, it will lead to a short life, not to mention poor fuel economy. Running the engine wide open throttle (WOT) for a while is not going to damage anything and in fact running the engine WOT periodically can be good for the engine. The 1hp per ft sounds about right. I wouldn't go much more than that. I have a 37.5hp in my 41ft boat and have never had an issue of lacking power, even when motoring into a 40knts headwind and 12ft seas...no i was not making hull speed, but I wouldn't expect to.
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Old 16-01-2021, 12:24   #8
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

A Contessa 35 displaces 6 tons or so. A 25 HP engine (provided that the prop is selected correctly) will do the job.

A Beta25 sells, I believe, for about US$8,500. It is a proven Kubota industrial engine and nicely marinized if my Beta20 is anything to go by. Beta supplies "conversion mounts" that will essentially make the Beta a "drop-in" onto any other common engines existing mounts.

Given the engine location in the Contessa 35, which should permit a straight hoist in and out using the main boom as a cargo boom, a DIY swop is within most people's competence and would save the cost of professional installation which is likely to be another eight grand or so.

I am not absolutely positive, but I have a notion that Bukh is the Danish dealer for Beta. They are on Aabenraavej in Krusaa. Give them a shout to explore what they might be able to do for you.

With a new Beta in the boat you are very unlikely to ever require spare parts (other than the cooling water impeller) for the rest of your sailing life.

The electrical connections of such a swop are straight forward. The exhaust may take a little more thinking about depending on the relative sizes of the stubs on the old engine and those on the new.

Hils derhenne i Krusaa :-)!

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Old 16-01-2021, 12:53   #9
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

We repowered our 34’ sailboat from a Volvo 2002 with a Beta 38 and when we were trying to decide between Volvo, Beta and Yanmar the Volvo mechanic that worked on our Volvo told us that any of the new engines would be light years better than our old Volvo.
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Old 16-01-2021, 13:22   #10
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

We put in a new D2-50 last year. The boat is 33’ and 15000 lbs displacement hull. The horsepower is perfect! We cruise at just about hull speed and still only burn 1 gallon per hour. 3+ HP per thousand pounds is the new minimum. My recommendation is to NOT BUY VOLVO PENTA. THe engine is great but Volvo management is absolutely terrible! Getting any technical information from them is almost impossible. There is no national tech line. Everything has to go to a local dealer. I bought my engine from a company in England called “Apollo Duck”. Once they had the money I never heard from them again despite my multiple calls and emails. I went through hell trying to get Volvo to certify the engine and start my warranty. And that was just to get a tech to the boat. The tech provided the installation manual. The first one I’d seen. Then commenced to give me a hard time on the installation. One year later and I still do not have a warranty! I did my engine swap in Indiantown marine in Florida. Several other boats were also doing engine swaps. Everyone else was going to Beta. The Beta tech support was fantastic. My advice is go Beta and 50 HP.
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Old 16-01-2021, 14:39   #11
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

Unless you are towing a barge, a Yanmar 30 should be sufficient to reach hull speed against even a strong wind.
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Old 16-01-2021, 15:00   #12
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

Less than 3 HP per thousand pounds you will regret it in a headwind or seaway.
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Old 16-01-2021, 15:05   #13
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

Rule of thumb is 2 to 4 hp per ton. The upper limit seems to be preferred these days.
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Old 16-01-2021, 18:16   #14
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Rule of thumb is 2 to 4 hp per ton. The upper limit seems to be preferred these days.
I don't think that ratio is sufficient. My Westerly is 5.13 tons which would suggest that a 10hp - 20hp engine would suffice. I have an 18hp Volvo Penta. In a seaway ie motoring into a 3 - 4 knot tide I'll get a speed of not much more than 3.5knt. Getting into or out of the entrance to Poole Harbour and fighting the tide at LW or HW Springs I'll be doing barely 1knt for a few hundred yards. Painful! And I have a good prop too.

I think I need a minimum of a 25hp engine and preferably 29hp or 30hp to comfortably punch a tide.
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Old 16-01-2021, 18:32   #15
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Re: Question about replacement of engine - Contessa 35 sailboat

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Originally Posted by Paul Kelly View Post
I don't think that ratio is sufficient. My Westerly is 5.13 tons which would suggest that a 10hp - 20hp engine would suffice. I have an 18hp Volvo Penta. In a seaway ie motoring into a 3 - 4 knot tide I'll get a speed of not much more than 3.5knt. Getting into or out of the entrance to Poole Harbour and fighting the tide at LW or HW Springs I'll be doing barely 1knt for a few hundred yards. Painful! And I have a good prop too.

I think I need a minimum of a 25hp engine and preferably 29hp or 30hp to comfortably punch a tide.

If you're motoring into a 3-4 kn tide @ 3.5 kn then you are hitting hull speed and trying to climb your bow wave, not running out of engine power.
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