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Old 26-01-2020, 14:56   #1
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Repower costs... what am I missing?

I was glancing through some posts here and was reminded of something that has been bothering me.

In one discussion of repowering a 40 foot sailboat there was general consensus on $20K (I assume US dollars) to fit a new 30 - 40 HP diesel. But the breakdown of costs was what caught my eye, with nearly half the cost listed as labour.

This tallied with numbers I have heard before in general discussions around boats.

I donít get it.

Iíve removed and replaced my 96HP, 420 kg diesel engine myself, fabricated a whole new engine mounting system, replaced or redesigned the engine cooling system while I was at it, made a new transmission cooling setup and a new exhaust system and it only took me a week.

I wish I could charge $9K for a weekís work.

I mean, the parts list should be pretty minimal for a new engine. Every model Iíve looked at is totally self contained for cooling etc and just needs to be fed fuel in one pipe, seawater in another and be connected to an exhaust pipe for the results of each to leave the boat. No more work than I did for my existing engine and surely a lot less.

Sure, engine mounts are variable but I fabricated mine in about three hours, thatís all four including new steel bearers on the boat side. I tack welded them together with my little MIG and handed them to a local engineer with a 3 phase welder who zapped them together for $20 cash.

Is it REALLY such a difficult job that people are being slugged with the sorts of costs I am hearing about or am I missing something else?

This question is not academic. I am repowering in a month or so and the issue is on my mind.
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Old 26-01-2020, 17:44   #2
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
I was glancing through some posts here and was reminded of something that has been bothering me.

In one discussion of repowering a 40 foot sailboat there was general consensus on $20K (I assume US dollars) to fit a new 30 - 40 HP diesel. But the breakdown of costs was what caught my eye, with nearly half the cost listed as labour.

This tallied with numbers I have heard before in general discussions around boats.

I donít get it.

Iíve removed and replaced my 96HP, 420 kg diesel engine myself, fabricated a whole new engine mounting system, replaced or redesigned the engine cooling system while I was at it, made a new transmission cooling setup and a new exhaust system and it only took me a week.

I wish I could charge $9K for a weekís work.

I mean, the parts list should be pretty minimal for a new engine. Every model Iíve looked at is totally self contained for cooling etc and just needs to be fed fuel in one pipe, seawater in another and be connected to an exhaust pipe for the results of each to leave the boat. No more work than I did for my existing engine and surely a lot less.

Sure, engine mounts are variable but I fabricated mine in about three hours, thatís all four including new steel bearers on the boat side. I tack welded them together with my little MIG and handed them to a local engineer with a 3 phase welder who zapped them together for $20 cash.

Is it REALLY such a difficult job that people are being slugged with the sorts of costs I am hearing about or am I missing something else?

This question is not academic. I am repowering in a month or so and the issue is on my mind.
You could get paid $9K for a weeks work. You'd or course need to get all the required business license and either incorporate or face unlimited personal liability. And buy insurance even if you were incorporated. Probably a pay a book keeper a couple hours a week or add that to your time. Pay for workers comp and unemployment insurance plus the employer portion of FICA taxes. Then there are things like marketing cost, and who's going to answer the phone and schedule? Speaking of scheduling, are you going to have a solid stream of exactly the amount of work you need to remain fully employed, or are you going to have read spots where you only work 2 weeks out of 4? That alone doubles the rate you have to charge if this is your business. And I could go on and on about what it takes to run a business.

Ah, that's what this is all about, running a business! Way easier than it looks, especially a labor driven one like that which is highly dependent on the whims of the economy and the weather. Highly rewarding and I highly recommend it if you're interested, but not as simple as it seems. I guarantee you'll never compare a job cost to an hourly labor rate for you to DIY again once you have!
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Old 26-01-2020, 17:53   #3
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

A 9k installation ?

Perhaps ...depends on the installation And the level of detail

For instance it’s foolish to replace an engine and leave rotten 25 year old engine room insulation behind
Engine room air intake ventilation ?

Primary rancor filter manifold ..plumbed siphon break

The list is long ..maybe even 10 k long

If it’s simply a plug and play installation it can be done for half that
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Old 26-01-2020, 17:54   #4
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

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You could get paid $9K for a weeks work. You'd or course need to get all the required business license and either incorporate or face unlimited personal liability. And buy insurance even if you were incorporated. Probably a pay a book keeper a couple hours a week or add that to your time. Pay for workers comp and unemployment insurance plus the employer portion of FICA taxes. Then there are things like marketing cost, and who's going to answer the phone and schedule? Speaking of scheduling, are you going to have a solid stream of exactly the amount of work you need to remain fully employed, or are you going to have read spots where you only work 2 weeks out of 4? That alone doubles the rate you have to charge if this is your business. And I could go on and on about what it takes to run a business.

Ah, that's what this is all about, running a business! Way easier than it looks, especially a labor driven one like that which is highly dependent on the whims of the economy and the weather. Highly rewarding and I highly recommend it if you're interested, but not as simple as it seems. I guarantee you'll never compare a job cost to an hourly labor rate for you to DIY again once you have!
Yes DIY guys have no overhead nor do they need to make a profit to stay in business. And they only have to please themselves.
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Old 26-01-2020, 17:58   #5
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

In addition to the $14k for the engine and transmission, a repower usually involves replacing the exhaust and cooling piping and new sound insulation. Its not hard to get to near $20 k total even as a DIY project.
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Old 26-01-2020, 18:48   #6
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

How did you remove your diesel yourself? I thought that your diesel was under the cockpit floor then it needed to be moved forward, lifted up to the dog house and then slid into the cockpit? Unless you removed the cockpit floor?
This discussion reminds me of the time I fitted a new toilet to a friends yacht and boy did he complain when it cost $1000 to fit a $500 toilet. By the time I removed the toilet, hoses and old skin fittings, modified the old toilet base then installed the toilet, seacocks and hoses the time had blown out. All my friend could see was the new toilet and hoses.
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Old 26-01-2020, 19:17   #7
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

I marinized a 50 hp Kubuto. Engine was about A$7,000, gearbox A$2,400. Allow another A$1,500 for bit and pieces brings it to A$11,000.

I made the SS water cooled manifold myself out of square and rectangular hollow sections and the adapters for the cooling water pump and gearbox to prop shaft transition from alloy.

If I was ever to do it again I would not use a new engine, I'd use one from a motor vehicle.

For the first year I cooled with sea water having fitted anodes to the block and isolating the alloy components in the cooling water circuit. During a hull refit I installed cooling tubes and changed to keel cooling (steel boat)

Using a recycled auto diesel with a new gearbox and carrying out all the work yourself I believe it could be done for A$10,000.
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Old 26-01-2020, 19:46   #8
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
I was glancing through some posts here and was reminded of something that has been bothering me.

..........

Sure, engine mounts are variable but I fabricated mine in about three hours, that’s all four including new steel bearers on the boat side. I tack welded them together with my little MIG and handed them to a local engineer with a 3 phase welder who zapped them together for $20 cash.

........

This question is not academic. I am repowering in a month or so and the issue is on my mind.
A couple of things come to mind.

For instance, these new steel bearers.
What was the cost of the steel?
The time to source it?
The sandblasting?
The galvanising?
The painting (etch primer, tie coast, top coats)?

or perhaps they were S/S

so what were the costs of passivating and polishing?

I'm not picking on this one aspect but sometimes hidden costs add up.

If the job is quoted, the quote needs to cover the many hidden gotchas that may occur. No one likes to be handed a invoice that ends up 50% higher than the quote. These hidden costs have to be built into the quote.
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Old 26-01-2020, 23:13   #9
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Repower costs... what am I missing?

Geez, all these guys telling me how hard it is to run your own business are making me laugh. I ran my own business for 20 years and it wasnít the drama being made out here.

Sure, DIY has fewer overheads but Iím still not seeing $9k.

Wotname made a good point about the level of finish. My engine mounts are simple painted mild steel. Same as the original 40 year old set that were there before them and I guess a paying customer wants a better finish than that.

But still... I ainít seeing it yet.
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Old 26-01-2020, 23:17   #10
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

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How did you remove your diesel yourself? I thought that your diesel was under the cockpit floor then it needed to be moved forward, lifted up to the dog house and then slid into the cockpit?

Yep, thatís how it is done on my boat.

I just plonked it in the cabin last time, but thatís the hardest bit. Getting it out from there is simple because thereís a hatch in the deckhouse in just the right place for the hoist. Iíd say half a day to get it out.

Itís coming out in pieces when I get to Tassie, which will make things a lot easier.
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Old 26-01-2020, 23:29   #11
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

It costs less if you are doing the work yourself and you have access to help (machine shops, paint, Amazon Prime, etc.). I replaced my (admittedly much smaller) 2GM engine myself. My neighbor did the same with a 4cyl diesel. The key steps are 1) hoisting system, best to use the boom; 2) make sure you understand how the new engine will be mounted, you may have to change things around; 3) installation of the new gearbox (or swapping the old one) and 4) alignment of the new engine and wiring the new control panel/throttles.

Then you need to budget for something that eventually goes wrong. In my case, one of the bolts on the fuel pump snapped off. It took me 4 hours to replace and align the new engine and four days to deal with that bolt.

Small items such as sound proofing, fuel lines, exhaust lines, etc. this is nothing to speak off and can be billed as regular maintenance.

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Old 26-01-2020, 23:49   #12
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

GiLow most engineers I work with charge at least a $100 an hour so thats $4000 a week. You keep talking about your engine installation being so cheap. But no engineer I know is going to move a 420kg (925 pounds) diesel by himself, what was it a Lister? If that baby fell or moved it could do some serious interior damage. So say two guys on the interior, one driving the crane. Then you have to get rid of it once on the ground, take it to the workshop and either the owner sells it or gives it to you? But its all still time. But before removing the engine you have to uncouple the engine and any frozen bolts, worst case you might need to cut some of the bolts, remove the shaft, take the shaft and prop to the shop to be replaced or repitched hopefully they will courier it back to you? May as well replace the cutlass bearing and either recondition the shaft seal or put a PSS seal in place. New engine room insulation, maybe new control cables and controls since if the engine is worn out then maybe they are as well. New engine instruments, the dash might need changing to fit them, not just putting a square peg in a round hole, controls are bound to be a different size so either enlarge the hole or tidy up the exsisting hole then fit new controls. Then modify the engine beds to fit the new engine, probably replace the exhaust system as well, fingers crossed its on the same side of the engine. New battery cables routed to battery. May as well paint the bilge, but before that it is going to need a bloody good degrease and clean before any paint is going to stick. Why you are mucking around with the bilge may as well put a new bilge pump and float switch in. Then reverse the installation process, one guy on the crane, two in the boat. Put the engine in place, hook everything up, line the motor up, launch the boat, sea trial realign the engine and then she is good to go. Thats what I would expect for $9000.
I have seen cheap engine installations and from the old instrument holes still in the dash, the 1970s engine controls ,tired engine room and they just look terrible.
What do they say "Penny wise pound foolish"
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Old 27-01-2020, 00:32   #13
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

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GiLow most engineers I work with charge at least a $100 an hour so thats $4000 a week.

....



What do they say "Penny wise pound foolish"

Cheers

Yeah, yeah, I get it. So basically, what you are suggesting is that the costs are mostly the extras.

Iím good with that. Thatís discretionary when you are a DIYer. Not so much when you are a pro.

I just wondered if Iíd missed something else, but probably not.
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Old 27-01-2020, 00:39   #14
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

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...But no engineer I know is going to move a 420kg (925 pounds) diesel by himself, what was it a Lister? If that baby fell or moved it could do some serious interior damage.

The engine is a Nissan ED33, and I had to figure out the weight so that I could order the correctly rated engine mounts. Needless to say nobody seemed to know what the darn thing weighed. I actually posted the results here on CF just in case someone else had the same problem.

As for moving it myself... yep, DIY option again, and not particularly difficult or stressful. Just do as the ancient Egyptians used to do. Wouldnít expect a pro to do it on their own.

That being said, the little puppy is coming out in pieces next time. Gearbox, block, head, ancillaries one at a time. Much more relaxing.

Iíll flog off the good bits on gumtree and send the rest to scrap.
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Old 27-01-2020, 00:41   #15
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Re: Repower costs... what am I missing?

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Then you need to budget for something that eventually goes wrong. In my case, one of the bolts on the fuel pump snapped off. It took me 4 hours to replace and align the new engine and four days to deal with that bolt.

I can relate to that ratio.
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