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Date: 5 April 2014. Engine Update (swapping motors is complicated)


Seaweed is having surgery this week. Yes, finally, her old gasoline beast of an engine is being removed and the new one is going in. She is going to have a sweet little Volvo that will push her along at hull speed. Yes, I know that Volvo parts are $$, but then again, they are available -- something that cannot be said for all engines.

A decent mechanic can fix almost anything mechanical, provided parts can be bought. The older engines such as mine are mechanical. By that I mean nothing is turbo powered, no computer sensors -- it is just a basic motor without a lot of complicated "improvements" that can cause diagnostic nightmares when breakdowns occur.


First things first: the old engine has to come out. That means the top half is being dismantled and then the block and tranny will come out last. My waterline will be happy without the weight.

Last spring I had an issue with the keyway (sheared it) in the transmission coupler, so at least that bit will come apart easier. It is still going to be a bear and hopefully not horribly more money.

I am already at double the budget I had anticipated, and not the one from the mechanic mind you. Still, I am an incurable optimist. We are not going to discuss time frame either. Such is life:  it's a boat, you know? Everyone out here knows that time taken and money costs for projects seems to grow exponentially.

This one has been no exception. Unfortunately. 

I love my Seaweed. Having a dependable engine is critical to my happiness quotient.

The engine that arrived was not quite what we thought it was and there were a lot of things that needed overhaul so costs jumped, including parts. My mechanic, Jerry from Just Right Marine here in Carrabelle was able to locate all we needed. Parts unavailable in the US were shipped in from England via air freight and those little boxes with Volvo on the outside were not inexpensive.

Parts were available, and that was far more important to me than anything.


At this point, excluding the engine block just about
everything in the motor is new. Those parts include:

  1. new starter/generator

  2. new fuel pumps (both external and internal high pressure pump)

  3. rebuilt injectors

  4. new fuel lines

The transmission was completely dismantled and rebuilt with:

  1. new o-rings

  2. new gaskets

  3. new bearings


Additionally, brackets were created for transmission and throttle lines, a brace for the starter generator had to be built, the coupler needed to be re-bore to fit my 1.25" shaft, a 5/16" keyway cut in the coupler, and, well, lots of "little things" that go into installing a new engine in a boat.

The process is a lot more complicated than it seems at first glance.


I am confident that in the end I shall have a reliable engine. That is critical to my happiness quotient.

The ONLY thing I was absolutely adamant about
when boat shopping was I would have a diesel engine.

You see, when I was a kidlet I was less than 10' from a gas boat that blew up (broke a couple of ribs when I was slammed down on the dinghy dock) ... so of course I ended up with a gasoline powered boat. Life is like that sometimes.

To re-power was always the plan. And that is coming true now. This has been a long journey. I hve been aboard Seaweed for nearly six years. Though she was not perfect at first, my home was was "good enough" and that is all one can ask. But now? Seaweed is approaching magnificent -- give or take!

Have you ever replaced a motor in your boat?
And did you run into any difficulties that were unexpected?

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2014, 2023

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