Chinese diesel auxiliary?

Discussion in 'Diesel Engines' started by Anatol, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    Hi all

    one of these days I will have to repower my 36' 8 ton sloop as the original Atomic 4 will give up the ghost. The old A4 was originally rated at 30HP though I doubt mine would muster 25 now. I came across some small marine diesels from "HF" who claim to make Deutz, Cummins and Isuzu engines. Well, everything is made in China so no surprise there.

    I have some general questions:
    Has anyone got any experience with their 3M78 or 385M?
    Are these engines obviously clones of other engines?
    Are there better options as far as Chinese produced engines available at a good price?
    Are there US or Canadian agencies for any of these?

    Also some specific questions, as I haven't had experience with little diesels.
    1. What is 'swirl chamber' as opposed to 'direct injection?
    2. The 385 seems to have two speed gearbox - why? Also seems not to have reverse.
    3.My A4 is fitted to a V Drive, so any replacement would have to mate to it. Doubtless requiring some custom machining. Any advice or experience on this?

    thanks and happy new year.
  2. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    I would rather a good secondhand brand name engine than a new chinese 1. But thats just my opinion. You only want to swap engines once. Its not fun pulling them out.
  3. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    Adapting the v drive or fitting another 1 will be fairly straightforward. Direct injection injects the diesel straight into the cylinder as the name suggests. Swirl chambers are pre combustion chambers or in direct injection which is old school technology.
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Go visit a 18 wheeler reefer (refrigeration) shop if you want diesel..

    A used engine should run well under $500 , just be sure you get the engine number (probably a Kubota or Yannmar) to figure if its big enough

    You would like 18 - 20 HP at a nice cruise RPM.

    Parts will be aviliable in years to come , for China , parts will be an engine replacement.
  5. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    good advice, thx!
  6. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    You're better off with a reman Japanese diesel,or even one with hours than a new Chinese diesel. It may last,or it may not...who knows.

    Check out Craigslist. You can also search all of Craigslist. Ebay as well.
  7. JSL
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    JSL Senior Member

    From some experiences of friends/clients, Chinese diesels hAve been some old brands (German, USA , etc) using old tooling and spare parts were impossible to obtain. One fellow simply 'junked' his MAN on a 110' steel ketch.
    Better off to get a rebuild on a old reliable /reputable engine
  8. Alumination
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    Alumination Junior Member

    Am I the only one who's first thoughts were "Harbor Freight" ? :):D
  9. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    Thanks fast fred and all for feedback.
    I think I'll be looking for an ex-'reefer' Yanmar or Kubota if I choose to go diesel repower.
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Hatz makes a nice series of small diesels, with good materials and engineering. I'm not sure what size you're looking for, but I have a source for Kubota 27 HP diesels for about $2,900. This engine is usually offered as a generator, but is well suited for marinization.
  11. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    One other possible consideration when changing from gas to diesel is the shaft size. I'm pulling this from my old memory from some time ago so i stand to be corrected here but my Paceship Yawl has an Atomic 4 30hp. with a 3/4 in. dia. shaft, which seems to be a standard size with these engines. A similar hp. diesel recommends a min. of a 1in. ? dia. shaft. I think this has to do with the difference in torque ratings between similar hp. gas and diesel engines. I came across this info some time ago,while researching an engine change out on my Paceship from the Atomic 4 to a Yanmar 3GM . Apparently people who made similar switches and have not changed out to larger dia. shafts have run into problems with shaft breakage. No doubt as a result of accumulative cycling from forward to reverse over time. Possibly worth a little research before proceeding as a shaft break could result in taking on water depending where the break occurs and the prop/rudder post location set up.
    In my case it would be less work and more economical to keep the Atomic 4 than change out the shaft tube/shaft/ cutlass bearing/ stuffing box/ shaft to engine flange/ prop and shaft Zinc. I have also since discovered there is no shortage of parts for the Atomic 4 and several companies are now rebuilding these engines almost back to new condition.
  12. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    Thanks - I'm looking at the possibility of an atomic4 repower. Mine has a V drive, so ease of mating with the transmission or Vdrive is an important consideration. The A4 was once rated at 30hp, mine has less no doubt, so this Kubota 27 is in the ball park.

    Thanks for the link to Hatz, I didn't know them. Seems like the G series, at 17kw max is about right - a bit low, but then they jump in power substantially, to much more sophisticated and modern design in the H series.
    On further looks, the L series and M series have models in the 20kw range, I'll need to dig deeper. Thanks!
  13. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    Surely you can surf the net and find heaps of engines to suit. There must be thousands of engines available in the u s a. Get yourself a complete marine package so you don't have to try and marinize it yourself. You clearly don't have the experience to take on an engineering challenge like this. I recently sold a bmw d35. Beautiful low hours marine engine with gearbox for 1200 au. The d35 is a hatz 2l marinized by bmw. And as viking said . If you are running a 3/4 shaft you need to replace the whole driveline.
  14. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    Thanks for the BMW tip.
    "You clearly don't have the experience"
    Are you picking a fight? True, I haven't spent years hauling oily old engines out of boats and I have no experience with diesels. But I've got a pretty good handle on precision design and building - custom robotics. I was a hotshot oxy welder - oxy welding thin gauge alu in the 1970s - no mean feat. mig is easy. I know my way round lathe and mill.

  15. Anatol
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    Anatol Senior Member

    Viking, thanks for your very good advice on shaft size etc. My boat with the A4 - a 36' strip plank sloop - was handmade by a German NASA engineer through the 60s. He did quality work and overengineered all over. Happily, with a 1" shaft.

    "it would be less work and more economical to keep the Atomic 4"

    Understood. I have love-hate relationship with the old beastie. Raw sea-water cooled for its whole life, it is aging. And where I am the new gas - 10+% ethanol (no lead) isn't what they were made for. I've had all sorts of carb and fuel pump blockage issues. I don't know, but there seems to be some sort of dissolved material in the gas formulation we get in socal that precipitates out in the jets etc. It looks like finely grated parmesan cheese and gets past my polishing filter. Annual carb rebuilds get tiresome. There seems no future in carburetion. I even looked into doing a DIY fuel injection conversion - ie megasquirt -

    "several companies "

    Moyer Marine is great and the forum is brilliant.
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