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38 Bertram Repower

Discussion in 'Bertram Yacht' started by Red, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Red

    Red New Member

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    My friend recently purchased a 1970 38 Bertram flush deck model with diesel engines. Unfortunately after about 7 hours of engine operation one of the engines has completely failed.
    My question is whether he would be better off re powering with Crusader 454's rather than trying to repair the one diesel engine or what alternatives make sense. His mechanic said a replacement was approx $60,000 and that is only one engine. The mechanic has not been able to provide an estimate to repair the engine but the damage sounds severe. Unfortunately, its a low budget boat used on the great lakes as a condo for our short 2 month boating season.
    Engine hour meter is approximately 3,000 hours, the boat has probably sat for years with little use other than marina idleing which probably contributed to the engine problems.
  2. Fireman431

    Fireman431 Senior Member

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    I have never made that type of repower, but some things that come to mind:

    ~Flushing out the fuel system to run gas. In line filters, fuel pumps, return lines, etc

    ~Will the existing trans match up? Will adapters be required? Altered cooling lines?

    ~Will the props require replacement or reworking to assure that the engines get into the right WOT range?

    ~Replacement of any items to mate with the new electrical system (12 vs 24 volt)

    ~Replacement of batteries or are the one you have sufficient for gas as well?
  3. Red

    Red New Member

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    Thank you very much, it sounds like a bad situation, he may be best off repairing the old engines.
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Can you please post some info as to the engine type and output (horsepower)?

    If you do that there might be someone here who knows of an engine you could use or someone might be able to point you in the right direction.

    It sounds like the engine clapped out pretty soon after you started using it.

    Did it over heat? Run out of Oil? Throw a rod? Drop a Valve?

    These are all questions that you can ask your "mechanic". I imagine that $60,000 is somewhat more than what you paid for the boat in the first place, if al the manifolds etc are ok then you can probably put them on a truck engine if you can find one the same as what the blown one was.

    There are lots of running truck engines in junk yards all over the US.
  5. Red

    Red New Member

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    It is a detroit diesel, 1969, I am not sure of the model, but I can find out that information, seller advised that output was approx 280 horsepower per engine. The one engine got hot, approx. 200 and we turned it off and an engine alarm sounded as well. The other engine, that has water in the oil, seemed to be operating properly. Engine oil in both engines was at satisfactory levels.
    Replacing with a truck engine sounds like a great idea if necessary.
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I am guessing you have 6- 71's. Are they a V engine or straight?

    The water in the oil might be from sitting a long time. When was it last changed?

    If you are going to convert a truck engine get all your coolers etc pressure tested and cleaned to make sure you don't fill your new one with the old ones junk.

    Here is an example of a rebuilt straight 6- 71 http://www.dieselenginemotor.com/diesel/engines/974,1.html
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    What is the condition/value of the boat. Old Bertrams are wonderful boats, but a 1970 38 has undoubtedly been through many lives including commercial work. Anything done may be good money after bad. Just found a listing for a 1974 for $14,500 http://www.yachttraderonline.com/listing/1974-Bertram-Sport-Fish-96891187 . Hard to picture putting 120K into that or almost any amount. I'd say rebuild if you want to nurse it for a few more years. Otherwise .......:(
  8. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    For your information, according to my 1969 Bertram specs & pricing for the 38 Salon Cruiser, the diesel option was the GM 8V-53 @ 283 HP. Interestingly, the 325 Mercruiser (427 c.i.) was the standard power. The gas boat, BTW, cost a tick over $50K while the oil-burner had almost a $20K premium.
    You paid less than that, right?

    Regarding that $60K replacement figure mentioned up-post...well, we rebuild modern 8V-92s for less than that around here.

    While production boatbuilders are smart enough to simplify things when offering two engine options, i.e., I'll wager that the reverse gear was the same for both engine packages, and the stringer width was the same, etc,etc....I believe your short path, with the least pain & aggravation, is to unbutton the bad motor--and God knows there are 53-series parts aplenty (Check 'Boats and Harbors'--that yellow rag)--and have at it.
    It's not Rocket Surgery, you know.

    Good luck.
  9. dsharp

    dsharp Senior Member

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    I would think you can still get parts for an 8-53 if that's what they are. They tend to be hard on cam bearings and camshafts. For the money his mechanic is talking about you have several options. I'd be tempted to find some reman cummins before I would go to gasoline engines or rebuild what you have and don't run the hell out of them.
  10. Fireman431

    Fireman431 Senior Member

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    I'm not a deisel guy by a long shot, but is $60,000 a bit much? Reman long blocks are advertised for roughly $15000 around here. If their looking at dumping that kind of cash to repower, then I would certainly consider the gas repower. $6500 per fully dress engine + all the accessories, you would probably get out for half of that!
  11. dsharp

    dsharp Senior Member

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    CUMMINS QSC 8.3 540 HP. (New) not recon. 1.75-1 ZF gear, panels, harness, gauges. Electronic shift w/trolling valve. 0 hrs. Full warranty starts at time of install. $36,500. George (410) 456-44xx MD. I know this engine is too big but, I was also curious about price. This was listed at Boats and Harbors. I didn't see much in the way of rebuilts for 8V-53's. They have been obsolete for a while now. I would think a pair of these in a 46' Hatteras would make a nice package. Has anyone run a Hat with this power? As far as the 38' Bertram I think the only way you can come out is to pull the heads and see what you have left. Will the motor turn over or is it locked up?
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Given the boat and it's age and especially "its a low budget boat used on the great lakes as a condo for our short 2 month boating season." I'd say that once you start talking about replacing engines price is all that matters which probably means going to gas.
    60K doesn't sound outragous for a new diesel. That 36K # sounds like it could be + deliver and installation. Rebuild may be a good way to go, but it's totally open ended until you get into it. It could be $500 or $10,000. Maybe you could try to dig in with the mechanic a little further to get a little better estimate.
  13. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Ya can get a pair of rebuilt 8v 53's here for 10K

    http://au.apolloduck.com/display.phtml?aid=51503&fx=USD#contact
  14. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    I forgot to add the word EACH at the end of my sentence.
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When you add in the cost of getting them from Australia to Lake Erie plus the cost of installation that sounds pricey for that boat with that use. He's probably still better off going with a rebuild or replacing with gas.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, but rebuilding 8v53's shouldn't cost $60k for the pair to start with. 10k a piece sounds like a realistic price to have an 8v53 rebuilt.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The 60K the OP referred to was for (1) new DD installed. The $10K was for a rebuild plus installation and freight from Australia. That's why I rec that he just rebuild his current motor or if he has to swap out both to go with the cheapest thing he can find whether that be a pair of rebuilds or a conversion to gas.
  18. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I used the advert as an example of what is out there.

    Freight Rates are down the pan all over so a 20 ft container which would hold both those engines and their gearboxes would not break the bank to get it to the US.

    If that kind of deal can be found in the Flat Brown Country then there must surely be a similar type deal going in the US given the number of 8V 53's that were manufactured even if you have to convert an automotive engine.

    It would be nice to know what actually went wrong with this guys engines.
  19. Fireman431

    Fireman431 Senior Member

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    Keep looking. Just for kicks, I looked around the internet for rebuilt deisel marine engines and I found prices from $6500 - $12,000. Most had free shipping and a few had price matching. If he gets a direct replacement, obviously the externals will cross over and a long block replacement would be the quickest and easiest way to go.

    It sounds like his mechanic is looking to soak him.
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    That is a polite way to describe how it seems :)

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