After discovering the milky oil, my friend/engine installation expert Rob and I spent a few nights running a series of tests (tests that I still don’t completely understand) to check water pressure within the engine in an attempt to find the source of the saltwater leak.
Next, we pulled the head apart, inspected the head gasket and tried to see if there was a crack in the head.
There weren’t any obvious cracks (good news) but to be sure Rob took the whole head back to his workshop to submerse in water for a more comprehensive analysis.
Meanwhile, we went back and forwards with the Bukh dealer on what parts I might need for the engine… the shopping list was growing by the second as we learned that the bearings, water pump, head gasket, rings and all other kinds of bits would need to be replaced as they’d come into contact with salt water and would eventually rust out…. And that’s something I didn’t want to happen in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! To make matters worse, a month or so into investigations, we found the culprit of the leak – the sleeves in the block would need to be re-pressed. Who even know engines had these things called sleeves that could cause so much grief?!
We were now looking at a full rebuild of the engine.
The Bukh dealer said it would cost $8,000 for an engine rebuild with them! Alternatively, I could spend $9,500 if I just sent my old engine back to him and he sent me a rebuilt engine. The rebuild alone would only give me 3 months’ warranty, whereas the replacement engine would get me another 3 years of warranty. For the extra $1.5k, it seemed worth it to go for the more expensive option for peace of mind.
But then there was the long-term stuff to consider.
I was now looking at spending somewhere in the range of $10,000 on an engine which had exorbitantly expensive parts (think VW costs over Toyota), so ongoing costs would be massive if I stuck with the Bukh.
Given what I’d been quoted, I started looking around at other engine alternatives – something new and well-known, that had all the alarms and safeguards my Bukh lacked. Something a bit more “Kahlee-proof”.
After some wheeling and dealing by Rob (negotiating is not my forte), he found that I could get a brand new Yanmar 3YM30 (29hp) for $11,500. Being one of the most popular yacht engine brands the parts in the future were going to be a lot cheaper. It was also more powerful (my Bukh was only 24hp). And it would mean I was starting fresh with something new, plus the warranty and peace of mind that came with that. For an extra $2k on what Bukh quoted it seemed like an excellent option, although it was a long way off my initial “worst case scenario” estimate of $3k for a cracked head issue…
It was an overwhelming time. Every day for weeks and weeks, something changed. The cause, the parts, and the cost seemed to fluctuate as everyone I spoke to had a different opinion on the best course of action.
Ultimately though, the final decision was in my hands.
As much as part of me wishes I had someone who could call the shots for me, had a crystal ball and could tell me the answer, Kuna was my responsibility alone and I would have to live with the ramifications of any decision I made.
As an inexperienced yachtie, it was clear to me that a working engine I wasn’t having to troubleshoot, that I could rely on and have that peace of mind with, was critical. So I bit the bullet, dug deep, and ordered the new Yanmar 3YM30.
Finally, I thought, the ordeal was coming to an end…
But there was yet another mountain to face – the removal of the old engine, and installation of an entirely new one which had me a bit like…