Since the 1990’s diesel engines have become more advanced, refined and complex. Popular makes are now Lister, Isuzu, Vetus, Kubota, Beta Marine, Barrus, Lombardini, Yanmar, Nanni and Thornycroft.

So which is best? There is not a simple answer to this as it is a case of personal preference, but I managed to get some thoughts from my marine engineer friend;

“My favourite engine was the Beta Marine engine. This is a marinised Kubota engine which is used in a lot of site machinery I believe. It’s rugged and tough, but runs smooth and pretty quiet.”
Isuzu engines are also reliable, but can be noisier and Mitsubishi run well but can develop issues as they get older.

So, three good modern type engines in the following order:
1) Kubota / Beta Marine
2) Isuzu
3) Mitsubishi / Vetus Marine
You may notice these are all Japanese engines. This is in contrast to the top three older engines in last week’s article, which were English.

Lister also do modern engines which my friend only came across a few times but found them to be fine.

The bottom line is if you are buying a boat and it’s got a Beta Marine Kubota Engine or an Isuzu engine, you really should not have any dramas. However, if you have an old English one then you may need to give it some tender loving care from time to time.

Top tip:
Maintain your engine with regular servicing, particularly the little bits around the engine (such as the exhaust, engine mounts, gearbox and propshaft couplings,) that start to develop problems. Any issues can then be sorted before they have any knock-on effects with the engine, and create bigger problems.

What engines have you relied on? Are you a fan of vintage charm or more modern propulsion?

Image credit: Narrowboat 48ft Cruiser Stern with Hemel Hempstead mooring


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Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / Top 6 Benefits of Owning a Boat / Narrowboat 57ft Cruiser Stern Live-aboard with Mooring./More articles.

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