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As I have asked one or two questions lately, people might guess that I am in the middle of having a boat built.
This months question is the boat is going to be a 60ft narrow beam with a bow thruster a 3.5Kv generator driven by the engine. Engine choices are a 45hp shire or a 43hp beta. It will be a liveaboard and so will be used a lot so reliability and running costs are the main thing to consider plus noise levels

Asked by: Tom Grocott  | 5.52pm, Sunday 13 March

WW says:

Both engines are well built- the issues are more likely to arise from the way they are installed (and used!). Running a Travelpower (or similar) 230V alternator from the engine means that it can be used at low speeds and still be under load. However, large alterators require good ventilation, as they do tend to generate a lot of heat. The general rule-of-thumb of 1 sq inch of ventilation per hp should be observed- and this should be considered a minimum. You also should ensure that the builder gives you a skin tank (or twin tanks) of at least 11 square feet in area- preferably larger- and also they have baffles fitted internally. Both engines are reasonably quiet, though this can be reduced substantially by good sound insulation- which is rarely fully done on narrowboats- but can achieve excellent sound reduction if done properly.
Also, ensure that the fuel system has a good fuel-water seperator and possibly another primary filter, before the final engine filter. This will ensure minimal fuel issues (and is also a warranty requirement of most engines- though sometimes missed).
For final choice of engines- have a look through various brokerage sites and you will see which engines are a more common choice- it would be difficult for us to nominate one engine over another. However, provided the engine is well-installed, maintained and given good fuel (and lots of air to breathe for combustion and cooling) both engines should work well- and both are used by hire fleets as well, which is a testament to their reliability.

Mark Langley  | 9.04AM, Monday 14 March

It is also worth considering accessibility of the installation for future servicing. Access to the front of the engine for belt changing, getting to the oil and fuel filters. Also getting in and out of the engine compartment; Shire incorporate a handy step into their engines so you do not step onto something critical like a fuel pipe or electrical cable harness.

Rupert Smedley  | 9.21AM, Monday 14 March

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