Log in
Article search:

Q & A

What is the best engine

We bought a 1988 Colecraft Narrow Boat last year with a Lister Petter TS3 engine. Spent £2,500.00 having the engine re-built this spring. It failed in 10hours. What engine would you recommend for this boat? It is 55 foot Cruiser Stern and a lovely boat.

Asked by: Richard Harrison  | 7.09pm, Wednesday 11 August

WW says:

The first thing to say is that, while they may not be the quietest engines on the canals, Listers are normally quite rugged and should last for many years with only normal maintenance. If yours has failed so soon after major surgery, it might be worth getting a second opinion as to why this has happened.
Assuming that your mind is set on a new engine, how is the present engine cooled? If it is air-cooled and you decided to go for a modern water-cooled engine, you would have the additional cost of adding a skin tank.
The present engine market is dominated by units based on Japanese blocks which all perform pretty well. They vary mainly in the sound they make and the number features, like twin alternators and twin thermostats, that are included in the package. And, of course, the longer the warranty period, the more peace of mind you have. Canal cruising requires an engine with a high torque value so look out for that. Also, a larger flywheel will ensure smoother running.
A 35hp to 40hp engine should do the job unless you plan to spend a lot of time on rivers in which case it might be worth going for 45hp to 50hp.
A comprehensive list of all the currently available engines is included in the Waterways World Annual available though this website at £5.99. Click the 'shop' option.

Graham Booth  | 11.45AM, Thursday 12 August

Readers say:

Lister Petter's are regarded as a particularly rugged and reliable unit.
When you 'said' it has failed . . . could you be a little more specific, please? (and, if it's only completed 10 hours - surely the engineer that rebuilt the unit should be given the opportunity to put right whatever whas 'failed'?

David Angove  | 4.48PM, Monday 23 August

The TS3 Engine is bulletproof with forged steel crankshaft. Actually designed for the rigours of pumping water and producing electrical power at full load continuously. Typical applications see 8760 hours per year and frequently run for 35,000 before the first overhaul(3.5 million kilometres in automotive terms. If your engine failed after 10 hours it was either badly repaired or the original cause of failure (usually poor installation) was not identified and addressed. Incidentally £2500 is more than enough to buy a new engine.

Nick Vaisey  | 9.39PM, Monday 28 February

The engine made a noise like a bag of bolts and then stopped. The engineers that re-built it were excellent and repaired it but we lost our holiday. We have since bought a Canaline engine and the Lister is for sale.

Richard Harrison  | 4.14PM, Sunday 6 March

You must log in to post an answer.