A Heart Exchange: The Replacement

In the previous post(seen here), we removed the old engine, wiring, old equipment and re-insulated and painted the engine compartment, this iteration will be about the new engine. Read on as I show you what we did to get engine installed and running.The main point of this series was the “heart” of Redemption, the engine being a critical part of our new home. It is without a doubt a crucial and important piece of this refit puzzle, as at the time this occurred we were still on the hard. We couldn’t really move on to the next projects until we could finish this one. So the engine is where I will begin this post.


After the the E/R was prepped, I began the process of getting a new engine and how it would go in the boat. After much searching and reading, I chose a Yanmar 4JH4-TE 75hp turbo-charged diesel.I paired this engine with a ZF MIV-15 V-drive gear to replace the Hurth(bought by ZF) 150V. It was the right size for us, just about perfectly replacing the Volkswagen in size and power. I did look at other engine companies but I had to make more sacrifices with them: too much power and much bigger and heavier or not enough power for the same Yanmar weight. For instance, the comparable Beta 75 @ 911lbs, the Cummins 4B 3.3M 65hp @ 534lbs, the John Deere 4045DFM70  80hp @ 963lbs and the Volvo D2-75 75hp @ 582lbs. My Yanmar weighs less than 500lbs.

IMAG0936I’m not by any means weary of the turbo either, I have grown up in a boatyard operating old diesel machinery. Diesels, whether naturally aspirated or turbo-charged, need to be ran at higher load to be efficient and not soot up to prolong life. As a side note, I do enjoy hearing the turbo spool up when I throttle Redemption around when docking! I purchased the Yanmar from Laborde Products, Inc. in Covington, LA as they are this region’s Yanmar distributor.


When you have a brand new engine hanging in the air, especially over your boat, you really get tense. I mean, that’s quite a few boat bucks just dangling there in complete reliance of the chains holding it! Prayers were said and we continued on towards the E/R. The smaller, compact size of this engine and the fact that Redemption has a lift off hatch that allows full access to this compartment helped when lowering the engine in by means of a chain fall.

View from the forklift after then engine was lowered into the boat

Once on the brackets, a big sigh of relief was had by me, my dad and his good friend, Mr. Ronnie, didn’t seem phased as they have lifted/lowered many engines out of their shrimping boats and other boats.


After we lowered the new Yanmar into the boat, there was a few modifications to the stringers in order for the engine mounts to sit correctly. This is not the easiest task when the mounts are 19″ wide and the stringers were set up for 22″ mounts. Unfortunately, Yanmar doesn’t make replacement mounts to facilitate this like other engine manufacturers do, such as Beta for example offers both mounts on request. In order to have this work we welded up AL brackets that sat on the stringers and would allow the narrower Yanmar to rest. The one thing I should have done but didn’t was to remove the old fiberglass that is covering the steel plate that makes up my engine stringers. Instead we just bedded the brackets on top of the fiberglass. This would have solved a few of the issues we ran into when lining up the shaft to the gear, such as: making the engine higher than we needed(easy to shim up but you can’t shim down), and also made a couple brackets sit very slightly on angle. We overcame in the end, but if I ever need to pull the engine again, I will do that for sure. Once the mounts we bedded down and bolted into the steel plate, the engine mounts were secured.


The process was fairly smooth going mounting wise, but when it came to lining up the shaft with the gear it was a whole other story! Typical V-Drives naturally have an added complexity in that any adjustments are backwards to what a normal gear faces. This particular gear is even more unique in the complexity as the shaft goes THROUGH the gear and the shaft coupling is on the backside of the gear instead of the shaft butting up to the gear underneath. This means an easier shaft coupling assembly but gear to coupling is trickier. Up is down, down is up, left is right, right is left when adjusting the engine and mounts to align the shaft within just a few thousandths of an inch. With the wealth of experience from my dad and my determination, I knew we would get it….eventually. And get it eventually we did! Took us a couple days of fighting it but it was finished! The new shaft now in and married up to the coupler, I put the new-to-me 3-blade 18″x16″ (I think?) propeller on along with the required zincs on the shaft.

Once  Redemption in the water a few months later, I was able to hook up the throttle and shifter cables, fuel line to a temporary five gallon tank, and connected the exhaust hose temporarily straight to the transom fitting. The latter of the those are not ideal, but I ran into a couple hiccups that prevented me more permanent solutions, those will be mentioned in the last part of this series. Filled the fluids up, primed the lines, hooked some cables and a battery up and prayed for some blessing on the first start. When I plugged in the panel and turned it on, the piercing alarm tone and gauges came to life.. I took a deep breath and pushed the start button. This 500lb steel and aluminum monster roared to life almost instantly. It sounds like a high performance engine sitting next to it, like a fire breathing sewing machine harmoniously humming along. After about a minute of idling and grinning ear to ear, I gave it some throttle and hear the turbo spool up with that familiar hiss of air rushing at high speed. I was so ecstatic that this part of the ordeal went so smoothly and without a hitch! HOW AWESOME!


Now that the engine was running like a magical steed, she was now free from the confines of just the yard slip, it was time to bring Redemption to her home dock and away from boatyard life.



Stay tuned for the next and final part of this series… The Renewal.

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