Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Engines!

rev. 8-22-2012

Could I fight the good fight, rebuild the old ones, save money for the college fund and retirement? Yes. I also have periodic severe back trouble and work too many hours. And I've read that no one lives forever.

Most recently one of my engines suffered an ignition failure that tipped that balance. Since getting to the trouble would require pulling the engine... again...I decide to replace both and get it over with. At 12 and 16 years old respectively, they been around salt too long.

I ordered the engines from Andy Jr. at Shipyard Island Marina (800-213-3323). He's supplied quite a few to PDQ owners with engines, knows the particulars and understands why many do not want the power tilt version (power tilt drags in the water and there have been reliability issues on the power tilt mechanism), and his prices are also very competitive. Given the time required to swap parts and ship, I thought 3 weeks was very good. After installing them I had a few questions, and he answered them easily. Are they true drop-in replacements? Yes and no:

  • Shipyard swaps the wiring harness to match what you currently have. Perfect.
  • The battery cables are a match, though I had to drill the positive ring larger. Easy.
  • New fuel connections included. A knife and a few clamps. They seem more secure than the old design.
  • They are just a bit narrower, so the fit is fine.
  • A little lighter, about 15 pounds less I believe (~ 105 pounds). Easier to tilt. I did not attempt to connect the factory 2-rope mechanism; never did like it or trust it. Chopped too many ropes and spun too many props.
  • The transom clamp is the same size.
  • The shift conection is external. Easier to connect and will give a manual back-up.
  • The shift and throttle conection pins are easier to deal with than the old slide-lock, IMHO.
  • They tilt a little higher.
  • Nice freshwater flush arraignment. I'm in brackish water and calcium is a non-issue, but this is an improvement for salt water sailors. I can even imagine bringing both to a single point (check valves would be required on each engine) and connecting it to the on-board pressure water system for the ultimate in convenience.
  • Manual choke. Some would take this as a negative. I sail in the winter and I think I'm going to like it better. You have to pop the cover, but I'm convinced that this is the smart thing to do, to pump the primer, and to confirm lock-down and water flow. In the summer you can simply leave the choke in, if you like.
  • Prop is the same. Most parts are different.
  • Shipyard included the full shop manual.
  • Emergency starting cable. They come with a standard pull-start rope installed; no removing the flywheel cover and wrapping a line around. So long as you pull as far forward as possible, I had no trouble pull starting them, just as a test. They require a harder pull than my old ones, but most probably because they have better compression. It's a nice, capability, when you kill the batteries one day. It will happen.

  • The lock-down mechanism is different and probably no more reliable in the long term. At the first sign of stiffness I will remove the lock pin. I left the hold down strap anchors in place and stored the strap! Note that it can get jammed up because of fit issues (see below).
  • Charging is 6 amps rather than 10 amps. Not much, either way, so we rely on solar. There is no red charging wire; it runs through the battery cables and charges the battery it's connected to.
  • The throttle control must be switched from pull to push. This is done a the control head. Not a big deal, but down-load the control manual.
  • Steering lock is not as positive. Perhaps I will add a bolt, if needed. But it should be OK.
  • No oil filter. Probably a minor point if you change the oil within 100 hours, before it's dark.
How to switch from pull to push? Simple, really... if you can get the cables to pull enough for access. The Teleflex site had the installation manual for the MT-3 controls I have.

 How to open? Remove the 4 screws that hold the control to the binnacle, pull up, then remove 2 screws (one fore, one aft) about 1-inch below the flange (visible in the photo above right); it will separate cleanly in 2 parts. The handles come off with an allen wrench. If you're lucky, the installer left enough slack in the cables that you can just pull it up ~ 8 inches as needed. If not, you will need to release the motor ends and feed a little cable back; just don't lose track of it! One caution. The instructions say to be careful when swapping the parts not to disturb the underlying shift mechanism. They mean it. When working on the starboard side the housing slipped and a spring and pin shifted, causing it to jam. That led to complete dis-assembly in order to reposition parts and time wasted, but no real harm.

How to avoid engines that are stuck in the up position? It turns out that on both the PDQ 36 and the PDQ 32 it is posible for the engine to latch in the top (there is a lower and upper raised possition) raised position and be such a tight fit that it is nearly impossible to lower. The cure is simply to trim away a portion of the battery shelf. Regarding the PDQ 32, if you have group 27or group 24 batteries (group 24 was stock but many upgrade) nothing is lost. For those that have gone to 6v batteries, this may pose a challenge.  At this time the lock is working fine, but I'm sure I will deisable it and replace it with a line-system when it gets glitchy.
Remember to adjust the transom angle. Swap the bracket and pulley for the pull-up rope from the old engines. Remember to set the choke before starting. There is no red charging wire, so don't look for it.

As for detailed procedures and pictures, well it was too damn hot and I've written about this before. I've gotten older, but my daughter is a high school senior now and was a big help. Carts and ramps and winches do most of the heavy work, but there was still plenty of sweat to go around. About 4 hours all told. The result is quiet....


So our August cruise around the Delmarva and to Cape May is on! I promise pictures.



8-22-2012: So far, so good. About 30 hours and no issues.While they are quieter at idle and low revs, wide-open there is very little difference. I'm guessing much of the vibration is from the prop slashing water and nothing can be done. The manual choke is no big deal; in warm weather, pull full on to start, and push in within 1 minute. No need to advance the throtle.

5-8-2014: Still happy, no issues.


  1. Excellent post, Drew. Thanks!


    PS: I'm jealous!

  2. I just bought one from Andy. I'll let you know how it goes.