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Old 17 March 2002, 06:56   #1
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Diesel v Petrol (AGAIN!)

OK, so with all the talk about diesel inboard engines versus petrol outboards on this forum, plus Tony Lee-Elliot's comments in 'you know what' mag this month, we've all come to a decision about which we prefer.

I am now quite convinced that a diesel engine will be cheaper to run and go on forever.... BUT!

Does anyone have any experience of the reliability of the Stern Drives attached to them? These seem to require more servicing than the engine... and are they really tough enough for RIBS?

Anybody got any words of advice, particularly regarding the Alpha Stern Drive attached to the Mercruiser 1.7.... and does that engine really only drink 8 to 10 litres per hour at cruise?

Yours,
Perplexed of Iver
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Old 17 March 2002, 07:38   #2
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Mike
There is a previous thread on this forum entitled
MerCruiser D1.7L TDI
I could not believe the fuel consumption either, but read this thread for a lot more good info.
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Old 18 March 2002, 08:11   #3
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A subject I've given a lot of thought too..........

and this is where I come out! (and I stress that these are the arguments as they apply to me not to anyone else. I offer them for comment on my thought processes such as they are and that they might interest anyone else!)

First question - Can you afford the purchase price?

Diesel boats have a price premium over petrol boats. Example I have is 6.3 Humber with 140 Suzuki 4 stroke - 17k (basic spec 1 man console + trailer) vs 22k for the same boat with the 1.7 Mercruiser diesel. Data from Humbers own spec sheet or my recall of it! Similar or larger differentials probably exist on whatever boat you buy - Ribcraft, Scorpion etc etc.

Putting aside the running cost issue for a sec. Do you have the wherewithal to afford a diesel boat? That may be not just do you have a large pile of cash sitting around but can you afford the requisite loans, mortgage or selling the kids for medical research!
If you can (you lucky chap) then the argument essential goes down to the fundamental - low tax diesel @ 30p p l vs fully taxed petrol @ 74p+ (1 in a marina) p l. A relatively easy calculation of number of hours you will use it vs fuel savings will tell you whether its a good deal or not. Point I would bear in mind is that a cheaper to run boat (per hour) may well encourage more frequent useage! The flip side is that there are only so many weekends in a year!

Where life gets a bit more complicated front is if you try and rationalise a larger loan say on reduced annual costs. (i.e. it may cost me another x per month for the loan but I will save y per month in running costs.) Its about this point I either get scared about the size of a the loan or work out that I really can't afford any kind of boat and end up in a sulk! (Or get nervous that the EU will force the imposition of full tax on marine diesel and the benefit will fly out of the window the day after I buy a diesel RIB!)

So thats the money issue. The other is inboard/outdrive vs outboard. Pro's for outboards are "designed for the environment they are in", easy(ier) to service, take up less room etc etc. Cons are of course the fuel consumption and availability of fuel afloat. Inboard/Outdrive Diesel - pro - fuel consumption, torque much improved availability of fuel & entertaining turbo whistle!. Cons - takes up lots of room in the boat, not so easy to service, maybe not designed for the environment its in (the mercruiser 1.7 being a vauxhall Astra diesel iirc) and increased servicing costs. And outdrives are expensive things when they go wrong I think that much is pretty clear!

So to go back to your original questions Mike, no personal experience of the Mercruiser (but there is a chap who posts here who has one in a 7m humber I think.). I do have some data from Humber that is pretty impressive which I can fax to you if you are interested.

Would I buy a diesel? Yes if I was in the market for a "Twister" or similar. (8.75 Scorpion / Yanmar 300) but until my lottery numbers come up I'm not. Would I buy a smaller diesel RIB vs a petrol........................................the honest answer is Dunno but thinking about it!

Alan W
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Old 18 March 2002, 09:01   #4
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The Looooong Debate

As in computers, and much else in this world, the APPLICATION surely is one of the most important aspects of this debate. Long range cruising where you end up miles from your port or marina, where the type of fuel available is important is a very strong argument for diesel inboards. If, however, you are a Ribster who zooms around fishing, skiing and other general boating activities, close to your neighbourhood petrol bowser, then surely this would impact on your decision. For the sake of continuing this interesting subject, let me sketch a predicament I find myself in: I have a Fairline Targa which is about 34ft LOA. It is powered by two Volvo Penta 4.3l GI/DP 205hp petrol engines. Brand new, this boat will set you back approximately 109,000.00. Add approximately 18K to this for the diesel option. The boat is currently on the market for around 68K. The same boat with the same spec and vintage as mine sells for about 92K. The argument I am using is that for roughly 24,000.00, how far can you go with this amount of petrol? In 3/4 years you would be opting for a slightly larger Targa (or whatever else) and you have effectively saved a bundle. This argument is is extremely well thought out in the latest MBY (Motor Boat and Yachting). If you are keen on analysing this any further do yourself a favour and go to your nearset newstand and get this months copy.
PS anyone want a Fairline Targa so I can order my new RIB?
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Old 18 March 2002, 10:58   #5
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Yeah but..............

the whole equation changes if you live in the Channel Islands where petrol is 50% the price of the mainland!!

The solution to your Ribbing needs is easy ..... Scorpion 8.75m with a 500hp petrol engine
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Old 18 March 2002, 11:10   #6
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Bit Yeah .....

You are dead right!!
Now, about that Targa Alan......
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Old 18 March 2002, 11:48   #7
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Charles...........

I'd be delighted to buy your Targa off you but would refer you to my comments about my lottery numbers needing to come up!! (in which case I'd buy the Techno 40 RIB on the for sale pages )

Alan

PS Are you coming to Cardiff by Fairline then?
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Old 18 March 2002, 12:55   #8
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Hmmmm

Cannot find a trailer big enough, Alan!
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Old 18 March 2002, 14:41   #9
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If it were a real boat............

you'd be coming by sea!!
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Old 18 March 2002, 15:38   #10
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tax on diesel

coming 2007 I heard ? That's the date I believe the UK has obtained a ' stay of execution ' from the EU.

If it does come imagine the effect it will have on the boating industry......

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