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Author Topic: Westerbeke Generator, anyone using one?  (Read 2720 times)
OneLapper
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« on: February 04, 2012, 05:56:34 PM »

I have an opportunity to buy a used Westerbeke marine 12.5kw 4 cyl diesel generator.  It was fresh water cooled and has heat exchangers on the exhaust system. The price seems right and it will easily fit in my 4106.

Is there anyone out there using a Westerbeke marine style generator in their bus conversion?

Thanks

Mark
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 08:31:01 PM by OneLapper » Logged

OneLapper
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 08:13:46 PM »

I put an 8KW Westerbeake in my Wanderlodge, got rid of the old 12.5 Kohler. Mine works like a charm, no problems at all. It's a 3 cylinder diesel though. I wired it for 120 volt only, not 240. That way I don't have to worry about balancing the load between legs. Mine is supposed to produce 68 amps continuously wired for 120.

TOM
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 06:40:39 AM »

Check it out on the Westerbeke site depending on the year and a 12.5 kw that will probably be a Universal made in WI before Westerbeke bought the co 1st class generator I had one for years never a problem it is installed in saddleup's Eagle he bought from me
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 06:53:00 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 07:20:35 AM »

I have a friend that took a very problematic 8kw Onan out of his boat and installed the 12.5kw Westerbeke.  He's kicking himself for not doing it sooner.  He says it is as reliable as dirt.  I also have not ever heard of any complaints on Westerbeke (as compared to the numerous, constant complaints of Onan).  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 07:40:22 AM »

i was a marine mechanic for 12 years and i always wanted a used take out. Never could get one! Other than the great nickname Westerbeast, they were and are great. Maintenance is everything and if it not rusted up from bilge splashing go for it.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012, 02:53:14 PM »

This is probably the best genset money can buy. Last summer I got an 8KW used one from a boat salvage yard at about half the cost of a new one, it is about '82 vintage, three cyl diesel. Westerbeke is supposed to be the Cadillac of boat gensets and mine works flawlessly what little I've used it. You don't find many because they are in demand. The new price is out of this world!

It does need plenty of ventilation because using it dry you lose the exh manifold water cooling so the manifold and ex pipe put out a lot of heat. I plan to wrap the exh system inside the compartment and install a cooling fan. The fan is not really needed except when stopped in traffic in hot weather. When parked I just open the doors. In cooler weather it is no problem.

There are some made with dry exh manifolds for boats but they are rare.

The heat exchanger is removed and remote radiator hoses are connected to the old exh manifold water-cooler but it is left in place.

That 3-cyl (I think it is a Japanese engine) is smooth as silk except when starting and very quiet. I have the exhaust crossing over underneath the bus to the other side with the muffler about halfway, I plan to remove the muffler sometime to see how noisy it is but I suspect not much difference because it is 3-cyl. Threes and sixes don't seem to be as noisy as others.

I also disconnected the alternator because it uses the bus batteries and would confuse the bus alt reg if left connected. All I have to do is reconnect it and I have a backup alt for the bus engine since it is directly connected then.

The price of parts is outrageous so I look online first, there are a bunch on the bay.

Change the fuel filters and the fan belts and go.

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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 08:16:57 PM »

Thanks for all the replies!

The more I read about these things, the more I like them.  I love that they have two heat exchangers built into them already, perfect for using the wasted heat to heat water or heat the bus.  Extremely compact, and extremely quiet.

I have looked at the 12.5kw and the 15kw.  The 15 is two inches too long for the 4106 bay, and it's over 800 pounds!

The 12.5 would be good, but the 8.0kw with the 3 cylinder diesel would be perfect.

Unfortunately the deal I found was for the 15kw unit.  Since it's too long I'll have to keep looking for the right deal on a 8 or 12.5kw.

Thanks,

Mark
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OneLapper
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 12:48:47 AM »

Mark -

Buy the 15Kw, then hit the boat forums and see if you can find somebody w/ an 8Kw who wants to upgrade.

Win - win??

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 02:37:58 PM »

Mark,

I'm not sure your idea for the heat exchangers will work. The water from the exhaust exchanger in a boat is pumped overboard so it is not a closed circuit like in a water heater. The closed circuit on a boat is through the rear heat exchanger for cooling the engine. The open circuit water that cools this exchanger then goes through the exh exchanger and overboard. There is a separate pump for this water. What I'm getting at here is that this open circuit pumps a huge volume of cold water from outside the boat.

I'm not certain about this so I recommend you check with a good boat shop and find out. Plenty of those in CT.

If you've read many older posts here you will see that 15KW is way too big, even 12.5 is too much in my opinion unless you plan on an all electric bus. I have electric water heat, two 13.5BTU rooftops a fridge plus the converter and lights and my 7.7 handles those with no strain. It works but it doesn't strain. However, I seldom use all of those at the same time which is probably the norm!

I downsized from 10KW to 7.7 when I got the Westerbeke with no problems.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 08:17:52 PM »

Mark,

I'm not sure your idea for the heat exchangers will work. The water from the exhaust exchanger in a boat is pumped overboard so it is not a closed circuit like in a water heater. The closed circuit on a boat is through the rear heat exchanger for cooling the engine. The open circuit water that cools this exchanger then goes through the exh exchanger and overboard. There is a separate pump for this water. What I'm getting at here is that this open circuit pumps a huge volume of cold water from outside the boat.

I'm not certain about this so I recommend you check with a good boat shop and find out. Plenty of those in CT.

If you've read many older posts here you will see that 15KW is way too big, even 12.5 is too much in my opinion unless you plan on an all electric bus. I have electric water heat, two 13.5BTU rooftops a fridge plus the converter and lights and my 7.7 handles those with no strain. It works but it doesn't strain. However, I seldom use all of those at the same time which is probably the norm!

I downsized from 10KW to 7.7 when I got the Westerbeke with no problems.

Gus

This was my thought...... I would use the heat exchangers to heat the domestic hot water, etc.  I see your point about the water cooled exhaust manifold.... the hot water gets pumped out the exhaust pipe with the exhaust.  I figured I could modify the manifold and take that hot water to heat other things in the bus when the generator is running, or run it to a radiator.  I really need to get my greasy hands on one to see if that idea would work.  If not, I'll convert it to a normal generator setup like you did.

 RJ,

I did think of doing that.  And I might still do that.  I figured I'd look for a 8kw, I might get lucky and find the same deal.

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OneLapper
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2012, 04:15:50 PM »

Let us know how this turns out since I'm not really sure it won't work but I would like to know if it does. Since my rear heat exchanger and pump have been removed I can't use the idea anyway but I have a water heating loop from the bus engine I don't need it anyway.

I just don't want you to go to a lot of work and find out it generates too much pressure for the system or the water volume is too high. The boat water line exhaust is huge.

One thing for sure with a Wes, it will shut off at the drop of a hat with either loss of oil pressure or high coolant temp. One good thing is the complete instrument panel with it. This panel can actually be remoted into the bus with enough cable but I was in a rush to get mine installed and didn't do that. That is almost as much work as installing the genset.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 10:11:35 PM »

I found a Westerbeke 8Kw diesel generator!  It's almost too good to be true, but my uncle who happens to lives 7 miles from the seller took a ride over to see it run today.  It starts right up, doesn't smoke, produces A/C, and doesn't leak oil.....  

The too good to be true part is that it's $2500-3500 less than the ones I have been looking at!  I couldn't tell you why. My uncle said the seller was very nice, knew quite a bit about the genset and had planned to use it at his house. He determined 8Kw was too small and purchased a larger Westerbeke unit.

I'll pick it up next week. The only downside so far is that it's a 1200 mile round trip. Instead of using the diesel pickup (at 18mpg), I installed a hitch and trailer wiring on my TDI (44mpg) and will use a small trailer I used on the One Lap a few times.  Even with the cost of the hitch and wiring, the TDI will use $275 LESS in diesel!

I'll post pictures of the project......  I hope to start it in a few weeks.

Mark
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 10:13:42 PM by OneLapper » Logged

OneLapper
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 01:45:40 PM »

Sounds as if this one doesn't have the exhaust water cooling system which is great because modifying it is a real pain and makes running the coolant hoses a lot harder.

What year model is it? You can find this out on their website by serial number.

Keep us posted.
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 08:09:11 PM »

Sounds as if this one doesn't have the exhaust water cooling system which is great because modifying it is a real pain and makes running the coolant hoses a lot harder.

What year model is it? You can find this out on their website by serial number.

Keep us posted.

Gus,

It's a 8BT.  From the serial number is it was built May of 1985.  This unit does have the water cooled exhaust mainfold.... I haven't figured out how I'm going to plumb everything so, but I agree with you that the main heat exchanger will need to be replaced with a radiator.  I may be able to use that exchanger for heating how water, though.  I'm still in the "ideas" stage.....


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OneLapper
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 02:48:51 PM »

That's about the same vintage as mine.

The main heat exchanger on the back top of the engine is to separate the sea/fresh water from the coolant and actually does the engine cooling. That might work as a water heater but if it has been used in sea water it probably is too corroded to be very effective.

The one around the exhaust manifold is just to cool the exhaust system.

I would ask a good marine mechanic about any ideas you have before you waste a lot of time and money.
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 08:00:15 AM »

On marine engines there are two versions of water cooled exhaust manifolds. One is for raw water cooling where the cooling water goes through the exhaust manifold then dumps into the end of the exhaust manifold out to the outside.  You don't want this one.  What you want is a fresh water cooled exhaust manifold.  That's where the closed circuit coolant goes in one end of the manifold and exits back into the cooling system of the engine.  Personally-I would not use the water cooled exhaust manifold-it just creates alot more heat for the radiator to disperse (remember a marine engine has the entire ocean to cool it).  Instead-switch out the exhaust manifold for a normal dry manifold (Westerbeke typically used Kubota engines) and have a custom wrap made for the portion of the exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe that is inside the gen compartment.  You'll have far less cooling to contend with without the exhaust manifold to keep cool. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 09:46:43 AM »

Mine has the fresh water cooled manifold. I have had no problems cooling it.

TOM
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