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"One of our most popular fire-fighting options is a Darley KSW fire pump powered by a Westerbeke W70GA engine ... supplied by R.B. Grove. Their product knowledge and excellent support after the sale make my job much easier."--Kevin White, Boston Whaler Commercial Products


Frequent Questions

Q: How do I figure out the correct generator size for my boat?
A: Determining the correct size genset for your boat is not a difficult task, however it should be done by an experienced and knowledgeable marine electrician. The American Boat & Yacht Council's manual of standards provides guidelines to determine how much power you need. We recommend these guidelines are followed.
 
Q: How do I figure out the correct horse power auxiliary engine to purchase for my boat?
A: A good rule of thumb to determine the correct power for your boat is as follows: Pleasure use - two horsepower per one thousand pounds of hull displacement (weight). Long range/world cruising - two and one half horsepower per one thousand pounds of hull displacement (weight). Example: Pleasure use vessel, hull displacement is 25,000 pounds - 2 horsepower times 25 equals 50 horsepower. A 50 horsepower engine should perform well. In this case, the Westerbeke 55B Four is a perfect choice!
 
Q: How big a secondary alternator can I put on my propulsion engine?
A: Most engines, including Westerbeke and Universal engines, can handle a side load of 6 to 7 horsepower driven off the front of the crankshaft (this limit includes the load of the fresh water circulating pump). The typical 6 to 7 horsepower available accomodates a DC alternator rating up to 190 amps. Westerbeke recommends a dual belt drive system on alternators rated at 80 amps and higher.
 
Q: I have a gasoline powered boat - can I put a diesel generator on board?
A: Yes - however the diesel generator must be ignition protected and US Coast Guard approved. Also, it's a good idea to consult your insurance company to make sure they have no objections.
 
Q: What are the advantages in terms of performance and economy of diesel engines verses gas engines?
A: Most diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines and they typically provide higher sustained torque output - often at a lower RPM.
 
Q: What type of oil should I use in my Westerbeke or Universal engine/generator?
A: Use a well-known brand and try to use the same brand each time you change the oil. Avoid mixing brands of oil. Different manufacturers use different additives, and mixing brands may cause a problem if additives are not compatible. More important is to use the correct A.P.I. (American Petroleum Institute) and S.A.E. (Society of Automotive Engineers) ratings. For Westerbeke and Universal DIESEL models use A.P.I. code CF or CG-4, S.A.E. #30, 15W-40, 10W-30 or 5W-40. For Westerbeke GASOLINE models, use A.P.I. code SJ, S.A.E. #30, 15W-40, 10W-30 or 5W-40.
 
Q: How do supplemental coolant additives protect liners and blocks from pitting damage?
A: Pitting damage is also known as cavitation erosion. It is caused by air bubbles forming in the antifreeze. When the air bubbles contact a very hot surface such as a cylinder liner or a coolant passage in the exhaust area of a cylinder head, the bubbles burst and cause erosion of the metal. Good quality antifreeze has additives in it to prevent the formation of air bubbles and prevent cavitation erosion. Therefore, an additional coolant additive is not necessary. The antifreeze mixture should be changed at least every 5 years.
 
Q: Can I use synthetic oil in my engine?
A: Yes, synthetic oil is acceptable - be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Do not use synthetic oil during the break-in period.
 
Q: I can't find engine oil with the API rating referred to in my Operator's Manual. What rating should I use?
A: API ratings change from time-to-time. The American Petroleum Institute publishes a list of ratings. It includes current and obsolete ratings and informs you which ratings can be used in place of others. The link to this web page is http://api-ep.api.org/filelibrary/Guidechart2002.pdf.
 
Q: Do I need to use a fuel additive?
A: Westerbeke recommends using a good quality fuel additive with both gasoline and diesel fuel. The additive should stabilize the fuel. "STA-BIL" brand is a good choice. Another consideration is fuel boosters - cetane booster for diesel fuel to improve fuel burn efficiency and reduce "transom soot", and octane booster for gasoline to improve performance and cleaner fuel burn. Additives to reduce algae in diesel fuel tanks is recommended as well. ALWAYS follow the manufacturers' directions and recommendations when using fuel additives. More is not always better.
 
Q: I have a Westerbeke/Universal engine/generator and need to know the correct amount of oil for my unit and the recommended oil change intervals.
A: Consult your Operator's Manual or sales literature to confirm the oil capacity for your particular model. Westerbeke recommends the oil and filter are changed every 100 hours of operation or once every season, whichever occurs first.

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