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4788-Generator, repair/replace conundrum

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    4788-Generator, repair/replace conundrum

    We have an 8kw westerbeke with just over 1700 hours. It has a bad backend--puts out 8 volts (sometimes you can get it to come up by turning on the stove and water heater). Long story short is the generator end is toast according to Gallery Marine (Westerbeke dealer). About 3k to get a refurb from Broward armature plus install, or 3.6k to buy new---overall 4.5-5k and I still have an old, noisy, underpowered generator.

    I have a year 2011 Fischer Panda mini 12 (10.3kw) generator with about 600 hours a friend gave me. It needs a circuit board replaced (about $500-$1000) but is otherwise functional. Obviously it will cost money to get installed. Figure I am about 3k to put it in. Unfortunately Fischer Panda has a terrible reputation for reliability and repairs are not cheap. Advantages are it is super quiet, has lower hours, should increase value of the boat and is more powerful than the 8kw Westerbeke. Cost best guess is about 3k to install. I could also realistically fix it and sell it for 3k-5k offsetting my other two options slightly.

    3rd option-which would be the best solution--is to replace with a 12kw Northern Lights. Generator is about 13k on ebay new, figure that is about what they go for give or take, plus installation, so 15k or so. Hard to justify spending that money considering it is 3x cost of repair and 5x cost of putting in the Panda.

    Looking for any input/thoughts/considerations. I do have a 2k portable Honda that I keep aboard as a backup so while downtime and while repairs are annoying they don't derail a cruise.

    What have others done in this situation? Anybody by chance have an old westerbeke they removed due to a bad engine that could be combined with my bad generator end? Any experience rebuilding the generator end, especially with broward armature in particular (they ship you out a repaired one right away, you send yours back)?
    2000 Bayliner 4788 "Perfect Balance"
    370HP Cummins
    Zodiac YL 340 30HP Nissan
    Moored at Roche Harbor

    #2
    I replaced our old Westerbeke 12kw with a new Northern Lights 7.5 kw.Its some of the Best money spent on Lady Jake....You only need that 12kw if your running all 3 air con.stove,water heater,and Inverter/charger at the same time.....Years ago the Panda gen. was tested at a facility by us,you wouldn't believe what it looked like after the test was over( a ball of rust).... Just my 2 cents worth if you want to do it right,the first time (mike Holmes).
    Brad & Sharon
    Lady Jake
    1985 4550 EH 700TI /Twin Disc 502
    LaConner,Wa. (summer)
    2003 Scout CC 24' W/225 Yamaha
    kailua Kona,Hi (Winter)

    Comment


      #3
      Our new boat has 13kW which works fine.
      If in the position of needing to replace it would be 8-9kW. Probably a northern lights.
      1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
      1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
      Nobody gets out alive.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the initial responses.

        Brad (or Mike, can't tell from your wording?), I am curious what tests you are talking about and over what time period you had troubles with the FP? I have read a lot of horror stories yet there are plenty of people who seem to love them and manufacturers are continuing to put them in new boats so are they really as bad as people say is a huge question...

        In terms of KW I am well aware of my needs, we get by with 8 but with all 3 ACs running (30amps, more if running heat--we downsized one of them FYI, the factory put in 16kbtu in the staterooms which was way overkill), the battery charger sucking 20 amps to charge the house bank, water heater drawing 12, the water maker drawing 12, the washing machine/dryer drawing 12 we are well over 66 amps/8kw before even attempting to cook--15kw would be ideal but space/weight become an issue so 12 is probably what I would buy if going new.

        That said the question here is more about whether it makes any sense to fix the Westerbeke (ie: are we just spending money on an old generator which will be costly anyway), does it make sense to try the FP given it saves a lot of $$ but might be troublesome, or just bite the bullet and go with the 12kw NL. If we can use the FP relatively trouble free for a couple years I would probably go that route and actually budget for the NL instead of the sudden expense but if the FP is simply a piece of junk I would rather not bother and just get it done right.
        2000 Bayliner 4788 "Perfect Balance"
        370HP Cummins
        Zodiac YL 340 30HP Nissan
        Moored at Roche Harbor

        Comment


          #5
          I'm of the mind set of do it once do it right. Fix and sell the FP, sell the old unit for the engine parts and buy the new one in a size you need with some extra left over for future "growth"
          Future 4788 Owner
          Charleston, S.C.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jmoultray View Post
            We have an 8kw westerbeke with just over 1700 hours. It has a bad backend--puts out 8 volts (sometimes you can get it to come up by turning on the stove and water heater). Long story short is the generator end is toast according to Gallery Marine (Westerbeke dealer). About 3k to get a refurb from Broward armature plus install, or 3.6k to buy new---overall 4.5-5k and I still have an old, noisy, underpowered generator.

            I have a year 2011 Fischer Panda mini 12 (10.3kw) generator with about 600 hours a friend gave me. It needs a circuit board replaced (about $500-$1000) but is otherwise functional. Obviously it will cost money to get installed. Figure I am about 3k to put it in. Unfortunately Fischer Panda has a terrible reputation for reliability and repairs are not cheap. Advantages are it is super quiet, has lower hours, should increase value of the boat and is more powerful than the 8kw Westerbeke. Cost best guess is about 3k to install. I could also realistically fix it and sell it for 3k-5k offsetting my other two options slightly.

            3rd option-which would be the best solution--is to replace with a 12kw Northern Lights. Generator is about 13k on ebay new, figure that is about what they go for give or take, plus installation, so 15k or so. Hard to justify spending that money considering it is 3x cost of repair and 5x cost of putting in the Panda.

            Looking for any input/thoughts/considerations. I do have a 2k portable Honda that I keep aboard as a backup so while downtime and while repairs are annoying they don't derail a cruise.

            What have others done in this situation? Anybody by chance have an old westerbeke they removed due to a bad engine that could be combined with my bad generator end? Any experience rebuilding the generator end, especially with broward armature in particular (they ship you out a repaired one right away, you send yours back)?
            I am the prior owner of a generator shop. I sell a different brand of replacement generator ends. I have years of experience maintaining generator sets, and currently run a business where my role is consulting on difficult to solve power generation and switching issues.

            All that said when my westerbeke generator end went ut on my then new to me 4788, I quickly became a Happy Northern Lights owner.

            Great generator, super quiet.

            KEVIN SANDERS
            4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
            where are we right now​​​​​​???​

            https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

            Comment


            • islandhopper
              islandhopper commented
              Editing a comment
              What size generator did you go with?

            #7
            Jim, I priced a NL 12 when I was visiting Anacortes a year or so back and NHD wanted $23k+. Can’t remember if that included the sound shield but I think that was an extra $3k. Is the Ebay one genuine??

            Westerbekes are specialised to repair and the back end changeover is a better option if you wanna keep it. I helped a friend replace his (4788/12.5kva) and the changeover had to be done after lifting it out. We took the transom door off and craned it to the dock, but an A frame in the cockpit would work! I read about one boc’r that did it in situ, I don’t know how, cause it’s so tight, but it did take him a while!

            I did help another friend remove his 8kva from his 3988 and we craned that out too. A local motor rewind place thought he could fix it (he won’t repair/rewind another WB). He finally got it done after 9+ weeks, but WB’s are complicated internally so a changeover is best! A local changeover from WB dealer here is about A$6.5k and that’s more to do with currency conversion I think with the low AUD. I’ve heard Broward was almost the only place to get one (after google searches trying to help a US friend) other than going to WB direct!

            If the gennie is out, and the sound shield is non existent or rooted, a replacement would make it quieter and worth considering. My friends 3988 had no shield at all - stuck back there with bilge water and the like, is it any wonder the back end shorts/rust out!

            There are other brands I’ve seen at boat shows that may be worth consideration, but it you’re making the investment, I’d get the sound shield as well or have one fabricated.

            Can’t comment on the Panda, but hope this helps!

            Cheers
            John H
            Brisbane QLD Aust
            "Harbor-nating"

            2000 - 4788/Cummins 370's

            Comment


              #8
              Originally posted by higgins_jr View Post
              Jim, I priced a NL 12 when I was visiting Anacortes a year or so back and NHD wanted $23k+. Can’t remember if that included the sound shield but I think that was an extra $3k. Is the Ebay one genuine??

              Westerbekes are specialised to repair and the back end changeover is a better option if you wanna keep it. I helped a friend replace his (4788/12.5kva) and the changeover had to be done after lifting it out. We took the transom door off and craned it to the dock, but an A frame in the cockpit would work! I read about one boc’r that did it in situ, I don’t know how, cause it’s so tight, but it did take him a while!

              I did help another friend remove his 8kva from his 3988 and we craned that out too. A local motor rewind place thought he could fix it (he won’t repair/rewind another WB). He finally got it done after 9+ weeks, but WB’s are complicated internally so a changeover is best! A local changeover from WB dealer here is about A$6.5k and that’s more to do with currency conversion I think with the low AUD. I’ve heard Broward was almost the only place to get one (after google searches trying to help a US friend) other than going to WB direct!

              If the gennie is out, and the sound shield is non existent or rooted, a replacement would make it quieter and worth considering. My friends 3988 had no shield at all - stuck back there with bilge water and the like, is it any wonder the back end shorts/rust out!

              There are other brands I’ve seen at boat shows that may be worth consideration, but it you’re making the investment, I’d get the sound shield as well or have one fabricated.

              Can’t comment on the Panda, but hope this helps!

              Cheers
              hmmm

              I had NHD install a 9 kw for me in 2012. $12,451 was the price, just checked.

              KEVIN SANDERS
              4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
              where are we right now​​​​​​???​

              https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

              Comment


                #9
                I put a Northern lights 6kw in. Plenty of power. We have no AC and use diesel hydronic heat. Great get set installed by S3 Maritime in Seattle.

                Comment


                  #10
                  Swapped our Onan 12Kw out 2 years ago for Panda, have over 130hrs on panda, LOVE IT...smaller size, have the weight, WAY WAY quieter, Engine room remains cooler due to the design of the panda being 100% water cooled. we have 15kw Mini (so 13kw at 80%)....great product, well engineered to bad so many people that do not owe comment on them negatively Ps if doing this, think of installing a GEN SEP, getting that water discharge below water line is amazing at further quieting things down. We honestly do not know it is running when in our saloon...we did do double motor mounts...vibration mounts to enclosure, and then inside the enclosure the factor set, I think that helps remove some more vibration that all generators seem to have..PM me if you want, happy to share more
                  Mark
                  USCG OUPV
                  1990 4588
                  Carlsbad, CA

                  Comment


                    #11
                    I replace a Westerbeke new 8kw rear end and attached it to a 30 year old motor.

                    I didn't feel good doing this but the quote for a new one up here in Canada was around 18 grand installed😨

                    That was 2 years ago and so far so good.

                    Pricey little suckers!!!

                    Comment


                      #12
                      I understand the peak demand argument but best for the genset is to not be basically unloaded. I think target is supposed to be something like 70% load which would be over 50A on an 8kW.

                      20A to the charger is about 200A charge rate which means you have a giant inverter charger since most i have seen max out around 130A. To push that much you also need to have a house bank approaching 2000Ah.

                      Personally I would rather do a bit of demand management, have a lower fuel burn rate, lighter unit, smaller unit, and save a few bucks on the cost.
                      1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                      1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                      Nobody gets out alive.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by ksanders View Post

                        hmmm

                        I had NHD install a 9 kw for me in 2012. $12,451 was the price, just checked.
                        Kevin, I remember there was a big difference in cost of a 9 vs a 12kva. The sound shield alone was around $4k. Jim, you’re close by Anacortes. If you’re getting quotes, give NHD a bell and let us know the current pricing. The said they would do better on pricing if they installed it, for a fee of course... At the time I was looking for a comparison price if mine fell over and needed to be replaced. The online price I found was $18650 for the 12kva not including the sound shield.

                        Will stay tuned with interest... Cheers
                        John H
                        Brisbane QLD Aust
                        "Harbor-nating"

                        2000 - 4788/Cummins 370's

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by higgins_jr View Post

                          Kevin, I remember there was a big difference in cost of a 9 vs a 12kva. The sound shield alone was around $4k. Jim, you’re close by Anacortes. If you’re getting quotes, give NHD a bell and let us know the current pricing. The said they would do better on pricing if they installed it, for a fee of course... At the time I was looking for a comparison price if mine fell over and needed to be replaced. The online price I found was $18650 for the 12kva not including the sound shield.

                          Will stay tuned with interest... Cheers
                          Yes, I suppose a 12KW would be priced much higher.

                          You guys muse be running AC units because I cannot overload my generator no matter how hard I try.

                          Here are how the loads on my 4788’s generator work out. These are approximate.

                          Charging is set at 20 amps
                          Watermaker pressure pump 10 amps
                          Water Heater 10 amps
                          stove or oven 10 amps
                          washer/dryer 10 amps

                          My generator is 9KW or 75 amps

                          KEVIN SANDERS
                          4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
                          where are we right now​​​​​​???​

                          https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

                          Comment


                          • Destiny_4588
                            Destiny_4588 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Sure do - 3 AC units run pretty no stop to keep my wife happy, and that is 30-35amps (or running in reverse mode for heat in winter.) plus my watermaker takes 15 and each water heater is 10 (got 2 of those but once hot they kick out)....

                          #15
                          I can run 2 of my AC units and misc loads on 30A shorepower. The third is currently inoperable but I just can't get behind that level of capacity for all units and water heater and charger and...and... all cycling to peak demand at the same time and then pulling 10% of capacity for 90+% of running time.
                          1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                          1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                          Nobody gets out alive.

                          Comment

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