Boat Engine Rebuild vs. Repair vs. Repower

Man taking apart an engine

When your boat’s engine fails, your first thought is to contact your maintenance guy, have the engine checked out and fix the problem. However, it’s only after inspecting the engine that the boat mechanic discovers a major problem that causes you to ask the tough question: Should I opt for a boat engine repair or does the engine need to be rebuilt? Or, in worst case scenarios, you may need to repower your yacht altogether by installing a new engine. 

It’s difficult to know what option to choose. In most cases, you need to call in a professional who can make an educated recommendation that will provide the best long-term results. On one hand, you could repair the engine and see how much more mileage you can get out of it. Repairs prevent you from shelling out thousands of dollars on a new engine. On the other hand, you can stop wasting money on repairs and rebuild the engine or extend your boat’s lifespan with a new engine. 

When to Repair Your Yacht’s Engine 

When the engine breaks down, your first option is almost always to repair it. You do this whether it’s a new engine or an old engine. Parts break or wear out and need to be replaced. You can perform some repairs yourself. However, when the big issues come up, you should bring in the experts. Repairs are typically less expensive than rebuilds or repowers.

However, getting parts for an older engine can be an issue – many times, an expensive one. The cost of shipping parts back and forth can be expensive and time consuming. Keep in mind that when an engine breaks down, you don’t necessarily have to replace or rebuild the entire unit. It’s quite possible to restore components within or related to the engine without a full replacement. 

For instance, you can easily replace or repair the following components without pulling out the entire system: 

Starter Fuel lift pump Oil seal 
Fuel injector pump Fuel lines Motor mounts 
Raw water pump Alternators  Heat exchanger 

All these parts are related to the engine and can be restored or replaced individually. When you deal with smaller repairs over time, you can keep your costs low while maintaining your engine’s performance.  

When to Rebuild Your Yacht’s Engine 

There are two major issues with repairing your yacht’s engine: wasted money and part availability. In these cases, a boat engine rebuild may be a better option. Parts for an older boat engine are still relatively available. However, places that sell them are becoming more limited with each passing year. So, you may want to choose a total rebuild of your existing engine.  

The key to the rebuild will be finding someone who can do the job so that you have confidence in the work. There are mechanics in Pensacola and the surrounding area who know your boat motor inside and out regardless of its age. In addition to cost, finding a seasoned independent contractor who can provide quality and timely work will be the single largest challenge. 

It’s hard to estimate the cost of a boat engine rebuild. A major overhaul can cost between $2500 and $10,000 depending on several factors including: 

  • Boat type 
  • Engine type 
  • Engine age 
  • Part availability 
  • Labor 
  • Rebuild location 

The price may adjust after the initial estimate once the mechanic performs a more thorough diagnostic. When digging into the engine, the mechanic may find unforeseeable problems. There may also be towing and storage costs if the mechanic is unable to fix the boat in the shipyard. 

The good news is that a rebuild can give you peace of mind if you are planning a long-term trip. How long will a rebuild last? Even the most experienced mechanic can’t guarantee you how long the motor will last. You could get another season out of it, or it may last 20 years. Regardless, you should perform routine maintenance on a rebuilt engine like clockwork to make sure it performs well on the sea. 

When to Repower Your Yacht’s Engine 

Of all the options for getting your boat back in the water, a repower is the most dreaded – and rightly so. It can be the most time-consuming and the, by far, most expensive option, with absolutely no guarantees of how long it will last or if it will provide a trouble-free performance.  

Depending on what type of boat you have, you may have difficulty finding a new engine that will fit into your yacht with no adjustments. If you don’t have a perfect fit, you’ll likely spend money on new fuel lines, hoses, wiring, shaft, an exhaust system and, of course, spares. New spare belts, filters and backup parts will need to be added. 

However, a repower does provide some advantages over repair or a boat engine rebuild. First, it does instill more confidence when you go out on the water, especially during long trips. You are less likely to have problems with a new yacht engine. Second, new motors come with warranties and are more likely to be covered by your insurance policy.

Third, a new engine gives you the opportunity to upgrade your yacht’s horsepower. You may have options for engines that are compatible with your yacht’s make and model. Last, newer engines are more fuel efficient than older units. So, what you spend in upfront costs, you may be able to make up on the back end with fuel costs. 

Contact Pensacola Shipyard Today 

Conveniently located on the protected waters of Bayou Chico, we are the Emerald Coast’s premier shipyard. We have everything that you need to take care of your vessel. Whether your vessel needs in-water or out of the water service, we have the boatyard capabilities and resources to get the job done.

Contact Pensacola Shipyard at 850-780-8441 to schedule service or find out more about our facilities.