Review: Beta Marine 30 saildrive

By: Andrew Norton

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Is your diesel auxiliary engine a bit tired? Beta Marine has a solution with its 30hp saildrive.

Review: Beta Marine 30 saildrive
In single-engine installations, the Beta 30 saildrive is ideal for powering keelboats to 10m, or as twins on catamarans to 12m.

The Yanmar SD20 is one of the most reliable saildrives ever made. It’s not uncommon to hear of 15,000 hours running time without rebuilds, whereas the diesel powering it may last a way shorter time. The leg is rated to 70Nm of torque or about what most modern 30hp diesels can develop and has a usefully low 2.64:1 gear reduction to effectively convert engine torque to prop thrust. It can also be mated with the brilliant Gori three-blade folding prop that has an overdrive function for motorsailing.

Sure you can fit a whole new engine-saildrive package but opting for a new saildrive can add more than $4000 to the price of a new 30hp diesel complete with mechanical gearbox. So Beta Marine has come up with the concept of mating a new diesel to an existing leg such as the SD20.

UK-based Beta Marine marinises a range of Kubota, Iveco and John Deere base engines from 10 to 147 brake horsepower (where 1bhp equals 746 Watts). Only one of these has turbocharging and all bar one meet current exhaust emission regulations and have either heat exchanger or keel cooling. The engines are well designed and built to last a lifetime with regular maintenance.

Beta does offer complete engine-saildrive packages from 13.5 to 56bhp at the prop and all use the Italian-made Technodrive SP60 leg which is rated to around 170Nm and also favoured by the French Nanni Diesel and Spanish Sole engine manufacturers. The cooling water intake is in the leg, with connection to the engine via a seacock just above the diaphragm.

Trouble is this leg weighs 46kg and owner reports indicate it does have problems with clutch shift linkages bending, preventing selection of forward or reverse. At 31kg the SD20 is way lighter and better suited to diesels 30bhp and under. And it just so happens Beta makes a 30bhp engine that produces slightly under the maximum torque of what the SD20 can handle. Its red paintwork sure stands out compared to the drab colours of some of the competition!

 

BETA MARINE 30 SAILDRIVE

The Kubota-based Beta 30 develops a maximum of 30bhp at 3600rpm. The three-cylinder 1123cc engine has a gear-driven camshaft and pushrods operating the overhead valves and relatively low-pressure inline indirect mechanical injection with a 22:1 compression ratio. Hand starting this engine is out, so you don’t have to sweat over impressing passengers with your physical abilities!

The Beta 30 has a fairly flat torque curve, with 55Nm available at just 1000rpm up to a maximum of 66Nm at 2600rpm. The injection timing is fixed at 21 to 23 degrees BTDC, so the Beta 30 should be run continuously at no less than 2500rpm to prevent possible cylinder wall glazing from fuel over-supply.

Heat exchanger cooling is standard from a camshaft-driven seawater pump and belt-driven freshwater pump with a choice of either vee-belt or poly-vee drive, similar to the serpentine belt used by most car manufacturers. The 4lt oil sump has an evacuation pump with pickup at the bottom of the sump so all the old oil can be drained. The oil and fuel filters are easily reached.

Minus leg the Beta 30 is 570mm long, 482mm wide and 628mm high from the bottom of the sump oil drain. The optional shallow sump reduces height by 97mm. The bobtail or engine-only weight is 129kg. The standard ABV control panel has a tachometer (with engine hours counter) rated to 4000rpm, plus warning lights for low oil pressure and high coolant temperature. However if your budget allows it I’d opt for the C panel that has the tacho and hours counter plus gauges for oil pressure, coolant temp and alternator charging rate.

Servicing the Beta 30 is straightforward with intervals of every 200 hours or annually and a good quality diesel SAE15W40 oil should be used. In the UK the engine warranty is five years but check with your local agent about the coverage for Aus and NZ.

 

THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

In single-engine installations the Beta 30 is ideal for powering keelboats to 10m (or as twins on catamarans to 12m) in which maximum speeds of 7 to 8kts should be possible, with cruising at 6 to 6.5kts.

Mating a new engine to an existing leg is one of three options offered by Beta Marine. The company can tailor the engine mounting feet to suit the existing fibreglass bed and leg, or it can supply a new engine and saildrive with re-engineered feet to suit an existing bed. Option three is the complete engine, saildrive and bed ready to ’glass in. The SP60 can also be swung 180 degrees, so the engine is mounted aft of the leg to reduce accommodation space intrusion.

Whichever solution and costing suits your boat Beta Marine appears to have covered the repower options.

For more on these solutions and the Beta 30 contact Graham at Beta Diesel Australia, phone (02) 9525 1878 or email: sales@betadiesel.com.au

 

BETA MARINE 30 SAILDRIVE PERFORMANCE

RPM

MAX TORQUE (NM)

BHP ABSORBED BY PROP

Actual Lt/h

1600

60

1.8

0.7

2000

63

3

1.1

2400

65

6.2

1.9

2600

66

9

2.3

2800

65

12

2.9

3200

62

19.8

4.1

3600

59

30

5.9

Torque and fuel consumption. The Beta 30 has torque characteristics that suit auxiliary usage plus low fuel flow for its output

 

BETA MARINE 30 SAILDRIVE SPECIFICATIONS

TYPE Three-cylinder diesel marine engine

RATED HP 30 at 3600rpm

TORQUE 66Nm at 2600rpm

DISPLACEMENT 1123cc

BORE x STROKE 78 x 78.4mm

WEIGHT 160kg (dry w/ Yanmar SD20 saildrive)

 

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Originally published in Trade-A-Boat #457, September / October 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 


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