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Old 01-22-2023, 01:54 PM   #1
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Trawler 36 Generator

Hello all,

We are looking at a 36 double cabin. The boat has never had a generator installed and if we buy this boat we would want to have power when away from the dock. How hard is placement of a Gen unit in the engine bay?
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Old 01-22-2023, 02:17 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. It all depends on the boat and if there is room. It will not be cheap, figure $15K, maybe more. With the newer solar panels maybe that would be a way to go with lithium batteries and an inverter.
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Old 01-22-2023, 02:25 PM   #3
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I would echo Dave's comment above, but I would increase the figure to around $25k if you hire a professional to do the install. And be careful you know going in exactly what their experience level is, and what the plan of attack is prior to paying any money!
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Old 01-22-2023, 02:28 PM   #4
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I had a Northern Lights 6kw installed 2-years ago. The generator and sound shield was about $11k at the time. I think Comodave may be a bit light on the install costs but it really depends on access and configuration. Fuel - will need to add both supply and return, plus filtration. $400-$600 parts plus labor. Exhaust - wet exhaust plus thru-hull, gen-sep (if desired) plus lift muffler - probably $800 plus install. Plumbing - thru-hull plus sea strainer and hose - $800 plus install. Wiring, selector switch, and circuit protection. $750 plus install. And then there is inflation, bits & bobs/consumables, and the stuff I forgot to add-on. Could easily surpass $20k, but would be a nice system.

Re: Comodave's comment on solar/battery: I agree with his nudge to consider as an alternative. Really depends on one big variable: do you want/need air conditioning while off-dock? if answer is yes, then there is no way around a generator. If the answer is 'not really,' then an enlarged battery bank and inverter will probably get you want you want. Top-of-mark is LiFePO4 batteries and solar to help charge, maybe a hi-output alternator too. You could still easily spend over $10k with controls, but would be an easier system to maintain.......if you can get by without A/C.

Good luck - some very bright contributers on TF concerning this very topic.

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Old 01-22-2023, 04:01 PM   #5
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I based my estimate on me doing most, if not all, the work myself. I rarely have others work on my boat, but as I get older I have been getting some help with the workÖ
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Old 01-22-2023, 04:41 PM   #6
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I have 2 generators I rarely use. In the past one ran when ever cruising or anchored.
But I put in a good inverter, dedicated battery bank, and extra alternators on the mains. Now I only use the generator at anchor and then only every 2-3 days. The mains keep the bank charged when cruising. So when I anchor, the bank is topped off. I have a big reefer, 2 freezers, induction cooking, incinerating toilets, tv, starlink, etc.

I live aboard, but if I was a weekend cruiser, I wouldn't need a generator.
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Old 01-22-2023, 05:03 PM   #7
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Maybe look for a boat that is already set up the way you want it for onboard power supply and associated gear.
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Old 01-22-2023, 05:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the info! You guys are great and I appreciate your sharing.

We plan to cruise and anchor extensively. I see the need for a genny and AC. We are 65, newly retired and spoiled ��

The Bimini is a normal dice and doesn’t leave a lot of space for solar. I have found an 8kw genset locally at a very decent price. I would do the install and probably have a pro wire it up.
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Old 01-22-2023, 05:40 PM   #9
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Lots to consider

Mechanical:
Where will it fit?
What has to be moved?
It’s going to weigh around 350-400 pounds. How will that affect the boat trim?
Where will the exhaust go?
Cooling water seacock and strainer placement.
Access for maintenance.
Fuel supply,, filter and return lines

Electrical:
Kw? Depends on what loads you have. Electric or propane stove? Air conditioning? After about an hour of running the loads drop off and start cycling. It’s generally bad to run a diesel long at low loads.
120 only or 120/240 VAC. Depends how your system is setup.
Inverter/charger connection
Transfer switches
Starter battery location
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Old 01-22-2023, 06:13 PM   #10
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I installed a 5.5kw this year and struggled to load it high enough for breakin. That is with 9k and 12kBTU going and 500W charger and a 1 1/2hp watermaker running.
But i had to go oversize to start a dive compressor.
U dont want a genset too big.
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Old 01-22-2023, 08:17 PM   #11
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A simple 3.5 will cost about $9,000. I would budget $10,000 for installation .
Platform
Water in
Exhaust out
Fuel and return
Battery
Wiring to panel
Breaker box
Outlets
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Old 01-22-2023, 09:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
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JC
Maybe look for a boat that is already set up the way you want it for onboard power supply and associated gear.
Couldn't agree more. The boat you are looking at is a very popular size and configuration, bide your time and you will find one well set up.

The trouble with budgeting for an install of this sort is it can quickly get away from you as the boat may not be originally designed with a generator in mind.

The projected $20K could easily blow out to $25K, take months of your time before you even get to play with the new boat.

Mind you it may be the boat of your dreams and you will buy it come what may.

Either way, best of luck.
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Old 01-22-2023, 09:27 PM   #13
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JC

Maybe look for a boat that is already set up the way you want it for onboard power supply and associated gear.
Yep. Find a boat that's being used the way you want to use it.
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Old 01-23-2023, 09:00 AM   #14
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We have been looking at other boats in the Mid-Atlantic area and we prefer the Albin or Island Gypsy design and looks. There are many considerations when looking at a 40 year old trawler and the Albin has many of the trouble areas corrected but has no genny. I have been reading and researching this genny location in the Albin and it seems that the usual place was in the engine room, port side.
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:07 AM   #15
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There are many alternative trawler brands, likely equipped as you would desire, to the Albin of equal if not better original quality. Some in that 36-40 foot range would be:

Monk
OA
Selene
DeFever
Californian
Grand Banks
Gulfstar
Pacific Trawler

And at least another half dozen.
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:11 AM   #16
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If a generator is a must have, buy a boat with one already, it is by far the cheapest route. That said, as a fellow Chesapeake Bay trawler owner, I will say that I run the generator less often and frequently for different reasons than I would have expected prior to getting into trawlers. I will run it underway when I have the whole family onboard and everyone but me is in the cabin on their electronic devices. The only way my single air conditioning unit will keep up while the engine and generator are both radiating heat up into the cabin, is with all of blinds/shades closed. Meanwhile, I'm completely comfortable up on the flybridge with the bimini for shade.

Anchored out, with the windows and hatches open the boat is comfortable on all but the hottest of days (93 degrees and above). I'll run the generator during dinner and cool down the cabin prior to going to sleep but shut it down before I fall asleep. In a marina without air conditioning, the boat is much hotter, there isn't anywhere near as much breeze and there is a heat island effect so I'm always plugged in and running air conditioning when in a marina. The way most trawlers are configured now, the are pretty significant 12V loads at all times between refrigeration, electronics and the heavy hitter is an inverter for 120V systems. I use my generator to recharge my house battery bank during breakfast and dinner when achored out more than I run it for air conditioning. If I was starting from scratch, I would just focus on solar, a larger house bank and heavy duty alternator setup. This would be a more cost effective approach rather than installing a generator, and for the days that are just too hot and miserable to be without AC, you can pay for a lot of transient dockage with the $20-$25K that a generator install would cost. Before the jellyfish coming into the bay, I'm more likely to anchor out and swimming off the boat can cool me off if there is no breeze, once the jellys roll in, I'm much more likely to take a transient dock. My small genset burns about 0.5-0.75 gallons per hour so I could easily burn $30-40 in diesel keeping the cabin cool on a hot day, that goes a long way in offsetting a transient slip.

In 2015, my parents bought an old 34' Mainship, their first "trawler", it didn't have a generator and it was one of the first priorities for us to install. We found a bargain on a new, off-brand unit itself, a 4.5kw and did all the install ourselves, it was about $10K all in which was incredibly reasonable. I know we couldn't do the same today for less than $15K. Later that season, we installed an autopilot because the boat didn't have one. The AP was a game changer and 1/5 the cost. We would have never guessed the end values of those two items prior to running a trawler and the whole family has a lot of boating experience. Now I have my own trawler, basically the same as my parents' old boat, it came with a generator and I use it but I wouldn't spend $15k to have one.
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:15 AM   #17
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Replacing an existing genny is a PIA. They are bulky and very heavy. It is mostly plug and play grunt work.

Installing a genny on a boat where there was none will be a PIA and expensive. Hire an expert marine electrician (if you can find one with a week to spare). Have all the grunt work done before he arrives. (Fuel, water, exhaust, etc).

Be prepared to pay about the cost of the genny for the installation. Probably more.

Match the fuel used to your main engine. (diesel and diesel, gas and gas)

DO NOT consider an air cooled genny on the swim platform with a cord running to your coffee maker. Your neighbors will hate you!

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Old 01-23-2023, 10:25 AM   #18
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I know we couldn't do the same today for less than $15K. Later that season, we installed an autopilot because the boat didn't have one. The AP was a game changer and 1/5 the cost. We would have never guessed the end values of those two items prior to running a trawler and the whole family has a lot of boating experience. Now I have my own trawler, basically the same as my parents' old boat, it came with a generator and I use it but I wouldn't spend $15k to have one.
That illustrates the value of using any new-to-you old boat before undertaking major change. Put aside the money for a year or two.

I bought my current boat thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, and made fairly extensive revisions to electrics. Now I'm realizing that some of the things that I thought were important are not, and vice versa.
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:33 AM   #19
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That illustrates the value of using any new-to-you old boat before undertaking major change. Put aside the money for a year or two.

I bought my current boat thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, and made fairly extensive revisions to electrics. Now I'm realizing that some of the things that I thought were important are not, and vice versa.
Extremely true, fortunately we didn't regret it and by luck and a lot of sweat equity, they actually came out even on their upgrades when they sold the boat, which is unheard of.

What is really sad to see and happens pretty frequently is when a new owner makes a major upgrade or customization and then finds the boat springs a major need within the first year of ownership and now the new owner has dumped far more into this new endeavor than they planned. Nothing like treating yourself to a new electonics package and then finding out that your fuel tanks are shot.
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Old 01-23-2023, 12:34 PM   #20
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I installed a new NextGen 5.5 kw genset in our new to us 1997 Marine Trader 34DC last June. It took 3 weeks to install and cost me about 2,000 dollars to do it myself. The Genset was 9500 dollars with sound enclosure. I was quoted 11,000 dollars to have it installed. We love it! Burns a quart an hour and is very quiet. I can give you some pointers if you choose to go that route. I installed the through hull and seacock before putting the boat in the water. It took a couple hours. I glassed 2 sheets of 3/4 plywood and bolted it to stringers behind the transmission. I hired 2 guys to lower the genset onto the plywood mount. I did have a skinny younger guy to drill the exhaust fitting and connect exhaust. hose. After that it was fairly straight forward hooking up fuel and return lines. Wiring the remote and switches was not that bad. I had it inspected by licensed marine electrician just to insure all was done right. Very rewarding project.
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