Goshawk’s Volvo Penta MD11C engine.

When reading up about Westerly Centaurs, it quickly became apparent that for many, the weak point in an otherwise outstanding boat is often the engine. That’s not to say that Centaurs’ engines are inferior; from from it. They’re just very old, and so liable to have issues. Replacement parts are also, apparently, difficult and expensive to source.

Many Centaurs have had their original engines replaced with modern engines. Quite a number on the market when I was looking at Goshawk had recently received new Beta or Yanmar engines. 

I was therefore a little concerned that Goshawk, although having been re-engined in 2017, had been given a replacement Volvo Penta MD11C. When I queried this, the broker told me that the vendor was a big fan of classic 1970s engines, and had been excited to source a really good example of an original engine. 

When Goshawk was surveyed, therefore, I was particularly keen to read what the surveyor thought of the engine. I was pleased to see that he had positive things to say:

The engine has been well and neatly installed. Visually the engine appears in excellent and well looked after condition. There is no evidence of any water or oil leaks. The engine started well and was run for approximately an hour, run in and out of gear and stayed at normal running temperature, clean engine exhaust. Engine controls were smooth and operated well.

So, apparently, all good! Now I just need to keep it like that…

I asked on the Westerly Owners’ Association Facebook group for guidance about having the engine winterised and received lots of useful responses. The consensus seemed to be that it’s easy enough to do, and there was no need to pay someone to do it. I was directed to a book by Dennison Berwick (which I have subsequently ordered) which was suggested would be an invaluable resource. Whilst trying to track down the book I discovered that Berwick has a tremendous website packed full of useful information.

According to Martin on the WOA’s Facebook page:

Basically, winterising consists of an oil and filter change, topping the fuel tank right up, (to prevent condensation forming on the insides of the tank) and giving the fuel a shot of anti diesel bug treatment (to prevent the old cladisporium resinae); and finally, flushing the cooling system and filling it with a suitable antifreeze/coolant. I remove the thermostat to assist the flushing process as my old MD7 is raw water cooled and has no heat exchanger. You just need a pipe and a bucket!

Which all sounds relatively straightforward!

I’ve also discovered that oil filters for the MD11C can be purchased here for a very reasonable £14.26 (at the time of writing).

It may well be that I try to winterise the engine myself – but I will need to check the book first. At present I know next to nothing about engines, but I do think I’m quick to learn, especially if I have a good book to hand with illustrations. So we will see!

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