Observations & Options
Yanmar 4JH4E: The Caliber 40 came with it. We are delighted with it. Smooth running and fuel efficient, it demands attention but not concern. It is like almost all engines in boats under 50 feet, difficult to service, but we make the effort to keep it healthy and happy. If we were to change one thing it would be to plumb an engine oil electric drain pump to the sump plug position.*
Max-Prop:After years of struggling with two-bladed solid props and their limitations, we opted for a three-bladed, feathering, reversible propeller. Max-Prop is not the least expensive option available, but there were features I particularly wanted that they only offered. So far we are happy with it — especially after we learned how to stop it from spinning when stopping the engine while moving forward.
We now run the engine in low rpm reverse for three seconds before shifting to neutral and shutting down. Problem solved.
[We have returned to the manufacturers technique after letting boat speed bleed off a bit.]
Entec: The genset has performed very well (not including the water pump failure, the leaking exhaust valve and the starter failure at 850 hrs of service). Entec is what Caliber offered, and we didn’t research alternatives. Entec had a good (or not bad) rep. So far we are happy. This is no longer an item we truly trust. But having researched alternatives, before even considering coat, there is nothing else out there. Also Entec was just sold to another company. So ongoing tech supports remains to be seen. The starter motor replacement ordering and delivery process worked ok, With solar panels now installed, the genset will largely be relegated to air conditioning power and making up for cloudy days. No longer recommend. For us it is a serious maintenance nuisance.
Solar Panels: As noted elsewhere, we installed 405 watts worth of Kyocera panels operating through a Blue Sky Solar Boost controller. This we researched heavily and so far we are happy with our choices. Here they are tilted for winter sun and snow melt drainage (hopefully not required). [one word — Yippee!]
*Yanmar 4JH4E: The 1.9-liter Yanmar 4JH4E, introduced in 2000, is a pure marine diesel specifically designed from the block up to meet the demands of today’s boaters. It’s the biggest-selling engine in this group, so it offers the widest service backing worldwide, with distributors in 130 countries. It’s also the fastest-turning, highest-output engine in our under-60-horsepower group. The spin-on fuel filter is readily accessible at the front of the engine. With a compact cast-iron block and head, as well as extensive use of aluminum alloys in the oil pan, covers, and many parts, the EPA-compliant 4JH3E is 6 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the 4JH2E, yet delivers 5 horsepower more. The high-pressure fuel-injection system, freshwater cooling, and exhaust system are all built by Yanmar. The size envelope is almost identical to the old Perkins 4-107 or 4-108. Yanmar offers a variety of transmission options for the 4JH3 (the E suffix denotes a parallel drive), including sail-drive and down-angle versions, as well several choices of mounting brackets. (Summary by Steve D’Antonio)