Freeman Cruisers

Freeman Cruisers

Freeman Cruisers

Re-Engining Your Freeman

As the boats are now at least 20 years old it is inevitable that re-engining will be a requirement for some boats, although, generally the engines are all well over engineered for the use they've been put to. We calculate that most engines have only run for the equivalent of one or two years in a car and that most wear and tear occurs in the winter layup period due to non use and condensation due to dirty bilges.

Most Freeman Engines are only just 'run in' and a boat even 50 years old will probably have a lot of service life left in it's engine.

Alternative Engines

Replacing engines in Freeman boat sizes from 26 feet upwards is relatively straight forward as there are modern replacements with a similiar alignment. As Nanni dealers we initially look to their range for a suitable replacement but WaterMota, Sabre and Mermaid offer alternatives for the 6 Cylinder Ford Series.

Freeman 22 & 23

These models of Freeman's have the particular problem of having an offset gearbox, the gap of which is greater than any modern gearbox. This presents particular problems in re-engineing. There are currently no new suitable petrol engines marinised and therefore a replacement engine will be diesel. See the FAQ for considerations on Petrol Vs. Diesel in your Freeman.

Before you go to this extreme cost be sure that a replacement is actually necessary, the petrol engine is a very smooth unit for this class of boat, it goes on for years and can be fully re-conditioned. We also often have second hand units.


WaterMota and Freeman's have a joint product for installing the J-Type Gearbox onto the 3 Cylinder 29hp Westerbeke engine. This is the closest to a direct replacement engine and overcomes the offset gearbox alignment problem.

The Sea Panther is available as a rebuild and can fit directly onto the J-Type Gearbox and is therefore relatively easy to install.

As Nanni dealers we recommend the 3 Cylinder 29hp as the closest option, with the necessary modifications. Depending on the build of your actual cruiser, this can fit into some Freeman 23's without too much structural modification.

We are currently working on a project with Nanni to produce a Freeman replacement engine.

2 Cylinder engines are a cheaper alternative where the space allows but they do not really have enough power to propel a Freeman in it's usual cruising areas. Being 2 cylinder they are also relatively noisy and not as smooth as a 3 or 4 cylinder engine.

A final alternative is to marinise a road engine; unfortunatley people have experienced great problems with this project as there are no really suitable road engines available which comfortably fit in a Freeman 22 or 23. It is possible to marinise such engines as the Ford XLD and FSD but they are really far to large to comfortably fit in the available space. If attached to the J-Type gearbox, to cope with the offset, they have to be very carefully engineered to fit and have the engine power limited.

Before you get seriously involved always check that your existing engine, fully serviced is not the best option.

Best prices always available for new engines, we either supply box only or box only but with help line assistance for installation or a discounted fitting service at the Freeman Workshop.

If you remove your old engine and gearbox we may purchase it from you.

Petrol Vs. Diesel

See the FAQ for information on the choice between petrol and diesel.