Sabb Motor


Sabb Motor is a Norwegian maker of small marine diesel engines, mostly single-cylinder or twin-cylinder units. The firm was established as Damsgaard Motorfabrikk by two brothers, Alf and Håkon Söyland in 1925.[1] The firm started building engines to meet the demand of fishermen who wanted simple, robust and reliable power for their boats. (The word 'Sabb' means toughness and reliability).

A Sabb engine in the Norwegian Tractor and Motor Museum [nn] at Stokke


The brothers' cottage industry began by creating a 3HP hot-bulb engine. This was followed by a larger 7HP version which tended to suffer broken crankshafts, but the firm was able to solve the problem and re-launch their engines under the name Ny-Sabb (New Sabb). By 1975, Sabb Motor was producing 3,200 engines a year between 8 and 30 bhp. Facing market competition, the firm concentrated on providing 30bhp engines for ship’s lifeboats, a decision which increased worldwide demand.[2] The UK's distributor of Sabb engines is Sleeman & Hawken Ltd. More recently, Sabb have established a link with Mitsubishi.

In 2006 Sabb Motor AS was bought by Frydenbø Industri and renamed Frydenbø Sabb Motor AS.[3]

Sabb enginesEdit

Sabb engines are rugged and simple; for example, some have "splash lubrication" which requires no oil pump nor filter. (Splash lubrication is an antique system whereby "spades" on the big-end caps dip into the oil sump and splash the lubricant upwards; clearly it is a system that can work only on very low-revving engines, otherwise the sump oil would become a frothy mousse).

Sabb engines include Types H, G, GA, 2H, 2G, & 2J.[4]

Sabb engine details and maintenance tips are available.[5]

See alsoEdit

  • Video of Sabb 2G engine running [6]


  1. ^ "A brief Sabb history" (PDF). Sleeman and Hawken. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. ^ Note: These lifeboat engines mostly had an easy life, never having been run except during routine maintenance. As a result, one may today purchase vintage ex-lifeboat engines that are virtually "as new".
  3. ^ "History: 1996 – 2006 Expansion". Frydenbo. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Identifying Sabb engines and gearboxes" (PDF). Sleeman and Hawken. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Maintenance Tips" (PDF). Sleeman and Hawken. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  6. ^ Narrow boat "Bullfinch"