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Old 06-06-2007, 18:18   #1
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Converting a car diesel to marine

Hi folks,

Has anyone done this? Given that diesels run pretty much forever, and that a new 70 HP engine can cost well over 12000 bucks, does anyone have experince marinizing a car diesel? I was thinking an old mercedes engine, or the like. As I see it, the issues would be finding a transmission that you could use that would fit, converting to freshwater cooling (which I did on an old atomic 4 gas powered years ago, and wasnt a big deal), and the exhaust issue. If it was a steel boat you could possibly go with an external keel cooler for the coolant, and use a dry exhaust. I have never seen a dry exhaust setup on a boat before, so dont know how it works, couldn't be as simple as strapping a stainless car muffler inline, could it? Im sure there are a hundred reasons not to do it (or everyone would be) but thought I would throw it out there. I figure this only makes sense on a bigger boat that could use the power of a car engine. (not too many 30 hp cars out there). Anyone?



Cheers,

Brian
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Old 06-06-2007, 18:26   #2
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This was brought up earlier this year but for an Isuzu. You might get some info from that thread.
General thoughts on marinized Isuzu C240?

Personally, as a machinist, I don't have much respect for Mercedes engines. Long story Finding a water cooled exhaust would be costly!
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Old 06-06-2007, 19:56   #3
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Aloha Brian,

I have an auto conversion in my boat. It started out as a Mercedes 180d engine and now is fitted with a Velvet Drive transmission, freshwater cooling and marine exhaust. It produces about the same horsepower as a Perkins 4-108 (40hp).

If you'd like specifics on how this was done I can give that to you. Essentially I have a new (totally reconditioned) engine with a lot of new and used add ons to make a marine engine. I have about $4K into it. It is an old workhorse engine that is not as quiet and light as newer Yanmars but it is a solid no stop engine.

Do a websearch on OM636 engines.

Kind Regards,

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Old 06-06-2007, 20:10   #4
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My pick would be a tractor engine (John Deere, Perkins, Kubota et al). Cheaper, easier, more reliable, easy parts & services yadda yadda yadda). Dry exhaust is OK to a point but you still need to water cool the manifold or have very good insulation on the manifold & uptake. The governor is the other consideration. On an automotive engine you put your foot on the gas and as the load increases (climbing a hill) the engine slows down. Not good in a boat. On marine applications the pump just throws more fuel in until the engine has reached maximum power for the revs. This is often the most expensive part of a marine conversion.
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Old 06-06-2007, 20:25   #5
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As he said. The governor is the hard part. Luckily TermoKing used to use the OM636 Mercedes in their refrigeration units and there still are some governors available through ThermoKing bone yards. Everything else is add on to make it marine.
The tractor engines mentioned would be easier to convert. I would not do dry exhaust unless the engine will go in a fishing boat. Heat exchangers can be had easily for freshwater cooling and you'll want to discharge the cooling water through the exhaust.
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Old 06-06-2007, 22:32   #6
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Used marine engine...

I would have thought that you would be better off using a good quality, but old marine engine.

Those old Yanmars seem to go on forever, parts are still available(?) and the two or three cylinder models are not going to be expensive to fit or repair.

Bitter experience suggests that an engine of the size that can be fitted and repaired by one person is the way to go.

Knock some of the rust off a few old engines and see what's underneath.

How big is your boat?
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Old 06-06-2007, 22:59   #7
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As suggested already, it is certainly possible and it has certainly been done in the past. However, there are many boat engines advertised on Trademe. You just have to be patient and keep an eye out for them. Recently several engines have come up and tranys as well. I also have a friend that has a Perkins 6-354T coming up for sale. It is currently undegoing a full rebuild. So engines can certainly be found and at good prices.
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Old 07-06-2007, 00:35   #8
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If you were up in western Canada I would give you a Chrysler Nissan SD-6-33 that is a marine diesel 73hp @3600 RPM, that I took out of a fishing boat. Had FWC using a keel cooler and dry exhaust. It was a very economical engine to run. As Wheels stated there are a lot of marine engines out there looking for new homes.
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Old 07-06-2007, 00:54   #9
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Google marine diesel or 2nd hand marine conversions, there are several firms that do up and convert diesels for marine use, Diecon is one in Australia, Westerbeke currently use kubota's for some of their conversions. I have a Diecon Kubota conversion in our boat that just doesn't miss a beat. If you are going steel keel cooling is the best way to go and use an add on salt water pump to inject into the exhaust elbow which will cool and quieten the exhaust.
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Old 09-06-2007, 22:31   #10
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I picked my 4JH 44 hp. Yanmar up on e-bay with only 700 hours on it for $3,500. The guy had mispelled the word diesel, so he received no hits. I had mistakenly transposed the i and e while typing for a search. When I bought it and talked to him, he commented that he could not understand why he did not get any other hits. I know when to keep my mouth shut! Runs absolutly great!
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Old 10-06-2007, 02:17   #11
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Sometimes the stars all come into alignment and good sh*t happens. Good luck with your stolen engine LOL.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:25   #12
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Ha ha ha,,,Thanx...I will
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