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Thread: over powering your vessel

  1. #1
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    Default over powering your vessel

    I have heard various things about using a larger than necessary diesel engine to power a vessel. specifically i'm referring to a full displacement trawler (21 ton) operating on a single screw at low RPM utilizing a less than a 100 HP engine (as the designer recommends).

    setting aside the extra cost of a larger engine than needed and the lost fuel economy, is it bad for a modern diesel engine to be run under loaded?

    i have heard it both ways. yes- the engine needs to be properly loaded to run efficiently and maintain its well being and avoid internal build up.

    I have heard no- modern engines, particularly turbos, suffer no ill effects being run continually at low RPM.

    As I shop for used engines, i find very few for sale in the 100hp range. however, there seem to be many 6bt's and comparable lehmans in the 200+ range at good prices.

    what say you?
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    I say they need to be loaded up, and operated at approx 3/4-plus throttle, optimally. You may be able to get the engine running in the optimum rpm band via gearing and propeller.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Scott, I'm going to suggest that this may not be the best place to get an answer to that question. Since you mention the 6bt specifically I think you should contact Tony Athens at Seaboard Marine (http://www.sbmar.com/). He is THE expert on those motors. He would be able to tell you if one would be suitable for your application, and to steer you to a better option if not. He is also a regular contributor on http://boatdiesel.com, which is also the best online resource for questions like this. There is a small membership fee to join but it is absolutely worth the money.

    My two cents, FWIW: I would not overpower a boat a much as you are considering. You will spend a lot more money up front and probably a bit more in fuel in the long run without getting much in return. Have you looked at the 4bt instead? That might be a better fit. But also please note that I have zero first hand experience with the 6bt or the 4bt, am not a qualified marine diesel mechanic and am providing this information only based on my research on options for repowering my 36' displacement hull fishing boat. In the end I decided to keep the Detroit 3-53 that I have now and am quite happy with it. Although it would definitely not be my choice if I was repowering.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Sounds like a 4BT Cummins might be just what you need. You can operate diesels lightly loaded, periodically running them up to get them hot and clean them out. Make sure your prop is sized to allow the engine to come up to full rated RPM. I am a believer in it's better to have the power and not need it than to need it and not have it.
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    I'll add - I see you are building a Diesel Duck... Have you asked George Buehler? I imagine that he would be able to steer you in the right direction as well.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Adams View Post
    Sounds like a 4BT Cummins might be just what you need. You can operate diesels lightly loaded, periodically running them up to get them hot and clean them out. Make sure your prop is sized to allow the engine to come up to full rated RPM. I am a believer in it's better to have the power and not need it than to need it and not have it.


    I guess it matters to what degree you are overpowered. To Bob's point, matching the prop to the engine's torque curve to allow full RPM is critical to prevent overheating. A boat I bought had too much pitch and overheated routinely 'til I had a chance to address having a properly sized prop matched.

    The thing is, an engine's torque vs. RPM curve and a propeller's torque vs RPM curve need to match up so you aren't spinning out, or loading up.

    The "Fat" part of an engine's torque curve is where you are aiming for at cruising speed.

    If that "Fat" part produces too much thrust in a displacement hull, well you can look up what happens as your waterline does what Physics demands.... So if your engine and prop are "matched", but they both belong in a longer or larger displacement hull, you'll have to slow the engine down for hull speed. This may not correspond to the "fat" part of the torque curve.. and you're efficiency will be terrible.


    If you are putting a 120 HP engine in a hull optimized at 100HP, that may be a very different story then if you are installing 175/200hp in the same space.

    In a "pinch" you need to do what you need to do, but you want long term reliability and safety.
    Last edited by BrianM; 02-24-2017 at 04:09 PM.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Do a little research on power ratings, paying close attention to the "continuous duty" rating of any specific engine you are looking at.
    Marine engines in largish displacement vessels never see anything else.

    Here is what Cummins has to say about it.

    https://cumminsengines.com/ratings-and-definitions

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Do a little research on power ratings, paying close attention to the "continuous duty" rating of any specific engine you are looking at.
    Marine engines in largish displacement vessels never see anything else.

    Here is what Cummins has to say about it.

    https://cumminsengines.com/ratings-and-definitions


    Excellent reference.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    I am not a designer or an engineer. Just be sure that you have enough power to climb over steep seas. My 16 ton ketch has a Perkins 4-108, about 45hp. When she was built she carried a two blade prop that drove her 7.5 knots. Sometime later the first owner changed that to a three blade that pushes her about 6.25kts. I have the old speed curve and original prop, I considered changing it back. But I also thought that there must have been a reason for the change. Then one day I had to push her over a 6' chop. She slowed right down to 2.5kts, but I guess that original fast prop would have just spun and stood still. I'm keeping the three blade on her.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Increasing the power a small amount is seldom a problem. Doubling the power very often is. A displacement boat is designed for a given speed. To try to increase the speed your power curve and consumption goes up at a very rapid rate. I have seen boats where the power has been significantly increased and the boat essentially digs a big hole in the water, gaining about a knot for about twice the consumption.
    I had an old power boat about that size with about that power 45' @ 18 tons @ 125 HP Cummins.....Normal cruising 7 knots at 1700+ RPM @ 1.5 GPH. I ran it up to 2100 RPM approximately 10% of the time giving me just a hair over 8 knots. Consumption per distance covered increased a little ~1.8-1.9 GPH. To increase to 2500 RPM the consumption increased rapidly to about 3 GPH at ~8.5.
    You might consider getting a larger engine and having it de-rated by a professional to your desired power. Governor and different injectors etc. This may give you longer engine life. You should deal with the engine manufacturer on those details.
    Getting the correct, hull...engine....gearbox....propeller combination is vital. A lot of the fish boats of that exact size out here are consuming 3-5 GPH at 7 to 8 knots because the combination is not right. My Brother has a boat about that size with a 75 HP Gardiner....runs at 6+ knots at about 1.2 GPH.
    Talk to the designer (George B?) or another designer that pays attention to these details (Tad Roberts comes to mind)

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    You really don't need to de-rate anything. Limiting your throttle is all that's really needed.
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    "Horsepower" is a funny thing.
    Did you ever notice that an old Halibut schooner might have gone to sea with maybe a 50 horsepower "Heavy-Duty" diesel 100 years ago, and today the same vessel needs a 400 hp 12-71 to do the same job?

    Kilowatts is a much more informative number for measuring real work.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    "Horsepower" is a funny thing.
    Did you ever notice that an old Halibut schooner might have gone to sea with maybe a 50 horsepower "Heavy-Duty" diesel 100 years ago, and today the same vessel needs a 400 hp 12-71 to do the same job?

    Kilowatts is a much more informative number for measuring real work.


    Mmmm, I am not a mechanical engineer, but I thought engine horsepower was equivalent to .745 kilowatts. I do not understand how using kilowatts would have changed the phenomenon you describe.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Power (HP) is a function of Torque and revs

    HP only gives you half the picture, its partially useful for cars as they all rev to a similar amount.

    That's why the big old slow revving diesels of yesteryear seem to be so low on power compared to the modern smaller equivalents.
    My 15 litre 5l3 generates around 85hp at 800rpm and around 600 ft/lbs of torque.
    By comparison a Suzuki Hyabusa (one of the fastest production motorbikes) generates 196hp at 9800rpm but only 113ft/lbs of torque

    and if you look at the old steam engines the revs decrease even further but torque figures are enormous

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    Default

    I understand the need to consider torque when dealing with engines. But how does using kilo-watts as opposed to horsepower solve that problem, that was my question for canoeyawl.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    it doesn't its the SI version of hp

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Converting from KW to HP can be useful, but it rarely works the other way (HP to KW)
    (Horsepower is typically a marketing figure, and useless for real work)

    If you are curious wiki has some descriptions of various "horsepower" ratings. Note that even our SAE horsepower standard has three different measurements for any given engine.
    to generalize, "horsepower is a lie" !

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Wasn't the question about whether running slow damages the motor? Glazed bores, that sort of thing?

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    To the OP get a non turbo Cummins and wind the throttle stop back a bit to lower the max revs, get a matched prop, and your good to go.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Seems I remember sailboaters replaced their old Perkins diesels with Yanmar turbo diesels then killed them by running at a fast idle to charge batteries and pull down refer plates. You were supposed to always have them in gear when running for very long - tricky to do at anchor.
    Last edited by leaotis; 02-25-2017 at 07:04 PM.
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Wasn't the question about whether running slow damages the motor? Glazed bores, that sort of thing?
    Lol Phil, we wandered a bit but still some good stuff. I don't know if there really is an answer unless a Diesel engine designer is on here.
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    I came here thinking this thread was going to be about a giant squid or octopus. I am leaving somewhat disappointed.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Good grief...folks on WBF are getting stroppy...
    Diesels mostly like to operate at about 85% load.
    But boats need a bit more flexibility. You probably want to easily make your cruising speed in fair weather with some to spare, I think 25% +.... for punching into a current or sea. So you cruise at between 60% to 75%. But in deference to exercising your muscle...engine you run up to 85% for 8-10% of your time.
    If you chose a bigger engine, have it de-rated professionally, by a manufacturer tech. You should get much longer life.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by scott2640 View Post
    Speak to a professional, wow, what great advice. I never thought of that!

    you know this forum is full of some really creative, articulate and kind individuals, Tom, you ain't one of them. Tom, in your opinion what is the purpose of this forum? Are people aloud to ask questions or pose topics of debate? Should we just pontificate on how humbling every sunset on the sea is?

    Perhaps I already have my own opinions and have spoken to "professionals" and have also come to this forum to gather additional opinions. Isn't this a form of research you suggest? Quite an assumption to make that I would operate with only the knowledge gathered from an internet website. Do you really think this is my sole source of nautical information? Am I that naive? My god how many checks have you cashed for various deposed Nigerian prince's?

    It was a topic of conversation Tom, meant to stir debate and for me to gain insight from some of the very knowledgeable people here. Believe it it or not, there actually may be people here smarter than you. I never asked anything about HP curves, torque or propeller matching. I asked if people thought it was bad for the engine to be run well under it's designed HP for extended periods of time. Maybe you should work on your reading comprehension Tom, your ignorance of the English language is to much to continue giving advice on these forums.

    We could all seek out a "professional" for any question we stumble upon, that is a ridiculous response to post in an online discussion forum! That would eliminate the need for this forum in the first place where we can ask a question, brag about our accomplishments and commiserate on our failures.

    So Tom do us all a favor and stop being a keyboard tough guy and keep your mouth shut unless you have something to contribute. When you do have something to contribute, don't be such a jerk about it.

    ....talk to a professional, my god.
    Sorry scott2640, I've deleted my post.
    Like I said, good luck.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christie View Post
    Sorry scott2640, I've deleted my post.
    Like I said, good luck.
    You know what Tom, I am sorry, I came at you to hard. Unfortunately you got the brunt of my simmering frustration from responses in other forums. I've been woodworking for 17 years now and I participate in some of those forums as well.

    I get frustrated when people talk poorly to people who are new to the hobby. They criticize them and tell them how wrong and ignorant they are and scare them away from trying and participating in this wonderful past time, and I don't know why they are like that. I want more people to participate in our hobby, not less. When our hobby grows we all benefit. It's almost like they are insulted that someone else would dare attempt what they know how to do. Perhaps they believe they are so special, there projects so unique that they feel threatened when someone proposes a different way to do the same thing. Insecurity to some extent I guess.

    I'm sure you are trying to be helpful and I do appreciate that. I've been in some other boating forums where I get snarky responses to my questions and the vibe I get is that they are insulted that I'm attempting this ridiculous project. That I am unworthy to even attempt such a thing because I have no other experience. I just don't get that.

    I would hope that we seek out these forums for support and encouragement. We should all embrace when people take on these challenging projects. We can learn from their successes and failures and incorporate that knowledge into our own builds.

    TWF has a great knowledge base and I am grateful for that. There are some really talented and smart people here, and their help is indispensable for a rookie like me. I hope we can all help keep this forum really positive and I violated my own hopes when I responded to your comment the way I did.

    lets build some boats
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by scott2640 View Post
    Lol Phil, we wandered a bit but still some good stuff. I don't know if there really is an answer unless a Diesel engine designer is on here.

    Get a copy of "Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical" by Nigel Calder. If he doesn't provide the step by step method to choose and install pretty much ANY system in your boat.. then the references in the book will lead you to the right source.


    His chapter on Engines, Props, and what you need to do is very thorough.

    Running an under-loaded Diesel Engine and the negative consequences is not speculation, it's been documented already and is not in question.


    So, you don't need a Diesel Engine Designer to confirm this fact. A ton of people can chime and and say "I've done it and it's fine".. but to what degree, and how "Fine" is it really? )

    ........Grenade with slow burning fuse in which pin has been pulled......


    DERATING

    I did some research on "Derating" a marine diesel engine because I was curious on what is done to achieve this. I assume this means altering the Torque vs RPM curve, lowering it.

    Most references are for very large fuel-injected and turbo-charged (IVECO, MANN, etc) engines where removing turbos, or altering fuel maps is used to drop power output fractionally.

    This from what I read, is to custom-tune the engine to the hull and propeller, or to make adjustments for the temperature range that the vessel will be operating in (hotter or colder than engine is rated for).

    I don't get the drift that "Derating" includes cutting an engines power in half.. more like under 20%.
    Last edited by BrianM; 03-01-2017 at 04:48 PM.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    I think you'll find derating is often little more than dropping max revs, this allows the tag of "continuous" duty to be applied, most commercial engines have a maximum duration for max revs i.e 2 hours in every 8.
    Obviously running an engine at idle or fast idle for long duration isn't great, but if your normal running is at 25% to 75% load, you wouldn't see too many problems.
    My general preference is non turbo engines in displacement type applications where weight isn't such a concern.
    Smaller higher revving turbo engines are more suited to planing hulls where weight and size is a major factor. Also turbos foul the oil quicker, generate lots of heat and wear out quicker.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Diesel engines spec'd with turbochargers often have a different piston.
    It is not simple...
    Fuel delivery can be adjusted all over the place, but this is beyond a simple adjustment.
    For big changes, compression, valve timing, and fuel timing also need to be corrected. I would speculate that just about any engine within reason can be spec'd to do your job. But you should have the instructions and blessings from the manufacturer.

    I would want a larger displacement engine, factory downrated for continuous duty.
    (And ISO horsepower requirement)
    look here... http://wikicars.org/en/Horsepower

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    In my business previously taking care of yachts, and also being a being a Yanmar dealer, and building a few vessels, one of the most common issues we saw engine-wise, involved not loading a diesel properly. What I mean is, a diesel needs to be loaded to at least 50% of it's rated power for the bulk of it's running time. A great example is gen sets, if they are not loaded to at least 50% of their maximum amp rating, they will suffer premature failures, increased maintenance and even complete failure long before they should, all due to letting them run under a way too light load. In other words, they will fail at 1,000 hours instead of the 10-20,000 hours they should last.
    At the other end of the spectrum, high speed craft, sometimes picking the larger engine allows the cruise speed to be attained at a more fuel efficient rpm.
    As a Yanmar dealer, and in general service calls, we saw way more problems due to 'babying' or under loading a diesel, rather than the opposite of running them at max throttle. Problems of carboning up, glazing of cylinder walls, etc. we would have owners try to 'save' money by installing a way too large prop so they could run at reduced R.E.M.'s. High performance
    Engines like Yanmars need to be correctly propped to ensure long, trouble free life. One owner had sized his prop so that the engine would only achieve 2800 rpm at full throttle, when it was rated to 3300 rpm max. He said, but I only run it at 2000 rpm? So I explained to him that a diesel will only try to soldier on no matter what stresses are put upon it. So I said, let's imagine you putting. 36" x 36" 4 blade prop on your little 100 hp Yanmar, you will give it max throttle and the heat exchanger will try valiantly to make the prop turn, but the salt water pump is only now revolving at say 1000 rpm, while the fuel pump is delivering max fuel, and the heat exchanger cannot really keep up, and while it will take awhile for the temp gauge to rise, the over fueling is massively overheating the cylinders, the engine will soldier on to it's death.
    We would also tell the owners to run their engine at full throttle on every trip, if conditions allowed, because it was GOOD for them, babying them was killing them.
    So while the hull you have might only require about say 50 hp to achieve hull speed in calm conditions, it will be really nice to have an extra 25-35% extra throttle to combat contrary wind and tide. That is why the old rule of running your engine continuously at 80% of max rpm worked really well. Look at the Horsepower/Torque/Fuel Consumption tables, and you will find the sweet spit for your application.
    But the prop must be sized to allow the engine to achieve max rpm with the vessel loaded completely with fuel, water, people, beer, etc, or all bets are off.
    Engine manufacturer's spend massive amounts of money testing their products, and learning what a 'Continuous' rating is, and what a '1 Hour' rating is will yield being able to ask intelligent questions to the person trying to sell you an engine. A designer spends considerable time calculation what the power needs are for a given hull and given displacement, and it would be folly to disregard the manufacturer and designers calculations.
    The above is only the tip of the iceberg in sizing a propulsion engine, if you are going to spend a significant sum of money on a re-power, talk to people you trust to guide your decision, or be willing to accept a costly mistake.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Thanks Paul for the expert opinion.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    First off I like Yanmar engines, worked on quite a few, installed a few as well. Generally found them much better than the Green Box of death ( Vol*o)

    However many of the problems associated with low load running engines are tied in with modern low emission engines. The quest for lower emissions has resulted in cooler combustion cycles, which in turn has resulted in engines much less tolerant of non-optimal running conditions. Higher carbon production and excess fuel causing cylinder scuffing etc. Don't forget that modern fuel production methods are not helping either.

    My preference for older more tolerant diesels will continue, modern stuff is just too delicate for less than ideal conditions.

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by artif View Post
    First off I like Yanmar engines, worked on quite a few, installed a few as well. Generally found them much better than the Green Box of death ( Vol*o)

    However many of the problems associated with low load running engines are tied in with modern low emission engines. The quest for lower emissions has resulted in cooler combustion cycles, which in turn has resulted in engines much less tolerant of non-optimal running conditions. Higher carbon production and excess fuel causing cylinder scuffing etc. Don't forget that modern fuel production methods are not helping either.

    My preference for older more tolerant diesels will continue, modern stuff is just too delicate for less than ideal conditions.
    What do you call a modern engine? Where is the cut off date(s)?
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    What do you call a modern engine? Where is the cut off date(s)?
    Given that artif has a Gardner in his boat I'm guessing around 1930...

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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Given that artif has a Gardner in his boat I'm guessing around 1930...

    I have a mid 80's engine, which seems modern compared to the 50's engine that preceded it.
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    Default Re: over powering your vessel

    i would avoid anything designed in the the last 17 years.
    Many "modern" engines are tweaked older designs, but I would be looking at pre 2000 ( Euro 3) where the more stringent NOx emissions kicked in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    What do you call a modern engine? Where is the cut off date(s)?

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