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Can I replace a marine starter with an automotive starter?

A question we are often asked, particularly since we frequently mention our use of GM engine blocks, is if there is parts compatibility between Marinediesel components and automotive components. The answer is not so simple.

Yes. And No.

Can you use automotive components on our engines. Yes. In most cases they will fit. Should you? No.

Why?

Marine parts are designed for use in the marine environment. Though sizes may be the same, the marine components are usually manufactured with different seals and different alloys to inhibit both corrosion and the intrusion of moisture.

A couple of good examples are starters and alternators.

Since the topic is starters:

  1. Starters for marine use produce the spark differently, as in they are shielded. This is due to the need to minimize the risk of igniting fuel vapors in cramped engine compartments. Automotive starters are typically not located in areas with reduced air flow.
  2. The number one cause of failure of starters is moisture. Starters manufactured for marine use are more moisture resistant.
  3. As in point number two above, corrosion is a problem with starters. The alloys used to produce the sparks are different.

So, in theory you can use an automotive starter on the Marinediesel engines. However, you really should use a starter that is classified for marine use in order to operate safely and with a long service life.

As to other components being interchangeable, a few are. You need to consult with your local Marinediesel distributor before attempting to take any shortcuts.

What is DMAX?

 

 

With the MarineDiesel VGT Series of engines, we oftem mention that we use a DMAX engine block as the basis for our engines. However, what exactly is DMAX?

DMAX is a joint venture between General Motors and Isuzu Motors that started in 1998. Since MarineDiesel uses GM engine blocks for the majority of the engines we produce, DMAX is, therefore, the brand name of the engine block itself. This marriage between Isuzu and GM reflects the close relationship both companies have had since the early 1970’s, when they joined forces to produce small pickup trucks. Indeed, there is sometimes some confusion related to the DMAX brand, since a number of Isuzu pickup trucks also use the name as a truck model brand.

So, throughout all of this explanation, what does it mean for the MarineDiesel customer?

It means that our engines, produced by a small company, benefit from the research and development performed by two much larger companies, with many more resources. It also means that our engines are reliable: GM has produced millions of these engine blocks. It also means that the marine industry has another option for vessel power. Both large companies have very small marine divisions and departments. Yet, the marine industry is a tiny market, when compared to the market for small trucks. It is economically feasible for large companies to let companies such as MarineDiesel serve niche markets that, though they may be profitable, are too small for large corporations to devote many resources to serving.

 

 

 

Our VGT Series for Industrial Use

 

 

As we’ve written in the past, MarineDiesel manufactures engines for both marine use and industrial use. we are licensees of General Motors’ entire line of available engine blocks, and can modify those blocks to meet many different applications.

Our VGT Series is a standardized, marine version of the GM 6.6 L V-8 block. We manufacture these engines as the premier part of our product line.

However, we can also manufacture this engine for industrial use, through our MDPT subsidiary, providing a wide range of power, torque, control, and cooling options. We have manufactured this engine in the past for the following types of projects:

1. Tanks

2. Amphibious vehicles

3. Airboats

4. Generators

5. Pumps

6. Winches

7. Railroad

Take a look at the specifications below, and contact us today with any projects where this engine could provide a solution.

Specifications:

Engine Model: VGT

Displacement: 6.6 litre

Cylinders: 8

Bore X stroke: 103 X 99 mm

Power: 100-280Kw depending on rpm and application

Compression ratio: 16,0

Turbocharger type: VGT

Fuel type: Diesel

Min working temp: -30C

Fuel system: Bosch common rail 1800bar

Weight: approx 360kg (dep on accessories)

Size (LXWXH): 812 X 680 X 780 mm

Scope of Supply:

  • Starter motor and alternator
  • Exhaust manifold and turbocharger
  • Intake manifold and basic air filtration system
  • Integrated oil cooler
  • Integrated oil filter
  • Integrated fuel filter
  • Belt system and tensioner
  • Flywheel
  • Engine wiring harness and ECU (J1939)
  • BTU data for sizing radiator and intercooler
  • Diagnostics software

Options:

  • SAE #3 bell housing and matching coupler
  • Cooling package including radiator, intercooler, electric fan, hoses etc
  • Engine monitoring displays of different sizes
  • Multiple engine mounting options
  • Multiple calibration options for continuous and variable speed applications and different duty cycles.
  • Multiple air intake option
  • Multiple exhaust system options
  • Private label diagnostics software (with your company logo)
  • Diagnostics and mechanical training
  • Hardware CAN cable for diagnostics software
  • Emissions certifications
  • NATO Milspec certification
  • After treatment components

 

 

Cost / Benefit Analysis: LPG Engine to Power Generator

 

 

The following article is a cost / benefit analysis we prepared recently for a MarineDiesel customer showing a financial case for using LPG instead of diesel to power a medium  sized generator. The customer name has been removed, and costs are converted to Euros at local rates (prices will vary, based on your region, but this is a good, general comparison). The engine p

roposed is based on the 5.7L GM Vortec engine block.

Initial benefits of the MarineDiesel product line include:

  1. The ability to use LPG instead of gasoline or diesel for power.
  2. Customer payback time in a matter of months through fuel cost savings.
  3. Multiple markets for the engines, ranging in use from small generators to irrigation, mining, marine, pumps, or small vehicle power.
  4. Factory conversion to LPG, as opposed to cheap converter kits commonly found in the market. A primary benefit of this procedure is seamless integration of the LPG kit into the engine’s ECU. Aftermarket conversion kits often do not integrate fully, voiding the warranty or rendering engine fault warnings incorrect. For this reason, aftermarket conversion kits, such as are currently being sold cannot be recommended for proper installation and life cycle. Furthermore, MarineDiesel engines have been designed specifically with alternate fuels taken into account. Though there are some immediate cost savings associated with aftermarket conversions, they simply are not an accurate substitution for a proper OEM design.
  5. Full MarineDiesel warranty terms apply.
  6. Government financing may be available. 

 

Life Cycle

General Motors has been manufacturing the Vortec block configured to LPG for nearly thirty years.

Thousands of units have been sold and the engine has proved to be extremely reliable.

The MTBO is at 10,000 hours of use, however, it is highly dependent on climate and continuous RPM.

 

Cost to Operate

The 5.7L LPG consumes fuel based on engine load.

100% Load:         9.3 m3 / hour

75% Load:            7.1 m3 / hour

50% Load:            5.4 m3 / hour

25% Load:            3.8 m3 / hour

 

<<COMPARE VS EQUIVALENT DIESEL>>

100% Load:         27 L / hour

75% Load:            20 L / hour

50% Load:            12 L / hour

25% Load:            8 L  / hour

 

Current prices of fuel (local converted to Euros):

LPG:   0.30 / litre

Diesel: 0.79 / litre

Average annual use of 4,400 hours per year, assuming 75% load at 1,800 RPM.

LPG consumption 3.85 Liters / m3

27.335 Liters LPG / Hour

LPG annual cost of fuel consumption: 33,075

Diesel annual fuel consumption: 65,978

Cost of ownership, year one

Diesel:

Cost of Engine:                                                  5,000

Operating Cost:                                                                65,978

Service and spares (oil filters, etc):          2,900

Total Cost Year One:                73,878

LPG:

Cost of Engine:                                                  7,250

Operating Cost:                                                                33,075

Service and Spares:                                         2,500

Total Cost Year One:                42,825

 

Payback Time: 3 months

 

Amount of Power Produced

This is a difficult question to answer, since it will vary greatly based on the alternator chosen. In order to keep everything consistent, the same Kohler alternator 4P10X, will be used. This same alternator is used by numerous other manufacturers to produce the same amount of electricity, using LPG, Diesel, or CNG.

This alternator will produce 52 kW of power at 110 / 220 50 hz, using the 5.7L engine.

To put this amount in context, 52 kW is roughly enough to power 20 medium to large window unit air conditioners, or a medium-sized restaurant.

Therefore, given the usage described above, using LPG,

One Hour: 4.37

One Day: 91.88

One Month: 2756

One Year: 33,075

Cost per kWH: 0.147

 

A diesel genset produced by Baifa, using a Deutz engine made in China, producing 48kW using the same alternator would cost to run continuously:

One Hour: 10.35

One Day: 124.15

One Month: 3,725

One Year: 44,696

Cost per kWH: 0.216

 

A similar diesel genset, produced by John Deere using a four cylinder, John Deere diesel engine and using, again, the same alternator,

One Hour: 26.93

One Day: 323

One Month: 9,690

One Year: 116,276

Cost per kWH: 0.518

 

Tank Capacities

For small home / commercial use, portable LPG tanks come in the following sizes: 4 kg, 7 kg, 15 kg, and 48 kg.

The standard size for tanks installed in vehicles (permanently mounted, even on trailers, for safety reasons) is 58L (30.39 kg).

For commercial or industrial use, particularly when the engines will be used to power continuously, rather than as standby, typically large, above ground or underground tanks are used. The most common sizes of above ground tank are 1T (1,908 L) and 4.3 T (8,204 L).

Which tank that should be used and how long the generator will provide power on a single tank are really highly dependent on how the genset will be used. The smaller LPG “cooking gas” cylinders will occasionally “freeze” due to the atmospheric pressure difference if too much is drawn from the tank. Therefore, the smaller 4kg and 7kg tanks should not be used with the 5.7L. Remember additionally, 100% of the tank volume will never be able to be removed, again due to pressure. Therefore, a factor of 15% is reduced for simple numbers on LPG.

 

5.7 L Vortec with 4P10X, 12 hours per day continuous RPM use (1,800 RPM)

Tank Size Diesel Equivalent Cubic Meters LPG Reduce 15% below Full on LPG (Usable Amount in tank) Time between Fill-ups LPG Time between Fill-ups Diesel
15kg (Cylinder) 28.6L 8.085 7.03 m3 59 minutes 1 hour, 20 minutes
48 kg (Cylinder) 91.6 L 25.872 22.5 m3 3 hours, 10 minutes 4 hours, 40 minutes
30.39 kg (Taxi standard) 58 L 16.38 14.24 m3 2 hours 2 hours, 50 minutes
73.36 kg (Trailer max) 140 L 43.5 37.83 m3 5 hours, 30 minutes 7 hours
1,000 kg (above ground) 1,908 L 539 468.7 m3 5.5 days 8 days
4,300 kg (above ground) 8,204 L 2,317.7 2,015.4 m3 23.5 days 34 days

 

Celebrate Industrial Engine Week! – Oil and Gas Industry

 

 

 

 

Though the word “Marine” is in MarineDiesel’s name, we sell an awful lot of engines that are intended for industrial use through our MDPT subsidiary. In light of this fact, we have designated Industrial Engine Week to be the first week of August.

Each day during the week we will be featuring and highlighting a different industrial engine application.

So, since it is now Monday, we kick off with the Oil and Gas Industry.

We feature most engines in the GM Ecotec and Vortec lines. The oil and gas industry has very strict requirements for reliability, noise, emissions, and type of fuel. The GM product range gives MDPT the tools to effectively serve this industry with economical, reliable engines that meet all international standards. This GM heritage when combined with Swedish engineering serves both land and offshore applications.

Typical applications for our engines in the industry include:

  • Pumps
  • Pump Jacks
  • Compressors
  • Vapor Recovery Units
  • Fire Control
  • Extraction Pumps

Additionally, we can provide engines that utilize alternative or multiple fuel types, depending on the application, such as LNG or LPG.

For offshore applications, we can customize the engines using our marine experience, by utilizing marinized parts that can withstand the harsh environment and give greater reliability than cheaper, unreliable alternatives. Every second that an engine is out of service means thousands of dollars in lost revenues and increased costs.

For oilfield operations, harsh environments (cold, heat, or weather) in remote locations are the norm, rather than the exception. The MDPT reliability and service are critical to operations in these areas.

Given the unique challenges faced by the industry, MDPT can put together a customized proposal to meet all of your oil and gas industry needs, no matter how complex or challenging.

 

Our GM Connection

 

MarineDiesel is an engine manufacturer, or, perhaps more appropriately, an engine marinizer. What we do is that we take an engine block, and use that block as the basis for developing an entirely new engine.  Why does this matter?

Well, it gives MarineDiesel an advantage over other marine engine manufacturers in that we have the ability to adapt a well-proven block design for use in the harsh marine environment. Though the block was made elsewhere, the engine itself is MarineDiesel, and is manufactured at our factory in Sweden.

MarineDiesel has partnered with General Motors as one of a few very select companies in the world that are authorized to marinize a GM engine. GM tends to accept licensees based on industry and market segment, rather than selling to the general public. The 6.6L Dmax that MarineDiesel is using is not the same as what you find in a truck. GM makes a special marine version of the engine that is only supplied to Marinediesel. Sure, you can buy a 6.6L Dmax block and try and use it in your boat, but it will not work without an awful lot of time, work, and expense. This is the value that MarineDiesel adds to the GM product.

GM Marine

As a MarineDiesel customer, this benefits you in many ways:

  1. The ability to have a powerful, light, and compact engine in your vessel.
  2. Technology from an old, established firm with a long history of cutting edge research and development.
  3. We focus on the unique challenges presented by the marine environment.
  4. Proven quality and performance (Millions of blocks have been manufactured and sold all over the world).
  5. Some parts compatibility (Internal GM, external MarineDiesel).
  6. Knowing the nuances and demands of a small market (As compared to trucks, cars, aircraft, bulldozers, etc.)

So, in another manner of thinking, we can put resources into developing a robust marine service network and marine performance capability rather than “re-inventing the wheel”.  You get the best that both companies have to offer, for reliable, powerful marine performance in your vessel.

 

 

Interesting Industrial Engine Uses

 

 

Though MarineDiesel made its’ name with marine engines, our industrial engine line through MarineDiesel Powertrain, MDPT, does brisk business in industrial engines that are used in a wide variety of applications and industries. These applications are often not the type of thing one immediately thinks about when thinking about engine markets.

Through our long association with GM, and more recent association with Mercedes Benz, we can supply engines, and more importantly, engineering, for very specific engine needs or niche applications.

Some of the previous projects we have worked on and supplied engines for include:

Land Vehicles

  1. Light tanks
  2. Amphibious vehicles
  3. APCs
  4. Light passenger cars
  5. Other vehicles, especially military

 

Trains

  1. Passenger locomotives
  2. Light freight locomotives

 

Pumps

  1. Fire
  2. Mining use
  3. Agricultural (like for irrigation)

 

Power Generation

  1. Remote locations
  2. Alternative fuels
  3. Low noise
  4. Railroad use
  5. Mine use
  6. Portable / Mobile

 

Alternative Fuel

  1. LPG
  2. LNG
  3. CNG
  4. Ethanol

 

Other Applications

  1. Construction Cranes
  2. Airboats
  3. Extreme climate (Hot / Cold)

 

MDPT will work within our extensive dealer network to engineer and customize our engines for use in difficult or extreme applications. We have the capability to source additional components or manage a project from start to finish.

Marine Engines vs. Automobile Engines: Is there really a big difference?

 

 

One question that is often asked by consumers is “Why can’t I just put a car engine in my boat? You guys are using GM blocks, right?”

It is a valid question, one that is usually asked when a boat owner receives a repair bill or a quote on a new marine engine.

The answer is more complex than the simplistic “one has a radiator and the other has a heat exchanger” answer one may often hear.

Yes, MarineDiesel uses GM blocks for most of the engines we manufacture. However, the biggest reason that simply removing a diesel car engine of the same horsepower and mounting it in a boat will not work well is related to load. Most automotive engines are designed to produce some low-end torque and then simply use a small percentage of power to maintain a certain speed. Boats, unlike cars, are under continuous load: Resistance is always there in far greater amounts than a similar-sized land vehicle. Therefore, engines designed for automotive use typically do not produce sufficient torque to maintain or achieve sufficient speed.

Additionally, marinization requires strict adherence to standards against corrosion and wear, due to use in the marine environment. Therefore, an un-marinized diesel engine will corrode far more quickly, wear out quicker due to load, and not achieve the performance required in a marine application.

So why are marine engines so much more expensive?

Several reasons:

  1. The marine market is much smaller than the automotive or industrial market, so marine engines do not benefit from the economies of scale that automobile engines have. In other words, thousands of units are produced, rather than millions.
  2. Marinization is expensive. The marine environment requires higher grade components on virtually every system (fuel, electrical, etc.) than the non-marine environment. Seals and gaskets must be marine grade, as well as any metallic parts, from injectors to sensors, to wiring.
  3. Higher torque requires more robust attention to vibration and the resultant wear. Eg: Mounts must be much sturdier.
  4. Displacing heat is more difficult in the marine environment.

MarineDiesel knows the use and conditions that our engines must endure. They are designed for use in the proper environment.

Industrial LPG Engines

 

 

Recently, MarineDiesel has been receiving a number of inquiries about the use of alternative fuels in industrial engines, specifically regarding the use of LPG instead of diesel. Why consider alternative fuels?

Well, there are a number of reasons:

  1. The price of LPG is significantly cheaper than diesel fuel.
  2. LPG is portable.
  3. Cleaner burning with lower emissions.
  4. Lower cost of ownership over the long term.

Are there disadvantages? Of course. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The disadvantages are primarily that LPG produces lower energy than diesel, and in some regions the availability of LPG is not as widespread as diesel.

MarineDiesel manufactures a number of different engines, based on the GM Vortec block, that are manufactured for LPG use.

Initial benefits of the MarineDiesel product line include:

  1. The ability to use LPG instead of gasoline or diesel for power.
  2. Customer payback time in a matter of months through fuel cost savings.
  3. Multiple markets for the engines, ranging in use from small generators to irrigation, mining, marine, pumps, or small vehicle power.
  4. Factory conversion to LPG, as opposed to cheap converter kits commonly found in the market. A primary benefit of this procedure is seamless integration of the LPG kit into the engine’s ECU. Aftermarket conversion kits often do not integrate fully, voiding the warranty or rendering engine fault warnings incorrect. For this reason, aftermarket conversion kits, such as are currently being sold for as much as US$2,000, cannot be recommended for proper installation and life cycle. Furthermore, the Vortec engine blocks have been designed specifically with alternate fuels taken into account. Though there are some immediate cost savings associated with aftermarket conversions, they simply are not an accurate substitution for a proper OEM design.
  5. Full MarineDiesel warranty terms apply.
  6. Swedish government financing may be available.

Here’s an example using the 5.7L Vortec.

5.7 schematic

5.7 table

5.7 kit

Life Cycle

General Motors has been manufacturing the Vortec block configured to LPG for nearly thirty years. Thousands of units have been sold and the engine has proved to be extremely reliable.

The MTBO is at 10,000 hours of use, however, it is highly dependent on climate and continuous RPM.

At the 4,400 annual hours of use described, TBO is roughly every two years.

Cost to Operate

The 5.7L LPG consumes fuel based on engine load.

100% Load:         9.3 m3 / hour

75% Load:            7.1 m3 / hour

50% Load:            5.4 m3 / hour

25% Load:            3.8 m3 / hour

 

<<COMPARE VS EQUIVALENT DIESEL>>

 

100% Load:         27 L / hour

75% Load:            20 L / hour

50% Load:            12 L / hour

25% Load:            8 L  / hour

 

Current prices of fuel in SE Asia:

LPG:   US$0.34/ litre

Diesel: US$1.10/ litre

Average annual use of 4,400 hours per year, assuming 75% load at 1,800 RPM.

LPG consumption 3.85 Liters / m3

27.335 Liters LPG / Hour

LPG  annual cost of fuel consumption: US$40,893

Diesel annual fuel consumption: US$96,800