In the Around the Yards West column in National Fisherman's upcoming April issue, one of the Prince William Sound bowpickers being built at Hard Drive Marine in La Conner, Wash., features a pair of engines that the boatyard hadn't used before. I wasn't aware of them and I suspect most fishermen aren't.
It's the Duramax Marine V8, a marinized version of General Motors' 6.6-liter diesel. The engine comes from GM, the marinizing components from Marinediesel Sweden in Angelhom, Sweden, and the marinizing package and engine are matched up at Performance Diesel in Galveston, Texas, the engine's distributor.
The Duramax Marine engine is available in 350-, 400-, 450- and 500-hp Tier 3 models. The engines utilize variable geometry turbocharging for low RPN torque and fast throttle response. There's also a common-rail fuel-injection system.
The engines have been available for about four years and Performance Diesel is starting to seriously try to get into the fish-boat market. Some testing with gillnetters has been done and now there will be an effort to enter the lobster boat market.
The engines have a couple of things going for them. One is the power-to- weight ratio. For instance the VGT500 measures 31" long, 32" wide, 38" high and weighs 992 lbs. That should make it a good replacement for big-block gasoline engines and good for small boats that don't want a lot of extra weight.
Secondly, they are said to be very quiet. In one case Duramax Marine engines were put on airboats in an Alaska bird sanctuary after gas engines proved to be too noisy. The Duramax engines were quiet enough that the birds weren't disturbed.
An interesting feature is the electronic control unit. Marinediesel uses its own ECU in the marinizing package, so some things can be programmed into the ECU that normally couldn't be. For instance, the military wanted an engine with two horsepower options — a combat mode and a patrol mode.
The Duramax engine being used could be set up for dual horsepower. One setting was for 450 horsepower and another for 500. Flip a switch to go from one to the other.
Anyway, check it out. You can visit Performance Diesel online at www.performancediesel.com or call them at (281) 464-2345.