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Lets talk Diesel engines

Old 06-10-2021, 06:21 AM
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Default Listen to advice. Your heart is bigger than your wallet.

Listen to me when i say this it is NOT worth it to make that conversion. Go to yachtoworld, look for Post 43s. Youll see that theres a gas one for $60,000 and a diesel one with only 600hr for $80,000 i guarantee you wont be able to convert your boat for $20,000.

Take your boat, perform all maintenance on the engines anf genset, change fuel lines, water lines, change the oil, oil filters, fuel filters, belts, batteries, zincs if you have them. Get some H7 degreeser and clean it up good, sand and paint any rust spots. Instal white LED lights. Make sure the interior is nice, shampoo the carpet, fix any lights, oil the wood (dont use orange glow. Get the expensive thick oil), use "3M vinyl cleaner and protector" on all vinyl, clean the bilge with bilge cleaner(actual bilge cleaner. It will help with the "boat smell"), replace the bilge pumps, Clean the ACs. Polish the outside and wax it. Powerwash the bottom and shine the props.

Take lots of pictures and put it for sale for $75,000. Then begin using your boat. Someone will buy it. Probably for $60,000. Take that money plus the $30-$60 thousand you had in your mind to repower the boat and buy a diesel version for $75,000. And repeat all the steps i mentioned above.

Remember you need fenders, at least 4 lines (ropes) an anchor and anchor line for the front and anchors for the back if youre into that.

Old 06-10-2021, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimbow1 View Post
Are you open to buying a set of low hour used diesels?

a friend of mine is getting rid of a pair of 450hp mechanical volvos, with gears. I can get the specs if you like, or if anyone else is interested.

he was gonna put them in his egg harbor
I have found tons of the Volvos that were pulled as well. One of the main reasons for this thread was to see what people are using and liked before everyone lost track and are only focusing on why I shouldn't do it. I am for sure interested. I will likely have to do some research on them myself. Shot me some info in the PM please.


Originally Posted by Comfisherman View Post
On the budget side of the equation I'd be looking for some decent 350 hp rto cummins for a few reasons.

Cheaper than all other options to own.(rtos will need work sooner than later)
Light weight. (A 454 is tiny compared physically to a c12 or 8v92)
closest rpm to power as gas ( you'll likely be closer on shaft sizes than a big bore diesel)
Cummins parts seems more readily available than the yellow paint options for the DIY guys.

I love old Detroit diesel engines. But reliabilit parts suck, most of the good Jimmy mechanics died of obesity related issues 10 years ago. They are heavy, puke oil, and are noisy. This as someone who has an operational 8v71 that I hope to nurse along a little while longer.

Going big will end up needing, bigger shafts, different props, shaft logs, packing, couplers transmissions etc. Bigger exhaust, fresh air flow, fuel lines, fuel filtration....

Truth be told this is like asking for suggestions of 10 dollar solutions to a 40 dollar problem.

Repoweres are expensive, and it's the little things that add up that kill you. Especially in twins as its everything x2.
Thank you for the info on the old engines.

Originally Posted by agflit View Post
Huge HUGE...project your taking on.... as someone previously pointed out, it's not just a repower...it's a complete REDESIGN....with all attendant costs.

I have a 1970 Striker twin diesel s/f...love it. Twin 6-71 Ti's @ 450 a side. Repowered in 1988. Original's were 6-71 naturals. I bought the boat with the TI's. I have nothing bad to say about the current setup...I can loaf along at 9 kts almost idle and burn less than 10gph....or run at 1800-2000 at 18-20 kts at 34-37 gph.
A few things ....DD like to run with their tongues hangin out....matter a fact, I make it a point to run her hard for a bit on the way in after long low power settings.... got to keep em clean or they start to drool all over.
If your a fisherman...nothing..I mean NOTHING...seems to raise fish like the ol twin DD...and they sound awesome too lol.

Maintenance....pretty straight forward. Keep your cooling system up to snuff, maintain your turbo's IF ya have em...and run decent oil. If you maintain them, and they are cheap to maintain IF you stay in front of it...they are beyond reliable, inexpensive, and trustworthy. Easy and cheap to rebuild in place, parts are available, and you don't need 3 freakin degrees to work on them.That being said.... GOOD old school DD mechs are getting hard to find. That knowledge base is slowly dying off unfortunately.

If it were me....given your situation...I'd try and find a suitable hull currently powered with the diesel of choice. It will be far less time trouble and expense in the long run.... BUT....don't be scared of 6-71's... there are times I'd swear I'd marry em if they had breasts.....lol.

If your really willing to take this project on...do your homework first...think it all thru. Everything your about to do will be 3x's the time, cost, and effort as you originally plan for. And keep in mind...A homebuilt repower will have an effect when you sell the vessel down the road.

Not trying to say don't do it...just be VERY aware of what your really getting into. That extra 25k you'll end up going thru to repower can buy an awful lot of existing boat.
Thanks for all the engine information. This is the kind of information I was looking for.

Originally Posted by chainsaw42 View Post
good for you for trying to think outside the box while also picking up new knowledge & skills and ending up with something that to this point you've only dreamed of.

now, with that said, this is going to cost a lot of money to do even marginally right and you've made it very clear there's no way you can afford it. no harm in challenging what I'm saying (and everyone else is saying as well). but, you can't afford it and you're going to figure it out sooner or later. and the sooner you figure it out the better off your wallet will be.
Thank for the first line any way. I might add that its not that I can't afford it. If I needed to sink $500K into I could but I am not going to. I have plenty of income so its not like I am making $30K a year over here. If I threw a budget out there no matter how much it was I would get the folks yelling that there is no way you can do it on that budget. I have learned this from this forum in particular. There are lots of folks on here that have $300K boats and up that likely have a better paying job than I do. Maybe boats are their life but I am not that guy that can justify spending that on a new boat. Then be happy with something they bought. My problem is I always see the room for improvement. That being said this is just 1 part of my refit on this boat. I am going to be doing a rewire of the whole boat with all new electronics on top of building a custom hardtop from scratch. I have come to learn that you are better to search in this forum and hope you find the answer rather than to ask a question here. There always seems to be more negative comments on a post than someone trying to help you out. Note this is not directed at you and I appreciate your comment.

Originally Posted by Captainbadfinger View Post
It's an old 42 ft heavy ass Sportboat!
It will need 100 k worth of outboards to move it at a decent speed and it will be a total abortion
Doubt anyone will be thanking you
My thoughts exactly! With this 30K lb boat I am going to need all the seven marines I can fit across it eliminating all the fishing area. LOL

Originally Posted by froggyfisherman View Post
Modern diesels are tending towards high HP and light weight out of smaller displacement which means you can have reliability issues even before factoring in all the ECU issues. Not time bombs but nothing like the older generation in terms of lifetime.
My money would be on two rebuilt 3208s @ 375hp. Even with it's flatter stern deadrise it will never be a 40kt boat unless you put 150k of outboards on the back or 700hp diesels in place of those rustbuckets.
Thanks I will take a look at them. Pretty sure I saw a few in my search.

Originally Posted by boatmanmark View Post
Lots for you to think about. First off you have plenty of room to install a set of diesels. It will be lots of work and you have to consider a number of things. Lets say you go with a set of Cummins. You will need a new exhaust system of 6" diameter hose along with mufflers. New fuel system with return lines to the tanks. Maybe new struts (unless the originals can be bored out) to handle larger diameter shafts along with new props. Engine bed mods, enlarged water intakes etc. Could be like a new boat when done. You should be able to find a set of Cummins 6BTs at 330hp with gears for a good price. I would suggest 2 to 1 reductions. You don't need 450 hp IMHO, unless you need a rocket ship. Twin 330s should give you much improved performance over the gassers. Good luck, I am subscribed. PM me if you need any more input.
Nope not looking for a rocket ship. The 450s where just priced right and came with the transmissions already attached. (Under $30K for the pair and low hours.) I am good with 330 hp range as long as I get as good or better performance from them over what I currently have. It would be a shame to spend all this money and end up slower and more fuel burn.

Originally Posted by flcatcher1 View Post
Pay attention to what noelm said in post #17. Diesels turn considerably lower rpms than gassers which means that to achieve similar thrust you're going to have to swing bigger propellers which may require larger diameter shafts than you currently have. I think a wise first step would be to consult an expert who is familiar with what changes would need to be made to reach your goal. Perhaps a marine surveyor, engineer or someone in a shop that does a lot of conversions. As others have stated it's a complete re-rigging not just a simple repowering project, let that concept sink in. You may well be up to successfully meeting the challenge, but I think you'll also be a lot happier working on it if you know what is needed before you get into it rather than learning through a series of unforeseen surprises.
Well I have an issue with experts in my area as I am 500 miles from the coast. Not much going on near me for anyone I would call an expert. I have also found that if I do find someone near me with a specialized skill they tend to not want to give information as they feel like you are getting into their pocket. That is one of the reasons I came here to ask questions.

Originally Posted by capt.gene View Post
I think you left out cutting bigger holes in the transom for the exhaust and re-engineering the exhaust.
I am pretty sure the giant holes coming out the back of this boat already will accommodate almost any diesel I stick in it.



With all the responses I have gotten I have seen a pattern. Don't do the swap. Well I remember hearing this same thing back in 2004 when I did a full swap on my 92 Mustang. I wanted to swap a 2003 Cobra engine and interior into it. Everyone gave me all the reasons in the world why I shouldn't do it and how it couldn't be done. 4 months later I finished it at 3AM and took off driving it at 8AM on its first 6 hour road trip. Parked it in the car show the next morning and left with 13 trophies and a magazine shoot. I still have the car today as it was a labor of love. I have been offered 3 times what I have in the car to sell it. My boys may sell it some day but till then it will be in my possession. That's kind of the way this boat is going to be. I have no plans of selling it as it will be exactly the way I want it when I am done. Not saying when I finish it that it will be worth 3 times what I have in to anyone but me. I do appreciate everyone's input on everything I might need. I already figured out I was going to need transmissions, shafts, and props. A lot of the engines I was finding even have transmissions with them. I also appreciate everyone telling me there is no way this will be done for less than $100K. This motivates me to want to do it even more. Thank you too all that gave me engine suggestions and information.

Last edited by Greymare; 06-10-2021 at 08:02 AM.
Old 06-10-2021, 09:21 AM
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I had a 42' Post with 310hp 6-71 naturals. Cruised 17kts and was a good boat, but squirrely in a following sea, Since Post built it with 6-71s, you might be able to find someone with the same boat to let you see how it was engineered. But it won't be cheap.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:31 AM
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No one is saying you can't, everyone is saying you shouldn't.

There is simply no comparison in price point from a 92 mustang 4 valve 4.6 swap, to re-rigging a 42' sportfisher.

Are you at least acknowledging what some are saying about larger props, larger shafts, different struts? Those are not bolt on modifications. They are not cheap. Can you do it? Sure . Should you do it? It's not wroth the money when you can sell it and buy one with diesels.

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Old 06-10-2021, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Greymare View Post
I have found tons of the Volvos that were pulled as well. One of the main reasons for this thread was to see what people are using and liked before everyone lost track and are only focusing on why I shouldn't do it. I am for sure interested. I will likely have to do some research on them myself. Shot me some info in the PM please.




Thank you for the info on the old engines.


Thanks for all the engine information. This is the kind of information I was looking for.



Thank for the first line any way. I might add that its not that I can't afford it. If I needed to sink $500K into I could but I am not going to. I have plenty of income so its not like I am making $30K a year over here. If I threw a budget out there no matter how much it was I would get the folks yelling that there is no way you can do it on that budget. I have learned this from this forum in particular. There are lots of folks on here that have $300K boats and up that likely have a better paying job than I do. Maybe boats are their life but I am not that guy that can justify spending that on a new boat. Then be happy with something they bought. My problem is I always see the room for improvement. That being said this is just 1 part of my refit on this boat. I am going to be doing a rewire of the whole boat with all new electronics on top of building a custom hardtop from scratch. I have come to learn that you are better to search in this forum and hope you find the answer rather than to ask a question here. There always seems to be more negative comments on a post than someone trying to help you out. Note this is not directed at you and I appreciate your comment.



My thoughts exactly! With this 30K lb boat I am going to need all the seven marines I can fit across it eliminating all the fishing area. LOL



Thanks I will take a look at them. Pretty sure I saw a few in my search.


Nope not looking for a rocket ship. The 450s where just priced right and came with the transmissions already attached. (Under $30K for the pair and low hours.) I am good with 330 hp range as long as I get as good or better performance from them over what I currently have. It would be a shame to spend all this money and end up slower and more fuel burn.



Well I have an issue with experts in my area as I am 500 miles from the coast. Not much going on near me for anyone I would call an expert. I have also found that if I do find someone near me with a specialized skill they tend to not want to give information as they feel like you are getting into their pocket. That is one of the reasons I came here to ask questions.


I am pretty sure the giant holes coming out the back of this boat already will accommodate almost any diesel I stick in it.



With all the responses I have gotten I have seen a pattern. Don't do the swap. Well I remember hearing this same thing back in 2004 when I did a full swap on my 92 Mustang. I wanted to swap a 2003 Cobra engine and interior into it. Everyone gave me all the reasons in the world why I shouldn't do it and how it couldn't be done. 4 months later I finished it at 3AM and took off driving it at 8AM on its first 6 hour road trip. Parked it in the car show the next morning and left with 13 trophies and a magazine shoot. I still have the car today as it was a labor of love. I have been offered 3 times what I have in the car to sell it. My boys may sell it some day but till then it will be in my possession. That's kind of the way this boat is going to be. I have no plans of selling it as it will be exactly the way I want it when I am done. Not saying when I finish it that it will be worth 3 times what I have in to anyone but me. I do appreciate everyone's input on everything I might need. I already figured out I was going to need transmissions, shafts, and props. A lot of the engines I was finding even have transmissions with them. I also appreciate everyone telling me there is no way this will be done for less than $100K. This motivates me to want to do it even more. Thank you too all that gave me engine suggestions and information.
When you start the project start a new thread and keep us updated. Who knows you may prove that it can be done in a way that makes sense and inspire some of us to do this as well.
Old 06-10-2021, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrenalinJunkie View Post
I had a 42' Post with 310hp 6-71 naturals. Cruised 17kts and was a good boat, but squirrely in a following sea, Since Post built it with 6-71s, you might be able to find someone with the same boat to let you see how it was engineered. But it won't be cheap.
I have a buddy with a 46’ with 892’s it’s a handful in a following sea. I think it’s the nature of the hull design. He has a tall tower on his also. We’ve spent so much time fishing it we don’t worry about it anymore. She just likes to rock n roll 😁
Old 06-10-2021, 12:16 PM
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Doing something like this I would look for a donor boat. Find a wore out, beat up boat with a complete, rebuildable drivetrain that you could swap with.

I think of this kind of like converting a 2wd truck to a 4wd. If you buy each piece one by one it will cost a fortune. But if you find a wrecked donor it will cost you a fraction of that.
Old 06-10-2021, 12:44 PM
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If your serious about Detroit Diesels I'd suggest you contact Johnson & Towers in Maryland and NJ. In the 70's they were the premier DD marine engine distributor for the northeast corridor.
I'll bet they can still offer guidance on your repower options.
Old 06-10-2021, 12:49 PM
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Do you have a gas genset that also needs to be replaced?
Have you confirmed that your shaft-struts can handle a diesel? If not and they have to be replaced, pretty sure that is not a DIY job and won’t be cheap. Not by a long shot.
New props….$1500-2000 each? I’m kinda guessing there but I think I’m in the ballpark.

No one is saying it can’t be done..,just saying there are better ways to go.
Old 06-10-2021, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Greymare View Post
…... I am 500 miles from the coast.



With all the responses I have gotten I have seen a pattern. Don't do the swap. Well I remember hearing this same thing back in 2004 when I did a full swap on my 92 Mustang. I wanted to swap a 2003 Cobra engine and interior into it. Everyone gave me all the reasons in the world why I shouldn't do it and how it couldn't be done. 4 months later I finished it.
This was a very important bit you left out on the OP.... I interpret "500 miles from the coast" as meaning you use this boat tooling around on a local lake...swap to diesels... double hellz to the no.

If you spent 4 months swapping motors in a car.... you might need some fountain of youth juice to gain enough birthdays to pull off a diesel repower....and the aforementioned 100K +
Old 06-10-2021, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TurboJoe View Post
No one is saying you can't, everyone is saying you shouldn't.

There is simply no comparison in price point from a 92 mustang 4 valve 4.6 swap, to re-rigging a 42' sportfisher.

Are you at least acknowledging what some are saying about larger props, larger shafts, different struts? Those are not bolt on modifications. They are not cheap. Can you do it? Sure . Should you do it? It's not wroth the money when you can sell it and buy one with diesels.
I mentioned nothing about it being a price point that was just your assumption. Yes I acknowledged all of them as I talked about to some of the folks that mentioned them. As for it not being a bolt on modification I am confused? How is it any different from installing anything else on to the boat? Seems pretty bolt on to me.
Old 06-10-2021, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
This was a very important bit you left out on the OP.... I interpret "500 miles from the coast" as meaning you use this boat tooling around on a local lake...swap to diesels... double hellz to the no.

If you spent 4 months swapping motors in a car.... you might need some fountain of youth juice to gain enough birthdays to pull off a diesel repower....and the aforementioned 100K +
It will be moved to the Gulf as soon as its finished up. Yeah the 4 months to do a swap that had never been done with parts that didn't exist to do the swap at the time. Also that most people still today with all the off the shelf parts do in a year or more. Then still don't do the interior swap that included making a dash fit that most are still scared to try. Never mind adding in all the electronics to make all the features from a 2003 car work on a 92 model car. So yeah 4 months. I am shooting for a year for my refit. It will likely take 2 years but I have a goal that will help keep me moving. $100K is not happening. You all can say it as much as you want but you will not will it to be true. LOL
Old 06-10-2021, 01:40 PM
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You have a great running boat you got cheap. That is a huge blessing. Some of the advice you are getting here isn't great, but a lot of it is wisdom from people truly trying to spare you unhappiness. Learn to accept gifts like this.

I grew up working at marinas. People, wealthy and skilled people, offered me money to burn their project boat while they were out of town. These projects go bad too often. You don't need to do this project. You are not only risking a lot of money and other resources, but an already valuable boat.

Clean up the boat, enjoy it as is for one season, take the time to research your plans. Don't rush into this.
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Old 06-10-2021, 01:44 PM
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I think your concern about the dangers of gasoline powered inboards are exaggerated. Yes, we've probably all met the guy at the marina who has the story of how he survived a gas powered boat exploding from under him and will never step foot on anything but a diesel powered boat, but let's be realistic. I know a guy who runs a gas powered inboard that doesn't even have a blower. He sticks his head in the bilge before starting up the first time and if he doesn't smell gas, he's good to go. I don't recommend or agree with this technique, but the guy has had the boat for almost 30 years without fuel system issues. And he is meticulous when it comes to maintenance on his rig. Go over your boat with a fine tooth comb, especially the fuel and electrical systems. Upgrade or replace anything that needs it. You will gain a great working knowledge of the boat which will make you a safer operator and save you $$ in the long run. And you will be on the water, enjoying a perfectly safe boat, instead of in the middle of a huge project that will take a lot of time. Time is something we can never get back.
Old 06-10-2021, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DeltaPapa View Post
If your serious about Detroit Diesels I'd suggest you contact Johnson & Towers in Maryland and NJ. In the 70's they were the premier DD marine engine distributor for the northeast corridor.
I'll bet they can still offer guidance on your repower options.

They still are...imo. The Battlewagon has spent more than a few sawbucks with J&T lol....
Old 06-10-2021, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Greymare View Post
I mentioned nothing about it being a price point that was just your assumption. Yes I acknowledged all of them as I talked about to some of the folks that mentioned them. As for it not being a bolt on modification I am confused? How is it any different from installing anything else on to the boat? Seems pretty bolt on to me.
Yes, you are very confused. It's as far from a "bolt-on" modification as it gets but don't let the detractors rain on your parade. Go for it and PLEASE start a rebuild thread so you can show everyone how it should be done.
Old 06-10-2021, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Greymare View Post
It will be moved to the Gulf as soon as its finished up. Yeah the 4 months to do a swap that had never been done with parts that didn't exist to do the swap at the time. Also that most people still today with all the off the shelf parts do in a year or more. Then still don't do the interior swap that included making a dash fit that most are still scared to try. Never mind adding in all the electronics to make all the features from a 2003 car work on a 92 model car. So yeah 4 months. I am shooting for a year for my refit. It will likely take 2 years but I have a goal that will help keep me moving. $100K is not happening. You all can say it as much as you want but you will not will it to be true. LOL
I admire your ambition sir but let me ask.... are you a “normal” sort with job or business to run, wife/kids to entertain and other normal distractions? Do you have a shed big enough to block up and cover your boat or are you already conceding half of the year to weather? What about the tools and know how to align the engines and shafts, or to “run the rack” on a 71 series Jimmy? I can write a novel with considerations that you may not have taken into account

Last edited by HTJ; 06-10-2021 at 04:32 PM.
Old 06-10-2021, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
What about the tools and know how to align the engines and shafts, or to “run the rack” on a 71 series Jimmy?
Even if you know how to run the rack on a Series 71 you need the timing pins for 'em to set the injectors. Very few mechanics have those in their toolbox anymore with the advent of electronic engines. And setting the governor and syncing the injector control links on a V-block is more of a black art than a science.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:35 PM
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Not to pile on...first recommendation is to repair and optimize the existing gas motors and their systems. Plenty of gas boats on the water that have not blown up and sank. Enjoy the boat. If a diesel boat is truly your desire start with an existing diesel boat and repower from there. Labor of love and having the skill set are great but it doesn't make sense financially today. Best of luck whatever route you take, John
Old 06-10-2021, 06:48 PM
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