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Old 04-10-2013, 07:46 PM   #81
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There are more things that have to go right for a gasoline engine to start running than wrong things that have to happen for a diesel engine to stop running.

Even more so if it is a mechanical diesel.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:56 PM   #82
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[QUOTE=manyboats;148371]
The thread I envisioned was just to kick around gas engines in boats and perhaps how they'd measure up in a trawler. I really think if engines were chosen objectively and gasoline was't explosive most trawlers would have gas engines.

I agree and I believe that they would last a good long time. It doesn't seem as if there are many (or any) modern gas engines that are big slow turners like engines of old that were placed in the heavy cruisers.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:02 PM   #83
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There are more things that have to go right for a gasoline engine to start running than wrong things that have to happen for a diesel engine to stop running.

Even more so if it is a mechanical diesel.
Well Gilligan, my young boaten buddy... what NS mentions certainly is true! Guess thatís one good reason why weíve seen runaway diesels but no runaway gassers! Canít hardly wait till we get off this island so we get a chance to hear the roar of a runaway diesel again!
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:33 PM   #84
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Guess that’s one good reason why we’ve seen runaway diesels but no runaway gassers
You guys have a lot of runaway diesels down there in CA, Art? Interesting. I've heard of them but I've never heard of one happening up here in the 14 years we've been doing this kind of boating.

Well, that's not true. There was a fairly dramatic YouTube video a few years ago of a tug and barge going through the Skookumchuck Narrows when the current was still running and the barge got slewed around and pulled the tug over. On the sound track you can hear the Detroit running away after the tug was upside down. But I would say that's a not a typical event for a recreational boater....

So what is it about your area that you think makes diesels so prone to running away there? That would sure make me think twice about a diesel boat, too, if runaways were as common here as the apparently are there. (See, I'm agreeing wth you).

What kind of odds have you observed with diesel runaways down there? One in ten starts? One in fifty? One in a hundred? Even one in a thousand would deter me from buying a diesel boat for sure.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:52 PM   #85
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I don't understand what petty slamming of one propulsion system over another has to do with the long lasting gas engines title of this thread. I own a gasser currently and if I upgrade to a larger boat in the future it will most likely be diesel. Nothing wrong with either power choice IMO. 35 feet an under has more gas engines available than 35 foot and longer, that's just market reality.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:52 PM   #86
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I may be wrong, but I very definitely doubt it.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:33 PM   #87
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Nothing wrong with either power choice IMO. 35 feet an under has more gas engines available than 35 foot and longer, that's just market reality.
Well, you posed and answered the question right there in the most sensible way I've seen yet here.

There IS nothing wrong with gas as a marine powerplant as long as you define what it's good for. Which is, as you say, smaller boats. Or cheaper boats or mass market boats. Gas engines are a really cheap way to power a boat, which means you can bring that boat to market for a whole lot less than you can a boat powered with diesels. The classic albeit overused example of this is Bayliner. The fact gas engines have relatively short lives compared to a diesel is fairly irrelevant for this market because the kinds of boats they're in don't get used all that much, relatively speaking. And if the boat is designed so the engines are under a cockpit where they can be easily swapped out, so much the better.

When you start talking about bigger, heavier boats, boats that represent a considerable investment and so will hopefully have a long life-- 30, 40, or more years---, or boats that are going to run long distances or short distances a whole lot of times for a whole lot of years, then diesels are the best choice, which is why that end of the market--- and the commercial market--- uses diesels virtually exclusively. They woudn't do this if it didn't make economic sense to the buyers and operators.

So both types of engines have their place. But what's being claimed by some here is that gas engines are an ideal powerplant for the upper half of the market. Which, despite their cheap initial cost and cheap replacement cost, does not hold true in my opinon. If it was, Grand Banks and Nordhavn and Fleming and the commercial lobsterboat guys and so on would all be using gas engines.

Engines, other than outboards, are not plug and play devices. Getting the engines in and out of a boat like ours, for example-- or a commercial fishboat---- is a major proposition. Doesn't matter how cheap the engine itself is, the effort to take the old ones out, put the new ones in, and then fix all the stuff you had to take apart or break to get the engines out and in is considerable and expensive. For a boat with an anticipated service life of 30, 40, 50 years or more, it makes no sense to have to undergo that process every few years depending on how much the boat is used.

It makes much more sense with a boat like ours to put one or two engines in the thing when it's built that have a good chance of lasting the life of the boat assuming proper operation and servicing. And the only way to accomplish that is by using a diesel. Which is why companies like American Diesel and Kong and Halverson and others started doing just that back in the 60s and early 70s.

The two different categories of boats are very much apples and oranges, and so need apples and oranges powerplants to make economic sense. Smaller, simpler boat, want to appeal to as large a recreational market as possible, wouldn't make sense to stick anything other than a cheap gas engine in it. Bigger boat, major investment, more complex design, needs to be really cost-effective in the case of a commercial application, it doesn't make sense to stick anything other than a diesel in it.

That's my take on it, anyway.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:41 PM   #88
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Marin, that's a sensible essay.

Yes, the Coot would need to be "gutted" (as in the hull cut open) to replace its engine. Don't want a short-lived power plant here, thank you.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:46 PM   #89
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You guys have a lot of runaway diesels down there in CA, Art? Interesting. I've heard of them but I've never heard of one happening up here in the 14 years we've been doing this kind of boating.

Well, that's not true. There was a fairly dramatic YouTube video a few years ago of a tug and barge going through the Skookumchuck Narrows when the current was still running and the barge got slewed around and pulled the tug over. On the sound track you can hear the Detroit running away after the tug was upside down. But I would say that's a not a typical event for a recreational boater....

So what is it about your area that you think makes diesels so prone to running away there? That would sure make me think twice about a diesel boat, too, if runaways were as common here as the apparently are there. (See, I'm agreeing wth you).

What kind of odds have you observed with diesel runaways down there? One in ten starts? One in fifty? One in a hundred? Even one in a thousand would deter me from buying a diesel boat for sure.
Aww shucks Marin... gad dang nice ta hear from ya on this topic; specially being so greeable and all that stuff! I’ll try to reciprocate best as can!

However, I must say... I've only seen one runaway diesel in a boat in my life and that was in NY while I was a young kid. Twas a real old wooden fishing trawler (ya know the kind with nets, booms, riggers and all that ol’ fishen type stuff) tied alongside a pier in Freeport LI. Lots of smoke comming out of the center of that boat. Many fishermen running around like crazy with fire extinguishers, hoses, and the like. Noise was really screaming and they somehow got it shut down. That was in the late 1950's; boat and engine might have been from the 40’s, 30’s, 20’s??? Don't imagine with newer diesels there's much chance of that happening again, but, don't know. From what I’ve read long time ago once they go past a certain point of “roaring compression” that even if fuel is shut off they will suck oil from reservoir and keep flashing on that. Do know that I’ve seen video of runaway diesels (I think they were all older ones). And, I’ve seen video of blown-up/burned-down gasoline boats as well as seen boats (after the fire - not knowing the fuel used) that burned for one or another reason... in water or on the hard. Never saw one gasser explosion happen in person. Also seen video of diesel boats burn to water line, not sure what began their fires.

I was being VERY tongue-in-cheek with Northern Spy and just poken some fun at his fairly recent Gilligan avatar. Between that one and the engineer screaming on his last avatar in my opinion NS should get the award for “most likely to make you smile” avatar on TF. I honestly don’t know which one I like better... both make me smile each time I come across his posts.

Instances of runaway diesel and/or blown up gasoline boats I believe closely relates to the maintenance schedule adhered to in both cases. Me, I’m an early morn maintenance nut on all mechanical, electrical, fuel, gauge, and other boat parts... that’s cause my eyes normally don’t stay closed much past 5 AM. So, I amuse myself checken on things and reading books while Linda sleeps till bout 7:30ish. That right there is one of the reasons I’m not flummoxed or nervous at all around a gasoline powered boat, and, of course for decades when young I was around both gas and diesel powered boats. Back in 50’s, 60’s, into early 70’s the percentage was way high toward gas powered pleasure craft. Back then even many small to midsized working fishers had some big old gassers in em and in Maine nearly all working Lobster Boats were at that time gas powered... some with pumped up hot rod car engines the lobster men fashioned themselves for marine purposes.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:01 PM   #90
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Marin you paint a picture of gasoline powered boats as being cheaper, smaller and made in great numbers.

And if you hadn't noticed less expensive (cheaper) is a positive yet you imply it's a negative.

A very heavy engine in a small boat is stupid. Gasoline engines are in small boats mostly for performance. Diesels just don't measure up.

There's nothing romantic or superior about diesels in general. The classiest boat in the world, a Riva runabout, is powered by a gasoline engine.

Most pleasure boats are powered by gasoline engines because the're superior for most applications. You use the word "cheap" as though it's of less quality whereas performance and less cost is a win win. The quality is in the performance. Usually it's superior.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #91
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Back in 50ís, 60ís, into early 70ís the percentage was way high toward gas powered pleasure craft. Back then even many small to midsized working fishers had some big old gassers in em and in Maine nearly all working Lobster Boats were at that time gas powered...
The same was true out here. Until the 60s or so (I'm guessing, I'm not positive) the typical northwest salmon troller was gas powered. One of my favorite boats in our marina, Donna, is a 36' double-ended working salmon troller built in Port Angeles in the 1940s. Her owner told me she still has her original 4-cylinder gas engine. This boat has fished SE Alaska her entire life until the last few years although her owner still keeps her up beautifully. I have no idea how often the engine has been overhauled or what kind of maintenance or repair has been needed to keep it running all these decades.

But until the 60s or thereabouts, marine diesels were big and heavy and expensive and were considered only for heavy duty working boats. The marinization of automotive diesels changed all that. The same economies of longevity, reliability, simplicity, and fuel efficiency that made them the dominant powerplant in over-the-road trucks applied to boats as well, and the marinization of those truck and agricultural engines made it economically feasible to offer the boater the same benefits the truckers and farmers were enjoying. And once that started happening, that was pretty much it for using gas engines in the upper half of the recreational boat market and the commercial market.

The safety factor is a nice benefit but I believe that with good design and conscientious operation a gas boat can be as safe as a diesel boat. I fished in a twin gas V-8 boat in Hawaii in the 70s and we sniffed the engine compartment and used the blowers and never had anything even approaching a problem. So despite the popularity of hyping safety as a big advantage of diesel I don't know that it's really that significant of a deal in reality. Lot of smaller gas powered Tollycrafts running around up here today without blowing up.

As the automotive diesels have gotten bigger and more powerful , this has benefitted the boater, too. The lobster guys who were operating gas-powered boats in the 50s and 60s can now get the same kind of speed versatility with a diesel, and have an engine that will, or should, last nearly as long as their boat and be relatively miserly with the fuel to boot. So even the performance edge that gas once had has been eclipsed by the diesel in those applications.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:27 PM   #92
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Gasoline engines, compared to diesels, have a lot more horsepower for the weight. So, they are most suitable for light-weight, fast boats, which are the vast majority.

A recreational trawler boat, designed to be slow, heavy (gotta have accommodations, tankage, and so on), long-ranged, and economical are the equivalent of trucks: that's where diesels shine. Besides, diesels are safer in a marine environment because explosive vapors don't naturally dissipate from a hull.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:34 PM   #93
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Marin you paint a picture of gasoline powered boats as being cheaper, The classiest boat in the world, a Riva runabout, is powered by a gasoline engine.
The Riva is a runabout built for speed. Not the sort of boat you're going to do the Inside Passage in with your family or the Great Loop or virtually anything else that we do with our cruisers. The people who can afford a Riva are not all that concerned about fuel efficiency. They want a high-class, go-fast boat and a gas engine is a natural for that application. A Riva is not going to appeal to it's market with a Cummins diesel in it. So it's a totally meaningless comparison.

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Most pleasure boats are powered by gasoline engines because the're superior for most applications.
The objective in building a pleasure boat is to sell it to someone, and you're not going to do that if it's too expensive for the people you want to sell it to. Gas engines are cheap, and that's the reason they are in the lower half of the recreational boat market. You can make a fast boat for Joe Public to go fishing or waterskiing in, and Joe Public can afford to buy it in large part because you put a cheap (inexpensive if you like that term better) gas engine in it instead of a $20,000 turbocharged diesel.

If gas engines were truly superior for most applications, you would see gas engines being used for most applications. But we don't. Why? Not because truckers and farmers and lobstermen think diesels are sexy, but because diesels are, in fact, superior for their kinds of applications. Which includes the sorts of boats Grand Banks and Fleming and Nordhavn are buidling. If gas was better, they'd use gas. There would be no reason not to.

Theory is all very nice but it doesn't sell boats, which is the only reason the boat builders are building boats in the first place. Grand Banks, Riva, Fleming, Nordic Tug, you name it, do not view what they are doing as a hobby.

Reality--- in this case marketing reality--- trumps armchair theory every time. If gas makes sense--- as it does in a Riva--- they use gas. If diesel makes sense--- as it does in a Grand Banks or a Nordhavn or a Maine lobsterboat--- they use diesel.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:34 PM   #94
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Ya know guys... Just about everything we banter on in this thread (and most other TF threads too - for that matter - lol) holds their place of correctness/importance regarding the marine world, our own feelings (financial or other wise) and the general perceptions of some others.

Long and short of it is, in the long and short of things... we are mostly, simply playing pi$$ higher games about contents we have in and on our beloved Toy Boats effectually called "TrawlersĒ. In reality of life chatting about the shoes we like to wear is probably just about as important.

I really like my boat... you really enjoy your boats... Itís All Good!

Side note: Our ownership choice of a gas boat is much in favor by my Admiral... she detests the smell of diesel fuel and diesel exhaust as well as disliking the deep drum of diesel motors. Canít say I blame her. I also like the basically non odor from good running gassers and the very low noise factor. Matter of fact the synchronized hum from twin gassers is a pleasure to hear... especially on the bridge where itís a faint whisper at just below hull speed or a bit louder chorus at 17 knots plane.

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Old 04-10-2013, 11:12 PM   #95
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Marin says;

"So it's a totally meaningless comparison."

That's really hogwash Marin. The Riva is a sexy and classy boat and even if a diesel w a suitable power to weight ratio were found no one would want a smelly, noisy and vibrating diesel in the Riva because there's nothing sexy about a diesel.

The comparison is spot on.

You really shouldn't be allowed to say someone's words are "totally meaningless" on this forum. The very fact that nobody'd want a diesel powered Riva makes my point VERY meaningful.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:27 PM   #96
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Marin says;

The very fact that nobody'd want a diesel powered Riva makes my point VERY meaningful.
Well, you just made my point. Using the Riva as an example of why cruising boats like ours should have gas engines is a meaningless comparison. You're trying to use the Riva as an example of why a heavy cruising boat like my Grand Banks should have gas engines. That's a meaningless example because the entire purpose of a Riva and the market that will buy it is nothing at all like the purpose of a Grand Banks and the market that will buy it.

Your example is like saying a Pitts Special aerobatic plane should have a piston engine on it, therefore a Boeing 777 should, too.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:28 PM   #97
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I declare this race/debate/discussion a dead heat...!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:43 PM   #98
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I declare this race/debate/discussion a dead heat...!
You're funny, Peter - - > Cool Too!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:48 PM   #99
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Side note: Our ownership choice of a gas boat is much in favor by my Admiral... she detests the smell of diesel fuel and diesel exhaust as well as disliking the deep drum of diesel motors. Canít say I blame her. I also like the basically non odor from good running gassers and the very low noise factor. Matter of fact the synchronized hum from twin gassers is a pleasure to hear... especially on the bridge where itís a faint whisper at just below hull speed or a bit louder chorus at 17 knots plane.[/FONT][/COLOR]

Happy Boat Daze - Art
My generator had a fuel leak that stank-up the boat with diesel smell - it was bad but it could have been much worse had it been gasoline. I can't understand how anyone can say that they prefer the smell of gasoline over diesel. And as far as exhausts go, gasoline is very deadly. I don't let my wife sniff our fuel or exhaust so to her, it doesn't matter how our boat is powered.

It would be a bummer to not be able to move up to a diesel powered larger boat because my wife detests the smell of diesel. If I went ahead anyway, I would feel inconsiderate and will feel guilty every time we went boating or every time my wife took a sniff.

I once had a gas powered 32 footer. It was a gasser because it was what I could afford at the time and not due to preferring gas over diesel.

On the other hand, if my wife really insisted on gas, I could always repower a used Nordhavn 46 with a gas engine. The get home motor will also get swapped of course.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:57 PM   #100
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Can't say I prefer the odor of gasoline exhaust over diesel, but I do like the sound/gurgle of a low-revolution diesel with wet exhaust.
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