One of the many unique things about our new boat Möbius, and perhaps one that will raise the most eyebrows is our choice of the main, and only, engine. I’ll probably make it a whole new post, possibly several to explain all that is behind this decision and for now just give you a relatively quick overview of the whole journey this engine has taken from Canterbury England where we first “adopted him” to his arrival here at Naval Yachts last week.
We affectionately refer to our big beautiful engine as “Mr. G” because it is a Gardner 6LXB. For you fellow engine aficionados and gearheads out there, yes THAT Gardner. The L. Gardner and Sons Ltd. to be precise. If you click on that link or this Wikipedia entry you will get a short history of the Gardner company and the diesel engines the produced for almost ONE HUNDRED years. In 1892, German scientist and inventor Rudolf Diesel invented what is referred to as a “compression-ignition engine” as it used the heat created by compressing the air inside a cylinder to ignite and burn the fuel he also invented that bears his name. So when I say that Gardner engines have a long history having produced their first diesel engine in 1903, I am not being the least bit hyperbolic. Just for a change.
I’ll do my best not to bore you with a full history but just to put them into some perspective here are some snippets about the company. L Gardner & Son of Patricroft in Manchester for many years, were the world export leaders in diesel engines for commercial use all around the globe. Throughout the 50s 60s & 70s, most of the British made trucks and buses relied on Gardner power, and they were certainly engines of legend. In the latter part of the company history, Brothers Hugh & John Gardner designed some of the longest lasting and fuel efficient commercial diesels of the 20th century, a huge proportion of their output is still in daily use. In the 1960’s it was estimated that 83.3% of all fishing vessels built in the UK were powered by Gardners and as much as 45% of the Gardner’s produced went into fishing boats and 59% of these went overseas markets. I can attest to this as I used to teach Auto Mechanics in a fishing town of Ladner British Columbia and while I don’t know exact numbers there were a lot of these fish boats my student’s families fished on that were powered by Gardners. Gardner’s were also specified by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute RNLI for all their boats. So while not the only application, Gardners are very much marine engines.
Skipping over the reasons why for just now, I started my search for a Gardner almost exactly two years ago today and after much research I decided that the Gardner 6LXB engine would be the just right Goldilocks engine for Möbius. These LX series of engines were first designed and tested by Hugh& John Gardner in April 1958 making this their 60th “birthday”. The 6LXB model line was introduced in 1966 and was produced through 1979. Mr. G. is engine #196071 made in February 1975 and put into service in a barge working on the River Thames. In 2015 this ship was renovated and converted to a tug which required a larger 8LXB engine so they removed the 6LXB and traded it in for a new 8LXB and which is how we came to find it at Gardner Marine Diesels Ltd in Canterbury, Kent England. Gardner Marine is the current incarnation of the original Gardner company now run by an amazing fellow, Michael Harrison who I was most fortunate to have been in contact with via Email at just the right time. What I was looking for was a completely original and intact 6LXB as I wanted to do the full restoration and in our initial Emails Michael was hesitant to provide one as they normally only sell “factory new” fully rebuilt engines all over the world. After many Emails back where I explained my rather unique situation and request Michael relented and promised to keep his eyes open for the just right engine for us.
You can therefore imagine my delight when I received this message from Michael:
From: Michael Harrison @ Gardner Marine
Sent: July 10, 2017 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: Looking for a Gardner 6LXB to restore
Good morning Wayne, Many thanks for your email and welcome back to Europe!
Well, I have good news. We ended up purchasing two engines the other day, out of the three, and one is perfect for you, I believe. I did not want to say anything until they were physically here as we often buy engines that come up under par.
However, this is a genuine marine 6LXB engine, with the following equipment/specification:
– Late type crankcase
– Late type cylinder heads with decompression
– Gardner oil cooler with all original copper pipework
– Gardner marine header tank and thermostat housing arrangement
– Genuine marine inlet manifold and inlet trunk
– Genuine marine exhaust manifold and outlet elbow
– Additional original Gardner pipework for oil gauges
– Rear well marine aluminium sump and all original copper connections to and from
– Standard marine extended crankshaft, with original aluminium pulley
– Original cast front engine feet
– Marine fuel pump, which is free and running (it was a running take out)
– Auxiliary oil pump for oil cooling with original copper pipework.
At the time, Christine and I were house/pet sitting for some very dear friends in Albufeira Portugal so I quickly arranged some flights to go meet with Michael in Canterbury and check out the engine and the company in person. Michael is a fantastic fellow and his Dad had worked for the original L. Gardner & Sons company most of his life before the company went through some restructuring and take overs by other companies. Michael and his Dad bought what was left of the company, all their inventory and most of their machinery and while they don’t do the foundry work of casting engine blocks and such so no truly new Gardner engines are made any longer, they do continue to make all the other parts needed to fully rebuild and restore most any of the Gardner models and that is the business which Michael now runs.
Here is my first meeting of Mr. G and Michael Harrison at Gardner Marine on July 14, 2017
I know this will not look like much to many of you but to me this was love at first sight.
EXACTLY what I had been hoping to find.
It was a marine version 6LXB, completely original and intact and Michael is able to provide me with a full set of brand new parts from pistons and rings to bearings, gaskets, pumps and the like.
My long time friend and fellow car nut Robin, arms folded in the back, lives outside of London and he was kind enough to come pick me up at the airport and we drove out to Canterbury to spend the day with Michael touring the whole Gardner company and peppering him with unending questions. Michael can answer every question there is having not only literally grown up with these at his Dad’s side but also because he does or supervises the hundreds of restorations of Gardners and often accompanies them for the installation in places all over the world.
Quickly realising that Robin and I were deeply into all this, Michael gave us an incredibly thorough tour of every part of their restoration shop, all the original machines they are still using as well as the new ones they have built or added.
In the foreground here is a fully restored 6LXB which Gardner Marine had just finished rebuilding back to factory specs. This is what Mr. G will look like in a few months.
For some scale, that little fellow in the back is a different model Gardner. an 8 cylinder 8LB3 that is about to go back to its home in a large fish boat in Singapore.
Here is a shot of the other side of this 6LXB from a bit closer in and show you what a work of art and engineering these engines are.
To those of us who are into such things, these are like meticulously made mechanical marvels.
However these are not only beautiful, they are true work horses.
This is the performance chart for our 6LXB which graphs the real BHP, Torque and fuel consumption curves. It may not make much sense to many of you but what this shows is a very low revving engine which develops its Horse Power very steadily as shown in that almost vertical line sloping up and to the right.
Even more importantly for our use is that incredibly flat torque curve putting out 536 foot pounds in the configuration we will set up.
Best of all and in keeping with our emphasis on efficiency for all aspects of Möbius is the equally flat and low fuel curves at the bottom. This engine has a thermal efficiency of just a touch over 40% which is almost unheard of even today. I will get into all these performance details in a separate post for those who are interested in such things but what we can all understand is the following:
* The HP and Torque curves cross over at 1300 RPM which would be not much off idle for most modern diesel engines so this is a very low revving and long lasting engine.
* Gobs of torque at all revs from idle upwards which is what we need to slowly turn our 1m / 39.5” diameter CPP 4 bladed propeller with more “grunt” than we will ever need.
* Fuel efficiency which could very well help us set records for how little energy is required to move our equally efficient hull at 10+ knots all day and all night on passages around the world.
* Fewest possible moving parts, no turbo, no electronics, heck other than the starter no electrics!
and saving the best for last, Christine’s favorite feature: if needed these engines can be hand cranked to start!!!
OK, OK, enough already Wayne! I’ll get into all this much more in a future post for those of you who would like to know more.
Michael and his crew soon had Mr. G all strapped down and plastic wrapped for the next part of the journey which took Mr. G from Canterbury to Albufeira Portugal where I could work on it for the next few months before we headed off to Antalya.
So a few weeks later this truck backed into the place we were staying in Albufeira (thanks John & Michelle!!) and with the help of a very powerful hydraulic tailgate was soon on the ground and into the makeshift car port I created.
Mr. G could meet his new Mum and Dad.
Call it silly if you like but we are VERY proud and happy parents!
We literally put our life into Mr. G’s hands, or perhaps better said Mr. G’s reliability and torque and my hands, and we know that the G in Mr. G is not just for Gardner, it is also for Goldilocks as we are certain this is just the right engine for us.
The other half pallet you might have noticed in the truck is the box of all the parts required for the full rebuild.
How do you know when you’ve found your Goldilocks Girl? When she gets as excited as you about unpacking a box of engine parts!
Over the next few weeks I completely dismantled the whole engine, cleaned everything thoroughly and began the restoration by pressing in new cylinder liners, grinding the cylinder head & block, installing new valves and seats and so on.
Off with the heads…………….
Which promptly headed off to the local machine ship for new valves and seats.
Next off was the cast iron cylinder case which also went off to the machine shop to press out the old cylinder liners and press in the new ones. It is because of this kind of construction where the cylinders are “sleeved” and can have these liners replaced with new ones that this possible to truly bring these engines back to factory new specifications.
I will cary a full engine rebuild kit of parts onboard just in case of the extremely unlikely failure of any of these massive parts given the remoteness of most of our anchorages but I fully expect to have these new parts go to the next owner in 50 years or so.
Had to buy a hydraulic lift to be able to get some of these parts off.
Dropped the tiny little oil pan to get the pistons, rods and crankshaft out.
The oil pan and crankcase are both cast aluminum and the pan alone weighs almost 100 pounds.
Total engine weight, dry no oil or water, no flywheel,
is about 2300 lbs / 1044 Kg
Pistons all out
ready to go to the machine shop.
Cylinder block back from the machine shop nicely ground on top, new liners inside and ready for assembly
Reversing the process now, reassembling to get ready to ship to Antalya.
Parts are just dry assembled for shipping and will all come apart again in Antalya for further cleaning, painting, polishing and final assembly.
All together and strapped in along with the hydraulic hoist
Plastic wrapped to keep him all clean and dry and Mr. G is ready for the next leg of the journey being trucked to Antalya.
Arriving at the entrance to the Free Zone in Antalya last week, April 27, 2018
A quick forklift ride and ……….
Mr. G is in the House!!
This will be his new home in the workshop GreeNaval has kindly provided right next to where the hull is being built and I’ve not got my work cut out for me disassembling him, lots of spit and polish and then back together he goes all ready for lifting into the completed hull in a few months.
Great overview of your very wise choice. I used to design diesel generators and rotary UPS systems here in Ottawa for a Canadian company called Mechron Energy Ltd. We used a lot of British LIster diesel engines for remote DEW line service and similar where reliability was of utmost importance. The 40% thermal efficiency is MOST impressive!
Merhaba Elton and great to learn of your past with such engines. Listers were definitely right up there with Gardners back when British engines were ruling the world of trucks, busses and boats as well as stationary power sets. As promised (threatened?) I will be writing future posts with much more about Mr. G and Gardners overall, the details on what pushes us in this direction and quite a bit on the whole efficiency factor. As you noted too, thermal efficiency of 40% is impressive and almost unheard of anwhere outside of research labs. It is one of the most telling facts about these Gardner engines that even though they were originally designed in the late 50’s they are still to this day in 2018, that is SIXTY years later, their 40% thermal efficiency remains is amongst the highest rating of any production diesel engine.
For example the Guiness World Book of Records for thermal efficiency was awarded to the Warsila 31 engine for being most efficient 4 stroke diesel engine in the world May 2015. These engines consume 165 g/kWh of diesel while producing 4.2-9.8 MW, which equates to 5632 – 13,142 HP!! The V16 version stands 15.4ft/4.7m tall and 28.8ft / 8.7m long in the V16 format producing 13,142 HP Designed for medium sized ferries and cruise ships or small to medium tankers and container ships. This all works out to about almost 42% thermal efficiency so our Gardner is not the world record holder but it is also just a wee bit smaller than this truly gargantuan Warsila so we are staying with our Gardner thanks.
One more little factoid for now that I find particularly amusing is that the new Prius Hybrid (gas/electric) about to be released has a reported thermal efficiency of 41%. I will freely admit that this is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison but at the same time energy is energy no matter what units you use to measure it or how you convert it to work for you. I’m just tickled that our relatively big boat, powered by an engine designed in the 50’s and made in the 70’s is ticking along at almost the same degree of energy efficiency as the latest/greatest Toyota Prius. I’ll let that settle in a bit and get to writing up more about these remarkable engines and our already beloved Mr. G.
Not hard to see that the G in Mr. G not only stands for Gardner it also stands for Green too! 🙂
Something is a bit of here, I think. Difference just cannot be that small… Lets check.
efficiency = 1 / (BSFC * heating_value_in_kWh_per_gram)
heating_value_in_kWh_per_gram there are many values given, wikipedia gives 0.0119531 kWh/g, but also 0.0133333 kWh/g is often used value, inverse of 75g / kWh. This might depend on diesel brand/mix/quality etc of course.
for given values, efficiency of Wärtsilä above:
1 / (165 * 0.0119531) = 50.7%
1 / (165 * 0.0133333) = 45.5%
Gartner gives 0.33 lb / bhp, which works out to be 200.7 g / kWh. This gives:
1 / (200.7 * 0.0119531) = 41.7%
1 / (200.7 * 0.0133333) = 37.4%
Typical modern same size marine diesel burning 250 g / kWh
1 / (250 * 0.0119531) = 33.5%
1 / (250 * 0.0133333) = 30.0%
Still great and nothing to be shy of for Gartner, but there is some difference gained from Wärtsilä being that massive beast with extmely low rpm, as expected.
Also very interesting would be to hear what actually causes the efficiency to be so high? In my understanding compression ratio is one key values in the efficiency formula for ICE any engine, so is that particularly high on Gardners?
Based on all reports I’ve read and people I’ve talked to the Gardner family from the beginning and Hugh Gardner in particular was “obsessed” with wringing the maximum thermal efficiency out of the engines he designed and so I think there is no one reason or secret formula, just years of work focusing on improving the thermal efficiency of each engine over the many decades they made them. Compression ratios are one of the elements which make diesels in particular more efficient and our Gardner 6LXB has a 15:1 compression ratio which isn’t unusually high. As with most things there is a complex balancing act between many factors to get not only high efficiency but also high durability and long life so Gardner engines appeal to me in large part because they are so overbuilt and under stressed. Therefore they kept the compression ratio in check in order to stress all the other engine parts less and focussed on every other way they could find to increase efficiency further. For example Gardner brought almost all their manufacturing in house to be able to carefully control and coordinate each part and this included them making all their own fuel injectors.
Another efficiency factor is that these are low revving engines which also helps both with lower stress and higher efficiency because they have very long strokes, 152.4mm/6 in in our case and larger bores 120.6mm/4.75” so each cylinder’s big piston pushing down on the long lever arm is both very efficient and produces gobs of torque which is what we value most for our application in terms of “grunt” force for getting us out of tough situations. To put some of this into perspective each cylinder on our Gardner is 1.74 litres which is larger than many 4 cylinder engines in cars today!
I think that the reason why Gardner engines have such high thermal efficiency is that they made this a top priority and stayed focussed on this from the very beginning and so if I was to sum up in one word the answer to your question about why these Gardner engines were able to achieve such high thermal efficiency it would be FOCUS. Interestingly this same maniacal focus on torque and thermal efficiency that factored heavily into Gardner gradually loosing out to the competition as the needs of trucks in particular were changing dramatically with rising road highway speeds and labour costs after WWII. These new demands put a premium on lower weight higher RPM and higher HP engines which the Gardner family did not go along with and was a large part in their demise as a company.
Fortunately for us, torque and efficiency are some of our top priorities and hence the Goldilocks fit between Gardner and ourselves.
Not sure what you were referring to as being “… off a bit here” so perhaps you can let me know but I appreciate the math homework you took on and seems to support the higher efficiencies which Gardner and Wärtsilä achieve. No question that the Wärtsilä engines and ships are in a completely different league with sizes and weights that are hard to imagine and these allow them to take much more advantage of the physics of WL length, stroke and low RPMs than we are. In any case it will make us feel even better when we are on passages enjoying at least 10% greater efficiency from Mr. G than most other boats out there with us. We are also aiming to multiply this efficiency from the engine with the added effectiveness of our very large 1m diameter 4 blade CPP prop which will be spinning at a leisurely 400-500 RPM most of the time.
Thanks again for all the thoughtful input.
By “off a bit here” I was simply referring to Gardner being within 1-2 % in efficiency to monster engines like the Wärtsilä running at extreme low RPM mentioned, it felt a bit off and calculation was also for myself to understand what sort of differences we are talking about.
Would be interesting to see, what sort of efficiency would be possible with modern materials and knowhow, if it was not for the emission standards. I think modern fuel cells can “easily” reach 50+% efficiencies, even when running on diesel, but there are still some fuel purity issues to tackle before they become mainstream. But there are already units running and available as a prototype to for example use to run systems on truck when it is stopped, instead of idling the main engine.
Thanks for the clarification and the additional math Andy.
And just to show that I’m not making this up or exaggerating the importance, check out this Feb. 2018 press release (link below) on a radical new 2 litre petrol (gas) engine which Toyota is developing and is claiming to be “… the most thermally efficient petrol unit in production.” Toyota says this new engine “will be “rolled out across new global architeture (TNGA) models in coming years” and that “it has a thermal effiienciy of 40% – just 1% short of the Toyota Prius with its 1.8 litre hybridn powertrain.” To be fair and clear this IS a very big deal and incredible accomplishment because gas is not as dense an energy source as diesel and today’s petrol/gas engines normally have thermal efficiencies between 15-25% with the newest ones being up at the high end of this. So to jump from 25 to 40% thermal efficiency is a HUGE leap and congrats to the engineers at Toyota for this accomplishment.
However I remain VERY happy knowing that Christine and I will soon be cruising the world with an engine that is still one of the most efficient in the world as we sip on diesel fuel while cruising along at 10 knots 24/7. So if you haven’t guessed already we call our engine Mr. G partly because he’s a mighty Gardner but equally as proudly because he is so Green as well.
More to follow in future posts……………………….
5 am crossed eyes misspelled email address will enter it again
No problem, I know what the world looks like through those kinds of eyes very well. Received your Email with the pictures of Skeeter cat and it certainly looks interesting. We’ve been on quite a few cats, sailing and power and they are just not our cup of tea but we appreciate their qualities and benefits for so many others. Is there a web site with more info on Skeeter?
I follow your blog with great interest and thank you for openly sharing the many details…
Given a half fuel displacement of 41’000 kg, a LWL of 78.2 ft and a cruising speed of 10 kts (SLR 1.13), my guess is you need about 100 hp (& gear box losses/auxiliary loads) from your Gardner 6LXB.
Is your boat that much more efficient, or is it somewhat underpowered to reach 12 kts?
Mea Culpa Markus!! I completely missed this comment by you and am only following up now. Thanks for your patience.
Your question on the power requirements for Möbius is a good one and one which we continue to wonder about ourselves. We have worked very closely with Dennis to design the most efficient hull possible and efficiency overall is second only to safety as our top priorities for this boat. Hull speed is also what led us up to a much longer boat that we had originally thought we would design and build but there’s now arguing with physics so longer = higher hull speeds and efficiency so we went right up to the 24m limit. To also make her as light as possible for best Displacement to Length ratio and to make her a “just right” size inside for just the two of us, we went with an “empty ends” approach which resulted in having “only” 13m of living space length inside as the forepeak and aft area are relatively “empty” and unfinished living space wise. The other piece of the puzzle relative to your question is that we are going with a CPP or Controllable Pitch Propeller system with a very large, very slow spinning 1m OD 4 bladed prop. This should enable us to fully optimise the loading and power of the Gardner and get very bit of power it can provide being applied to moving us through the water.
As with pretty much all diesel engines the power output can be adjusted with changes to the fuel injection and RPM to produce different amounts of HP. In modern engines these are referred to as “M” ratings and they range from lower power for heavy duty continuous operation up through different levels of HP at higher RPM’s for lower duty ratings and less hours of operation and full power. We are setting the Gardner up to produce 150 BHP @ 1600 RPM to start with and we’ll see how this works for the first few months or year of operation and can change this relatively easily if need be. The 6LXB’s range from a low of 127HP @1500 RPM up to a high of 185 BHP @ 1800 RPM.
My thinking and calculations are like yours and 12kts is very much a “stretch goal” for Möbius and we won’t know the answers to any of our questions until we get her in the water and start gathering real data. Based on my research and experience with other boats along these lines of long and lean or VSV Very Slender Vessels as the US Navy refers to them, it seems that the common use of an SLR of 1.34 is not always the upper limit of these kinds of hulls. Dave Gerr who I have tremendous respect covers this in his excellent 2 part set of articles titled “The Efficient Powerboat” http://www.gerrmarine.com/Articles/EfficientPowerboat01.pdf where he covers this and many other aspects of designing the most efficient power boats and we have applied all his suggestions as best we an to the design of Möbius’ hull and keeps me optimistic that whatever her maximum cruising speed turns out to be, it will be the most efficient possible.
Having said all this, we are not trying to build a “speed boat” and we remain sailors at heart who cherish long pasasages and feel tinges of sadness when any of our passages end as we so enjoy that rhythm of life and beauty we have on long ocean passages. I tried to outline in my “Project Goldilocks” post, our thoughts and our design goal is to have a boat that can average 250nm days on these passages which would equate to an average speed of 10.4kts and I think as per your calculations that Möbius will be able to achieve this and have some in reserve even. The other point which I will elaborate on much more in future posts where I’ll dive deeper into our choice of the Gardner and a single engine, is that given the nature of our use case, we care more about torque than power, and this was one of the many attributes of the Gardner that won us over. Our 6LXB will be generating about 736 Nm (Newton Meters) or 542 ft lbs of torque starting at 1000 RPM all the way up and that’s what we will put to use in emergency situations in particular to keep us off lee shores and punching through heavy seas.
Of course all this is just theory and conjecture at this point and in addition to longing to be back out on the water again we are equally anxious to get definitive answers to your very good question. Thanks for asking, please do more and I’ll try to do better with more timely answers.
Its a great engine, and efficiency is quite amazing. However, part of this is due to new emission regulations, which take their toll on efficiency. But so much about that.
Have you thought of making the engine completely mechanical in operation? Just replace the starter with air starter, and there you go. At my work they use those in all sorts of mining heavy equipment, where conditions are horrendous, and they just start every time no matter what. There are many suppliers, like this one:
Then you only need one semi full scuba tank and you can always start. This could even be alternative / spare to electric start.
Ok, back to efficiency with one more (interesting) video:
Compressed air start is a very interesting option and thanks for the link to the IPU JetStream units. Might be a bit of work to find a way to mount this to the big bell housing around Mr. G’s flywheel but possible.
However it turns out that the Gardners have the ultimate in backup starters; a hand crank! I kid you not and when I first showed this to Christine when we started considering a Gardner she said “That does it! I want a Gardner!”. I don’t currently have the gear for the hand crank option but it is pretty straightforward with a large sprocket on the front of the crank with a chain going up to a small one with a hand crank handle on it up top. The secret to making this possible is that all Gardners have compression release handles on each cylinder so with these all open it isn’t too hard to get the big beast turning over and the +250kg flywheel helps keep it spinning while you flip off one or more compression release levers and these cylinders fire and catch enough to chug her over while you release the rest.
More realistically we always carry a spare main engine starter for any of our boats and would not go to sea without one so we will do the same on Möbius and carry a spare new 24v starter which is very quick to swap out if we ever had a failure. But I’ve made a note in my equipment spreadsheet of these IPU compressed air starters and will keep it in mind so thanks.
Also enjoyed the video you sent on some of the ways Mercedes Formula 1 racing engines are working at increasing their fuel efficiency. Impressive if extremely complex, which pretty much sums up Formula 1. As per the video Mercedes is using MGUH Motor Generated Unit Heat requires a high end turbocharger, which drives an electric motor, which charges a battery pack which runs another electric motor which is connected up to the wheels and adds power to them. WOW! That’s a LOT of moving parts! I still get a kick out of the fact that these 60+ year old Gardner engines are still ranking up at the top of thermal efficiency for diesel production engines and doing it with some of the most simple and robust engines ever made. One more example of how we are finding the Goldilocks combination of just right for us solutions which in the case of our Gardner is eXtreme efficiency and KISS. Keep It Simple & Safe
I think the Mercedes engine has nice ideas, and some sort of low compression turbocharger with small generator to capture part of “waste” thermal energy would be quite simple way to improve efficiency. If you are to have a turbo anyways like most diesels have nowadays, it adds no moving parts as generator is on the same shaft as turbine and compressor, and this electricity can then be fed to engine output, where again you are not adding any moving parts if the output motor is integrated with for example the flywheel.
Actually with precise control you are able to smooth out the output torque, and this way to reduce vibrations caused. Who said ICE engines are ready technologt and there is nothing to be invented left?
I don’t know, still sounds like a lot of additional complexity and parts to me Andy. As I understood it they added a generator to the turbo, used that output to charge a battery which then runs another electric motor which is connected to the wheels. But I find that use case is what matters most in figuring out what to do and in the use case for Formula 1 cars this would fit right in as these are some of the most complex and amazing machines I’ve ever seen. In the case of myself and I think most other world cruisers the use case is one where simplicity and durability are paramount so what works well for Formula 1 would most often not work well for cruisers I should think.
As you will find as the build continues, I put a huge value and priority on efficiency, durability, maintainability and safety which all need to factored into the consideration for what goes on the boat and what does not so you will see me doing that balancing act throughout.
Well, exhaust gasses carry roughly the same amount of energy as is transmitted from the crankshaft as main power output, so a lot. When going for efficiency, this is a low hanging fruit to go after, as potential gains are huge. Electric capture from turbocharger is one of the ways to utilise some of the wasted power, there might be other clever ways, capture could be mechanical, but then it would require complex gearing.
This is for sure something that will see RND in the near future and applications will transfer from F1 to “civilian” use, there is only limited amount of fuel left to be burned and rate it is used, every small percentage saved counts.
Or exhaust heat could be used to heat something like they do in powerplants, but there is only so much need for heat onboard and even then the pressure potential is lost vs using turbine.
Actually reminds me a bit of a certain Scotsman, who managed to double the efficiency of steam engines from around 5% to over 10% by simply harvesting better the energy lost in the exhaust steam – early steam engines lost more than 80% of energy in dumped steam.
He had to fight the conservative factory owners, who were reluctant to change their well working if rather inefficient steam machines of the time, so he came up with a clever marketing scheme by comparing the power of these new machines to number of horses able to do the same work. He called this new invented marketing unit “horsepower”, which I find very ironic to say the least as his name was James Watt.
To make this circle (and story) complete, now University of Southampton is investigating use of his machine to capture energy in the exhaust of modern internal combustion engines!
Yes, Watt was quite the guy from what I know of him from my many years of reading about the man and his inventions. Seems he was at least as good as a marketeer as an engineer and as I recall he took a bit of “creative license” with his numbers to make it seem that his engines were able to replace even more horses. However Horsepower certainly is an extremely useful number, irrespective of how well it might equate to the work of real horses. Perhaps even more useful as measurement unit and very universal comparator for power is the unit that bears his name, the Watt. I wish more people would use Watts for example when talking about electrical devices from batteries to alternators to motors as it combines both amps and volts to provide a single number for one to one comparisons no matter what the volts or amps are. Easy enough to do the math yourself but would make comparisons so much clearer and easier if it was all in Watts.
It makes it very hard to follow when people speak of amps as some measure for power, and then confuse things more by mixing up amps and amphours – and these are not that hard units to get right. This will only be mixed even more when electric everything will take over, I am afraid. For example powertools are now marketed on how many volts (battery) they have, as if it is suddenly a reasonable and direct measure on their power somehow.
screw air start, spring start FTW https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0I-EHsmkME
Brilliant! Thanks for finding and sharing Matt, definitely worth looking into for our eXtreme remoteness use case scenario. The Gardner has the option of an even simpler solution which is a hand crank on the front which works quite well as there are compression release levers for each individual cylinder so hand cranking becomes an effective option. And the flywheel is humongous so once you get it spinning a bit there is a lot of momentum. Thanks for posting this good idea.
BUT as you see a kid is able to start it, where if you look at any of the videos people hand cranking them, they get tired quite fast. Don’t get me wrong the starter is $$$$ where the hand cranking is FREE, but you also have to remember what happens when your strongest crew member is down for the count or just plain old sick and the weakest member has to start it?
And then you can make it a even worst scenario, of taking on water at a fast rate, cause of hitting a shipping container or something and you need to get it started ASAP for the engine driven bilge pump, but the water has already wiped out your batteries. Mainly applies to a sailboat, cause of a higher chance of having it off in the open ocean, but still though…..
Didn’t mean to negate what a great idea these hand wound spring starters are at all Matt and as you noted they have plenty of very significant advantages. No question that these spring based starters would literally make “child’s work” out of the effort required for hand cranking. The scenarios you propose are very real and plausible and ones we think about and design around as well.
What would be ideal to me would be to have this kind of spring starter installed to be a backup to the main electric starter but that would require some significant machine work and fabrication to add the starter attachment flanges to the flywheel bell housing.
We think we have severely reduced the likelihood of taking on much water in the event that the hull is holed by something like a container, by having everything below the waterline be tanks, either water or fuel and having 14 individual tanks. A hole above the WL could still be problematic but to a much lesser degree as all the floors are above the WL so it would mostly all drain out naturally. So we don’t have an engine driven bilge pump but we do have two levels of “high water” bilge pumps, a pair of high volume electric diaphragm bilge pumps plumbed via manifold to each of the WT compartments and then we plan to carry a portable high volume diesel powered pump, though we carry that more to help out others than ourselves hopefully.
All the individual 48 two volt cells which make Our massive battery bank are housed in their own dedicated and sealed compartments which are built into the center of the tank grid in our “basement” area below the Pilot House floor so they are very well protected from any external hull damage or water ingress and we’ve designed them this way both so that the very high mass of all these batteries is down at the lowest part of the hull at keel level essentially acting as lead ballast and also so that they are fully protected to survive most any scenario including a full roll over.
Our design method was largely a scenario based model where we would come up with as many different scenarios as we could and then ran through what would happen in each of these with a given design of some system or the boat overall and then adjust the design and make our choices on the basis of what we learned from running these scenarios. No boat is ever “unsinkable” or bullet proof and you can never reduce the risk factor to zero but we think we have it about as low as any ocean crossing boat can go.
I’m most appreciative of you alerting us to these spring based starters and I am looking into them further so thanks much for your well thought out concerns and scenarios.
doesn’t show me the reply button after your last comment…..
but as far as being unsinkable, just look at the Titanic LMMFAO, it still sank, so it nevers hurts to plan for the worse, also it may not hurt to raise hatches and stuff slightly off the deck to help minimize any sort of water said hatch seals would have to deal with when you take water over the bow, but that may harder to do then said though, so may be something to think about.
also as far as engine durability, have you thought about an electric oil primer for every day starting or when you change filters? since starting is always the worse for wear and tear, especially on bearings.
same thing on fuel to make sure the system is vapor free (even though that’s more gas though) but also an easy way to prime filters too upon changing them.
then for starting a cold engine. glow plugs would be nice but not easily retrofitted, so maybe look into a thermostart, cheap enough to carry a spare “valve”. then also a intake grid heater to try and get said engine up to operating temp, or at least minimize the white smoke, and crappy running while cold (even if it’s turned on once running). it should even help prevent carboning up too at lower power settings
then i would also say some sort of block heater too, to again try and get it up to operating temp as fast as possible, again turned on upon startup once the alternator is charging(but i know they normally say unplug before starting though), you can also look into a “parking heater”. it’s fuel powered mainly with only a small electrical draw
and yes i live by the rule of starting your vehicle, letting it build oil pressure, and going, idling to warm up is the worst, better to drive it.
Not sure why there wouldn’t have been a Reply button for you Matt? Was it just that one replay where it was missing?
We seem to be quite like minded when it comes to building and outfitting a true open ocean blue water boat. I’ve decided to design our own hatches and have been working on this for the past few months. Doing so in large part due to wanting to raise them up higher off the deck as you suggest as well, especially the ones on the foredeck. Other reasons include that I can’t find any manufactured ones that have cast AL frames that I can weld to the deck which is one of my requirements. I’m quite liking what I’ve got so far with the design and will post more about that when I’ve got the design done and we start making them here.
There are several ways of helping out the hatch seals, especially those on the foredeck that would be most likely to take the full brunt of a large wave coming over the bow or sides. A simple system is to bend up some wide flat bar into a U shape and weld this onto the deck a short distance outboard of the hatch frame such that it forms a kind of mini wall that would take the high forces of a big wave and deflect it and then leave the hatch seals to just keep less pressured water out. And I’m also playing around with a form of double hatch frames that would have two sets of seals with a drain out the bottom area between the two frames for any water that manages to get in there.
As for engine items you raise, I think we have most of them covered. I understand the quite common concern about lack of oil pressure at startup but in my experiences rebuilding engines and having many very high mileage engines I think the wear from this is very minor and debatable that it is worth the trouble to try to have a pre start oil pressure pump setup. Fuel wise I always have an electric feed pump plumbed into the fuel system on any of our boats so priming is never a problem and haven’t bled any injectors for a very long time as a result.
For cold engine startup, the Gardners apparently start up quite well in very cold weather even though they don’t have any glow plugs. I’ve spoken with quite a few owners and seen some videos on very cold weather starts which seem to go very well. However as high latitude destinations are definitely calling our name, I will have some 220v AC block heaters in the water jackets so that I can heat up the coolant to a good temperature an hour or so before startup and help Mr. G get started right away. I’m Canadian, born in Whitehorse so I’m quite familiar with block heaters on vehicles and they make a huge difference.
We will have to agree to disagree on the start and drive model as I’ve always gone the opposite way in my vehicles, trucks and construction equipment of starting up, running at a slightly fast idle to keep oil pressure up and letting the engine get up to temp or at least show some temp on the gauge before putting on the load. I understand your concerns and reasoning for start and go but my experience and logic doesn’t support this so I’ll stick with what has worked for me in the past.
I do appreciate your concerns and suggestions and please do keep them coming.
Sorry for the delay, been busy. Also no reply button again, I’m wondering if whatever you use for the website, only allows so many reply’s consecutively.
First of all cast aluminum welding :EEK: or any cast welding, I know it can be done but a pain in the butt. and expensive especially with cast iron and needing nickel rod.
I know a preoiler is not mandatory especially in a vehicle, but do remember that i do know on newer chevy trucks, they do actually have an hour meter readout on the odometer multifunction display, and from multiple customers I don’t think i’ve ever seen over 3k hours (i wanna say in the 1-2k hour range typically) even with 200k miles but then again said clusters are POS, and sadly to replace one is not unheard of (i can think of one customer with less then 200k miles, and I put a replacement one in, and pulled out one that had already been rebuilt/repaired), but my concern is that once said engine is installed, how expensive and time consuming would it be to actually put new bearings in if needed, compared to a vehicle which is less of a concern, with just replacing the entire thing easily (sadly cheaper to replace then rebuild typically)
As far as the start and drive, I’m not saying you have to drive it hard or anything at first, just easy till you get some heat into it. The elevated idle more then normal will definitely help. I also know on the newer domestic diesel trucks here, you do have to drive like you stole them, or at least run them hard towing, cause the variable geometry turbos clog up so easily. My main concern is how much do you really have to drive them hard in order to keep them cleaned out especially when they get idled cold extensively (I only deal with a few of them, and not nearly as cold here in the usa compared to the north) so it’s a big reason why i prefer to get things up to operating temp as quickly as practical. Let alone clearances come into spec also, and piston slap stops once warmed up too
And yes I’m a auto tech/mechanic. and been doing for 13 years already
Another that would be worth to look into also is a bypass oil filter, again keep it as clean as possibly since it’s probably be a pain to rebuild once in operation. Also look into a coolant filter too, especially if going for a closed cooling system.
Thanks for all these additional points to consider and your suggestions Matt, much appreciated. I’ve had good success in the past with welding to cast iron and aluminium so not too concerned about that and will be looking into what it would take to add either a spring or compressed air starter to the Gardner’s bell housing. Both very good ideas for making Mr. G even more reliable and bullet proof than he already is. I carry a full set of main engine parts for the Gardner including bearings should they ever need replacing but based on the experience of all the many Gardner owners I’ve talked to Mr. G should easily outlive me and Mobius so doubt that I’ll need them.
Part of the attraction of the Gardner was how well it aligns with the KISS approach we are trying to take with everything on this boat and so with it being entirely mechanical fuel injection, no electrics other than the startern, no electronics at all, no turbo, etc. the part count alone is MUCH less than most 6 cylinder diesel engines so it has much fewer points of possible failure, less maintenance and thus much increased reliability.
And yes, I always install a bypass oil filter sytsem on my diesel engines, have had good success with the ones from Gulf Coast Filters for example, so Mr. G shall be fitted with one as well for added insurance of always very clean clear lubrication oil.
The cooling system will be a fully closed loop system, with just fresh water and antifreeze running through a keel cooler so I think that keeps our cooling system very KISS and robust as well.
Thanks again Matt,
I would still pick air start as an ultimate backup any day. The ability to remote start via solenoid and crank as long as it takes with no danger of overheating is just priceless. This when you need to bleed the engine for longer than normal, there is bad fuel, there is water somewhere, whatever is causing the start to take long. And you usually have a scuba bottle anyway, so nothing extra is needed. This is what they pick in mining trucks, when they need to start always and every time. Would suck big to be stuck down there miles below the surface when fire breaks and your truck wont start…
Funny enough I work also with the power companies, they have used both compressed air and spring driven mechanisms (current norm) for decades in HV breakers, where reliability is paramount. However, newest breakers are direct driven brushless dc motor type with supercapacitors driving them. Reliability is increased over older breakers mainly because they can be tested daily with micro movements, without actually breaking the current, which cannot be done with mechanical breakers.
Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts on the advantages of having a compressed air starter for the Gardner as either the main start method or a backup. Does depend on a working air compressor, which I plan to have, or as you noted a filled Scuba bottle and both of those should be available so a very good backup to be sure. I’ll be researching more on what it would take to modify the flywheel bell housing to mount the air starter and decide if this is an addition we can make.
I look forward to seeing this super efficient Diesel engine being installed in the boat soon!! The 40% thermal efficiency still amazes me as I used to recall a rule of thumb of 30/30/30/10% breakdowns for most diesels. Let’s see if I can get this right now so many years later!
– 30% to the flywheel
– 30% to the radiator
– 30% to the exhaust
– 10% to miscellaneous friction and waste
So as I see it, your Gardner engine is “cheating” the other “3 guys”!! 🙂 🙂
Thank you for the excellent introduction to the Gardner. It certainly sparked my interest (I’ve been pondering a motor cruiser myself for awhile). I’m interested in how emissions regulations (Euro, US, etc) might interact with your engine, build location, cruising areas, and flag choices. I see that for US flagged vessels there is only a limited self-built exemption for example. Out of curiosity, what sort of waste heat does the 6LXB put out, and what sort of engine compartment cooling & capacity do you have in mind? Also, any thoughts on oil centrifuges in regards to the Gardner? Would also be interested in a steering & steering backups blog entry sometime, especially given that it sounds like it can be tricky (see Buffalo Nickel’s steering system issues).
Hello Wayne, Did you ever do a post to explain all that is behind the decision to chose a Gardener?
Sorry should have said the the decision to chose a “single engine” Gardener
Seriously Andy? You want to go to that religious discussion of singles vs twins???!! 😉 If so, you’re a braver man than I.
I do mention some of our reasoning along the way in many posts, but as with so many decisions on a boat there is no “best” solution, only what is best for a given use case and owners. This is why we have our “Goldilocks” mantra of “Just right; Just for us” and that certainly applies in spades to our choice of a single engine and that it be a Gardner 6LXB! It is what we believe is the best choice for us and our type of cruising and locations.
Thank you very much for your responses to my messages. Ever since I found your website over a year ago, I have been fascinated with your build and very much look forward to the weekly updates to see what new design solutions you have come up with.
Forgive me for touching on the single-engine question but ever since I first read about your choice of engine I have watched with much interest you progress reports. I read “Mr. Geeeee is in the House” over a year ago, the comment that stayed with me was, “our choice of the main, and only, engine. I’ll probably make it a whole new post, possibly several to explain all that is behind this decision”.
Having had to swim under my own boat to clear a fouled prop, off Jersey in the channel islands where the extreme tides and rocks can be a challenge, I was interested to learn more about what your strategy would be in a similar circumstance.
From what I have read, you have gone to great lengths to mitigate risk. From contaminated fuel, back up steering systems etc. Apart from having a raw water cooling alarm, have you any cleaver solutions for the raw water pump?
I mention this as even with the best maintenance schedule failures can happen. I had a 4-month-old water pump impeller go. Quick and easy to change but stripping out the cooling system to find the bits took a bit longer.
It has been a while since you did your last walkthrough video if you have a chance would be great to have a new one.
All the best to you and Christine.
I’ve covered this in multiple posts and we have a tag for “Gardner” on the blog so you can click on “The Gardner” tab at the very top of the blog site and see every post that has info about Mr. Gee and our decision to go with the Gardner engine. The first post May 6, 2018 “Mr. Geeeee is in the House” has perhaps the best overview of our decision.
Hope that Helps.