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Performance Diesel Engine San Diego: What You Should Know

Diesel Engine San Diego

Let’s be clear on what high-performance diesel engines are – basically hot rods built from basic engines that weren’t designed to deliver that kind of power output. The majority of boat owners are not highly-trained diesel experts, so here are some points that can give you an idea what it really costs to have a high-performance diesel engine in your boat and what it really costs to buy a pre-owned boat with one.

Performance diesels are cost-effective workhorses?

This is a myth, of course. To make these engines run for thousands of hours reliably, it takes a knowledgeable owner and some major investments. However, since reality tells us boat owners generally see things differently, a string of unfortunate decisions rack up a huge bill.  

Diesel engines + wrong propellers = premature death

Ever more speed is the frame of mind in today’s boating. When boat owners are tinkering with their diesels to squeeze out a few more knots, they often overtune them or put on oversized propellers. How does this have the diesel engine live less than 1,000 hours or even less than 700?

When a diesel engine is designed, the engineers have optimal speed in mind and the propellers of the engine are made to allow the engine to run at that speed at WOT. With an oversized propeller, the engine doesn’t reach the rated RPM, and because it runs slower, it gets overloaded. In some cases, engines can run around 30% slower!

Overloading, in turn, means incomplete combustion. The road from there is downhill: accumulation of excessive carbon – premature wear and tear – premature death.

The irony is that while trying to go faster, one ends up going slower and incurs huge diesel repair bills amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Diesel engine

From bad to worse

The next crucial problem emerges when boat owners are faced with the truth – their engine needs an overhaul as often as twice in ten years. Because they tried to eke out more juice on a budget, they apply the same principle when looking for a mechanic who will perform the overhaul. More often than not, those mechanics don’t have the knowledge, experience and resources to remedy the problem. If this goes on, the boat ends up with badly messed up engines. When the owner tries to bail out by selling, their only hope is that a customer comes along who doesn’t look closely.


There is a trend to be observed in boating – the engines are getting smaller but more powerful, while ownership has shrunk to around 2 years. What does that tell us? Be careful – when you own a boat and when you are looking to buy a used one.

·        Tampering with propellers and overtuning have to be done with top-notch expert guidance and advice. Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope leading into a huge, costly overhaul. Ask yourself whether you really need that extra speed? Funny thing is, at the start, those boats are not at all slow.

·        High-performance diesel repair needs to be done by reliable, experienced professionals, otherwise it’s just not worth it. The key is that performance diesels are not simply complex, but they are running on the edge of their limits.

·        Remember that performance diesels require an overhaul twice as often, approximately every 1,000 hours.

·        When you are buying a pre-owned boat, be ready for overhauls. A boat with half-worn out performance diesel that costs a bit more than the one with kaput engines won’t get you far, because the lifespan of those engines is short.

·        When you are buying a used boat, keep in mind that hiring a top-quality surveyor will still cost you less than diesel repair if you buy a cat in the bag.

·        There are a lot of souped up boats out there. If you find a good boat with dead engines, it’s better to try to negotiate the price and reduce it by the overhaul cost. Who knows what the next boat will be like?

Diesel repair in San Diego

If your diesel needs overhaul or repair, make sure you contact Propulsion Controls Engineering for information and a quote. We are an acknowledged industry leader with a decades-long experience. If the U.S. Military trusts us enough to make us their preferred partner, why wouldn’t you? Whatever you need done with your diesel engine in San Diego, you can depend on us to have it done promptly, professionally and with a warranty. Contact us right away for any diesel repair in San Diego!

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1620 Rigel Street
San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
Fax: (619) 233-5096 
Diesel & Motor Division
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San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
Fax: (619) 687-0038 
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Aiea, HI 96701-3281
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Everett, WA 98201-1300
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