The Story of Suzuki’s Rock
One year has passed since months of internet research into gear ratios and checking fuel consumption graphs etc. After a lot of head rubbing we have completed one full dive season and four hundred hours on the new engines. Did I make the right choice?
Well lets think about why we re-powered the boat, we wanted a more comfortable ride for our customers, lower emissions, reliability and to save money by reducing fuel consumption.
As the customers board, the boat looks almost the same as last season except the big shiny Suzuki’s purring quietly away at the back.
I often receive a few comments from customers who are boat enthusiasts like, “Nice engines mate”, “300’s, Wow”, you know the kind of comments… So I’m sitting at the back of the boat, waiting for someone to listen to my boat stories, but really no-one gives a damn.
It’s not until we move away that people start to notice the lack of engine noise and absence of exhaust smoke. Then I get the chance to tell them about the conversion and the improvements we’ve seen. Comparing her new Suzuki engines to the Yamahas from last year isn’t really possible, its like comparing a Ford Escort to a Mercedes, if you see what I mean, it’s just not possible!
Firstly, remember Scubafish is a 43ft boat (quite big), she’s now cruising at about 20-21 knots using about 90-100 ltrs/ hour with an amazing 31 knots with the throttle fully open. Good fun but very thirsty – doubling fuel consumption. Comparing this with the old two stroke Yamaha’s, we are saving an amazing 45-50%. Oh yes, technology!!!!
Secondly, reliability. This one is not so easy to answer, but I will try!
Gearboxes seem to be the weak link in all big outboard engines. When researching purchasing these engines, I talked at length about gearbox reliability with Derani Yachts and they seemed pretty confident. Imagine their surprise and mine, not to mention the disappointment, when the first gearbox seized after 36 hours of running time, then the second shortly after.
Derani pulled out all the stops to get boat up and running, for which I’m hugely grateful to Hakan, Marcus and the Derani team. Suzuki admitted there was a problem and we are now running modified gearboxes which seem, fingers crossed, to be running smoothly, as designed. I have added a picture of the damaged gearbox, so you can see the damage; I have further info and pictures outlining the problem if anyone is interested.
Apart from the initial problems with the gearboxes, the engines run like a dream, routine maintenance is carried out by ourselves and is very straight forward.
So after spending a hefty 2,000,000 baht am I happy? Yes!! The fuel saving alone will mean we can re-coup the full investment after about 2 seasons. The ride is now more comfortable for the divers due to the low-emissions and low noise, the Captain has a grin the size of the boat and the engineer sits waiting and waiting (no tinkering required!), also with a grin the size of the boat. Boys and their toys… Perfect!