- Home & Workshop Products
It is a typical picture-postcard day on the waters off North Queensland, northeast Australia, as Five O’clock Somewhere is put through its paces with a pair of new John Deere 9.0L engines. With owner Michael Day at the helm, the yacht is an eye-catching sight, slicing effortlessly through the sparkling sea at a gentle 25 knots, a quiet baritone hum issuing from the exhausts.
The Five O'clock Somewhere is a Dyna 53, a luxury 18.5-meter (60-foot) fiberglass yacht with two cockpit levels and a spacious aft master cabin. When Michael Day bought it, repowering the 30-year-old vessel was one of his first priorities.
Brad Belcher of Belcher Diesel Service PTY Ltd. in Garbutt believed twin John Deere PowerTech™ 6090SFM85 marine engines would be the ideal solution. Compared to the old two-stroke diesels rated at 335 kW (450 hp) each, the new M5 engine would offer cleaner Tier 3/Stage III A technology, smoke-free operation, and an extra 75 kW (100 hp) each.
The new engines did not disappoint. "From the first time we took her out and pushed down the throttles on the John Deere engines, we just looked at each other and couldn't believe the difference," says Belcher. "The power delivery is so smooth; it's like a completely new boat." Belcher and Day agree that the low-revving, high-torque delivery of the 9.0L engines was instantly obvious. "The first thing you notice is zero vibration and a power curve that simply doesn't have any flat spots," says Belcher.
Engine repower on the water
For the marine engine repower, Belcher and his team went above and beyond to refit Five O'clock Somewhere on the water at a service pontoon in the marina. While it saved thousands of dollars in slipping costs, it was a logistical challenge. "We had to balance the crane, and time the removal and installation of the engines perfectly because of up to 4-meter (13-foot) tidal ranges."
Belcher's team installed electronic controls on the flybridge and docking controls in the cockpit and engineered a stainless exhaust system to ensure correct breathing and backpressures. They developed new engine beds and custom transmission brackets to cradle the engine and ZF 305-3A gearbox packages. With the old engines and generator out, the team also renewed seawater strainers and primary fuel filters and replaced water tanks. For optimal performance, they coupled the new marine engines to transmissions with a 2.250:1 ratio, and customized transmission oil coolers to help keep the engines running smoothly in North Queensland's warm waters.
"A smooth-running engine for years to come"
According to Belcher, the 9.0L engines are smart, powerful, and easy to maintain. "Four-valve cylinder heads, turbocharging with air-to-seawater aftercooling, and high-capacity heat exchangers help the engines deliver their power curve," he says. "The engines also boast water-cooled exhaust manifolds, eliminating the need for external fittings that can leak or break, and oil and filters that are easy to replace. Couple this with an ECU that delivers advanced fault code diagnostics and — providing people follow maintenance guidelines — they have a smooth-running engine for years to come."
The repowered engines offer good fuel efficiency, too. "During unofficial testing with full fuel and water tanks, Five O’clock Somewhere clocked a 27.5-liter (7.26 U.S.-gallon) per hour/per engine fuel burn for 10 knots at 1500 rpm. While the engines can consume up to 115 liters (30.4 U.S. gallons) per hour at 2500 rpm, on the day of running they consumed around 110 liters (29 U.S. gallons) per hour at 23 knots into the breeze and against a small tidal run at 2500 rpm," Belcher says.
"Any boat without good engines is really just a bucket"
Happy owner Michael Day is enthusiastic about the repower. "I'm extremely pleased with the outcome. Engines are the heart of any boat. The refit has shown that any boat without good engines is really just a bucket."
With the new marine engines installed, Day and his family will spend weekends pointing the Five O'clock Somewhere out toward the pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef, a two-hour plus run off the coast. And longer trips of four to five weeks are in the cards as retirement brings more time to enjoy the pleasures of yachting on Australia's beautiful waters.
The power delivery is so smooth; it’s like a completely new boat.