Detroit 353 diesel -- aluminum block? How to tell?

I'm looking at a nice little fishing boat/cruiser with a Detroit 353,
only about 1000 hours on it, runs great. I know this is one of the
more reliable diesels ever made, but I have heard some not-so-good
things about the ones that came with aluminum blocks. The boat was
built in 1987, so the engine is at least that old. The owner doesn't
know much about it.
Is there a way to tell which version it is?
Thanks,
Bob
Reply to
Bob
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What are you asking here? How to tell if the block is aluminum or not? Try a magnet. 42
Reply to
42etus
Uh, duh --- I plead brain fart! Sometime the obvious solution just ain't so obvious. Of course...
Anybody know what the problems with the AL block versions might be? Haven't heard any specifics, just "don't get one with an aluminum block".
Reply to
Bob
Bob, Just make sure to check the block and the heads separate of eachother. It's very common for an iron block to be mated with aluminum heads.
Respects,
Rob Fraser
Fraser Competition Engines Chicago, IL.
Reply to
RDF
I'm not sure if detroit had any engines with aluminum heads, and I'm amazed to know they did produce a diesel with an aluminum block. I would say that the majority of problems would be electrolisis (sp) eating away the block especially if raw water cooling in salt water. also the problem with mis matching materials (AL block, copper gasket, and cast iron head) would be the expansion and contraction issue witht he aluminum eventually wearing the head gaskets out. But don't know that for a fact.
Wow, a 3-53 in a boat"? 159 cubic inches!
is this for a gen set? or the main engine?
Reply to
Tim
Yes, but it being a 2 Cycle multiply that by 2 and add a blower. Steve
Reply to
Up North
Tim --
Yep, they used to be pretty common main engines in small workboats and utility craft, now mostly used for deck engines and gen sets. The marine engine configuration produces just over 100 hp naturally aspirated.
Bob
Reply to
Bob
Interesting. I know the old 6-71 "jimmy" was a 426 CID and was rated at 238 hp in a standard (not marine) configuration. So I'm amazed that the little 3-53 can obtain 100hp.
Reply to
Tim
Dunno about Detroit Diesel in particular, but in general I know that an aluminum block engine will last forever if it's designed right (i.e. if it's not a Vega engine) and it's maintained right. "Maintained right" for an Al block engine requires a lot more attention to the coolant than Fe block engines, which is why so many die early deaths in automotive applications.
If, as mentioned in another post, they're running salt water through it's veins you can probably take it as "not designed right".
Reply to
Tim Wescott
The Vega was an aluminum block and cast iron head, a particularly odd combination. If you allowed it to overheat, even a LITTLE, like stuck in traffic, it would warp the head. A little hotter and the head would crack. And, of course, no iron liners, just silicon-aluminum with the aluminum etched back in the bores.
Jon
Reply to
Jon Elson
It was, I believe, the cylinder bores that were usually at fault -- they worked well in theory, but if you got the slightest scuff in the bore it'd go through the nitriding and then the whole thing would wear out exceedingly fast.
Any time anyone needs to know the difference between "inexpensive" and "cheap", just park a Vega next to a VW bug and give them a guided tour.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
What size is the hull and what material is it made of?
b
Reply to
jusme
Bob, by searching around the typical listings on a naturally aspirated 3-53 is about 75 hp. Which I feel is more realistic. I could be wrong, though.
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Reply to
Tim
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101 hp for the 3-53 and 175 for the 3-53T And since it shows a T I would assume turbocharged. As the 6-71 with a blower was a 6V-71. the same blower that was used for years on dragsters and driven via a Gilmer belt.
Reply to
Calif Bill
The naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 6-71 can produce up to 320 hp depending on the injectors used. I have the Johnson & Towers 280 hp version on my trawler.
Reply to
Wayne.B
If you have worked around the 71 series and somebody lights off a 53 you'll figure out real quick how they got that horsepower. They were real screamers for their day.
The only ones I worked on were in 5 ton yard cranes but I believe there was a turbo option for them also.
Bruce in Bangkok (brucepaigeATgmailDOTcom)
Reply to
brucedpaige
Oh OK, I see they're pushing it up to 2800 rpm, instead of the customary 2100 max. That might be the clue to the 100 hp.
Reply to
Tim
I didn't realize that Wayne. Thanks!
But then again when I was talking the lower hp ranges, I was mentioning "standard" version of the engines, too.
Reply to
Tim
Bob,
What size is the hull and of what material is it made?
Thanks
Reply to
jusme

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