CASE STUDY Commercial Marine

New generation of mtu Ironmen engines offers significant performance improvements

Posted on November 28, 2016

mtu engines power one of most established vessels in Florida Marine’s fleet,<i> Lil D</i>. After the repower, Florida Marine has seen significant improvements in performance and monitoring technology.<i> Lil D</i>’s original engines were the first two mtu 8V 4000 engines sold in the United States and were retired after clocking 80,000 hours on their time sheet. In a perfect twist of fate, the Tier 3-certified mtu Series 4000 M54 engines selected for the repower are also the first two of their kind in use.


Florida Marine Transport


mtu 8V 4000 M54


Performance, reliability, fuel-efficiency and Tier 3-certified


Mandeville, Louisiana, USA

The complete monitoring package that’s included with the engine makes the captain and crew’s job a lot easier.

John Lange - Stewart & Stevenson
Florida Marine Transport is a prominent water freight operation powered by one of the most modern towboat and barge fleets on the United States’ inland waterways. Florida Marine’s experienced leadership team and dedicated vessel and shore side employees specialize in the “time is money” inland shipping industry. Founded by Dennis Pasentine with a vision of achieving excellence in the maritime industry for safety, environmental and efficiency standards, Florida Marine vessels carry petrochemicals, chemicals, LPG, crude oil, agricultural liquids and dry cargo.
At Florida Marine’s New Orleans port, inland water freight operations run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With day-in and day-out wear, these engines take a beating—7,000 to 8,000 hours are put on the marine engines every year. When a seasoned vessel such as Lil D started spending more time with the maintenance team than on the river, money was lost. Florida Marine turned to mtu’s regional distributor Stewart & Stevenson to put Lil D’s shipping route back in the black.
“Before Lil D’s repower, Florida Marine didn’t have faith in making long trips,” said John Lange of Stewart & Stevenson. “This was a problem, because Lil D’s assigned route runs from Port Arthur, Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana—a 260 mile round trip. The operator gets paid a day rate. If the vessel can’t make the run, or if it’s late because of engine issues, profits are compromised.”

Changing of the guards

A valued member of Florida Marine’s fleet,  Lil D  is a 116-foot long, 29-foot wide vessel from the 1960s, which was later rebuilt in 1999 by Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana. In terms of engine power,  Lil D  is an mtu landmark. Prerepower, the twin-screw towboat was powered by the very first two mtu Series 4000 engines in operation. Needless to say, the engines had earned their retirement after clocking in 80,000 hard hours of towing on the Deep South’s inland rivers.
The trailblazing mtu tradition continued with  Lil D’s repower. The engines chosen—mtu 8V 4000 M54 marine propulsion engines—happened to be the first two series 4000 Ironmen Tier 3 engines available in the United States.
Lil D’s new engines are the only 8-cylinder engines producing this level of horsepower. The larger 4.77-liter per cylinder propulsion allows for longer operating hours and time between overhauls,” said Ryan Szubinski, mtu commercial marine sales manager. “In addition, mtu’s cutting-edge Operating Condition Based Maintenance Concept allows us to accurately predict engine wear based on the actual operating conditions. By doing this, we are confident that we can push time between overhaul for the  Lil D  even further than our standard load profile guidelines, creating even more cost savings.”

Cutting-edge monitoring

In addition to achieving great strides in reliability,  Lil D’s new engine is equipped with BlueVision New Generation, mtu’s latest control and monitoring system. The system features standard color displays, integrated start-stop control and standard shipyard interface.
“A perk of keeping close tabs on your vessel’s engine system is increased fuel consumption monitoring, and as a result, fuel efficiency,” said Szubinski. “When you have the technology to track the hours of the fuel burn exactly, you can make the adjustments necessary for optimization.”
The mtu BlueVision New Generation system features alarms, specialty watches and monitors, temperature pressure alarms and conducts nearby monitoring.
“The complete monitoring package that’s included with the engine makes the captain and crew’s job a lot easier,” said Lange. “Of course, the fact that  Lil D  was powered by the first pair of Series 4000 engines in the U.S. and now by the first pair of Tier 3-certified Series 4000 engines is very unique. We think  Lil D  is a trendsetter.”