VW is making its mark

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The Volkswagen name isn’t readily identified with marine engines in the United States, but that began to change with last year’s introduction of its TDI 225-6 marine diesel at the Newport International Boat Show.

The Volkswagen name isn’t readily identified with marine engines in the United States, but that began to change with last year’s introduction of its TDI 225-6 marine diesel at the Newport International Boat Show.

The TDI 225-6 is a marinized version of the base V-6 engine that has proven itself in the European auto market with the Audi A4, A6, A8 and the Volkswagen Touareg SUV, according to Volkswagen Marine. The base engine is a 3-liter, 6-cylinder turbo diesel featuring common rail fuel injection. It offers 225 hp at 4,200 rpm and 332 foot pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm, all in an impressively compact package weighing only 717 pounds.

With an overall length of just 32 inches (less transmission) and a reported weight savings of nearly 221 pounds when compared to other marine diesels in the same performance class, the TDI 225-6 should be a welcome option in the competitive engine market. In fact, high-end ski boat builder MasterCraft of Venore, Tenn., will be offering the TDI 225-6 in its MariStar 280 and ProStar 190 models. MasterCraft cites, among a host of other reasons, low noise and vibration levels when compared to V-8 gasoline marine engines currently being used.

The extremely short, compact design of the TDI 225-6 begins with the 90-degree V-6 engine block. The forged crankshaft is installed in a bearing frame with the support of four main bearings, and the “V” space of the block contains a balance shaft. The aluminum alloy cylinder heads feature separate inlet and outlet chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and piezoelectric crystal-controlled fuel injectors. The engine features a toothed drive belt for the high-pressure drive pump and a ribbed serpentine auxiliary drive system, as well as variable turbine technology, wherein the turbocharger has servo adjustable guide vanes that match the cross section of the exhaust pipe to the engine requirements. Controlled by the MDC, or marine diesel control, this feature regulates the turbine speed, therefore maintaining a constant charge air pressure at all engine rpm and eliminating turbo lag.

Nathan Tynan co-owner of Windward Power Systems, a West Wareham, Mass., VW marine engine distributor, provided an impressive list of reasons to consider the new power plant. For example, the MDC allows fine tuning of each engine model for the specific application. In addition to the various sensors and actuators it controls, the system has emergency running features in case of certain component failure and an on-board diagnosis system. The Engine Marine Management Arrangement (EMMA) is being designed to interface with electronic controls and is compatible with different protocols.

From a maintenance standpoint, the hydraulic valve clearance control and recommended 200-hour oil change interval are welcome features. There is an integral DC oil change pump, and the cartridge oil filter with check valve is oriented to eliminate spilling into the bilge when servicing. The seawater pump is standard Jabsco but is quickly and easily removed from the engine for more convenient service.

Electrically, the standard 180-amp alternator should prove more than adequate for most applications. There will be a 3.5-kW AC accessory alternator in the near future. All panel wire harnesses are available in multiple lengths, are preterminated, and the associated battery cables are provided at their maximum lengths and bare-ended for any application, which eliminates potential voltage drop concerns. To prevent corrosion, the engine isn’t grounded. The fuel system features both audible and visual fuel contamination indicators at the helm.

This brief overview obviously doesn’t include all the features and benefits of the Volkswagen TDI 225-6, but we should be able to look at it in more detail at a later time. For additional information, contact Windward Power Systems (www.windwardpower.com ), Volkswagen Marine (www.vw-m.de ), MasterCraft (www.mastercraft.com ), or Ring Power (www.ringpower.com ).