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Yanmar, Caterpillar in the game

ZF Marine, which manufactures the transmission for the Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Zeus pod drive propulsion system, also announced during the show that it will be offering its own pod drive for recreational boats from 30 to 48 feet, the ZF Pod.

The pod is available in two models — the 2500 and the 2800 — and can be paired with gas or diesel engines to 450 hp. The ZF pods will be available in January 2009.

Diesel engine manufacturer Yanmar Marine announced at the show it will use ZF Pods with its lower-horsepower engines. The ZF joystick will also be part of the Yanmar-powered system. Single and twin-engine installations are possible. The CMD Zeus 3500 and 3800 pods will drive Yanmar diesels from 400 to 575 hp, the company announced.

The same Zeus pods will also work with the 575-hp C9 ACERT from Caterpillar Marine Power Systems.

Caterpillar realizes pods are here to stay. “Pod drives are changing the direction of Cat business,” said Kelly G. Miller, Caterpillar sales manager for North America, during a press conference at the show.

The two diesel engine companies made other product announcements:

Yanmar introduced its ZT350 sterndrive with counter-rotating propellers. Officials at the show touted its smooth shifting, a result of a hydraulic clutch instead of a cone clutch. The ZT350 will be matched with Yanmar’s BY and LP diesels. The BY models include two 4-cylinder (150 and 180 hp) and two 6-cylinder engines (220 and 260 hp). The LP model is a 315-hp engine.

Caterpillar announced that its six-cylinder 1,150-hp engine (C18 ACERT) and its 12-cylinder 1,825-hp engine (C32 ACERT) now meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 emissions rating for diesel engines. The C18 packs 13 percent more power than the former C18 versions, and the C32 engines have 9 percent more power, the company says.

This story originally appeared in the January 2009 issue.