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Ship in a bottle—replacing Making Memories’ 6,000-pound yacht engine

10/8/2014 | Words: Mike Principato | Pictures: Markus Munson

2-Cycle engines

In October 2008, Captain Mark Munson came into Cape May, New Jersey with just one engine powering Making Memories, a 110' yacht. It didn’t take long to diagnose what was ailing one of the yacht’s fourteen-year old Detroit Diesel 16V92 engines with DDEC® electronic controls. A spun main bearing had heavily damaged one of the twin diesels, no small problem in an engine room that had been basically designed around the engines when the boat was originally built in South America. Think ship in a bottle syndrome.

The task of finding a replacement 16V92 was left to MTU distributor Johnson & Towers. J&T’s Atlantic City Branch Manager Joe Voigt quickly located a remanufactured engine in stock, ready to ship. That was the good news. The bad news was that the replacement engine was a non-DDEC version of the 16V92, a mechanically-controlled engine that lacked MTU’s optional electronic engine control system.

Undeterred, Voigt put his J&T service team to work converting the mechanical engine to a DDEC version. “It took us about three weeks in our service department,” Voigt recalls.

Meanwhile, back at South Jersey Marina’s dock, Wrigley had come up with an ingenious way to remove the old 6,000-pound engine from the yacht. He and his team carefully cut an opening in the salon floor, disassembled the damaged engine in place, and lifted the pieces through the makeshift hatch. Once in the salon, the engine was slowly moved through the sliding glass doors leading to the yacht’s sundeck, from where it was finally rigged off.


When the replacement engine arrived the process was reversed, the engine installed, the salon floor restored, and Making Memories was pronounced ready to return to its home port in Miami. “The entire process took just six weeks, and the yacht went on sea trials on December sixteenth, ” notes Voigt. “It was a great example of the teamwork that Johnson & Towers, MTU and South Jersey Marina are known for, and as a result, we made a customer very happy.”

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