Mitsubishi Marine Diesels

Anyone know if the V12 Mitsubishi’s are worth a damn? I’ve heard conflicting stories. Anyone have any first hand experience?

Good friends with the family that own LA Carriers,inc. they have a couple of their newer tugs powered with Mitsubishi V-12 engines and have no ill reports as of yet.

They ran great and were really efficient on the Tug Miss Lis.

Yeah Dom says he has no issues with them. I have heard others state they had problems with exhaust leaks but who knows if that was engine failure or improper installation or poor exhaust system all together.

Are y’all talking about this tug Miss Lis? If so they weren’t running too good this night when the tug bashed into us a half dozen times.

Was the “bashing” caused by engine failure or poor boat handling?

Engines shut down then he lost steering after getting his engines back online. That boat has outside control station and he was driving the hell out of it. Got pics of that too. It probably could have been worse. The tow wire broke so we dropped the hook. He lost power after passing the new bridle to us he hit us several times during that evolution. The second we got the wire attached he lost power. Then the engines come back on but his rudder is obviously stuck hard over. As he is trying to regain control he is drifting down on us bow to bow. His bow is a few foot off our port side and he drifts right over his wire. As it pulls tight the tug starts rolling over and he twin screws out of it. Then ends up dangling by his tow wire bouncing of our port side. The wire is clearly seen in the above photo. He pays out a bunch of slack and we throw the wire over and he drifted off. That boat was under powered for the tow job to start then the engines died on him.

When was that?!

Is this the same Miss Lis you are talking about or a different tug?

Tradewinds Towing, Dom and Rachel Smith, 85 ft, 2400hp, bright green stacks, registered out of St. Augustine FL.

November/December 06

Would have been before the repowering then, sounds like a bad day, and doesn’t sound like Dom was driving. The biggest tow I worked on with her was probably the 380 asphalt barge from NYC to Categena…

Yeah that was before the Repower. We worked with the Miss Lis for 10 months on a dredging project. They never had the first bit of problems. Sorry to hear that wasn’t the case in 06. I’m just trying to get a handle on the realities of the Mitsubishi’s. I know they haven’t been out long and was just wondering if anyone had any first hand exp with them. I know Dom has no complaints and there’s a few boats on the west coast that swear by em.

San Juan job, I was Mate on the tow down and the one back to the States.

Yeah man that’s the one. If you were the mate for the trip back then we exchanged emails. I was shoreside and met the boat in Jax. And I see the Miss Lis has a new upper house. Looks sharp.

The MISS LIS was built about 1982 by Marine Power and Equipment in Seattle for Marine Leasing (both companies were owned by Peter Wik) as the MARINE PIONEER with GM16V-149TI’s. The boat was quite beamy, shallow, and bluff bowed which gave a rough ride going to weather, but with only a 6 foot draft she was a very handy boat in the gunk holes of Western Alaska. She had tremendous power for such a shallow draft boat. I never sailed on her, but I often worked alongside her. After Marine Leasing (by then the company had been renamed Marine Logistics) went under, Anderson Tug & Barge in Seward bought the boat. They modified the bow to give her a bit finer entry and better ride, took the dents out (there were a lot of dents), and renamed her KARI A. She was sold to Tradewinds sometime in the mid-2000s.

I believe that there are some Mitsubishi in Canada. I have been aboard Canadian tugs in the past that had Mitsubishi, but I cannot really remember which ones.

A lot of the CAT construction equipment and some of the CAT engines are actually made by Mitsubishi in Japan. I wouldn’t be too surprised if CAT is using the same Mitsubishi engines that you are inquiring about, but with a CAT label in some of their large equipment.


A lot of the CAT construction equipment and some of the CAT engines are actually made by Mitsubishi in Japan. I wouldn’t be too surprised if CAT is using the same Mitsubishi engines that you are inquiring about, but with a CAT label in some of their large equipment.[/QUOTE]

Caterpilar has had a joint venture with Mitsubishi since 1963. That was called Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi LTD. Cat started this partnership to sell low price construction equipment to the Asain market. These pieces of heavy equipment were labled as grey market machines. They were not up to OSHA standards for sale when new to U.S. dealerships. People have been importing them to the U.S for years. The grey market machines most of the time did have Mitsubishi engines in them, they are very hard to get parts for in the U.S. even being Caterpillar. In 2008 Caterpillar bought controling interest in Mitsubishi heavy industries, the construction equipment since then is under the name Caterpillar Japan LTD. If you check the serial number a simple call to the local cat dealer and they will tell you where the machine was made, and if it is a grey market machine or not. I am fairly sure the Mitsubishi marine engines are not the same as a Cat… Caterpillar did buy out Perkins several years ago, and basically used the same engine just with a Cat valve cover on it. I don’t think Mitsubishi ever made engines for Cat, the grey market equipment actually had Mitsubshi engines, in a peice of equipment made by Mitsubshi under the Cat name and blessing basically.

Seaspan has a tug SEASPAN SCOUT with Mitsubishi engines.

When you buy cheap engines remember a few things. Cheap engines come with poor parts support. Almost any part available for a Caterpillar engine is available within a day. This means I don’t need to keep any spares (I keep one starter). The only issue I have had is turbo’s. I have had to air-freight two turbo’s from ABB Switzerland for a Cat 3512B engine. So a 2500 horsepower Cat 3512 engine runs about $450,000. How many days a year of downtime do you expect to see? How much does your downtime cost? If you’re down for 7 days waiting for a part for your engine you’ve just lost $42k. If you lose 7 days a year for the 10 year life expectancy of the engine you’ve already bought a new engine.

Where I’m at, a major Cat distributor is about a 20 minute drive away. The Cat west coast warehouse is very near that distributor so I can get just about any part within an hour (though we pay a premium to pull parts directly out of the warehouse). So… we run Cat engines. We save a ton of money on spares. What is Mitsubishi’s dealer network like in your area?

As of right now we are comparing the Cummins, Cats and Mitsubishi’s. It all boils down to price and availability. The parts and service for all three are readily available. I will say I have no experience with the SR12’s but have heard nothing but good things. The major drawback on the cats is the weak and finicky top end. At 450k a piece who wants to sink another 100k in at 10,000 hrs. And I don’t think you can even get “new” 3512’s. Now its the C series. The KTA’s we run right now are animals. Fuel efficient reliable hard down hard over animals the only problem is a 14-16 week lead time for new ones. If we could overcome that there wouldn’t be any decision. We would snatch out the 398’s and put in a pair of KTA 38’s tier ll mechanicals. As for being cheap… The Cummins and Mitsubishi’s price out about the same. The Cats are about a buck fifty more. And In my book. That ain’t cheap.