No, there will no picture here of sodomy. You perv.
What really sucks about this issue is not the political garbage that people spew when it comes to this issue, nor the speculation that day traders and commodity brokers are fucking us all or that the big car companies are to slow to react and make fuel efficient cars, or the middle-east people are a bunch of bastards who won't share...waaah!!!!
No, well...maybe there is some truth to all of that, but, the simple fact is that for people who water ski and rely on that old bust ass technology to power their boats, or maybe not old bust-ass technology, but the old ideal that more displacement and more gas = more boner.
The problem for water skiers is that this shit is expensive and its really going to take a bite out of the people who may not be rich, be it a collegiate ski team, a show-ski team or the dude who owns a 1989 Mastercraft who just wants to occasionally take a day and play on the water.
Its going to be so cost-prohibitive that the simple idea of getting people together for a day on the lake will require you to go jerk-off a bunch of times at the clinic to get enough dollas for a tank of boat-gas, but, then you will be so tired that you won't want to anyways, plus, you will start smoking and thats a bad habit and you will die of cancer before you know it.
See!! Blood for oil! Damn the man!
So, what do we do? Well, the CRB personally can't do shit, because we don't have the resources, both in physical terms and intellectual property of fixing, designing or building the sort of fuel systems needed.
However, what we do have is a couple ideas and if someone out there can possibly do this, or wants to steal this idea and make a fuck-ton of money off it, by all means. Just, you know, let us know and give us a couple free motors or some stickers or a lollipop.
Anyways, the whole idea about this is to keep the actual physical cost of motor-boating as low as possible.
We broached the subject of hybrid-diesel boats in the first installment of this little series, but, with the weight that the battery packs would be and the complexity of trying to have regenerative "braking" in a boat, it would seem to be an impossibility.
However, we talked to someone at a bar the other night who runs propane as a sort of "nitrous" boost in their diesel pick-up truck. They went on and on how cool it was, do burnouts at 50 miles and hour and spew awesome clouds of black smoke everywhere like Spy Hunter.
What this does though, if you extrapolate both these ideas out to their logical and functional conclusions you/us/we/I may have stumbled on a really neat and efficient way to get the best of both worlds.
You see, if you think about you and your ski boat and your actual power needs, its pretty rare that you actually need all 350 horsepower or whatever at all times. You really only need that when you are pulling a skier or hauling ass across the lake to chase down that girl in the yellow bikini that was totally checking you out, but, in reality she just was shielding her eyes from the sun that was reflecting off your pasty-ass body.
Now, we are returning to our diesel idea, but in a slightly different way.
Using the idea that you don't need all that power all the time, and with the inherent efficiency of diesel engines, we propose this following scenario.
1) Small displacement, common rail injected diesel engine. Such as the common rail GM diesels that are in the Opel Astra's in Europe. I can't read that language, thats Italian, but, that link goes to the specs page, and I am just going to assume for the sake of argument, that its about 100 Horespower and about 200 lb/ft of torque. Cool?
2) Propane boost system such as this one which generally run about $1000 or so and add about 100-150 horsepower and associated torque increases.
3) Perfect Pass or equivalent system tied into the brains of the motor/throttle components.
What should, hypothetically, happen is that in normal cruising mode, when you are just driving around and hanging out and whatever, the motor would operate in normal 4-cylinder diesel mode, getting pretty decent fuel economy and saving you money.
When you need the extra power, in the following two scenarios this would happen.
1) Launch - when you are coming out of the water onto plane, i.e, pulling a skier up or just accelerating, the brains of the motor would sense within the throttle movement that a boost of propane would be needed for extra power. This would of course be metered our properly by the motors computer and would not rip out the arms of the poor sap trying to get up on his kneeboard.
2) Perfect Pass - or zero off or whatever system is in-place, when it senses that an increased power delivery is necessary, jumper cutting towards the ramp or slalomer crossing the wake, whatever, it would inject the right amount of propane to keep the boat at the right speed.
Pretty simple idea right?
Basically, you are running a small passenger car motor, a diesel, that is sourced in Opel's in Europe that are strong, run forever and get great fuel economy. We are simply hoping that this translates over to the water.
To make up for the power, or lack of power issue, we introduce the propane into the picture to provide that boost. It is actually good for the environment because it makes for a cleaner burn, its reduces soot and provides both more power and more efficiency.
Its a win-win! Is it to expensive or is it even practical? Anything is better then nothing. Given that there will always be a fight with the green segment of the population, the battles for the lake are going to be growing in the future. Its not practical to install cable parks everywhere, not is it feasible or prudent to drop that much money for such an impractical application as a ski boat.
There has to be a better solution, somewhere.