Once the dust settled..
In my prior post I explained how one of the Crusader 6.0L engines in my new (to me) 2006 Four Winns 348 Vista experienced a catastrophic failure. Other than it being based on a GM block, and being a 6.0, I had very little knowledge of the engine and did not have a relationship with any local mechanics that I trusted.
Since I had neither first-hand knowledge of this engine nor the ability to install the engine myself, my first plan was to find a marine mechanic that would be able to provide and install a new block.
I called a few local mobile mechanics, and found one that seemed trust-worthy and was willing to assist with replacing the engine. At first, this mechanic (let’s call him Bob) recommended that a complete engine be purchased from Crusader to the tune of around $16k. I explained to Bob that this wasn’t an option, although I understood that a complete new engine would be a lot simpler. Bob understood, and agreed to call around to find a replacement 6.0 block and to put together a quote for the replacement.
While Bob tried to locate a replacement block, I did my own searching. I called a few well-known marine engine remanufacturers, such as michiganmotorz.com, to ask about the availability of this block and was told that there were several different types of blocks that this could be and I would have to locate the casting number on the block to identify which one it is.
While trying to identify the specific block that this Crusader 6.0 engine is built on top of, this wikipedia page was very helpful:
The above page highlights the different generations of LS-based GM small block engines from 1996 – present. Based on the year the boat was manufactured, this block is either a Generation III (1996 – 2007) or Generation IV (2005 – present) GM block. The Generation IV block introduced features such a Variable Valve Timing, which I knew my block does not have. For the Gen III blocks, there were two options for the 6.0 short block, the LQ4 and LQ9. Both short blocks were nearly identical with the exception of the LQ9 having flat-topped pistons (which gives it a slightly higher compression ratio).
Locating the casting numbers on the block was challenging because the numbers were being partially blocked by the transmission. However, I was eventually able to locate the number 12577184 on the top right-rear side of the block, just below the mating surface of the right-side head.
Here is a picture of the casting number after the block was removed. You can see how it would be difficult to see, as the location is barely peaking out over the transmission mating surface.
A google search for 12577184 will identify this block as a cast iron 94 – 04 Gen III block that is used in both the LQ4 and LQ9 short blocks.
A quick look at the dished-pistons easily identifies this block as an LQ4:
With the engine properly identified, I started to feel a bit more in control of the situation. I knew that this block was included in Chevy 2500 trucks, Cadillac Escalades, and Hummers around 2004 – 2006. I wasn’t sure how much different the ‘marine’ version of the engine was from the truck version, but at least I had a starting point.
This information was soon going to come in handy.
With the information on the block in hand, I called up michiganmotorz and asked about the block. I was told that they did not stock these motors. I’ve since seen that they now have the LQ9 engine here for $5,1999 + $500 core change. But, this was not available last year when I was block shopping:
I called other marine remanufacturers and got the same results, but wasn’t too concerned since I I still had Bob looking for the block as well. Surely, someone in the marine industry wouldn’t have the same issue I was having.
When I heard back from Bob (the mobile mechanic) about remanufactured options I was really disappointed. Bob had come to the same conclusion that the blocks weren’t common in the marine industry, and the one supplier he did find wanted a really high amount for the block, around $8,000 in addition to a $2,000 core charge (and my block was in no way going to count towards the core). I was immediately a bit skeptical, as Bob was giving me this information without having any of the details of the block that I had since learned. Did Bob look-up the details based on the boat, or did he simply look for any 6.0 block?
It didn’t really matter, as the cost was well outside what I was able to pay for the block. Fortunately Bob was very understanding when I told him that I couldn’t afford this price, especially considering that we hadn’t even started talking about the cost of labor. I told Bob that I would try and locate a remanufactured block myself, and he agreed to put together a quote for everything else required including labor. I was thinking that if I could provide the block, the labor would be around $2k – $3k at most. At this point, I was hoping to replace the block for under $10k.
This is a good stopping point for this post. In the next post I’ll discuss how I finally located a remanufactured short block.