News & Projects

Repowering the Harbor Queen Improves Fuel Consumption and Speed

Photo of Harbor Queen boat at dock

Devon Grosswiler grew up around boats as a member of the Tibbels Marina family. As an adult, he’s stayed in the industry, working as a certified Volvo Penta diesel technician during the week and spends his weekends during the fishing season operating as the owner/operator of the charter fishing boat, Harbor Queen.

From the late ’70s to the early ’90s, Devon’s grandfather, Jack Tibbels, co-built four custom charter fishing boats with David Laux. The Harbor Queen is one of the those four, built in 1979 and powered by a Detroit Diesel 671 engine. Over the years, Jack put 25,000 hours on the original Harbor Queen engine. It was worn out and ready to be replaced by the time Devon bought the boat.

“The repower project began in Spring 2021,” said Curtis Bartlett, Territory Manager, Johnson & Towers, an Indel Power Group company. “We’ve been through the first season with Devon and he has been pleased with the fuel economy and performance.”

Located in Marblehead, Ohio, the Harbor Queen, a 42-foot, aluminum, 12-passenger, custom charter fishing boat, was repowered with an EPA Tier 3 Volvo Penta D6 380-horsepower engine, matched with a ZF HS85A reduction gear at 1.96:1 ratio.

As a certified Volvo Penta technician, Devon knew what he wanted in an engine for the Harbor Queen. “When I bought the boat, it was ready for an update. We took the old engine out and cleaned everything up, put in new gauges, a 7-inch Garmin display, new mounts, and a full stringer to fit the engine,” says Devon. “I did the majority of the work myself, including new fuel lines and bilge.”

Devon says the new engine has run well. He’s been impressed with the increased performance — he gets to his fishing spots quicker while using less fuel. With the DD 671, he burned 8 to 10 gallons an hour, and with the new Volvo Penta, he’s burning 4 to 5 gallons an hour.

His customers have enjoyed reduced noise and exhaust emissions, providing a more comfortable ride and experience. “Customers can actually talk to each other,” says Devon. “The performance has improved. We used to cruise at 12 to 13 mph with a top speed of 18 mph. Now, with the Volvo Penta, we’re cruising at 16 to 17 mph and a top speed of 24 mph.” Devon reports a smoother, more responsive engine all the way around that has more than enough power to cut through the wind out on Lake Erie’s western basin.

The Harbor Queen has about 215 hours on the Volvo Penta engine and ran 57 charter trips last season, which started in June 2021 when the installation was completed. “I’ve worked on a lot of D6s. I knew I wanted to use that engine,” says Devon. “The other captains have been happy. We’re ready for the 2022 charter fishing season, which starts in April.”