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Home> News & Facts>U.S. Navy Study


U.S. Navy Study


Topic: Cost Savings Analysis

Subject: Caterpillar 3126 Marine Engine/ SuperFlush SF-500 Series Corrosion Control System


Vessel: NSW Rhibs


Criteria: Reference U.S. Navy 3M Data Sheets and Maintenance Requirement Cards (MRC) and Caterpillar Service Manual


SuperFlush Systems LLC's SuperFlush SF-500 Series Marine engine flushing and corrosion control systems have proven their ability to protect and control marine engine cooling system components and sub systems from corrosion related damages.


TECHNICAL CONCEPT: The patented SuperFlush technology uses a scientifically sophisticated yet practical feedback responsive control and metering system to flush salt and minerals from the internal components of marine engines more effectively and conveniently than any conventional method. The system uses an extremely effective multi-point injection strategy, and a technology known as Proportionally Directed Overfill Back FlushTM to achieve incomparable results in a convenient and user friendly environment, which through ease of use will facilitate the operation.


On engines which are raw or seawater cooled, the unit receives water through a quick disconnect fitting on a regular garden hose and enters the engine on each side of the thermostat(s) through fittings installed on the engine replacing plugs that are already in the engine or by tapping into hoses normally installed on the engines.


On engines, which are equipped with a closed cooling system, the system is configured to effectively flush the components that are most at risk from the damaging combination of seawater and heat.  Heat increases the causticity of seawater by a factor of 3 at 160 degrees Fahrenheit and adds to the buildup of potassium, magnesium and sodium residues inside engine cooling subsystems.


To maximize the benefits of the SuperFlush System the engine is not run during flushing as research indicates this to be counterproductive. On some engines conventional flushing may actually do more harm than good. Due to the limited volume of available water and the high capacity of the modern marine engine pumping systems, engine cavity and exhaust components are not completely filling with water, leaving the upper reaches of these subsystems dry, and with much higher than normal temperatures. The casting marks, seams, transitional areas of uneven thickness, and any 90 degree or greater bend in the coolant flow channels in modern marine engines of all types are all natural attractors for salt build-up, which seems to proceed in a roughly geometrical progression once started. When salt build-up occurs, it effectively creates an isolation boundary layer that blocks the dissipation or radiation of heat. When this happens, hot spots occur which cause thermal stress, and or shock which rapidly lead to failure. It was also determined that up to 90% of impeller wear (on systems using centrifugal style neoprene based impellers) occurred during engine flushing. Not surprising considering the pump requirements vs. the available supply. The SuperFlush system overcomes these problems and others with a combination of events:


1. The engine is not run with the SuperFlush* System, so no heat is generated to create hotspots.


2. The metering components of the SuperFlush unit constantly adjusts the output levels of all injection points, insuring continuous pressure and volume levels in all the engine subsystems (water transfer systems, heat exchange systems, raw water pumps, circulating pumps, engine block and heads, and manifold systems).


3. The SuperFlush system sends hydrostatic shock pulses through the engine cavities and subsystems at between 75-185 times per minute, depending upon the application.


This pulse reaches every cavity of the engine and or the cooling subsystems and breaks salt and minerals loose and flushes them out.  The engine is completely flushed after 4 to 6 minutes.  The SuperFlush system also includes a pressurized bottle (optional) for remote flushing if unable to return to a fresh water source for a period of time.  A unique chemical induction system comprised of a self pressurizing container allows the introduction of a chemical line which includes a rust prohibitive which coats the internal components of the engine for added protection and longevity, a salt dissolving/zebra muscle additive that removes marine life from internal components, and an anti-freeze mixture for lay up or storage of marine engines.  Each of these has been specifically made for our flushing system to provide extra protection to any engine and are EPA approved. When used properly this system will enhance the operational readiness and reliability of, significantly reduce man hours required for maintenance and greatly extend operational life of marine power plants in all environments.


The SF-500 system (for use with most diesel inboards, generators, diesel powered or back-up systems) is made from machined / extruded and or investment cast 6061 aluminum alloy with Delrin and Ertalyte components and is 10 inches long and 3 inches high and weighs approximately 12 pounds.  Installation of any of the systems involves the unit itself, a maximum of 4 injection hoses, one supply hose and the appropriate injectors/adapters. Tools used are a common drill, a 1 1/8" hole saw, a common screwdriver, a razor knife, a 3/16" drill bit and a 9/16" wrench or socket.  The flushing capability of our system is guaranteed for a 5-year period and is self cleaning with each use. The units will be delivered to the Navy and Marine Corps as a field kit suitable for installation by navy personnel. The field kits will interface (with no modifications required) with all power plants systems currently used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, up to 2000 h.p.


Specific areas of Concern on the 3126 Caterpillar Marine Engine:


The Caterpillar 3126 Marine Engine as used on the NSW Rhibs is a closed system cooled engine.  This means that the engine block, the heads, the intake manifold, and in this case the exhaust manifold are cooled by a circulation pump on the front of the engine which runs an antifreeze/coolant solution through these components.

Other components are cooled by raw seawater.  It is not feasible to cool these relatively high temperature parts using a closed system because of heat aggregation.  A closed systems ability to shed heat is directly proportional to the surface area of the heat exchanger.  To add the most at risk components to the closed loop would require a heat exchange system roughly the size of the 3126 engines.  This is obviously not desirable from a space and weight requirements viewpoint.



The most at risk components include:  


The heat exchanger and components

The turbocharger after-cooler and components

The engine oil cooler system

Exhaust elbow

Seawater pumps and transfer systems

Sacrificial anodes*


The engine manufacturer has prepared a maintenance requirement program, which lays out specific maintenance/service, or replacement times based on a useable service life of 6000 operational hours before replacement or major overhaul.  Engines that are serviced properly may live to see the 6000-hour mark.  Most do not.


Routine Service Requirements


Every 50 hours          remove and replace zinc anodes cost per engine $316.25


Every 250 hours        remove and replace seawater pump cost per engine up to $813.34    


Every 500 hours        500-hour service required.  Cost: $1,400.00 per engine (base).  Replacing oil cooler due to seawater related damage, add $2071.68. Per engine.  Replace Turbo after-cooler due to seawater related damage, add $2155.77 per engine.



Nominal Cost @ 1000 hours with no major repairs


Zinc replacement per engine = $6,325.00

Seawater pump replacement =  $1,626.68

Total cost (NSW Rhibs) =$15,903.36


Nominal Cost @ 1000 hours with heat exchanger replacement*

* If heat exchanger failure did not lead to catastrophic engine damage.


Zinc replacement per engine = $6,325.00 per engine.

Seawater pump replacement =  $1,626.68 per engine.

Replace Turbo after-cooler     = $2155.77 per engine.


Total cost (NSW Rhibs) =$20,214.90

Nominal Cost @ 1000 hours with turbo after-cooler replacement*

* If turbo after-cooler failure did not lead to catastrophic engine damage.


Zinc replacement per engine = $6,325.00 per engine.

Seawater pump replacement =  $1,626.68 per engine.

Replace Turbo after-cooler     = $2,071.68 per engine.


Total cost (NSW Rhibs) =$20,046.72


Nominal Cost @ 1000 hours with oil-cooler replacement*

* If oil-cooler failure did not lead to catastrophic engine damage.


Zinc replacement per engine  = $6,325.00 per engine.

Seawater pump replacement =  $1,626.68 per engine.

Replace oil-cooler                   = $1,328.48 per engine.


Total cost (NSW Rhibs) =$18,560.32


Nominal Cost @ 1000 hours with fuel-cooler replacement*

* If oil-cooler failure did not lead to catastrophic engine damage.


Zinc replacement per engine  = $6,325.00 per engine.

Seawater pump replacement =  $1,626.68 per engine.

Replace fuel-cooler                 =    $786.24 per engine.


Total cost (NSW Rhibs) =$17,478.58


Total ownership costs of NSW Rhibs

In maintenance expenses @ 6000 hrs. Service

Scheduled Service

50 Hours

250 Hours

500 Hours

1000 Hours

4000 Hours

6000 Hours

Zinc Anode Service

 $     632.50

 $    3,162.50

 $    6,325.00

 $ 12,650.00

 $   50,600.00

 $   75,900.00

Seawater Pump Service


 $       406.67

 $       813.34

 $   1,626.68

 $     6,506.72

 $     9,760.08

After-Cooler Service


 $       350.00

 $       700.00

 $   2,771.68

 $     4,843.36

 $     6,915.04

Heat Exchanger Service


 $       350.00

 $       700.00

 $   2,855.77

 $     5,011.54

 $     7,167.31

Oil Cooler Service


 $       350.00

 $       700.00

 $   2,028.48

 $     3,356.96

 $     4,685.44

Fuel Cooler Service


 $       350.00

 $       700.00

 $   1,486.24

 $     2,272.48

 $     3,058.72

Exhaust Elbow Service




 $      813.34

 $     1,626.68

 $     2,440.02

Cumulative Totals

 $     632.50

 $    4,969.17

 $    9,938.34

 $ 24,232.19

 $   74,217.74

 $ 109,926.61


Assume the SF-500 system can double the service interval of the zinc anodes.

Savings: $37,950.00

Assume the SF-500 system can increase the life cycle of the seawater pump by 33%.

Savings: $3253.36

Assume the SF-500 system will double the life expectancy of the After- cooler.

Savings: $3457.52

Assume the SF-500 system can increase the life expectancy of the Heat exchanger by a factor of 2.

Savings: $3583.65

Assume the SF-500 system will double the oil cooler service life.

Savings: $2324.72

Assume the SF-500 system will double the fuel cooler service life.

Savings: $1220.01

Assume the SF-500 system will extend the life of the exhaust manifold to 6000 hours.

Savings: $2440.61


Total Potential Savings per engine: $50,772.35


Conclusions:  Special Operations Commands cost of ownership of 300 NSW Rhibs could be reduced by $15,231,705.00 every 42 months of service for an up front investment of $750,000.00.

Other tangible benefits of the SF-500 system are reduced maintenance times associated with engine flushing.  The SF-500 system requires 4 minutes cycle time per engine, with no noise, no possibility of injury to personnel from rotating parts, no fuel costs (engine does not run during flushing), no possible danger of damage to KaMeWa pump systems versus 40 minutes of conventional flushing.

Additionally engines flushed and maintained by the SF-500 system, enhanced with the chemical accessory program are candidates for life cycle extension of significant duration.

Seventy plus percent of marine diesel engine failure is caused by a catastrophic level failure of one or more of the high risk components identified in this analysis.  The effects of the corrosive elements of seawater on these components directly cause almost all failures.  An effective engine flushing and corrosion** control system will minimize the damaging effects and maximize longevity and therefore engine life, as well as improving operational readiness and war-fighting capabilities. Elevated engine oil temperature is detrimental to oil viscosity (the oil's ability to lubricate reciprocating components).  The SF-500 SuperFlush system helps reduce engine operating temperatures by:


1.     Keeping the engine heat exchange system clean and free of buildup and occlusion, allowing maximum thermal transfer, thereby reducing overall engine operating temperature.


2.     Keeping the engine's turbo after-cooler clean and free of buildup and occlusion, which reduces the air inlet temperature, resulting in a denser more uniform fuel to air mixture.  This produces more engine horsepower and fuel efficiency as well as keeping the engine from experiencing detonation under load that results in immediate and catastrophic engine failure.


3.     Keeping the engines oil-cooling systems(both engine and drive gear) clean and free of buildup and occlusion, promoting stable oil temperature and oil viscosity integrity.  This results in reduced friction in the reciprocating assembly, decreasing the probability of component and engine failure and enhancing engine service life.


                 Life-cycle extension is a high priority item on the Puckett modified 3126 Caterpillar Marine Engine at $48,000.00 per copy. 


                 Operational readiness is another high priority item in the NSW Rhibs program.  The SF-500 Series SuperFlush’s proven ability to decrease maintenance related cost and increase the war-fight capability of SOCOM's combat craft make it mandatory that this program be instituted at once.



Douglas O. Brogdon

Director of Research & Development


W.N. Bruhmuller

Director of Military Operations



*SuperFlush is also referred to as: super flush, motor flusher, QYSA, QYSA SuperFlush, QYSA super flush, marine motor flusher, outboard motor flusher, boat motor flusher, io engine flushing, marine engine flushing kit, and it replaces Johnson outboard motor flusher, evinrude 225 engine flushing, yamaha flusher outboard, Guardian, Perko, MST Guardian, ThoroFlush, MACS, Flush-Pro

**Corrosion refers to marine saltwater corrosion and saltwater marine corrosion control


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