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An Overview of the Lugger L1276A Marine Diesel

Lugger L1276A Marine Diesel

The Lugger L1276A is an electronically-controlled diesel intended for trawlers and performance yachts

Lugger's L1276A marine diesel, offered in continuous duty, medium duty and high output configurations, boasts efficient fuel consumption and minimal smoke.

For those few souls in the dark, the company is renowned for the smart way it marinizes extreme, heavy duty off road diesel engines. Based on decade's worth of experience, Lugger's wrench benders know exactly what works and what doesn't.

L1276A begins life as a John Deere crate motor. Fresh from the loading dock Lugger technicians unceremoniously remove the stock dry exhaust manifold and turbocharger replacing them with in-house components. The replacement exhaust manifold is water cooled, flowing a copious 82 gallons of water per minute. The replacement casting and new coolant path circulate coolant through the manifold first, and then the cylinder block. This configuration speeds warming of the engine, improves emissions, fuel efficiency and extends engine life.

The next critical step, the stock turbocharger is replaced by one with a water-cooled housing, minimizing the chance of coked bearings. The reason for the upgrade is as simple as salt. Fried oil turns to carbon, carbon abrades the bearings and causes turbo failure. Cool bearings don't give up the ghost. The real eyebrow raiser is Lugger's attention to detail. Each and every engine is test run for a full two hours. Other companies start the motor, then run through a checklist to insure all systems are go. Then they shut down the engine and ship it. Don't misunderstand. Such an abbreviated scenario is entirely adequate. It's just that Lugger delves deeper into the process.

Another significant difference between Lugger and other engine builders is founded in horsepower ratings. A Lugger 340 horsepower engine generates at least 340 hp. Contrast that with the rules that say an individual engine's hp rating can be within plus or minus of five percent. Reading between the lines you can quickly figure out that some company's 340 horsepower motors might only develop 320 hp and yet still make the grade.

Lugger Marine Diesel, by Northern Lights, are Renowned for its Premium Marine Diesels

Want specifics on the new Lugger 1276? It's the first entry in a line of clean burning engines to be offered in configurations rated for continuous duty, medium duty and high output. The term clean burn simply means highly efficient fuel consumption and minimal smoke. For the record, this engine meets tier two EPA requirements. All three models (340 hp, 375 hp and 400 hp) are turbocharged and after cooled.

The building block for the three variations on the theme is an in-line six. The cylinder head is populated with four valves per cylinder for deep breathing and raw hp. Electronic fuel injectors are positioned dead centre in the combustion chamber. A pilot injection mode warms the combustion chamber on cold starts to more efficiently reduce smoke and noise. The turbocharger's aftercooler casting is water cooled, once again reducing smoke during a cold start. Electronic fuel injection control software features a Can Bus interface, which minimizes the wire run from the engine room to the wheelhouse.

Lugger engines are renowned for long life. So it came as no surprise to learn the transmission gear oil is freshwater cooled. Just like with the turbocharger, cooling the lubricant extends gear and bearing life. Also, freshwater cooling, as opposed to raw water cooling, the lubricant means corrosion is kept outside the boat. Service technicians will like the way the turbocharger is mounted aft of the wet manifold. This common sense location accomplishes two things. It provides easy access and it also maintains a low engine profile. Personally, I liked the way most of the hoses and leak points were engineered out of the equation

Again, marinization details are the fruits of decades worth of experience, knowing what works on a marine diesel and what doesn't. Another plus is the way service point are grouped on one side of the engine for easier fluid level checks. Both freshwater and raw water pumps are gear driven. Translation: there are no belts to fail. The camshaft is also gear driven and it spins on oversize bearings. The wet cylinder liners are replaceable, which means rebuilds can be accomplished quickly and cost effectively.

Reliable though it may be, the engine's onboard diagnostics could pay big dividends when cruising far-flung locations where qualified marine mechanics are few and far between. Thanks to the wonders of onboard diagnosis, once you know exactly which component has gone haywire, replacement parts can be air freighted to your rescue. The Lugger/Northern Lights global dealer network spans more than 40 countries worldwide. In the unlikely event you are from homeport and the lights go dark, find a local service by dropping into an Internet cafe and visiting the company website at:

As for amenities, the optional power take off would work well driving a refrigerator or air conditioner compressor. A second noteworthy option is the bolt pattern that allows the easy addition of a second alternator for keeping the house bank of batteries topped off. On this engine, standard power is 24 volts DC with 12 VDC optional.

Finally, for anyone curious about the origin of the name of the company, it dates back to the venerable GrayMarine engine made famous for its durability during the Second World War. As the story goes, a civilian version of the GrayMarine diesel was marketed for a time as the Lugger Four-162. In Alaskan waters the Lugger was legendary among Aleutian salmon fishermen for its performance and reliability. Eventually the trade name came to be owned by Northern Lights, the parent company of today's Lugger.

Luger L1276 Specifications:
Displacement 12.5 liters
Cylinder block configuration Inline 6-Cylinder
Bore x Stroke 5.0 x 6.5 inches
Horsepower rating Continuous duty 340 hp @ 1800 rpm
Horsepower rating Medium duty 375 hp @ 1900 rpm
Horsepower rating High Output 400 hp @ 2100 rpm

Representative Fuel Consumption (GPH)
Engine rpm 1200 1400 1600 1800 1900 2100
High Output x 6.6 9.6 13.3 x 21.2
Medium Duty x 7.3 10.6 14.8 17.3 x
Continuous Duty 4.9 7.4 10.7 14.9 x x