With the first set of Sterling Performance 1,700-hp turbocharged engines back at the Milford, Mich., company (Read the story), company principal Mike D’Anniballe is going over every inch of the 557-cubic-inch powerplants before he sends them to TNT Custom Marine in Miami for installation in Sterling’s 36-foot-long Skater project catamaran. At present, the turbochargers are D’Anniballe’s primary focus.
“One of the complaints we got from David Wade Marine was that the turbochargers would ‘lock up’ after the boat sat for awhile,” said D’Anniballe during a telephone interview this morning. “You could just unstick them with your finger or a wrench, but we weren’t sure why that was happening. What we figured out was that the humidity in the New Orleans area was corroding the seals in the turbochargers. So we’re installing stainless-steel seals.”
D’Anniballe also said that he is experimenting with larger turbocharger housings to reduce back-pressure so they can run higher boost and higher engine speed (rpm). That change, he explained, also has the Sterling crew looking at different camshafts.
“Any time you make a change like, you have to go through the entire matrix again,” he said.
In related Sterling news, D’Anniballe, said he is in the “very, very preliminary stages” of powering a new 35-foot wooden sportboat from Van Dam Custom Boats. Per the owner’s request, he is looking at using twin vintage Ford 427 engines—complete with stacks—upgraded with electronic fuel injection and capable of making 500 hp.
“The owner is a real nostalgia buff, so he wants the Ford engines,” said D’Anniballe. “Our first order of business was to see if the engines could even fit in the boat, and it looks like they can. We’ll see where this goes. As I said, we’re in the early stages of the project. We’ve only had two meetings on it, and now the ball is in our court.”