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Gardner Marine Engine ID


Welcome to smokstak. The engine in your boat appears to be a Gardner 6LW. Gardner's are regarded as some of the finest diesel engines ever built. They are incredibly smooth, reliable and efficient. A true masterpiece of British engineering. Sadly there are very few Gardner diesels, and Gardner mechanics in the United States. Good luck with your new boat!


Peter Short

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I have been looking through a Gardner book (L. Gardner & Sons Limited: Legendary Engineering Excellence by Graham Edge) and wonder if the engine may be a 6LX rather than a 6LW?

I am not a Gardner expert at all, but the breathers on the side of the cylinder head look like 6LX to me.

I am happy to be corrected however, as the 6LW was apparently still being built long after the 6LX was in production, perhaps breathers were fitted at a later date?

Some stats from the book:

The 6LW was built from 1931-1974, approx. 100hp, 8.4 litre, 511 cubic inch.

The 6LX was built from 1958, approx. 150hp, 10.45 litre, 638 cubic inches. This engine had cross bolted main bearings, so there should be bolts or studs visible on the lower sides of the crankcase I guess.

Then came developments of the 6LX, e.g. 6LXB in 1966, approx. 180hp, then the 6LXC in 1978, approx. 200hp.

I don't know much about canal boats either, except the narrow boats I have seen in the UK seemed to have small 2 cylinder diesels or something along those lines.

A 6 cylinder Gardner is by comparison huge, I guess the Frederick 2 must be something different.

Gardner engines have a legendary status in the British Commonwealth, probably rarely heard of in the US I would guess.


I just got a copy of a survey of the boat. It says "Propelling Machinery Gardner 6 LXB 6 cylinder normally aspirated diesel engine"

The sales flyer says it is "150HP", which is way over-sized for the canal, but better suited for the rivers.

The sellers says "The engine has been marinized to cope with rivers and canals and has no problems at low speed" what ever that means. There were concerns about keeping down to the canal speed limit of 4mph and 2.5mph when passing moored boats. It might spend long periods at very low rpm's.