Fun with Lugger Bob in his Northern Lights Diesel Class

For years we’ve heard about Lugger Bob’s Northern Lights training classes (link here) and knew we wanted to attend. The opportunity to sign up for the class presented itself while we were at the ABT Trac owners class last fall. Bob Senter was also attending and after a quick conversation with him, he pointed us to where to sign up. We were not surprised to learn that the January class was booked – but not for the first time, Lugger Bob came to the rescue! He opened up a second January class and we were booked! There are two classes offered – a one day “Captain’s Course” (no charge) followed by a two day “Owner/Operator’s Course” (fee associated). Obviously, we signed up for both! And we were glad that we did. The first day (Captain’s Course) provided a wonderful overview of diesel engines and generators, regular maintenance procedures, troubleshooting issues along with Northern Lights’ philosophy behind their business. We were also toured around the facility. Day two and three (which was the Owner/Operator’s Course) dove deeper in to the details of maintenance and trouble shooting, both in a classroom setting as well as hands on with a Lugger engine and a NL 6kw generator. It was a wonderful balance of discussing a topic in our seats and then being able to walk out to the shop and see the topic in action. Everyone was able to review best practices with typical maintenance items like changing impellers/raw water pump and adjusting valves as well as to do it for real, but not needing to worry about “practicing” on your own motors! The troubleshooting on the genset was especially interesting and insightful. Being able to walk thru actual “issues” (that Bob created behind closed doors) with a multi-meter, we know the newly found knowledge will prove its weight in gold when we really need to find/fix things as they arise while we are out cruising.

Note: After taking the class, we came home to Red Rover and looked over our 20kw genset and found that it was project time! Look for an upcoming post on this work.


Northern Lights front office.

Does anyone recognize the image of a certain event in the background? That event led to Bob’s moniker…
One of the first engines from Lugger.
For those who have Lugger/Northern Lights machines, this is the touch up paint that will match the factory color.


The “way back” corner of a warehouse…


Diesel engine nerds having fun! So much to look at!
Literally tons of engines!


We love our Luggers!


Zoe even got in on some class time.
This is the 6kw Northern Lights genset that the class was able to work on. Alison and I loved it so much that we’ve ordered one for Red Rover. I will look to document/share the install later this spring after it is in (and running!).
Isn’t it cute!
Multi-meter testing. The hands on part of the class completed the circle of knowledge from the classroom.


The best part of the class really was the demystifying the generator. A piece of complex equipment, once understanding the parts, really is straight forward and easy to wrap one’s mind around.
Our Lugger that we rebuilt (just kidding – we did adjust the valves on it).
Impeller change technique.


It is soooo beautiful inside!
The wires that run inside the valve cover goes to the injectors. The wires are made from unobtainium…
Everyone had their chance to adjust valves.
Bob kept a close eye on us and tested the valve clearance after we were done. Some needed to be adjusted again…



Just a little tighter…
After adjusting the valves on the Lugger, we went to the 6kw baby engine and adjusted those as well.
Eric Folkestad (holding the light) also attended the class. Eric was our instructor at the ABT-Trac class from last fall.


Alison with her certificates of completion plus her very stylish NLs hat! Both will displayed proudly on Red Rover (hat and certificates, not Bob and Alison).

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6 thoughts on “Fun with Lugger Bob in his Northern Lights Diesel Class

  1. *sigh* (wish I could have joined you there…..)

    I have my 6 Cylinder 5.7 l Unimog (Mercedes-Benz) Diesel to play around – but that’s simply not the same…. Go-anywhere-vehicle – except open waters 🙁 (have to switch 🙂 )

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    All the best,

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