Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Gloucester, MA
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The basics of the engine are certainly the same but many of the parts are different. The important thing is that the diagnostics are essentially the same. As chucklesR points out, marine diesels have to deal with the more corrosive environment so they use different alloys in certain parts. In addition, many have a heat exchanger which is not necessary on an OTR engine. The plumbing for intake and exhaust is usually different because the space requirements and access are different but if you know engines, it takes about 2 minutes to figure out the difference.
The internal differences come from the fact different emissions regulations, almost unlimited cooling potential, and different load characteristics. A lot of marine engines will run different pistons, head gaskets, injectors, and injection pumps because of this. If you want a good comparison, look up a cummins 6bt which can be had in the dodge pickup trucks and in a lot of power boats and there is a ton of information out there on that engine.
Basically, there are some different parts but they work the same. Not going to a marine school, you will not learn about marine exhaust systems, marine throttles, and marine transmissions. As long as you are pretty handy and not looking to do this for work where you might need a certification, you will be fine going to a non-marine school.