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Old 10-26-2019, 11:44 PM   #1
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Carver Voyager 45 or 53

Looking for info from owners past or present of either of these models (the dual helm models: I THINK the last production year was 2005). I am refining my shortlist for a Great Loop/Down East Loop/Bahamas vessel and want to know if I should keep these two specific models on my ever-tightening list for further evaluation. Very happy to receive a PM if anyone prefers that to an open post. Keen to hear about experiences with build quality, engine choices, liveability.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:59 AM   #2
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A very wise man currently on this forum has said, “buy your last boat first”. You know who you are Ted!

Honestly? This is very sound advice. After working on my boat for 3 years, I do love her. My only wish is 10 more feet! I have a 1986 marine trader sundeck, 36’ waterline, 44’ overall not including the swim platform.
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:03 PM   #3
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Hello Aquabelle. We have a new-to-us Carver 450 Voyager Pilothouse, 2002 model. We love it. The lower helm station is extremely comfortable. We like the generous seating in close proximity to the Helm chair. One of our requirements was for both a flybridge and a lower helm station. We find both stations to have good visibility and it gives us options depending on the days weather.

We didn't consider the Carver 530 because we set a length limit at 50 feet. However, it is interesting that the air draft of the Carver 530 Voyager is 19 feet which is 11 inches lower than the Carver 450! There is a fixed bridge on the great loop just south of Chicago that all loopers must go under and its stated height is 19 ft 7 inches. With the 530 you might need to remove radar, etc. from the arch to fit under the bridge, but with the 450 the arch itself would have to be lowered.

We have the Cummins 450 engines and are very pleased with their power for this vessel. These were our preferred engines vs. the 480 hp Cummins or the Volvo engines that were offered in these vessels. However, as I have learned on this forum, the most important aspect of the diesel engines is that they have been well maintained.

Please let me know if you have other questions I can address recognizing that we have only owned our vessel for 3 months!

Estee
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:01 AM   #4
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Please let me know if you have other questions I can address recognizing that we have only owned our vessel for 3 months!

Estee

Thanks Estee....that is valuable info. I'll send you a PM with some detailed questions that I hope you might find time to respond to when you get a chance.
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Old 10-31-2019, 06:13 AM   #5
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Have a friend with a 45 Carver that just rebuilt/replaced both Cummins engines.

Not sure which models but check as he mentioned one has a particular issue at 1500-2000 hrs. Loves the boat otherwise.
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:49 AM   #6
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Be good to have more info on those engines. Cummins have great reputations inconsistent with your report.
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:50 AM   #7
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Thanks Estee....that is valuable info. I'll send you a PM with some detailed questions that I hope you might find time to respond to when you get a chance.
Please consider keeping discussions IN the forum where everyone stands to contribute and learn.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:39 AM   #8
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Be good to have more info on those engines. Cummins have great reputations inconsistent with your report.
Not really. One model over a few years with a problem..... COMMON for many manufacturers.

Just passing along that limited info as ANYONE buying expensive things should do "due diligence"... Especially with only a tidbit sometimes.

If I talk to the guy soon.. I will pass it on.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:19 AM   #9
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Studying the Seaboard site, I think the issue you may be thinking of related to a short period when there was a QC problem with QSM11 engines that showed up around 2000 hours: that engine was not factory installed into either the 450 or 530 Carver afaik. The well regarded 450 Diamond fully mechanical (6CTA) referred to by Estee had its 180degree t/stat replaced by a 160 fairly early on in its life which added useful warning time if a failed impeller or hose leak occurred. The only other Cummins problem I'm aware of that might have occurred in these Carvers, related to the early 480CE's. These were first produced as "dry" engines, meaning their manifolds etc were air not raw water cooled and this was not a success. They were modified to raw water cooling after a couple of years. I have no idea if any Dry versions were ever used by Carvers but if I found them in any vessel I would walk.
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Not really. One model over a few years with a problem..... COMMON for many manufacturers.

Just passing along that limited info as ANYONE buying expensive things should do "due diligence"... Especially with only a tidbit sometimes.

If I talk to the guy soon.. I will pass it on.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
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All too often larger semi displacement vessels are over propped from the factory leading to early engine failure. A friend with a Carver in the year and model range you are considering caught his vessel in time and decreased prop size and pitch. Too big of props are unfortunately common in many different builders of "ideal" loop vessels like Carver, SeaRay, Cruisers etc.

Both Seaboard and boatdiesel are replete with propping information (as well as dry manifolds) as you've already noted. One thing to keep in mind for the loop is good side deck and stern access for traversing locks and docking in strange places. Have you considered purchasing a fresh water boat from the rivers or Great Lakes areas?
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:02 PM   #11
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Go with the bigger one. 3 foot itis is real.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:41 PM   #12
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AQ
All too often larger semi displacement vessels are over propped from the factory leading to early engine failure. A friend with a Carver in the year and model range you are considering caught his vessel in time and decreased prop size and pitch. Too big of props are unfortunately common in many different builders of "ideal" loop vessels like Carver, SeaRay, Cruisers etc.

Both Seaboard and boatdiesel are replete with propping information (as well as dry manifolds) as you've already noted. One thing to keep in mind for the loop is good side deck and stern access for traversing locks and docking in strange places. Have you considered purchasing a fresh water boat from the rivers or Great Lakes areas?
All good points...thanks. I am concerned about buying a boat that's over-propped, not least because once real damage is done it is too late: so re-propping appropriately doesn't cure past damage. I guess relatively low hours and an obvious prop change from factory would be good things to look for. In my online searches so far, I've not come across what the from-factory props were for each of the engine options offered...that detail is missing from the Carver materials I've found so far.

Both the 450 & the 530 have single side helm doors to Stbd; I think I can make that work.

And I'd be delighted to purchase a f/water boat! It really doesn't matter where one starts the Loop. There's a practical issue around the limited 'season' available to see Gt Lakes boats though, which makes things a bit tougher for me living in Australia.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:45 PM   #13
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Sounds like you have done homework...that's all I was suggesting, not knocking any engine or boat.
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