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Old 10-08-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Engine survey

I started the process. I decided to move up in size! I'm pretty sure the type of boat I want. I really like the Nordic Tug. I can't afford a newer one, so the NT32 seems to be a great option. I will probably be in the 2000 - 2004 year range, with my budget. I figure the engine will have approx. 1000 hrs. on it. I was thinking about the survey. I have enough experience to know if a boat has been maintained or not. Instead of a boat survey, I was thinking of an engine survey only. I know a survey does not cover the engine, you have to have both. Is it careless to skip a general survey and save the $750? Thoughts?
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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With detroits people like to look inside the engine.

On 4 strokes most everything is looking at the outside for problems and running it to check performance. A dead cold start up can tell a lot. lube oil tests are a big debate topic.
Few boats, new or used, are perfect. That's just the way they are. IMO you want to avoid the disasters such as sunk vessels etc. A zillion little issues don't mean much to a knowledgeable owner.
If you can do your own hull survey I suspect that you can do your own engine check as well. To the knowledgeable boater a survey is a little reassuring that nothing big has been noticed by a second set of eyes. To a newbie the same survey is often frightening.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:06 AM   #3
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First of all, most insurers require a survey for a boat more than ten years old. So you may be stuck with a general survey.

Some general surveyors are pretty good about engine issues, some not so good.

The Nordic Tug 32 usually has the Cummins 6BT, 210 hp engine which is almost bullet proof- turbocharged but no intercooler and a low stressed engine.

Perhaps you should write your purchase contract to allow an engine survey if anything comes up in the general survey. Also PM me with your email address and I will send you a comprehensive self survey checklist. You can use this with your general surveyor if he is open minded to get 95% of what you might find with an engine surveyor.

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Old 10-08-2014, 10:07 AM   #4
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My insurance requires a survey. Also (but not sure) if you finance they will probably require a survey.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by chester613 View Post
I started the process. I decided to move up in size! I'm pretty sure the type of boat I want. I really like the Nordic Tug. I can't afford a newer one, so the NT32 seems to be a great option. I will probably be in the 2000 - 2004 year range, with my budget. I figure the engine will have approx. 1000 hrs. on it. I was thinking about the survey. I have enough experience to know if a boat has been maintained or not. Instead of a boat survey, I was thinking of an engine survey only. I know a survey does not cover the engine, you have to have both. Is it careless to skip a general survey and save the $750? Thoughts?
Chester (boat addict)
Save $750? Your surveyor should save you more than that towards the purchase price if he does his job correctly. Maybe you could do it yourself, and you should. But also get the official survey.
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:56 PM   #6
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Any one know of a good engine surveyer in the long beach Ca area? For twin Perkins?
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:08 PM   #7
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I know a survey does not cover the engine, you have to have both. Is it careless to skip a general survey and save the $750? Thoughts?
My own opinion is that it is not smart to buy something as complex as a boat without both a hull/systems survey and an engine survey. Most surveyors specialize in one or the other, so to get the best possible surveys on each, it generally requires hiring two surveyors.

The question is this: given the cost of a boat, and the ongoing cost of a boat, is the cost of a couple of good surveyors going to make a significant difference to what the boat will cost you in the long run?

My answer to the question is no. A good surveyor can catch things that even an experienced boater will miss, let alone someone who thinks they're an experienced boater. Note that I said a good surveyor.

And if the engine and hull/systems surveyors gives the boat a great report, well, that's like wanting to buy a car, having a real good mechanic go over it with a fine-tooth comb, and tell you that the car is great. You know that what you are about to buy is in the kind of condition you'd like it to be in.

In my opinion, it's money well spent regardless of the outcome.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:27 PM   #8
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Is it careless to skip a general survey and save the $750? Thoughts?
Chester (boat addict)
Yes! Get the survey done.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
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If you cant or dont want to afford the survey,,,,, well, you know.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:59 PM   #10
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I have had too many people call and ask for a survey who have been led down the road by a broker who never mention a pre buy survey. They cannot get insurance. A marina will not allow them in with out insurance. You can not borrow for a vessel with out a complete survey. Unless you are just a rich gambler, get a survey, and ask around for a surveyor that brokers hate. A full survey can take 8 -10 hours if vessel if loaded with STUFF. All the time needed to clean out lockers and open and inspect every access point. Think twice and long.
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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The best advice I can give is to absolutely get a general pre-purchase survey (lots of people will require it and it might find something you would miss). Most pre-purchase surveyors DO look at the engine (both running and not). They measure rpms and temps, etc. They SHOULD know enough about them to provide some good insight, but they won't get into too deeply with compression tests and such. I would wait to see if the general surveyor's findings send up any red flags that may need more specialized attention.

In addition, get an oil test at your local heavy machine retailer/shop. It's way cheaper than the mail-away ones. Then you can really know if you need a full-blown engine survey.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:28 PM   #12
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The OP came for advice, it seems he got it from some very bright and experienced boaters. So yes, get both surveys - one more time.

Forget about the 1000 hours, it is marine age that counts. A 10 to 15 year old motor is not new and could already be toast if not properly cared for in the past
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:54 PM   #13
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I needed a survey to get insurance on The Promise. Make sure the engine survey includes an oil analysis, that should be obvious, what is in the engine is more important than the shiny outside of it. A survey in the past made me walk away from a boat that would have cost many thousands to repair, so I considered it money well spent.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:04 PM   #14
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Any one know of a good engine surveyer in the long beach Ca area? For twin Perkins?
How soon do you need to know? I have an offer accepted on a boat in SoCal with twin Perkins. We're doing the survey in a week and a half. I am using a guy that was recommended. Sounded knowledgeable on the phone about these old motors. Speaks highly of them. I'll let you know after the survey.

The first "highly recommended" engine surveyor I called never returned multiple phone calls over several days.

One local vessel surveyor I talked with was sympathetic and suggested that the majority of these engine guys are experienced mechanics. Higher on the experience side then the customer service/return phone calls side! YMMV
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:46 AM   #15
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I would never recommend buying a used boat without a general and an engine survey. First, it's highly unlikely you have the knowledge the surveyors do. Second, your words don't carry the weight of theirs. If your offer is dependent on the survey and they say XYZ are needed to be done, then you can proceed from there in adjusting the agreement or walking away. Even on something like a car which most think they know, every day there are thousands of disappointed buyers who could have protected themselves simply by having a mechanic check it out.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:33 AM   #16
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>Save $750? Your surveyor should save you more than that towards the purchase price if he does his job correctly.<

This attitude is what causes fine boats to be downgraded by stoopid nit picking nonsense items , the surveyor feels obliged to find to >earn< his cost.

The bank will need a survey , the insurance co will need a survey , get the boat done by someone whose survey is acceptable to both.

Engine surveys are IFFY at best unless the engine is torn down.

I prefer to inspect the boats log book , and look for maint over the past decades.
Oil samples for a few years is also good.

Look in the spares locker and see what type oil is there . 10 quarts of K mart mix , or a 5 gal pail of Diesel oil rated for the engine. Same with antifreez.

What is observed from a COLD Start , not run in 24 hours , no block heater will give a simple idea of cylinder ,compression , condition.

Almost all engines will smoke white on cold start , where the temp has to rise to to get the smoke to vanish is the key.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:07 AM   #17
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Fred is right about the nit picker surveyor trying to cover his fee.

Years ago I was buying an almost pristine, three year old Island Packet sailboat. The surveyor told me straight out that the only thing he could find was a shaft log with a green patina on it. He could write it up if I wanted him to, but...

I said forget it. I was happy to get a clean survey. And it was one of the best boats I ever owned.

David
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:55 PM   #18
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I hope he didn't charge you full price? The last sail boat I sold was sort of like that. The surveyor told the buyer, "There are a few minor issues, if I tell you verbally, I will charge 1/2 price w/o a written report."

Maybe that's one way to go? I'll ask for a break in the price for a verbal report or maybe a simple checklist report?

There are many good suggestions here. I guess it's true, what they say. Opinions are like (fill in the blank), everyone has one. LOL!! Thanx

So far, no insurance co. or bank wanted a survey. Including my last boat in March of 2014.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:18 PM   #19
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$750 Is nothing in the big scheme of things, get the survey and be done with it.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:49 PM   #20
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$750 Is nothing in the big scheme of things, get the survey and be done with it.
We've even had new boats surveyed. We've seen too many stories of boats delivered with issues that took months, even years to resolve and sometimes couldn't be. Some with basic hull problems where they never ran quite right. I know a couple of yachts that were so bad upon delivery the owner immediately took them to another yard to try to get the problems fixed and also put them on the market. I know two of those right now that have been on the market 3+ years since build. One was promised to pass a class survey and wouldn't and the buyer made the mistake of driving it away on a promise. Veritas rejected it. Noted hundreds of thousands needed to correct the issues.
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