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Old 04-06-2019, 11:35 PM   #1
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Mikelson 42'

I am in the process of gathering info on the Mikelson's 42. It has a lot of attributes that we are looking for in our next cruiser. 2 staterooms, well set up flybridge, nice sized cockpit. However the specific boat I am looking at has the detroit diesels which if one was to believe the internet should be avoided like the plague. I'd like to hear first hand from people that 1, own or have owned a Mikelson and 2, have own or owned Detriots. I realize while not a trawler I very much value the opinion of many on this forum!
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Old 04-07-2019, 12:14 AM   #2
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I own a Mikelson now, and my last boat had detroits. I am not at all familiar with the Mikelson 42 -- perhaps you mean 43?

Detroits are "dirty" -- they tend to leak oil and they smoke. But they are extremely reliable (no electricity required once they are started), parts (and more importantly, mechanics) are readily available world wide and remarkably low priced.

So far as I know, Mikelsons have never had any major design flaws, they are very solid, and at least some models are not cored below the water line. The only fair criticism, as far as I am concerned, is that they aren't much to look at. FWIW, I was negotiating for the purchase of a new Nordhavn when I realized that a Mikelson was a better fit for me and my use (long range fishing).
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Old 04-07-2019, 12:53 AM   #3
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Which Detroits are in the boat? We had Detroits in a previous boat. Yes they did leak but they ran and ran. Parts are cheap and almost any mechanic can work on them. No hooking up a proprietary computer to diagnose them. Just buy a lot of diapers...
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:53 AM   #4
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Your prospective Mikelson probably has the turbocharged V71 or V92 Detroits.

As noted above these are very reliable and easy to work on. They do leak a bit and are noisy. Their bad reputation probably comes from sport fishermen running the hell out of them which results in a life of a few thousand hours. But restoring that life is fairly easy: pop the heads and install a new kit of pistons and cylinder liners. The lower end rarely gives trouble and there aren't any valves to worry about.

Whether the engines on your boat needs this is totally dependent on how they were run by the PO. If they were run easy then they can last many thousands of hours between overhauls.

A good DD mechanic can look inside at the honing marks on the cylinders and get a good indication of how much life is left.

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Old 04-07-2019, 08:02 AM   #5
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I assume you are referring to the 8.2 Detroits? I have a pair of the J&T 220hp on our trawler and have had no problems. We cruise about 8 knots and get great fuel economy, and it's nice to have the extra power when conditions warrant a little more juice.

Downside is limited parts supply, and there are few mechanics around that work on them anymore. Our local Detroit dealer no longer services. I have found parts on the internet and have been fortune to not have to deal with anything yet that needs a mechanic (knock on wood...).

When I was researching our purchase the concerns I found for most of these engines were on the higher horsepower versions that just did not hold up with the stress of cruising at high rpms. If you search the 8.2's in this forum and Boatdiesel.com you will see lots of similar comments.

TBH - since we plan to keep our boat long term and do extended cruising in the future (loop, Bahama, etc.) we will be looking at re-power options. Even though no problems with the engines now the limited service and parts are a concern - but that will be a whole different thread someday
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:19 AM   #6
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I considered the Mikelson 42 last year. The ones on the market at the time were powered by the Detroit 8.2 V8. Detroits made their well deserved reputation on engines like the 71 series, a true bullet proof work horse. Mikelson and other builders of faster boats of that time used the 8.2 V8. It's a different beast than the other detroits. Buy a subscription to Boatdiesl.com and read about the detroits in the Mikelson. I don't have any personal experience with the 8.2 V8 but in the end decided against boats powered with them.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:59 AM   #7
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I checked on Yachtworld and yes older 42' Mikelsons use the 4 cycle DD 8.2 engine. So forget everything I said above about 71 and 92 DDs.


The 8.2 is not a bad engine, particularly the low hp 250 version on some of the Mikelson 42s. I did some research before helping a friend move a Mainship 34 with a DD 8.2. The biggest problems seems to be a cooling system ventilation flaw that can be easily fixed with some plumbing rework. But at low cruising levels of 150 hp each, I doubt if this is even a problem.


But 300 hp isn't going to push a 24,000 lb boat very fast, maybe 13-15 kts.



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Old 04-07-2019, 10:34 AM   #8
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The current edition of Sea magazine has a review of this boat, albeit not the vintage you're looking at.
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:18 PM   #9
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I own a Mikelson now, and my last boat had detroits. I am not at all familiar with the Mikelson 42 -- perhaps you mean 43?

Detroits are "dirty" -- they tend to leak oil and they smoke. But they are extremely reliable (no electricity required once they are started), parts (and more importantly, mechanics) are readily available world wide and remarkably low priced.

So far as I know, Mikelsons have never had any major design flaws, they are very solid, and at least some models are not cored below the water line. The only fair criticism, as far as I am concerned, is that they aren't much to look at. FWIW, I was negotiating for the purchase of a new Nordhavn when I realized that a Mikelson was a better fit for me and my use (long range fishing).
After perusing the Mikelson site, I have to say that I'm a fan. If I was looking at 59' the Nomad would be a front runner. Checks all my boxes.
Furthermore, I'd say they are not too shabby in the looks department.
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:34 PM   #10
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We had a single DD 8.2T in a Mainship 34 Mk III. I think 220-hp, or maybe 210. I think about 14K pounds. Seemed to work well for us.

There was at one time a service bulletin, to upgrade the size of the head bolts IIRC (15mm comes to mind, but I can't remember if that was the original or the new size).

Can't comment on whether twins would be great in a different (larger) boat, though... just from lack of experience.

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Old 04-07-2019, 03:44 PM   #11
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After perusing the Mikelson site, I have to say that I'm a fan. If I was looking at 59' the Nomad would be a front runner. Checks all my boxes.
Furthermore, I'd say they are not too shabby in the looks department.
The Nomads are semi-custom, and about half the boats get stretched to 64'.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:01 PM   #12
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The Nomads are semi-custom, and about half the boats get stretched to 64'.
I noticed that option. Is yours? Your picture looks like it might be. It also allows for bigger fuel tanks. Thats not a bad thing to have.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:21 PM   #13
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I noticed that option. Is yours? Your picture looks like it might be. It also allows for bigger fuel tanks. Thats not a bad thing to have.
Yes. I divided the extra length between the cockpit and the "California" (mezzanine) deck. Something like 300 gallons extra fuel, on top of the 2000 standard. Unless you want to cross oceans, it would be hard to need the extra.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:31 PM   #14
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Detroit

Yes 8.2L Detroit yielding 250 HP. 1100 hours total on 1986 model. Not worried about them leaking a bit more about reliability and parts.
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:57 AM   #15
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Yes 8.2L Detroit yielding 250 HP. 1100 hours total on 1986 model. Not worried about them leaking a bit more about reliability and parts.

Comments about leaking are likely aimed at DD two-strokes, not the 8.2. Ours never leaked a drop of anything.

OTOH, I think there's a boatload of info on boatdiesel about 8.2 reliability and parts. I haven't reviewed that material, but I gather mostly negative.

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Old 04-08-2019, 10:50 AM   #16
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IIRC, the Mikelson 42 has V drives so the ER is accessible below the cockpit deck. Can make for tight working space.
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:10 PM   #17
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I've got a 43 Mikelson. It has a similar layout to the 42, but much beamier (15'7" beam versus 13'). I find the boat to be well constructed and well-engineered.

Engine access for the v-drives is excellent. You can make pre-trip checks through a small hatch, or raise the large hatches in the cockpit for full access.

My boat has Cummins engines, so I have no comment on the Detroits.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:32 PM   #18
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I've got a 43 Mikelson. It has a similar layout to the 42, but much beamier (15'7" beam versus 13'). I find the boat to be well constructed and well-engineered.

Engine access for the v-drives is excellent. You can make pre-trip checks through a small hatch, or raise the large hatches in the cockpit for full access.

My boat has Cummins engines, so I have no comment on the Detroits.
Now that's a beam! Very nice space throughout I am sure.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:30 PM   #19
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Mikelson 42

The Mikelson 42 is an interesting boat. We had a 43 (totally different design so no comparison). My neighbor has owned a 42 for many years and I have both ridden in it and worked on it.
DD 8.2 - This is a converted on-road medium duty diesel V8 marinized for use in boats. Before my neighbor repowered with Cummins 6BT's the boat was a 12 knot cruise at higher RPMs. Find one that has been meticulously maintained and regularly serviced and you will likely be OK. If not cared for, be very, very cautious.
Hull - be aware that the Mikelson 42 has a cored hull. The 43 is the only boat that Mikelson has made with a solid bottom. Cored hulls will elicit controversial discussion so make sure you have fully investigated the hulls integrity, especially around each and every hull penetration (thru hulls, struts, UW lights, etc).
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:43 PM   #20
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Hull - be aware that the Mikelson 42 has a cored hull. The 43 is the only boat that Mikelson has made with a solid bottom.
You may be right about the 42 being cored, but the Mikelson Nomad (in both the normal and stretched versions) is solid fiberglass below the water line.
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