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Old 10-03-2008, 02:06 AM   #1
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PT 38 Trawler

Hello,
Just joined this board a few minutes ago...too bad I did not know about it earlier.
I am in the process of buying a 1984 38' PT Performance Trawler with twin Perkins 6.354's. Horsepower is 135hp. Engine and hull surveys are scheduled for 9AM this morning, and if all goes well, we will close this coming week.

Is there anyone here that can give me a "heads up" on these boats?
Anything special to keep an eye out for?, etc.

This will be our first diesel powered boat, as we are moving from a 34" Silverton with twin Crusaders 270's.

Any info would be appreciated.

Thank you,

-- Edited by albaris at 03:07, 2008-10-03
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:49 AM   #2
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

By the time you read this, you will have completed the survey and sea trial so these words may not help you but might someone else.

When buying a boat, especially one of make, year, and model that you are unfamiliar with, it is a good idea to do the following:
<ul>[*]Study up on all the information you can.* See if there is an owner's group that can give you inside information.* Surf the net using google, etc. for knowledge.* Joining forums like this and querying the contributors for information is helpful[*]Find a reputable broker to help in the process.* If he represents you he will know the reputation of the other broker as well as the surveyors and yards that may be involved in the survey.* He also will have access to Soldboats.com (have to be a broker or surveyor).* He can give you the comp sales for like boats in recent years.[*]Try to seatrial on a sloppy day if possible.* All boats ride well in glassy seas.* It is only in chop or bigger waves that you truly can judge the seakindliness of a boat.* Run the boat at full throttle for a minimum of 15 minutes, longer if able.* Look for smoking, steaming, overheating, oil tempertature, etc.* Take your surveyor with you.[*]Don't let the selling broker pick your surveyor for you.* Look in the phone book or marine directory and find several.* Interview them to see what their area of expertise is.* Remember that just because a surveyor belongs ton NAMS or SAMS does not mean they are competant.* Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a surveyor.[/list]I am sure there are many other tips that others can contribute but I am off to the Anacortes Boat Show and have run out of time.

Good Luck.* We sold a PT38 a couple of years ago to a family out here in Anacortes and at last report, he was very happy with the boat.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:38 PM   #3
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

Is the PT38 a Taiwanese-built trawler?* I think it is.

If so, go to the CHB owners group on Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CHB/).* There are extensive discussions regarding issues to look out for on these boats.* It's the second best boat group on the net* .

The "CHB"s are boats built in the Chen Hua boat yards in Taiwan (which may include the PTs).* Even if the PT wasn't actually built by Chen Hua, many of the issues with them may apply to yours.

Assuming she is a Taiwan Trawler ("TT"), the* biggies to look for are:

- rotted out cores in the decks and cabin sides/roofs.* A combination of leaky windows, screws improperly bedded, and inadequate coring material tend to lead to "soft" decks where water leaks into the wooden core, rotting out the core material in the middle.* Not impossible to fix, but very time consuming (and expensive if you have to hire it out).

- leaky windows and hatches.* Most of the windows are wood framed, and the sealant between the wood and fiberglass will break down.* The surveyor should have a moisture meter to give some indication of the condition of the windows and associated cabin walls.

- leaking / rusted fuel tanks.* The leaking decks frequently keep the steel (or cast iron??) fuel tanks wet.* No way to get the side-mounted tanks out except by moving or removing the engine (this may be different on the PT38 versus the CHB 34).

Generally, the CHBs are good little boats and a good value for the money - so long as the "issues" that they have are dealt with.

I have 6.354s on my Rawson, and no complaints with them.* Like all older diesels, they put out quite a white cloud on startup - but they start instantly even after months of sitting.* They are English, so they leak oil (unless they run out of oil).**A small stack of bilge diapers takes care of that.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:11 PM   #4
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

Albaris, I have been watching that boat for a long time. You have to be weary fo any boat and the survey should be able to find any problems. Anyway, back to my original sentiment, that is one fine boat and I wish it were me that was buying it. My only concern with it was it was a twin and not a single....but we all know that is personal preference. Good luck with your purchase. We have been looking at that boat on Yachtworld for a long time. Let us know how it turns out!!!!
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:37 PM   #5
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

Well, the survey, sea trial and engine survey went well. There were no problems with leaky windows, wet cores, spongy decks or anything of that nature. Moisture meter tests all came back good. There were a few minor cracks on the deck in the starboard bow corner, but surveyor assured me it was just a crack in the gelcoat, and that it could be fixed without a problem.
It has a suite of RayMarine units all networked together via SeaTalk. There was one problem with that, and that was a broken pin in the connector for the tarnsducer. RayMarine told m e that the broken pin was for water temperature, and everything else was working fine.

The engines survey came back with all passing grades. Surveyor said engines were in good shape, and his only recommendation was change all fuel filters and belts ASAP.
Sea trail was just as good....boat is responsive, tops out at 2700 RPM, and cruises nicely at 1800 RPM with a fuel burn rate of 2.0GPH each engine.
Fuel tanks on this model, according to engine surveyor, are constructed of stainless steel, and all appear normal with no leakage.

The only major flaw we found was that the advertisement says reverse cycle heat and a/c, but we could not get the heat to work, just A/C, and it blows cold. It is an Arctic Air unit, with a Advanced Thermodynamics thermostat, and we are not sure if we are operating it correctly.

My final offer has to be in by Tuesday, so I will let you know the final outcome at that time...but it looks like it will be a done deal.
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:51 PM   #6
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

This does not have to be a deal breaker but you should know that stainless steel is not an approved material for fuel tanks by the ABYC. Our boat had been fitted with stainless tanks by the previous owner the year before we bought the boat. According to the surveyor who did our pre-purchase survey and others I have talked to about this, the potential problem with stainless tanks is that the act of welding stainless can destroy the properties that make stainless stainless. So the metal at the welds can become prone to crevice corrosion (happens when oxygen is kept away from the metal) and the welds can fail or the metal can start to pinhole.

What makes this a tricky issue is the extremely variable nature of making a stainless tank. There are lots of stainless alloys, and the quality of the stainless is dependent upon who made it. For example, the stainless steel made in Taiwan has-- or at least had-- a very bad reputation for quality. Another major variable is the skill and techniques used by the individual welder.

The fact that there are so many variables is what caused the ABYC to list stainless steel as an undesirable material for fuel tanks. The same surveyor who told us this also said he'd surveyed other boats in the San Francisco Bay area (where the boat was when we bought it) and most of their stainless tanks had been holding up just fine.

He did caution us about letting fuel stand in the tanks for a long time (he didn't define "long time" but I've subsequently had this defined as six months to a year or more). If the quality of the stainless or the welds is not up to snuff, depriving the metal of exposure to oxygen for this length of time will promote crevice corrosion and hasten the demise of the tanks. We use our boat year round so go through fuel fast enough that the five tanks are completely emptied at least twice a year.

So it might be worthwhile in the case of the boat you're looking at to try to determine the quality of the stainless tanks that are in her. How old are they, who made them, what kind of stainless is it, and so on. Of course it may be impossible at this point to find this out. Since the tanks in our boat had been made so recently, the previous owner gave us invoice for the work. The invoice listed the type of stainless that had been used, where the tanks had been made (locally in the SFO area) and of course the cost which in 1997 had been just shy of $10,000.

As I say, it's not a reason to automatically think poorly of the boat, but it is something to be aware of. And for anyone contemplating replacing the tanks on a boat, I would not recommend considering the use of stainless.




-- Edited by Marin at 00:00, 2008-10-05
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Old 10-05-2008, 09:29 AM   #7
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

I agree that there are many grades of stainless steel and the quality has been suspect in the past for offshore built boats.* Marin's comments are all valid with the exception of the ABYC standard.* Stainless steel tanks are approved by ABYC.* Below is cut and pasted from the 2008 ABYC standards disk which we receive each year as a member of ABYC.
TABLE IV - METALLIC FUEL TANK MATERIAL AND FABRICATION
REQUIREMENTS MATERIAL (NOTE 1)
SPECIFICATION MINIMUM NOMINAL SHEET THICKNESS


Nickel-Copper ASTM-B127-98 Class A .031 in. (.79mm)
Copper-Nickel ASTM-B122/B 122M-00 .045 in. (1.14mm)
Copper ASTM-B152/B 152M-00 Type E.T.P. .057 in. (1.45mm)
Copper-Silicon ASTM-B96/B96M-01Types A, B & G .050 in. (1.27mm)
Steel Sheet ASTM A653/A 653M-02A .0747 in. (1.90mm)
Aluminized Steel ASTM A-463/A 463M-02a .0478 in. (1.21mm)
Aluminum Alloy 5052 or 5083 or 5086 .090 in. (2.29mm)
Stainless Steel 316L or 317L .0747 in. (1.9mm) .031 in (.79mm) (NOTE 2)


NOTES:
1. See American Welding Society Code for welding processes.
2. Cylindrical stainless steel tanks with domed heads and a capacity of less than 20 gallons are permitted to use this lighter gauge steel.
I also again will caution on always taking the word of a surveyor as "gospel".* Most are very good and dedicated to what they do but there is no minimal requirement to become a surveyor.* NAMS and SAMS membership does not automatically mean they are well versed in all areas of marine survey.* There are several marine surveyors here in the Northwest that I know are not members of either group and are, quite frankly, not very good.* On the other hand, I have a friend in Annapolis who is not a member of SAMS or NAMS (he is not a "joiner") and from personal experience, he is one of the best I have met.*
In the business, we know there are "buyer's surveyors" and "broker's surveyors".* You as a buyer want the former.* He/she should be more unbiased and be looking out for your best interest in the survey.* We also know there are "alarmist" surveyors who over react to things they find in an effort to justify their time and fees.* Just as it is ok to go to a doctor for a physical and get a clean bill of health, it is also ok for a surveyor to survey a boat and find few, if any, discrepancies.* Some people are fanatical about maintaining their boats and it is reflected in the survey results.
If you find a boat that fits your needs and survey reveals some questionable issues, just as in medicine, you may want to get a second opinion before you decide to walk away.* Many issues are not as serious as they first appear, others are worse.
Side note to Marin.* I see in your profile that you are a pilot and have written about Kenmore.* Do you know Freddie Brink?*



*



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-- Edited by OkSkipper at 10:29, 2008-10-05
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:50 AM   #8
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

The points about surveyors are well taken.* In our case we hired hull and engine surveyors on the recommendation of a friend 30 years in the international marine diesel industry as opposed to either of the brokers we were using.

This was in 1998.* I don't know if the ABYC standards were different at that time or if the hull surveyor was mistaken.* But I have had several people since then who know about such things caution against the downside of using stainless for fuel tanks.* No one has said it's a bad material to use, just that the number of variables in material, technique, and workmanship can result in tanks that are okay or tanks that will fail sooner rather than later.* While the same can be said of any material--- iron, aluminum, fiberglass or plastic--- the odds of having trouble-prone stainless tanks seem to be somehat higher.

I know a pilot at Kenmore named "Fred," but I don't remember his last name.* "Brink" certainly sounds familiar.* Has he been at Kenmore a long time?* The Fred I know has.
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

Fred has been there a long time.* He is the FAA designated examiner there, I believe.* We know him from having been a neighbor of my wife's in Estes Park, CO a long time ago.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:57 AM   #10
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

That's the same Fred. He's flown the camera plane several times when I've done air-to-air photography for Kenmore.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:37 AM   #11
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RE: PT 38 Trawler

Well, it's a done deal....I am now the owner of a 38'PT trawler. I am going to take it back to my home port on Saturday. It's an 80 mile jaunt, so it should give me a good feel for the boat.

I am looking forward to becoming more active on this forum, and I look forward to all the help and advice you seasoned skippers can give me.

Thanks for all your comments so far.
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