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Old 03-03-2016, 09:31 AM   #1
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Starting to look at a Trawler

This may be long but I have a few general questions.

I am looking at a couple of Trawlers and would like opinions/advice.
Since this is my first rodeo, I would want to get my ducks in a row, but there are a couple of things that I am not sure about.
Of course a complete survey will be done before purchase. This brings up y first question regarding engines. I am not an engine mechanic (especially diesel). If the boat is on the hard, how would the surveyor be able to know the condition of the engine(s)? With my current I/O boat, I can put the ear muffs on it and crank it right up. Is there a way that this would be accomplished with a Trawler on the hard?
My expectations are that the following would need to be accomplished following a survey.
1. replace batteries
2. replace impellers
3. polish fuel
4. Change oil
5. change fuel filters.

The next question has to do with the transmission.
It would appear to me that operating the transmission with the boat on the hard (if this is possible), could (and probably would) damage the strut bushing in short order. (I'm pretty sure that it gets its lubrication from the water, but correct me if I am wrong.

This is a semi-project boat, that I am willing to invest a bit of money into, (probably end up being a lot of money).

34' Tollycraft
It has no teak decks. Twin Volvo TMD40A's with Less that 1700 hours.

Advice? Opinions? Cautions?
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Old 03-03-2016, 09:51 AM   #2
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Might want to have a survey done, excluding an engine survey. If more than 10 years hoses belts heat exchanger, zincs, bottom paint cutlass bearing, shaft log, thru hulls also the dc and ac wiring.

Most can be done with the boat in the water and a diver.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:18 AM   #3
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Since the boat is on the hard, I would prefer to do any repairs prior to wet time. Hoses belts, filters, and impellers all would be replaced in the process as well. The survey should reflect any deficiencies such as Thru-Hull fittings and the like. These would also be replaced as necessary.

Since I am a Marine Electrician, The AC and DC systems would be right up my alley.

My main concern since I am not a Mechanic (although mechanically inclined), is the engines. They were last run in 2014. I would like to have some comfort in knowing they were in working order prior to launch.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:26 AM   #4
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Since I am a Marine Electrician, The AC and DC systems would be right up my alley.

My main concern since I am not a Mechanic (although mechanically inclined), is the engines. They were last run in 2014. I would like to have some comfort in knowing they were in working order prior to launch.
Mike,

I think you found the answer, talk to a marine diesel mechanic and a surveyor. Being in the industry, you likely know a few. I see the catch-22 type of dilemma, but someone with the requisite skills and knowledge could help you out.

On another note, if the engine has not been run since 21014, I would talk to a diesel mechanic and ask them what are the likely worst case issues the engine would have. Estimate the costs of those repairs, and discount the buy offer by that much.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:28 AM   #5
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Why before. I have as much of the work done at the dock. Are you going to have a sea trial? If so do it then. Sea trial is usually part of the purchase of most boats.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:29 AM   #6
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I have seen inboard engines run on the hard by removing the raw water intake hose from the sea cock and connecting a garden hose to the intake hose with an adapter.

Or putting the intake hose in a bucket with a garden hose to keep the bucket topped up.

Edit to add: However, that will just let you run it in idle, out of gear. A proper sea trial is the only way to observe the engines under load and at speed.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:29 AM   #7
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Dhays,

That sounds like a good Idea. I don't know if there are any Diesel mechanics on this forum, (or anyone that is intimately familiar with the volvo diesels) that would like to chime in.... I'm listening.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:48 AM   #8
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IMHO a sea trial on any vessel is 100% essential, especially a planing designed 34 Tolly. There are so many things to look for that are prop, shaft, rudder, full load RPM etc related. For sea trial related lists on the Tolly nothing more complicated than communicating with the Tolly Owner's Club is needed.

Art on this site could you help you a lot as could D Marchand who has a very nice (engine?) pre survey check list. Also, armed with engine data peruse the boatdiesel archives. Be patient or get burned is my take.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:51 AM   #9
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I don't know that a sea trial is possible because of the location of the boat. It will have to be moved/transported a couple hundred miles back to the coast. I'm willing to take a chance on it to a certain extent, as long as I can do my due diligence and check them out as best that I can.
The hours (if true) seem reasonable, I have asked for maintenance records from the owner, to give me some kind of idea how the engines were taken care of.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:52 AM   #10
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SDMike, I would consider sea trial and engine survey (mechanical survey, in addition to the normal "marine" survey) absolutely essential in about 99% of cases.


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Old 03-03-2016, 10:57 AM   #11
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I understand that having maintenance records could give you some security. However without a sea trial I think you're buying it knowing it is a possibility you'll be rebuilding or replacing engines or transmissions soon. Is it highly likely, probably not, but it is possible.

Personally, i wouldn't buy a boat unless I had a sea trial. That would be a deal breaker for me unless i was only interested in the hull.
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #12
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I don't know that a sea trial is possible because of the location of the boat. .
So where is as is? Humm
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #13
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I'll second getting a good marine diesel mechanics to check out engine and transmission. You didn't state the age of the boat, but 1700 hours on a diesel is not that much. Sea age is more important. My 10 year old Nordic Tug's Cummins has 1659 hours on it, about 170 hours per season (New England). Not a high number of hours, but it's not sitting around from May to November, and it's well maintained. Even so, s..t happens and things wear out (water pump, alternator). I'd be more concerned if the boat was 20 years old or older. Needing to polish the fuel indicates an older boat sitting around. On older boats with low hours, engines and components rust out before wearing out.

Has the engine been properly maintained and did previous owner have a detailed maintenance log? You're in South Carolina. Is this a local boat? Does it get stored and winterized? It's common to winterize boats up here, and running the engine on the hard is a standard practice. Pop the cover off the raw water strainer, throw in a garden hose (some of us have a fresh water connector on the filter), and run the engine, just not at high or wide-open throttle. You can even engage the transmission, just make sure nobody's around the prop Belts and hose should be checked and replaced if necessary. Oil and filters, water pump impellers, yes. Based on age, heat exchangers, aftercoolers, and oil and fuel coolers need to be checked/cleaned. The list goes on. A good Volvo mechanic would know what to check.
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by seadogmike View Post
I don't know that a sea trial is possible because of the location of the boat. It will have to be moved/transported a couple hundred miles back to the coast. I'm willing to take a chance on it to a certain extent, as long as I can do my due diligence and check them out as best that I can.
The hours (if true) seem reasonable, I have asked for maintenance records from the owner, to give me some kind of idea how the engines were taken care of.
Without a sea trial and engine survey it's all a crap shoot. But I'm confused about the location of the boat. Is it 200 miles from water? How did it get there? Why? That aspect makes no sense. Who moves a boat 200 miles from the nearest water and then tries to sell it there. That would remove my minimal trust completely.
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:10 PM   #15
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Have you read any reviews on this model? Tolly's are fantastic but like anything there are some exceptions, and this model might be one of them. Check it out and hopefully I'm wrong.
As to the other areas that have been mentioned they seem to be adding up to a negative for this purchase. IMHO.
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:13 PM   #16
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lots of boats out there
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:30 PM   #17
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Without a sea trial and engine survey it's all a crap shoot. But I'm confused about the location of the boat. Is it 200 miles from water? How did it get there? Why? That aspect makes no sense. Who moves a boat 200 miles from the nearest water and then tries to sell it there. That would remove my minimal trust completely.
I don't know, it happened to Noah....

Seems to me in a situation like the boat has to be discounted for the situation it is in. 200 miles away from water, then I understand why there may not be a marine diesel mechanic handy. Depending on the cost of the boat, and what insurance carriers or lenders would require, I would assume that anything that can't be checked out at the time of purchase is really, really bad. Discount the price based on that, plus the cost of moving to water etc....

A purchase like this is a risk and it sounds like the OP knows it. The trick is to pay so little for the boat, given the uncertainty, that the risk becomes tolerable.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:20 PM   #18
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Starting the engines on land wont tell you much. The expensive problems show up under load.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:51 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
IMHO a sea trial on any vessel is 100% essential, especially a planing designed 34 Tolly. There are so many things to look for that are prop, shaft, rudder, full load RPM etc related. For sea trial related lists on the Tolly nothing more complicated than communicating with the Tolly Owner's Club is needed.

Art on this site could you help you a lot as could D Marchand who has a very nice (engine?) pre survey check list. Also, armed with engine data peruse the boatdiesel archives. Be patient or get burned is my take.
Looks like good advice to me.

Sea Dog Mike, spend the little money it would take to put it in the water. It will be the best money you ever spent.

And you may save some money by focusing exactly what the boat needs.
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:14 PM   #20
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OK,
Is a mechanic available? yes.
The boat was moved inland due to Health reasons of the original owner. His family was paying for a slip that the boat was in, without it being used, so a financial decision was made to move the boat to their farm, where it has been since 2014. After his passing away, they were "stuck" with the boat, because no one in the family is interested in it. It is for sale now because the "farm" where it is being stored is up for sale.

That was why i asked the question about starting the engines on the hard. If the engines can be run for the mechanics survey, then I would believe that more than likely they would operate properly. My thoughts are this... To by the boat without a sea trial, I agree that this is not the best situation. The engines, transmissions, and drive are the biggest chunk of what scares me abut the deal. There is some room for negotiation in the price.
I was more concerned with how much a mechanic would be able to tell me without there being a sea trial. Based on what I am hearing, not much more than I could figure out myself.
I know enough about the rest of the boat systems to make a decision based on the surveyors input. The question was more about the engines than the entire boat.
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