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Old 11-12-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
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I'm looking at a boat that is about 13 years old with only 350 hours on the mains. At first I thought those low hours were great, but now I'm wondering if the engines have been used enough. No maintenance logs. Boat does not show exceptional care. Should the engines be surveyed? What should a engine survey cost for two 4cy Yanmars?

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Old 11-12-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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If it's too good to be true it often is with boats. Mine had very low hours but that was only because it was replaced, along with everything else 2 years ago as part of a complete re-fit. Low hours on an iffy boat makes me a skeptic.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:10 PM   #3
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It's a crap shoot. Sea trial the boat first and run the engines hard. If any problems show up during sea trials, then decide if it is worth looking into them or just walking away.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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I agree with Rick. Do a normal survey and sea trial and if all looks ok then spend the bucks (at least $1,000 probably) to do a proper engine survey.

On your sea trial, note the following:

Does the engine start up easily (2-3 seconds) from cold
Does it rev up to rated rpm in gear
Does it overheat at wot.
Does it blow a lot of black smoke
General condition of engine room

If all of the above are ok, then I would proceed with the engine survey.

But don't pay much attention to the oil analysis. One sample doesn't tell you much except for catastrophic things like seawater or glycol in the oil. And certainly find another mechanic if he wants to do a compression test- a total waste of your dollars.

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Old 11-12-2013, 03:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
And certainly find another mechanic if he wants to do a compression test- a total waste of your dollars.
Let me add a caveat to that last bit though ... a borescope examination is an excellent way of proving liner conditions. If you are that interested then getting a compression test performed while the injectors are out is not a big deal and is a good baseline to have.

But, for what it's worth, if it starts easily, runs strong, clean, and cool, and doesn't exhibit any scary symptoms then I wouldn't bother much with going to deep into a full fledged engine survey.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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I'd say 350 at 13 years is too low, and yes, likely needing examination.

OTOH, like guys have said, you can likely make an offer subject to both marine and mechanical surveys... do the marine survey... and decide from there whether to proceed with a full-up mechanical (compression tests and so forth).

It costs what it costs; I don't actually remember, for our latest... but then again if it saves you from buying a turkey... or at least let's you renegotiate final price a bit better... then the trade-off can be well worth it.

Most of the charge is labor... and an amortized contribution to the tools the guy brings... although it's also not unheard of to remove the head and check valve clearances, etc... so the cost of new manifold gaskets would be included at that stage.

-Chris
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:26 PM   #7
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Hire an experienced engine surveyor familiar with your particular engine. Insist on both an oil and coolant analysis.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Don't know where you are but in the Great Lakes those kind of hours are not much below average for trawler type boats of that age.
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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Around here, usually folks expect around 100 hours/season, give or take. Wide range, though, from dock queens to near-full-timers.

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