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Old 01-14-2018, 07:50 AM   #1
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Engine hours

I've seen a number of instances over time of folks buying used vehicles (boats, aircraft) who seek out "low hours". That is viewed as a positive attribute.

For what it is worth, my experience has been that it is better to buy a vehicle that has been well used and maintained.

Given two identical 10-year-old offerings, the one with 200 hours will likely command a premium over one with 1200 hours. Given decent maintenance and records I'd prefer the one with 1200 hours.

Lack of use is often more damaging than use.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:39 AM   #2
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I've seen a number of instances over time of folks buying used vehicles (boats, aircraft) who seek out "low hours". That is viewed as a positive attribute.

For what it is worth, my experience has been that it is better to buy a vehicle that has been well used and maintained.

Given two identical 10-year-old offerings, the one with 200 hours will likely command a premium over one with 1200 hours. Given decent maintenance and records I'd prefer the one with 1200 hours.

Lack of use is often more damaging than use.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:32 AM   #3
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For me, its not the wear on the engine I'm worried about with high hour boats, its the wear on all the other stuff. If you've put enough time on something to run up big hours, all of the other stuff on the boat can get worn. Same thing on diesel pusher motorhomes.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:02 PM   #4
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Sure, the other stuff breaks and has to be replaced. But nothing costs as much to replace as an engine, sometimes 100% of the value of the boat.

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Old 01-14-2018, 01:25 PM   #5
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For what it is worth, my experience has been that it is better to buy a vehicle that has been well used and maintained.

Lack of use is often more damaging than use.
In researching the history of my boat (a 1988), It was sold to the second owner in 1999 with 110 hours on the clock. 3 years later it was repowered with another Volvo TAMD, though a slightly newer model.

I have no clue about it's original use, though the 1999 survey shows it on a lift. I can only assume it got very little use. I have no clue on the reason for the repower as those early logs are missing.

I'm guessing some catastrophic failure, possibly related to its lack of use over it's first 11 years. Dunno... I didn't pay that bill, though I assume it was substantial, and probably unanticipated by the new owner who bought a VERY low hours boat.....

1700 trouble free hours since..
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:12 PM   #6
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For me, its not the wear on the engine I'm worried about with high hour boats, its the wear on all the other stuff.
I'd argue that--in most cases--higher engine hours equals more use of the vehicle. That suggests more use of all the other stuff. And if the engine has been maintained then the other stuff likely has as well.

Just like the engine, other stuff can fail by not being used.

Ok, maybe soft good excepted.
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:02 PM   #7
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200 hours /1200 hours is minimal difference to me but 1200hours to 5000 hours use is where I get cold
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:04 PM   #8
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Without knowing how it was used, hours can be misleading. 1200 hours on the pin (WOT), isn't going to be good for most engines. In the example of the 11 year old boat with 110 hours, it may have been the second owner running the engine like an outboard (10% off the pin) that did it in.

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Old 01-15-2018, 12:42 PM   #9
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An oil analysis can give a good indication of engine care and use. While sellers usually will have fresh oil and filters, and since no oil change is absolute, after a sea trial, the analysis will pick up metal particles still in pan/oil galleries.
Since bearings, cylinders, rings and valves all have different alloys or metals. with careful analysis you can find evidence of infrequent oil changes and excessive heavy use.
Most yacht engines are rated light or recreational duty. Usually 1-2 hours at hp rating for every 12 hours. 100 hours of wot in a new engine with fresh oil will show up. More so with a turbo.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:05 PM   #10
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200 hours /1200 hours is minimal difference to me but 1200hours to 5000 hours use is where I get cold
For me it depends on the engine and how it was used. Our last boat was a sailboat with a 4-108 engine. At 5000 hours the engine needed some mechanical help. I would use the engine to get in and out of the slip or anchorage. Runs of more than a few hours were the exception. When we boat Hobo, FL SP135, the engine had 5600 hours with good maintance records. At 8600 hours the oil analysis was great. 5000 hours on a big block slow turning diesel shouldn’t be a deal killer by a long shot imho.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:02 PM   #11
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Engine hours

Caterpillar recommends rod bearing replacement after 25,000 gallons of fuel and engine overhaul after 30,000 gallons.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:42 PM   #12
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Many years ago I spoke to Bob Smith of American Diesel about how many hours a Lehman could go before rebuild. He said that the professional watermen in the Chesapeake Bay area brought them in around 20,000 hours for a preventive rebuild. He said a well maintained Lehman would last almost forever if it was run and taken care of. Most recreational boat engines die due to lack of use and maintenance.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:17 PM   #13
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I have an excavation company and we have purchased low hour used machines but they are in no way new machines. Heavy equipment like boats need to be regularly used. I think the more computer and electric stuff the boat/equipment has the more it needs to be used regularly. We bought a low hour dozer and it has a computer with sensors on it and that is what has given us issues. So I definitely would not let hours be the primary consideration in the potential purchase.
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