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Old 07-03-2017, 08:52 PM   #1
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Idled once a week, was that a good thing?

Hello everyone, I'm new here and still looking for a boat. I've been reading up on things and of course reading this forum, (it's great) and talking to sellers about their boats.

That brings me to my question. A seller is telling me he doesn't take his boat out, but proudly says "I always run the engines at the dock each week."

Now I am new to marine diesels, but I've always heard that idling a diesel engine isn't the best way to keep it in shape, and in fact it is kind of bad to do just that and not run it up to operating temperature. This owner has had her for about 3 years, she is a Defever with Lehman 135 engines.

Should this history cross this boat off my list?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Frank
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:58 PM   #2
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Idling with no running is bad. How bad might be determined by a survey. Are you sure you were not told that because she thought you might want to hear that. Check engine hours when she bought it and current Assuming there is a log of some sort.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:04 PM   #3
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Regularly idling gas or diesel without using it is not good for it. But how to quantify what if any damage it has caused? I sure don't know. Then, was it a few times, or every week for a couple of years? I'd guess a few times or maybe even every week for a few months might not be a big deal, but if it was over a very long time, I'd be concerned.

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Old 07-03-2017, 09:10 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:15 PM   #5
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Your answer and assumption to your own question is correct. Oh, and by the way, welcome to the forum! Sea ya' around.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:31 PM   #6
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Welcome!

If you are really interested in the boat and the rest of it looks OK... Find a good marine diesel mechanic and have a survey on both engines. Oil test, sea trial et al.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:26 PM   #7
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Wow, you guys are quick! Thanks for your thoughts.

I think the guy has been idling it for the 3 years he has owned it. He doesn't really sound like a boat person. He has been using it as a live aboard in the San Francisco Bay Area. So I think he is well intentioned, but perhaps not well informed. I didn't want to get into it with him, because I didn't want to criticize his boat. When I heard that, I pretty well figured that to buy it, I'd have to deduct the cost of new engines, and I don't think he would understand that, and I don't want to deal with a big project right at the start anyway.

I know all boats are a work in progress, but I am hoping to buy one that will allow me to make a little progress, before I have to do too much work.

Thanks again all!

Frank

P.S. When I asked him about logs, records and receipts, he said there aren't any - that worried me too.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:31 PM   #8
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Assuming new! or even overhauling engine is extreme.

They may be fine, let a good mechanic check it out
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:02 PM   #9
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I would rather the engines be run once a week with no load than not run at all for three years. Short runs are not the best things for engine health, but better than long term sitting in the marine environment.

Get them checked out and take it for a good test run. If they pass inspection, I would not worry over it.

Be prepared for a big cloud of stinky smoke when you put the load on them! Lots of gunk to burn out, but then should run clean.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:09 PM   #10
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508,
I think you're seriously over reacting.
Certianly won't hurt to pass but these engines could be fine.

Declaring something to be bad on a forum frequently goes over the top and people avoid it like a plague. In this case it's just something to file away and pull it out if there are signs that the reported idling indeed may have caused problems. Also the guy may have started the engine every year or so but didn't want to admit it. If you had done that and the engines ran fine what would you do? The comment by yourself that he seemed proud of his efforts are an indication that perhaps he's trying to fool you. Just say'in.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:12 PM   #11
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Don't dismiss the boat from consideration and don't attach a massive penalty from it. Judge on it's overall condition and if you like it make an offer, then get boat and engine surveys. Is idling once a week and never using a boat recommended? No. But then engines are tougher than some would have you believe and they might run perfectly the first time it's run or have a lot of stuff to push out first but then fine or fine with very little work. If he's been at the dock all this time, then generator might not have been started, but then I've known engines not used for three years to run fine. I would definitely have some things checked before running such as impellers.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:19 PM   #12
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All of that idling talk is fine but no records? That is a stopper for me. You will find lots of stuff even the surveyor missed. What about zincs outside and in the engine? You get the idea. No regular maintenance, me no buy.

Sorry, almost forgot, welcome!
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:35 AM   #13
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It`s not that surprising there are no records for his ownership period, all he was doing was living on board and semi exercising the engines. Have them checked out, don`t just can the boat.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:27 AM   #14
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"Regularly idling gas or diesel without using it is not good for it."

Usually true , however the engine design has to be taken into account.

The engine is not a heavy duty industrial grade , it is a marinized farm tractor engine.

These are expected to idle for long periods of time , just as taxi engines like a 4-107 .

NO it was not be "best" for the engine , but it probably did not loose much service life at all, if any.

I would go for a boat ride and see where (the coolant water temperature) the white smoke from the exhaust stops.

This is a great "poor boy" compression check.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
"Regularly idling gas or diesel without using it is not good for it."

Usually true , however the engine design has to be taken into account.

The engine is not a heavy duty industrial grade , it is a marinized farm tractor engine.

These are expected to idle for long periods of time , just as taxi engines like a 4-107 .

NO it was not be "best" for the engine , but it probably did not loose much service life at all, if any.

I would go for a boat ride and see where (the coolant water temperature) the white smoke from the exhaust stops.

This is a great "poor boy" compression check.
Totally agreed. Then so you know a lot more about engine quality; after the ride... suck enough oil out to get the following [there are other analyzers - search Google]:

Oil Analyzers Test Kit


AMSOIL Oil Analyzers Test Kit, Non Postage Paid
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:23 AM   #16
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At least two years out of date for an oil change, impeller changes, raw water cooler and strainer maintenance, fuel filters, toilet maintenance, water pumps, anodes, hull maintenance, genset maintenance?

A one-time oil analysis will not show you anything much, you need trend analysis.

Transmission oil, transmission cooler, batteries... its not just the engines, no records.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsbank View Post
At least two years out of date for an oil change, impeller changes, raw water cooler and strainer maintenance, fuel filters, toilet maintenance, water pumps, anodes, hull maintenance, genset maintenance?

A one-time oil analysis will not show you anything much, you need trend analysis.

Transmission oil, transmission cooler, batteries... its not just the engines, no records.
Yo Ho, Ho - and a Bottle O' Rum!

Happy 4th O' July... Big guy!!

You are correct... but, ya gotta start somewhere.

Trial run and then oil check taint too bad a place ta begin... if the thread originator is seriously looking into purchase of this boat.

If owner used boat as a condo only for years, with no log records kept... then he needs to take steep discount.

Period - Da End! -
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:42 AM   #18
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I'm not that big, I'm on a diet! But happy July 4th to you too! You are in my time zone - are you into the rum already? It does go well with orange juice...
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:56 AM   #19
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Greetings,
Given the engine(s) were treated as the owner describes AND no records, one might assume that no maintenance was done either so an oil analysis may provide some insight. Aside from that, unless it's a bargain basement give away price, I'd walk as well.

Mr. 508. Is this boat listed anywhere? May we take a look please?
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:00 AM   #20
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This, exactly.

Poor man's engine survey:

Just take it out for a sea trial, burn the gunk out, see if it clears up.

Clear? Then back to the slip, come back tomorrow and start the cold engines and see what comes out?

RB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I would rather the engines be run once a week with no load than not run at all for three years. Short runs are not the best things for engine health, but better than long term sitting in the marine environment.

Get them checked out and take it for a good test run. If they pass inspection, I would not worry over it.

Be prepared for a big cloud of stinky smoke when you put the load on them! Lots of gunk to burn out, but then should run clean.
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