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Old 11-01-2010, 09:02 AM   #1
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Pathfinder Diesel Engine

I am considering a pocket trawler that has a Pathfinder Marine 50 diesel engine with 1356 hours. It is a marinized VW engine. It appears well cared for and I will have a full engine survey done before any decisions are made.Does anyone have any observations, information etc. on this type of engine? Thanking you in advance.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:44 AM   #2
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Pathfinder Diesel Engine

Never saw a marine version but have*a 1999*TDI in a Jetta. They are reliable and strong for their size, very robust, known for longevity. We run it pretty hard and it keeps comming back for more.
Also had it's predecessor in a VW Rabbit and the same comments apply except for the strong part LOL.
Make sure you change the timing belt and may as well do the fresh water pump while you're in there.



-- Edited by jleonard on Monday 1st of November 2010 10:44:34 AM
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

Those were used in Sundowner tugs. I had been a member of that forum and if my memory is correct (who knows ), these engines are next to impossible to get marinized parts for at this point. You may want to google sundowner tugs to try to find the owners association for more info.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:16 PM   #4
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

Westport Bob,
Go to***** http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/ and seek out CDK
He knows ALLLL about them.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:18 PM   #5
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

My only experience with a Pathfinder was with a friend who had one in his Islander 36 sailboat. My biggest complaint was that the shuttof solenoid was powered open and sprung closed. IOW, if electrical power was lost(or it was too weak to hold the solenoid open), then the engine would shut down. Most engines fail to the "Run" position where you would have to manually actuate the shutoff to shut the engine down if power was lost. Anyway, I realize there is a workaround to this problem, but it wasn't my boat....Towboat US cancelled their membership....no ****!
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:34 PM   #6
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

My brother in law had one in his Sundowner 30' tug. The boat has been gone for about 15 yrs. now so it is but a memory.

I can't comment on parts availability such as the raw water pump or the other marinization pieces. They may be tough to get. Much can likely be sourced from elsewhere but be a bit carefull as there were not a lot of them, so there may not be a large base of old engines to keep someone supplying parts.

I think the base vw engine was a good little engine, just the marinization pieces that may cause grief.

One thing I do remember and I was not impressed with, the marinization workmanship. He had removed the exhaust manifold for some reason, don't remember When he went to reinstall he couldn't get the gaskets back into place. The engine had two or three individual gaskets stacked to fill the gaps to the head at a couple of the ports. I ended up taking the manifold to work, putting it on the milling machine and facing the mounting surfaces. None of them were in the same plane or flat. There were no machining marks at all, but some sanding had been done. Poor work and could have bee a problem with a seal.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #7
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

We had friends that had a pathfinder in the same boat we had... but luckily we had a universal ( kubota) engine. They had a lot of small issues with theirs... all due to the marinization parts... and it was not very pleasing in the noise department either. Vw is still in the marine business... with the latest TDI engine bases... up to over 300hp!. We ha a tricked out vw Golf that has been pumped from the stock 90 hp to almost 160hp!... I love stop light racing kids in their little rice rockets.... it leaves them it a black cloud of diesel soot! . The Admiral uses it as a commuter car and gets over 50 mpg every week... sorry I digress.... see the vw marine link below
HOLLYWOOD

http://www.vw-m.de/index.php?id=444&L=1
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:58 AM   #8
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

Does anyone have any observations, information etc. on this type of engine? Thanking you in advance.

A car transplant will have very different operational charactistics than an industrial , or even tractor transplant.


On a sea trial be sure your normal LRC cruising operating RPM will be at least 20% and better 25% below the top RPM in gear.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:04 PM   #9
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RE: Pathfinder Diesel Engine

I wish thank all of you for your very helpful observations and comments.
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