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Old 12-03-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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Trawler Shopping - Help

I there folks, I'm a new guy to this forum and taking a shot at my FIRST POST, I'm a little nervous so be gentle. I've been a sailor for about 50 years (oh my, I just added it up) and have had many sail and small motor boats in my life of toy acquisition. We are thinking about keeping a little pocket cruiser 26' sail boat and sticking a toe in the trawler world. I'm chartering a Maineship in Florida in 2 weeks and shopping this weekend. We'll be shopping our tails off in Florida for a month or so after 15 Dec. I've heard the "it depends on the care of the previous owner" concept and I get it totally. As I search the historical posts here, I see concerns about fuel tanks, window leaks, but little else that seems to be manufacturer-specific. The one we're going to look at has Detroit Diesels, 220 hp, 8.2 liters, no teak decks, low (maybe too low) unknown engine hours, and a nicely maintained boat. We're also looking at Heritage East, Albin, Sabreline, and Mainship. Anyone care to rank these in overall quality for a 35 - 40', sun deck, galley down trawler? Any issues with these boats out-of-production with out of business builders?

Thanks for any responses from you smart, experienced folks. Cpt. Dave
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:47 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Florida IS a great place to look at a wide variety of vessels. You've hit the nail on the head regarding "it depends on the care of the previous owner" concept. Smart, experienced......???
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:57 PM   #3
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Greetings, Welcome aboard. Florida IS a great place to look at a wide variety of vessels. You've hit the nail on the head regarding "it depends on the care of the previous owner" concept. Smart, experienced......
.

Thanks. At the way, it will be largely a "Bay Boat" with some costal cruising likely after some trawler experience. Also, it will serve as our 2nd northern home in the Chesapeake Bay.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:19 PM   #4
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I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for, but we need more info. Please do very close investigation on the 8.2 Detroit Diesel GM option. These are on the bottom of almost any list of diesel preferences, and there are plenty of comments available in the "search" option in this forum. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the observation and hint about the Detroit Diesel. I will check it out. We have many, many options. Shopping is a process and we enjoy it.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:41 PM   #6
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We have twin 250 8.2s in our OA.

The 8.2 Detroit experienced a rash of blown head gaskets shortly after the introduction of the turbo version. The original 4 bolt pattern around the cylinders was subsequently changed to five, and bolt diameter was increased. There was also a problem with faulty thermostats, which contributed to the head gasket issue. The new bolts and revised thermostats solved the problem. A lot of what you read is hearsay and is biased by that early history.

The OA 44 was offered with engine options from Lehman, Volvo, Cummins, Cat and Detroit. I was well aware of the 8.2 "rep", so I researched the engine at length....and compared what I read to failures and issues for other potential engine brands. Then I called Johnson and Towers who had marinized the engine for Detroit. Two of the engineers who were part of the original design team gave me the history on the conversion. They candidly advised me to avoid the 300+ HP intercooled versions as they had tried to stuff 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag...and that version of the engine did not hold up to the typical ""on the pins" operation in the small sport fish application. They both viewed the 220/250 HP turbo engine as a "gem" that took to turbocharging like a duck takes to water. Further, in their experience, while the 8.2 had fared poorly in the varying rpm road application, it thrived in the constant rpm marine operation. I subsequently selected the 8.2 over the other offerings and thank my lucky stars.

The engines in our boat (1300 hours) start the instant the button is depressed (even after eight months of winter storage). They don't leak, don't smoke, have zero issues with injection pumps (because they don't have one), are arguably the most fuel efficient engines offered in the 35-45' semi-planning "trawler" segment, and as a bonus have a burley V8 rumble (life is too short to put up with a 6 cylinder drone). That said, I don't lean on the engines very hard....nor do most owners of other engine brands in these older boats.

So, if you do an engine comparison, be sure to investigate all engines on your list of candidates. You'll find the 8.2 stacks up just fine if you discount the 10 pounds in an 5 pound bag version. Parts are still available from Detroit and used parts are common. By the way, Detroit used to provide the warranty history on old engines. I got the printout for the engines in our boat before closing the deal.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:56 PM   #7
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I'ld 2nd the hard look at the 8.2 I worked on several in trucks & they all had problems. Skid may be right about the use in a boat. I did see one in a street sweeper it was hydrostatic & ran against the governor most of the time & I don't remember me or any of the other mechanics working on the engine. Good Luck
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:45 PM   #8
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Skid,

That is great info. I feel much better prepared to assess those engines. I'm new to big marine engines so I will tread carefully and carry a big surveyor!!! Thanks for the great detail.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:58 PM   #9
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A really diligent owner is required to keep the 8.2s going. Be sure to use your own diligence when considering this motor. A primary question - is there a very good 8.2 mechanic in your current location? If so, talk to him before your trip.

How and where do you plan on using the new vessel?
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:19 AM   #10
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We plan to base out of Annapolis or very near there. Mission is the first thing I considered in starting the boat search process. We want a place where we can spent about 60% of our life on board for 6 months or more. Multiple day cruises around various spots on the. Chesapeake Bay are the plan. Sometimes, I need to be within a days travel of Annapolis since I'm still working part time and may need to head to BWI. We want to do some longer voyages and may do the ICW in a year or three since we have reasons to go to FL. We're looking at a number of boats this weekend and just want to get on some of these to begin the process. I'm stuck with the "older with more issues but lower acquisition cost vs. Newer and slightly fewer issues". We're looking in the $50 - $125k range. I don't want to get up any higher.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:30 AM   #11
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Of the brands you mentioned, Sabre is, in my opinion, the highest quality and usually pricing reflects this. I know of a Sabre 34' in like new condition (in Maine ) within your price range.

For the type of cruising you mention, I like a cruiser capable of faster speeds, either semi displacement or planing , as long as it can be slowed down to displacement speeds satisfactorily. A lot more Chesapeake destinations are opened up with a faster boat.

You've been wet and slow (sailing) for fifty years. Time to enjoy stink potting!
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:34 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=sunchaser;196739]A really diligent owner is required to keep the 8.2s going.

So, what's your personal experience with the engine?
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:38 AM   #13
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I'ld 2nd the hard look at the 8.2 I worked on several in trucks & they all had problems. Skid may be right about the use in a boat. I did see one in a street sweeper it was hydrostatic & ran against the governor most of the time & I don't remember me or any of the other mechanics working on the engine. Good Luck
What sort of problems, exactly? Were they normally aspirated, or turbo? If turbo, which iteration?
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:08 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=skidgear;196782]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
A really diligent owner is required to keep the 8.2s going.

So, what's your personal experience with the engine?
Some years ago when buying a boat I looked at several Tollycrafts that had the 8,2s. At that time the President of the Tollycraft Club explained to me in great detail the work required to keep them going. The list was a bit longer than I thought prudent. Tollycraft too as the warranty issues flooded in and they abandoned the 8.2, so said the ex VP sales for Tollycraft.

In talking with DD marine shops they provided me with sufficient information to make the prudent decisions such as cooling system issues due to DDs marinization design. Not to mention a really long lived 8.2 is about the hours time a better V8 marine engine in the late 80s was hitting its stride, the 3208 Cat soon to be usurped by the Cummins 6BT.

A friend, experiencing the normal 8.2 difficulties dropped in two JDs and was quite simply, elated with the results.

And I was the lucky manager of a fleet of GM diesel pickups back in the late 70s when DD was working with GM, guess the progeny of that engine.

As I said earlier Skidgear, a diligent owner can keep them going, but for long distance cruising they are not very popular nor highly sought after.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:38 AM   #15
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Capt. Dave: I've got a 1989 36' sabreline trawler with 8.2 turbos. About 1900 hours, very reliable and give me 2.0 nmpg @ 8 knots. Have had the boat three years, capable of 18-20 kts (down hill on an ebb tide), but we cruise at 8 knots. Comfortable boat with 2 staterooms & heads, large fly bridge and nice aft deck for cocktails. Large windows for light and visibility along with fresh air. Good solid boat, oil analysis always in specs.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:35 AM   #16
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Skid: It makes sense that the 8.2's did better in the constant RPM modes. It certainly would keep the engine much more even in temperature throughout. We argued with DD about hotspots in the open-deck design and later began using an after-market head gasket that did help quite a bit, but the source went out of business. Automatic transmissions also helped. J & T was also my dealer in Baltimore.
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:51 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=sunchaser;196794][QUOTE=skidgear;196782]

Some years ago when buying a boat I looked at several Tollycrafts that had the 8,2s. At that time the President of the Tollycraft Club explained to me in great detail the work required to keep them going. The list was a bit longer than I thought prudent. Tollycraft too as the warranty issues flooded in and they abandoned the 8.2, so said the ex VP sales for Tollycraft.

What exactly is this "great detail (about) the work required to keep them going"? The mechanical injection rack needs occasional (long term) tuneup. Ours are at 1300 hours and still function perfectly. What else beyond typical maintenance?

I'm well aware of the early warranty history on the engine. Virtually all of them were tied to the head gasket problem I described earlier. Ocean Alexander had the same experience. The problems were addressed on later versions of the engines...unfortunately not soon enough. Sounds like dock talk and conjecture...details please.

In talking with DD marine shops they provided me with sufficient information to make the prudent decisions such as cooling system issues due to DDs marinization design. Not to mention a really long lived 8.2 is about the hours time a better V8 marine engine in the late 80s was hitting its stride, the 3208 Cat soon to be usurped by the Cummins 6BT.

The issues weren't tied to the marinization systems, they were inherent to the basic engine...clamping force on the heads and thermostat issues. By the time Detroit applied fixes to those two areas, the engine was sadly, the stuff of uninformed folklore....which you are diligently passing along. Do you have records on the service life of the later versions of the 220/250 horsepower turbo engines with the upgraded heads? Not hearsay...actual data that tracks service history versus engine configuration?
 
A friend, experiencing the normal 8.2 difficulties dropped in two JDs and was quite simply, elated with the results.

Exactly which "normal difficulties"? Of which version of the engines do you speak? Derogatory comments about the early engines are justified, but painting the later configurations with the same brush is patently unfair, let alone false.

And I was the lucky manager of a fleet of GM diesel pickups back in the late 70s when DD was working with GM, guess the progeny of that engine.

What's your point...other than more innuendo. The engine is not a gas derivative as some folks think...it's a purpose built diesel with very robust rotating components...gear driven timing, fuel pump and governor. It entered service in the 1981 time frame after your fleet experience. The Jabsco raw water pumps need to be regularly serviced and watched...not all that unusual on any marine engine. What else?

As I said earlier Skidgear, a diligent owner can keep them going, but for long distance cruising they are not very popular nor highly sought after.

What exactly do you mean by "keep them going"? And what are you trying to infer by "diligent"? The engines in our boat have "kept on going", for almost ten years under our ownership with absolutely no additional maintenance beyond routine oil, filter, belts and hose changes. There have been zero issues ...none, nada, zip. They're well past what I'd expect as the service life of a gas engine in a 45 foot boat. If you have certifiable information that they detonate at X number of hours, please share it. What exactly is the typical Achilles heel?

The unique characteristic of the engine among four-strokes, is of course, the mechanical injection rack and the injectors....carry overs from the 2-stroke engines. I consider it a plus. But I do suspect that the "normal difficulties" you reference are actually related to piss poor maintenance of the rack....not catastrophic issues with the long block. A rack tuneup is not this bogey man that sneaks up on you every 200 hours, and which requires an on-call 24/7 mechanic. For the record, at 1300 hours, there is no evidence the injection racks on our engines are anywhere close to needing adjustment. As I mentioned previously, the rack in a marine installation typically gets set and left for a given engine rpm, which obviously minimizes wear and tear as compared to a road use engine where the linkage is constantly moving. You either acquire the special tools to do the job yourself or find a mechanic. The shop manual is excellent, and I have accumulated the special tools to do the job. Time consuming and detailed job...but it ain't rocket science. If comparing fuel injection systems, I believe I'd trust a well tuned 8.2 for an extended cruise long before an equivalent vintage engine with an old (or new) tech injection pump.

As I suspected, you haven't owned or operated one of these engines yourself. Unless comments are supported by data and specifics, I tend to categorize them as opinion, folklore, dock talk, hearsay, etc....

/QUOTE]
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #18
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Skidgear, I repeat and as you state, a very diligent owner using the shop manual, special tools, dealing with the head gasket and different marinization issues - can keep these engines running happily. Finding parts can be problematic, if what one reads on boatdiesel is accurate.

But we are not talking about maintaining an engine here, we are talking about boat shopping. The buyer should be aware that the 8.2s are not a popular engine of choice, and do indeed benefit from a very smart and passionate person, someone like you. Not all 8.2 owners are that hands on or boat savvy thus the OP himself should be diligent and introspective.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:52 PM   #19
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:18 PM   #20
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[Quote; sunchaser]

Skidgear, I repeat and as you state, a very diligent owner using the shop manual, special tools, dealing with the head gasket and different marinization issues - can keep these engines running happily. Finding parts can be problematic, if what one reads on boatdiesel is accurate.

Excuse me? I said there never was a marinization issue and that the head gasket problem was resolved by Detroit many years ago. An engine with the larger head bolts is good to go. Inferring that these are recurring problems is simply more hyperbole. I have yet to use the shop manual for anything other than oil change and antifreeze schedule/specs as there has never been any issues. You're making stuff up. I occasionally follow the engine on E-bay. Lots of parts. There's also a supplier in Michigan who can source new parts for whatever you need. One needs to know where to look.
 
But we are not talking about maintaining an engine here, we are talking about boat shopping. The buyer should be aware that the 8.2s are not a popular engine of choice, and do indeed benefit from a very smart and passionate person, someone like you. Not all 8.2 owners are that hands on or boat savvy thus the OP himself should be diligent and introspective

Actually, the maintenance and reliability discussion started when you implied there are issues with the Detroit 8.2 engine and referred the OP to boat diesel. I explained where the "popularity" issue originated....how the actual technical problem was addressed by DD...and sadly, how a myth has been perpetuated.

"Smart and diligent" have nothing to do with keeping this engine operational. The later iterations just keep on keepin' on with nothing but routine servicing. Obviously a shopper should be smart about what he's looking at...including the engines. But be smart about facts...not opinion and urban legend. If you look at Boat diesel, take an equally hard look at every other engine under consideration. I did. And I selected a boat with 8.2s, precisely because of the engine. There are drawbacks for every one of the engines offered in the 80's and 90's...most much wor$e than for the Detroit 8.2. If the engine was a maintenance hog and a pile of junk, I assure you I'd be blasting it. In my ten years of experience it absolutely is not.

For the OP, might I suggest that you include OA in your search...lots of engine choices offered over the years, many models with efficient Monk designed hulls.
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