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Portage_Bay 06-21-2019 07:53 AM

Californian 42 LRC under contract
We've had our offer accepted on a Californian 42 LRC 1983 accepted. Surveys are scheduled for July 9.

The boat is immaculate and very well maintained. I'm not expecting any major issues to be found during survey. There are some things that need attention of course, she's 36 yrs old. And she's been on the hard for the past year waiting for the right buyers so we've got some weathering of the exterior to remedy.

We've hired excellent surveyors. However any real life experiences any of you can share on problem areas to examine closely would be greatly appreciated. Many here have already provided good input on the thread "Remove post in aft cabin?"

Our intended use is from the Puget Sound area north to BC and SE Ak.

1983 Californian 42 LRC

Edelweiss 06-21-2019 08:06 AM

Should be a fun boat. If you won't have covered moorage and if it still has the original 9' long wood frame aft cabin windows, set some money aside to replace them with aluminum frame windows. Keeping them watertight is nearly impossible.
Otherwise it is an excellent boat.[emoji106]

Portage_Bay 06-21-2019 08:20 AM

Yes she's still got the long original windows. And no, covered moorage is not likely to happen anytime soon, the waiting lists are very long.

RonR 06-21-2019 08:36 AM

Congrats ! We were up there the same time as you guys. Great looking boat, my wife's favorite by far.

Comodave 06-21-2019 08:36 AM

Congrats on your new boat, hope survey goes well.

Edelweiss 06-21-2019 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by Portage_Bay (Post 776028)
Yes she's still got the long original windows. And no, covered moorage is not likely to happen anytime soon, the waiting lists are very long.

In that case, you will find the thread below of great help in doing the upgrade:

GregBrannon 06-21-2019 10:01 AM

Nice looking boat! Good luck with the purchase, and keep us posted.

hpogue123 06-21-2019 10:53 AM

I have an '87 Jefferson that looks like it's out of the same Taiwanese molds that I bought last year. Here's a few survey tips:
1. Check all 12v lights & wiring for intermittents. Bang the walls and switches with them on and see if they flicker. Bad grounds and where the wire is routed is problematic. They laid down mahogany plywood, routed it, put wires in channel and then Teak veneer over that so pulling new wires I have found near impossible without tearing up paneling.
2. I you are going to add electronics, look at the wire chases between the ER, Salon, and flybridge. Mine were so stuffed I couldn't get a coat hanger wire thru them.
3.Check the Salon Helm breaker and terminal block for a mess. Many of my crimp connectors I had to replace because they didn't use tinned wire and the corrosion made them intermittent.
4. Double check your accessibility to the outsides of the engines. I thought mind had a lot of space until I actually tried to change filters, prime diesel, and other work.
5. Check very carefully for diesel leaks and stains from tanks but under the engines as well especially if they had scent candles running. We are still trying to clean residues enough to pass the wife's noise and neither of 2 respected inspectors (boat and engine) reported it. Hot summer really brings the smell out.
6. Check (or ask inspector) to check the current load with AC, Oven, etc. on the 2 main AC shore power lines. I've had one of the selector switches and shore line connector burn out and found my load balance was 20A on one & 29A on the side that burnt out. Buy a cheap clippon amp meter at Harbor Freight if your inspector doesn't say he does that.
7. Check for water rot in the wall paneling. In the rear bedroom, you may find water from the windows as usual. Mine has horizontal fiberglassed stringers under the paneling That I found conducted water from over 10ft away and exited behind the paneling through the gaps and nail holes they used to attach the underlayment plywood. This causes the Teak to look ok but when you press on it you have feel it give due to rotten backing. Also may see some rust streaks.
8. Have an engine and generator survey. The Cats don't like to sit and idle a lot so you want to be able to budget for injector cleaning, belts etc. I understand the Cat 3208 aren't sleeved so rebuilds will be much more expensive. Be sure to run the generator under load for 30 min. and check temperature rise. Mine surveyed fine but after it was mine, I found it overheated under load after 30min and shut down. Replacing heat exchanger is a pain.
I think most of these are common Taiwanese boat issues and I have resolved them but it's good to go in with your eyes open.

FlyWright 06-22-2019 10:52 AM

The Jefferson is made in Taiwan and is no relation to the Californian, designed and built in the USofA.

Portage_Bay 06-22-2019 11:25 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions and tips. I spend more time on the boat yesterday getting estimates for canvas work and just poking around. Today I meet with the current owner to start to learn the systems. He now works on the east coast so we have to meet up when he's in town. I'm pleased he's willing to put in time with me before the survey and the sale closes.

hpogue123, yes FlyWright is correct these boat are US built, one of the big draws for me. But thanks for the tips, many I'm sure apply to this and any older boat.

Portage_Bay 07-09-2019 06:20 PM


Condition and valuation survey went very well. Lots of minor issues most are easily addressed by me.

Engine survey is another matter. Both mains show signs of leaking head gaskets and leaking seals on the high pressure fuel pumps. One is showing signs of leaking rear main seal.

Waiting on estimates to consider the next move. Walk away? Renegotiate? Require owner to address the issues?

fgarriso 07-09-2019 06:28 PM

RUN away quickly. :banghead:
Leaking head gaskets could be starting down a very black hole.

Comodave 07-09-2019 06:49 PM

What engines are in it?

Sidclark 07-09-2019 06:58 PM


Originally Posted by Comodave (Post 780894)
What engines are in it?


tiltrider1 07-09-2019 07:04 PM

I’m not sure what a leaking head gasket is. A blown head gasket allows exhaust gas to leak into the cooling system, the exhaust gas interferes with the flow of the cooling water leading to over heating. My experience with Cat 3208’s is blown head gaskets are caused by a serious engine over temp. Costs about $10,000 per engine. I would need a more exact description of what is meant by leaking head gasket.

Comodave 07-09-2019 07:05 PM

If it were,me and I really liked the rest of the boat I would get some estimates and see what a knowledgeable Cat mechanic thought. Then give yourself a cushion on the repair estimate and renegotiate the deal. Otherwise walk away. But if the owner is living on the other coast now he may be flexible on the price and you might get a good deal. If you canít get a new price that leaves you room if you find some more issues then I would walk.

Portage_Bay 07-09-2019 07:40 PM


Originally Posted by tiltrider1 (Post 780903)
Iím not sure what a leaking head gasket is. A blown head gasket allows exhaust gas to leak into the cooling system, the exhaust gas interferes with the flow of the cooling water leading to over heating. My experience with Cat 3208ís is blown head gaskets are caused by a serious engine over temp. Costs about $10,000 per engine. I would need a more exact description of what is meant by leaking head gasket.

The indication of leaks are on the exterior at the head / block joint. A small spot showing as I call them, rust carbuncles. The area smaller than my little fingernail. I have seen this on automotive engines that predict head gasket failure. There are no indications of exhaust gases or oil having contaminated the cooling system. The lube oil shows no indications of coolant contamination, oil samples will be coming by end of week, we'll know for sure then. At this point I'm calling it head gasket leaks and thinking they are close to failure and must be addressed before serious damage is done.

We'll see what the estimates are but $10K for head gasket replacement alone seems high to me. I do expect the total bill per engine to get near $10K. In addition to head gasket replacement I would have the heads reconditioned, all soft parts that are attached replaced and perhaps exhaust manifolds. Risers are nearly new. Fuel pumps are leaking. So, all in, $10K per engine is probably about right.

The purchase is on hold until we see the estimates and give it considerable thought. Seller is going to have to come down or pay to have the engines fixed.

STB 07-10-2019 02:59 AM

I looked at a 38' Californian with 3208s before buying my present boat. I loved my old 42' Californian before changing coasts. The deal fell apart over head gaskets.

Unlike the in-line 6.354 Perkins in my old and new boats, the V-configuration on those 3208s makes for twice as many head gaskets to replace.

As I remember the situation, it was the same situation as yours -- external leaks with no sign of a problem in the exhaust or oil and a $10+k estimate to fix it. And the inspector was a 3208 specialist and seemed very sharp.

He basically explained that it wasn't so much replacing the gaskets that cost as it was disassembling everything to be able to pull the heads.

With other things, the engine room survey called for $20+k of work (Rotted out oil pans were another big item). I passed. Someone else bought the boat the next day off my survey (I gave it to the seller). I think they were okay with the leaks for a while and then planned to fix them, themselves.

It might be worth posting on to see if this is a common nuisance problem or if it evolves into a big one, etc.

I'm a Perkins guy at this point, just dont know the trends on the 3208s as well. Sorry!

Portage_Bay 07-12-2019 12:33 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Pics of the areas showing potential head gasket failure. Oil samples came back with no coolant in the oil. But.... fresh oil change unknown hrs ago and only a short sea trail run. Maybe not enough time to show coolant in the oil? Still waiting on estimates to do the head work.

STB 07-12-2019 01:03 PM

The claim when I've done these has been that only 4hrs of operation are needed to find problems in oil samples.

I can't tell whats going on in those pictures. It could be leaking around those screws, to be sure. It could also be something else that dripped down and caused that. The leak almost seemsntovstart higher up, spread out wide, and then just get funneled down by the screw.

It could also be a gasket damaged by over tightening that screw. Or, or, or,...

I'm surprised you only went for a short sea trial. Under the circumstances, I would have wanted one of a good length ans really worked it hard.

Maybe you can get some more time?

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