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Old 08-04-2021, 03:37 PM   #1
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pending purchase of Californian 34 LRC 1981 - need some input

Hello!

I am attempting to buy a Californian 34 LRC 1981 with twin Perkins 185s and a 5KW Northern Lights Genset. The boat seems to be in overall good condition just needing a decent amount of TLC. I am looking for any input from owners on what to look out for, problem areas, pricing etc. This one is $35k which seems like a middle of the road price for the boat.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:01 PM   #2
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Where was it made? I think 1981 was still Marshall Boats in Tustin/Santa Ana. What's the HIN? Does it start with JCM? If so, it's made by Marshall in CA.

Great boats and stout hulls. Watch for fuel tank corrosion from RW slinging from the shaft seals. Dripless or epoxied tanks prevent this.

Also, the house deck tends to sag in the aft corners. My cabinets were out of alignment when I bought her but I installed floor jack supports that resolved 80% of the problem. The cabinets are aligned but water still collects in the corners along the side deck. Nothing a squeegee and a boat towel can't handle. Fortunately, FG decks are very forgiving of this flaw.

The Marshall boats I've seen have Philippine Ribbon Mahogany interior and more teak exterior than the later Wellcraft or Carver models. Mine was the prototype and has no sliding windows in the salon which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you prefer opening windows or no leaks.

Overall, I find the model very capable and versatile. IMO, it's well sized for a couple. Drinks for 6, dinner for 4 and overnight for 2.

Tank size allows for extended journeys away from docks and marinas. I carry extra fresh water for drinking but have no problem with 2 weeks on the hook solo, 1 week with 2. Electrical needs are the issue but I have solar and a small Honda generator, not an installed genset.

Perkins 6.356 is a very good engine if well maintained. Mechanical controls and pumps and very forgiving. I have the 4.236 NA version at 85 HP each. I hear Mani coolers can be challenging to find on the turbos but have no experience in that dept.

I hope you post lots of pictures so we can see what you're buying/have bought. Don't forget the anchor and ER pics. Those get the most attention!!!

Good luck with the purchase!!!
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:35 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard. Good luck with the boat purchase.
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:09 AM   #4
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Thanks FlyWright, The boat has a brass Marshall Boats plaque above the helm, so I assume that is correct. I will need to get the HIN. The fuel tanks look to be replaced with epoxied aluminum tanks possibly. The ER looks very clean with only a couple oil drips. The shafts have a slow steady drip right now. None of the cabin windows are able to be opened, only the sliding helm door and the aft doors for ventilation. The interior is pretty solid other than some water stains above the windows aft.
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:26 AM   #5
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:41 AM   #6
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If those are 185hp, they are likely the Perkins 6.354MGT. They are good engines. My 1977 42' Californian LRC had them.

Just pay attention to the raw water loop during the inspection so you know what you are buying. If it is an MGT, the intercooler is easily available, but likely ~$3500. There is also the dual cooler, heat exchanger, and manifold. When I replaced the whole loop at once a few years back, even with a discount for a big order, I think the coolers, themselves, were ~$6500/engine. That may once. That may or may not have included the manifold and header tank, which I did at the same time.I don't remember.

Of course it is unlikely you'd need to do all coolers at once, etc, but that intercooler can be a big ticket item, so it isnworth a careful look.
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:13 PM   #7
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:13 PM   #8
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:14 PM   #9
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:04 PM   #10
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I've got a '79 34 with the twin 185hp turbos. Love the boat. Spend almost every weekend on it with my wife and 6 yr. old daughter. Plenty of room. Can get two weekends without a pump out or a water refill (I bring more fresh water for drinking).

Great handling boats with beautiful details.

Don't be surprised to find water in the forward bilge. Part of their charm.

Engines look pretty clean in that photo. Look for leaks and smoke on the sea trial. Watch engine temperatures as speed climbs. With 185hp x 2 you could see 18 kts but expect to live in the 10-12 kt range.

Some parts (and expertise) for Perkins may be difficult to find. Otherwise solid engines.
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Old 08-05-2021, 08:52 PM   #11
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possible purchase of Californian 34 LRC 1981 - need some input

I echo what others say about the boat. Well-built and very livable. I canít speak to the engines as I have the Cats in mine.

Seems like I canít go on a trip without someone approaching me to tell me how great a Californian is, or how their previous boat was a Californian and they miss it, or how well-built Californians are. Every time Iíve had it hauled, the yards tell me how stout and overbuilt the hull is.

Yours looks like mine with the upper and lower bunks in the V berth. Does it have an upper on both sides?
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:47 PM   #12
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Maybe we could all post on a thread of 34 LRC walkaround vids so we can compare model variations. I'd love the see the obvious and subtle differences in a group of similar vids.
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Old 08-06-2021, 06:07 PM   #13
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Twin engines and a genny in a 34 foot boat will make for a cramped basement. (just saying)

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Old 08-06-2021, 09:56 PM   #14
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Actually (surprisingly), itís not too bad - even with 3208 Cats (big V8 diesels). Thereís room on the outside for me to crawl to change the zincs in the exhaust elbows (Iím on top of my battery banks while doing it). Iím by no means a small guy either.

I can only imagine thereíd be more room with the straight 6 cylinder Perkins (and with Alís 4 cylinder versions, itíd be down right spacious).

Al, Iíd be totally interested in the comparison videos. Kind of interesting to see what Marshall did when building the boats and what has been done to them by other owners in the years since. For example, mine is the only one Iíve seen with upper cabinets in the salon. Donít know if theyíre factory or were added by a PO.

I often wish I could talk to previous owners to ask what some holes/brackets/pieces were for (and to ask them what in the heck they were thinking sometimes).
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Old 08-07-2021, 09:34 AM   #15
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With the 4.236's and no genset, it's so cavernous I think my ER has an ECHO....Echo...echo.
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Old 08-08-2021, 12:05 AM   #16
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Thanks for all of the input! I think I will take the plunge on Monday and put a deposit on her. The name is good too, 'Impulse'! Once that is done, I will send more photos and even a video walk through?
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Old 08-08-2021, 12:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikjphoto View Post
Thanks for all of the input! I think I will take the plunge on Monday and put a deposit on her. The name is good too, 'Impulse'! Once that is done, I will send more photos and even a video walk through?
Maybe call it "an impulse buy".

Don`t omit a Survey. Hope it`s a great boat!
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Old 08-08-2021, 01:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Maybe we could all post on a thread of 34 LRC walkaround vids so we can compare model variations. I'd love the see the obvious and subtle differences in a group of similar vids.
Actually Al, I have always thought that that vessel, which is so good in so many ways, just lacked weather protection to the cockpit and side decks, and would be enhanced by doing to it what I described we did to our boat to a potential CHB34 owner here...

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...#post1027600#4

...who has found one with an extended hardtop, which was a huge rarity back in '77, so he was wondering how come his CHB34 looked so different from all the ones he had seen. The covering of the side decks and cockpit makes the boat so much more weather comfy it's amazing. Best thing we ever did to ours, but we did it, (well, had it done), in alloy frame and Sunbrella.
I could put up some more pics if anyone is interested. I know if I had a boat with no shade/weather protection over the side decks, and especially the cockpit, I'd do this again in a heartbeat.
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Old 08-08-2021, 09:43 AM   #19
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Peter, I remember the canvas covered side decks and cockpit on your CHB. It looked great and functional.

Although we don't get much rain here in Northern CA, we get lots of sun and I enjoy much of my time aboard in the cockpit. A couple years ago, I made a SS frame and had a canvas shop sew the cover to spec. I installed a sunshade cover to the cockpit extending 4 ft aft and the width of the house. It's been a welcome improvement to my 34 LRC with protection from sun and the occasional rain and still allows me to fight fish 360* around the boat without obstruction.
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Old 08-13-2021, 12:38 PM   #20
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The Perkins engines are very good, but as others have pointed out the Manicoolers(if equipped) are expensive. On my (single) Perkins T6-354 I replaced the cast iron manifold with a custom stainless steel (Marine Exhausts Alabama) to eliminate the uncertainty of a undetected leak. Expensive as a one-time cost but pays back in longterm and peace-of-mind.
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