Nova Heritage East,,,, Well made ???

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Veteran Member
Feb 21, 2012
Vessel Make
28' Cigarette SS, 20' Picklefork jet W/ Blown B/B

We are looking at a trawler to enjoy cruising and W/E trips. Are the Taiwan boats made well or should they be avoided. We like the looks and they seem to be made well from just looking. Also the pricing seems to be better than Grand Banks etc.

The other concern is we have to get into the 87' 88' year range to be affordable,,, then comes the mechanical concerns,,, corrosion, engines etc.

Can the engines be removed if needed ? Or do they have to be rebuilt inframe?

I guess that is enough for now,,, any thoughts would be appreciated.
Welcome aboard Mr. antioch01 (01). EVERY boat is made to a price point! (I know, general statement but every boat the likes of us will be buying). Decide what you want the boat to do for you, do a lot homework, pick a boat/model and get a good survey.
That being said, it's not so much the make, model nor country of origin that determines a "good" boat, it's how she's been maintained, again as a GENERAL statement.
Your profile doesn't list your location and how/where you plan on boating will have some bearing on your choices.....Now galley up or galley down? hahahaha...
Thanks for the reply,,, still not sure how to set up my profile. I am in Tampa Fl. and looking to cruise the Gulf and maybe some trips to the Keys and Bahamas.

Looking at the trawlers, I know we want twin diesels and the Sundeck layout is the most attractive to us.

I think 40' - 44' would be good for length. I am a machinist so mechanical issues are my concern especially with a boat this age. I wondered about engine choice,, Perkins, Volvo or Lehman as far as parts and ease of repairs.
I think I got it,

Another question I had was how bad can a bottom get from just sitting. Is it a matter of just scraping or can worms get into the fiberglass like the old wood boats?
There is no easy answer because there are too many systems to say if one boat is good and one is bad. However, if you can get a Nova 44 that has been well cared for, they are a good boat. Don't be afraid of any boat, really. The KEY is to find one with a knowledgeable owner that has kept the systems in good shape, kept fluids changed, and generally tried to keep their boat up-to-date. As to the question about the bottom, the same rules apply. Some of us take our boats out annually, some every other year to paint with anti-fouling paint. If you get as far as a survey, you will be pulling the boat out of the water to see what she hides below the waterline. Until then, no REAL need to worry about it, but as mentioned earlier, a dedicated owner will have done what it takes to care for her bottomside as well as her topside.

The takeaway is to look for a boat that was CARED for, NOT necessarily the brand. And BTW, all the mechanical experience in the world will prepare you for your first boat ownership. It's a whole new ballgame. Be ready to learn and adapt your current skills over to the maritime world.

(BTW- My only opinion about Nova is that, while it's a fine craft, they like to totally enclose the space. Bess and I like outdoor space. Nova likes to enclose the "sundeck" and the flybridge. I want the wind in my face while I drive and lots of open spaces.)
I have a little experience with that year model 36' Heritage East. *When the importer was in Clearwater, I helped commission and deliver a boat. *It had twin Volvo 160 or 165 hp. *The first trip was from Clearwater to Orange Beach, AL. *I cruised it a little sporadically after that. *The boat was solid and reliable. *It was squirly in a following sea. *It was comfortable with a great amount of space for its size. *My overall impression was good.
I had a 40' Nova Sundeck. I brought it up from Southern California to Washington state. For what it is the boat handled well even if rough weather. Some waves were higher then the boat but with long periods.

Overall all I found the construction to be good. Maybe not to the quality of a GBs but more then OK for the price difference.

Things I didn't like at least on my boat was the engines outerside were about four inches from the fuel tanks. This made it nearly impossible for service. I never did service the port sides oil cooler because I couldn't get to it.

The hull design just doesn't want to go much above nine knots. Keep it at eight knots and the boat was very economical to run. Anything above and you made alot noise, bow wave and fuel.

The other problem we had especially with my wifes bad knees were all the steps with a high rise. You do get alot of space but be prepared for all the steps. This was the main reason we sold it and bought a Canoe Cove sedan.

The aft cabin on the sundeck was wonderful.

Access on the sundeck was easier with no ladder to climb up.

Overall a great boat for the money.

dave N
"I wondered about engine choice,, Perkins, Volvo or Lehman as far as parts and ease of repairs."

PRICE of parts as well as availability are the concern.

Pretend you are going to yank a head and do a valve job.

Call the various locals with a list of parts you would need

. Head gaskets , manifold gaskets and a couple or valves and all new springs and valve guides.

The difference in price and the wait time , may shock you.

Check on line sources, same price differentials.
Are you saying the Perkins are the more expensive ?
I have a 40 Heritage East. I have twin 135 Perkins in her. Boat is roomy and handles well in rough seas. Sundeck is what sold us. Chasing some leaks down from the side window seals but over all boat is solid.
Regarding the Cummins Turbo Diesel, I had the 5.9l Turbo in my Dodge Ram. Motor is SOLID. I wish I had one in my boat.
We own a 36' Nova Heritage; the decks are cored, but the hull is solid fiberglass from the gunnels on down. The fiberglass is 5/8" thick (had to cut out a hole to install the generator exhaust), the down side are the Volvo engines. Since they were built in 1986, Volvo will no longer supply repair parts. Out on the briny, the hull is "tender", I'm thinkin' due to the top hamper. In a beam sea it can get downright interestin'.
Happy with Nova

Used to own a Nova 36 equipted with Perkins 135's. I was impressed with the layout, the construction and how much usable room it had for a 36' vessel. Our's was built in Taiwan, I understand the newer one's marketed under the Heritage label were made in mainland China

All of our use was confined to San Francisco Bay and the Delta area of Northern California so I can't really say how seaworthy she would have been in open ocean. Given the fact that she was a bit "squirrely" with a following sea and would tend to heel over in a stong beam wind I suspect open ocean cruising would have been a bit "interesting". The PO had equipped the vessel with trim tabs and by using the tabs you could level the boat out when the wind blew.

My only negative feelings were the set up for the bilge pumps. The througth hulls for both engine room pumps exited the hull too close to the water line and they occasionally they would be underwater setting up a potentially dangerous siphon situation. I finally had them moved higher on the hull but to add insult to injury the access to the through hulls was so restricted that the yard had a difficult time moving them.
Our Fu Hwa is essentially the same boat. 1986 42 w/ twin Volvos, sundeck. She had a cockpit which we did not see on many in our search. She was so well loved and cared for she just gleamed. We enclosed the flybridge but left the sundeck open. We worried about bugs in the summer on the Chesapeake but haven't had a one and with the heat this summer were so glad we left it open for the breeze to blow through.
I have a few concerns about some of these posts. I too am looking at buying a 1988 36' Nova. It has twin Volvos and now I'm reading above that parts are unavailable. How can that be? Another question has to do with the comment that one owner never changed the port oil cooler because he couldn't get to it. How DO you access the tight spots on this model? Pull the floor? Lastly, the thru-hull comment. Do any other owners out there have this issue? Thanks
As regards Volvo engine parts sourcing, and general Volvo support, do a search for a recent thread " Volvo Penta V-6 diesels". Probably more heat than light as the thread progressed but on balance, getting parts sounded neither easy nor cheap. I don`t know the Nova, most boats keep a trained octopus in the aft lazarette for those kind of jobs. If one can predict football matches, with all those arms an oil cooler should be a snack (as might the octopus).
I too am looking at buying a 1988 36' Nova. It has twin Volvos and now I'm reading above that parts are unavailable. How can that be?

Some engines are no longer supported by the factory. Get the pertinent numbers and specs of the engines on the subject boat and contact Volvo directly and ask. Talk to your trusted mechanic and ask him, or wiser yet hire him to survey the engines prior to purchase.

A good resource for information too. That forum is pay to play but you can read some of the archives for free. $25/year is cheap insurance for a trusted resource if you want to post questions there.
Thanks for the tip - I'll need to find an octupus. Know just what you mean. There is another Nova 40 out in Oxnard CA that has Mercedes Nanni 5-300T engines. Anyone have experience with these engines or parts availablity?
There is another Nova 40 out in Oxnard CA that has Mercedes Nanni 5-300T engines. Anyone have experience with these engines or parts availability?
That is odd. I know "Nanni" as the brand of Renault marine diesels. I thought it was a Renault brand, but maybe Nanni marinised Renault engines, and Mercedes engines. I have Ford Lehmans, Ford made the engine, Lehman marinised it, there is potential for 2 suppliers of parts. I would start researching at the Nanni end. Hopefully someone will know more,and CP`s advice of course holds good.
Both Merc and Renault know how to build a diesel.
I have 1988 36 Nova sundeck with twin Volvo TMD 41A motors with about 1400 hours on them They seem like solid motors however as they say parts are hard to find. I cleaned and resealed my port heat eachanger. in the process the flange broke off the flaqnge end of the copper hard line that connects to the tranny cooler. Looked arround and they do not seem to be available. However a 3/4 pipe tap fits rignt into the opening, tapped it to 3/4 pipe and installed a fitting, Ran 1" marine cooling hose and it it is back in action and more repairable in the future. My next task is the oil coolers. It they are not servicable. i saw a post where a adpter plate can be made (The o-rings are in the oil filter housing) that directs the oil out through hoses to a commerciually avaliable oil cooler that is in line with the 1" raw water line i just installed. I am a mechanical engineer and Ex heavy equipment/auto mechanic. The key to keeping these older units going is to be creative. I have burned about 100 gal of fuel in these i the year i have had it and it has not burned a full quart of oil yet in ether motor. They DO smoke cold, but when i get it warmed up and a little boost going (above 2K rpm) they clean up completely, no soot and when i get into the habor after a long run, no smoke at idle ether. These nova sundeck boats are more of a floating condo in that they have lots of space and features and lots of windage. Interesting in a beam sea, however plows right along at 8 knt all day long burinig about 5 gph. Its perfect for what the wife and i use it for here in So. Cal. Mine has all stainless tanks, stout railings and deck hardware, solid props and rudder hardware, lots of glass and a beautiful interior. We got it for a steal with no records but a good survey, i am very happy with the boat.
Workin' on the starboard oil cooler can be a chore. I wound up takin' off the alternator to get the room I needed. Had to pull my port side MS-3 mechanical transmission to remove the glaze from the shiftin' cones.. Not too hard if one is mechanically inclined. With Volvo's lack of support for their older products, one has be mechanically ingenious to keep these engines runnin'. We bought our 1986 36' Nova in Ventura (2000) after it had sat on a mooring in Santa Barbera for a year. No records availible, but the survey wasn't too bad. Kept it in Ventura for 4 months until we redid the interior and I fixed the A/P pump and then brought it down to San Diego. We also like the boat but the ever leakin' windshields are givin' me a pain.
Nova East

I have a 85' Nova 40 with 135 Perkins. I have owned it since May and absolutley love the classic lines and space on board. The Sun Deck is what truly makes this boat the star. I have had the typical problems with engines that have been poorly maintained. I had to replace the Stbd Heat Exchanger and Exhaust elbows. since I was there, I went ahead and changed out the exhaust hoses from the elbows to the transom exhaust port.
I have replaced all thru hulls on the boat due to lack of confidence in integrity. I also replaced the Toilets and all Head Sanitation Line to Holding Tank.
It is an issue with the engine clearance to the fuel tanks but it simply means you will spend a little time thinking about the problem before engaging it. I have found the perkins to be VERY economical to run.
The Nova has excellent Glass and thickness. Built like a tank. Her sea keeping is excellent but she does get rolly in large wakes. Most repairs are straight forward and visibility on the fly bridge is excellent for manuevering and docking.
I love the conversation from at the marina as people will walk up and talk about the looks and ask questions about the boat. I like the classics. The Nova is certainly one.

Engine parts are not hard to attain.. you just need to search around. I use TAD with excellent results. Other parts are custom made at MESA in Alabama.. I am building a good spare parts kit for her.
For me, I would look for another if I ever sold or lost this one.
I had a Perkins on my previous boat and a Volvo on my current boat. Wish I could have kept the Perkins ! The Volvo is reliable but parts are ridiculously expensive. I used to buy my Perkins parts from Farm supply houses which don't have "marine" markups. The Perkins were used for tractors and generators and parts are readily available. If you can find one of the 5 ring Perkins (most are 3 ring) , even better as we had 20,000 hours on ours before rebuild.

Perkins blue, Volvo green .......


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The Nova Sundeck proved to be so popular, it was brought back into production, without the enclosed sun deck, (no wing doors) and a whole lot less teak.
There is another Nova 40 out in Oxnard CA that has Mercedes Nanni 5-300T engines.
Further thought. If the "5" refers to the number of engine cylinders it raises a question. I`ve not heard of Mercedes(or Renault) producing 5 cyl. engines though they may have; Volvo have sold 5 cyl auto engines.
Heritage East 36

I just bought a 1988 Heritage East 36 Sundeck with twin Perkins 135s. I have been a liveaboard sailor for 10 years but this is a whole other animal. I am enjoying reading y'alls discussions on the boat & taking notes. I too had a Volvo once in a sailboat & agree parts are valuable to Volvo. Jim
I am the very proud owner of a 1988 Heritage 44 and I love it. We have been boating for years and have had over a dozen boats but this one is it. I have twin Cummins 250HP engines and would never go for anything else. We cruise at 10 knots (hull speed is 8.3) but can get up to 14 if needed. I have had o problems with through hulls or getting to service points on the outboard side of the engines. We have been caught by surprise in some horrible weather and I was amazed how well it can handle it. My wife, who is always afraid of the ocean, is looking froward to heading up to Canada this summer.
The main point when you are buying, as many others have said, is to either buy a boat that was meticulously maintained or one that is "used up" to the point that it pays to rebuild/repair to get it into good condition. I have gone the cheap route only to find that it would cost the same when all is said and done. I actually prefer the later so that I know exactly what I am dealing with, but you can't finance a beat up boat or the repairs that are needed so it can be an out of pocket thing until it is done and you could get financing to repay your bank account.
Just wanted to update for anyone who may be looking for Heritage East in the future.
We have now owned the boat for six years, cruised over 10,000 miles between Canada and Key West annually and do a considerable amount of offshore running and still couldn't be happier. Cummins diesels are easy to work on and parts are available at any NAPA Auto Parts as this is the engine dodge used in pickup trucks. My brother just sold his 40 mainship to buy a 40 Heritage East after spending a week with us!
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