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Old 11-01-2018, 21:08   #1
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Unknown engine hours

Hi all, I'm trying to avoid the some of the pitfalls of buying my first boat. One boat I'm looking at is a Pearson 365 cutter. Cosmetically the boat looks very good and the price is maybe a little undervalued but not by much.

The main reason I'm hesitating is that it has the original motor from 1981, a Westerbeke 40 and there is no hour counter. I am told the top end of the motor was rebuilt in 2007. I'd have the enging, transmission, and v-drive oil analyzed. For how many of you would this issue be a deal killer?

Generally I'm not all that handy but I'll fix, study, and learn more as I go along.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 11-01-2018, 21:15   #2
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Re: Unknown engine hours

A couple of reading suggestions.

Marine Survey 101 .... tips on how to inspect the boat before you hire a surveyor.

Oil Analysis, worth it ?
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Old 11-01-2018, 21:30   #3
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Dave,

Maybe depends on where you or the boat are located.

100 hours per year seems to be a sweet spot for engine logs, although after moving from SF to Vancouver Island I put on 131 hours last season. Logic defies: I used the boat a LOT in SF, but averaged that for 17 years - probably 'cuz I sailed a lot, it was windy in SF. Up here I motor a lot, but the season is only April to October or less.

It really doesn't nmatter too much, 'cuz you ask yourself: How old's the boat?

Then either 100 or 200 hours per year gives you a range.

All the rest is up to the engine surveyor: compression check, oil and quick starts are important things to note. That's what I'd look at first.

Good luck, nice boat.
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Old 11-01-2018, 21:37   #4
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Split the risk...discount the boat by half the price of a new engine!
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Old 12-01-2018, 22:07   #5
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Thanks for the replies so far. I live in the SW US. The boat is in Guatemala, Rio Dulce. I sold everything I owned a couple years ago, bought an RV instead of a boat. Plan would be to sail it back and keep in the SE US and live aboard.

So I guess an additional question would be, should I spend $2,000 on flights and accommodation to look at a boat with unknown engine hours?

Here is the listing.

1981 Pearson 365 Cutter Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 13-01-2018, 02:58   #6
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
Thanks for the replies so far. I live in the SW US. The boat is in Guatemala, Rio Dulce. I sold everything I owned a couple years ago, bought an RV instead of a boat. Plan would be to sail it back and keep in the SE US and live aboard.

So I guess an additional question would be, should I spend $2,000 on flights and accommodation to look at a boat with unknown engine hours?

Here is the listing.

1981 Pearson 365 Cutter Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Well... you are going to have to spend $$ to look at any boat you want to buy..

And also ... an engine with low documented hours could still be kanakered...

The way the boat presents I would be willing to fly and have a looksee if I was interested in her.

As a Lloyds' surveyor once said to me ... ' You know what state the engineroom is going to be in before you get to the top of the gangway'....

Pity there are no photos of the engine in the addy.... email and ask for some...

PS my ( 1984) engine hour meter hasn't worked for 23 years .. its on my fixit list.... I just don't consider it important...
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Old 13-01-2018, 03:21   #7
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Re: Unknown engine hours

The truth is you don't know and its a gamble what ever boat you buy.

In a similar position we took our yacht for a 1/2 day sea trial involving motoring and sailing. I checked the bilge before we started and it was dusty as it was after we returned, so no obvious leaks. The engine started from cold easily enough, ran well and didn't smoke. Overall the engine and gearbox were clean so bought the boat.

You could ask for some photos of the engine and gearbox before flying down there, but given that there has been a series of upgrades and maintenance over the past 10 years on that Pearson, then yes it would tempt me to go and visit. Actually I think its a very nice looking boat that has been well maintained.

36ft is an ideal size for single handing, a real nice sweet spot between comfort and affordability.

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Old 13-01-2018, 03:37   #8
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Re: Unknown engine hours

And also... if you do buy her... or any boat...

Make sure to check the fuel before embarking on any sea voyage... suck a sample out of the bottom of the tank(s) if you can... and ensure that you have a good stock of fuel filters and raw water impellers ...
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Old 13-01-2018, 09:40   #9
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Make the purchase contingent on a successful engine survey by a competent marine mechanic.
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Old 13-01-2018, 12:05   #10
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Re: Unknown engine hours

I've been in contact with the broker. Here are the engine pics. There is good access from the lazarettes so that's great.

Thanks for all the comments.

In the pics I noticed the owner has kept the clubfoot for the staysail on even though the staysail is on a roller furler. Is there any reason to do this?
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Old 13-01-2018, 12:38   #11
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Re: Unknown engine hours

First a reality break. Many boats on that era do not have hour meters. Mine doesn’t either. The price of the boat reflects the price of no meter. Feed a well made engine clean fuel, clean air, keep her cooling system up, change her oil and the engine will outlast many marriages!

Without a professional mechanic or surveyor looking at the boat, you don’t know if it was a “French rebuild” or the real deal. Having the oil tested is good IF the oil has some hours on it.

When shopping for my boat I looked at a Sabre 34. Allegedly the head was pulled and rebuilt the previous year. Apparently the mechanic used rubber wrenches since none of the head bolts showed signs of ever being removed. That is a classic “French rebuild” (apologies to my FR buds).
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Old 13-01-2018, 12:49   #12
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Hour meters are somewhat of a joke, all it takes is unplug one wire and your engine stops accumulating hours.
However if there is a good written log that goes back for years, then the hours on an hour meter are more believable as thatís tough to fabricate, possible but unlikely for someone to go through all that trouble.

Having said that, the only real reverence is condition of the engine.
Iíd pass on the boat out of the country, cause more than likely your going to look at a dozen or more boats before you find the Boat, and paying that kind of money to go see just one has a tendency to trap you into that one.
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Old 13-01-2018, 13:24   #13
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Hour meters often show more than actual hours run as many are wired through the ignition switch to the second off position i.e. first position stops engine but second position turns off power to the switch. I had a buddy that ran up hundreds of hours on his meter by turning it to the second position to listen to his stereo. The only useful/reliable function they have is to remind you to change the oil every 100hrs.
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Old 13-01-2018, 15:38   #14
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Re: Unknown engine hours

The good news is that someone changed the original hoses on the engine. Westerbleak slaps red paint over everything, including the hoses, which promptly starts rotting them. Someone has replaced those since then.

You'd be better off negotiating an agreed price and condition before you spent $2000 to just look at some one boat. So many dollars, conditional to the engine passing a mechanic's survey, having a certain compression level, etc. Conditional to the transmission working and not needing a rebuild. Conditional to...no structural mysteries, no or limited deck rot, figure it all out and balance it against a price point, and do a contract and deposit before you fly down, so they're also bound to it. Although a boat of unknown flag in a foreign country also presents challenges to sales contracts, fwiw.

But you need to put the risks, the values, the mysteries on paper or else you're just gambling two grand on one roll of the dice. There are any number of folks who have bought bargain boats in far away (or sometimes nearby) places on YouTube, and six months later, they find out about holes in the keel, or timber that's turned to mush, or other minor problems that just couldn't be seen when their eyes got lit up by BARGAIN!

Now, if you are planning to spend two grand on a round-trip airfare and vacation and just happen to go look at SEVERAL boats while you are there, that's something else again.
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Old 13-01-2018, 16:56   #15
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Re: Unknown engine hours

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post

In the pics I noticed the owner has kept the clubfoot for the staysail on even though the staysail is on a roller furler. Is there any reason to do this?
The staysail will be self tacking while enjoying the benefits of roller furling.
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