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Old 09-02-2015, 20:20   #1
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Looking at boat with seized engine

I am considering going to look at a Catalina 30 whose major issue is a seized engine. I have talked to owner briefly. Sight unseen so far, but... if the engine can be freed up at low cost, it could be a bargain, but a complete rebuild is not financially viable. Hard to tell a diamond in the rough from a dog doo without seeing it in person of course.

Report is that the engine, a Universal M25 was running well, 900 hrs, then left sitting for 2 years or so (I always apply a multiplier) and no longer turns over. No overheating or catastrophic failure. I kind of know the different causes. Might be rings stuck from corrosion, a quick/easy in situ fix or saltwater back up the exhaust and completely shot pistons/bores and head, requiring pulling engine and a complete teardown. I know it is a Kubota at heart and fixing is straitforward, but not sure I want that involved of a project.

I have read some of the related threads. My question is one of approach. It is not yet my boat and I'd anticipate the owner will be reluctant to have me disassembling the engine on his boat, so pulling injectors or glowplugs is unlikely. Anyway to squirt some WD40 in the chambers thru the intake? I was thinking that pulling the rocker cover off would show which valves are open, maybe even allow me the see if they are stuck, a bad sign I would think. I expect to try a breaker bar on the crank nut and see if there is any wiggle. Maybe pull the exhaust hose if possible to see if there is water in it. Any other clues I can look for? Obviously, if I am negotiating, I'd like to keep the engine as a liability rather than fix it and have the price go up.
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Old 09-02-2015, 20:35   #2
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

You could just come get a lightly used fresh water boat here on the Great Lakes. Big inventories of used equipment that has never seen salt. (Torresen Marine in Muskegon & many others)

I suppose the method I might pursue is tell the owner to get it turning or preferably making music or you will assume total rebuild in the offer. Why let it be your dice-roll?
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Old 09-02-2015, 21:02   #3
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

If you have a Bristol 35.5, why on earth would you look at a Catalina 30?

Secondly, anyone who'd neglect the boat long enough to allow the engine to seize, also let the rest of the boat go to hell.

Finally, you want to confirm that the engine isn't seized, then get a great deal on the boat because the engine is siezed? Would you describe that as ethical?
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Old 09-02-2015, 21:24   #4
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

Why would he agree with you tinkering with his engine, then, when you do realize (as he will) that all isn't lost, you lose your negotiating power. You would lose, he wins.

Bid it now as it has to be replaced, add in negotiations, other items. Contract, survey, ect...

Then, when you do get it and it is not a total overhaul/ replace, you win. If not, you didn't get the shaft all the way extended...

FnM
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Old 09-02-2015, 22:32   #5
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

What year is it? IMO unless it's 90s or later it's worth is probably no more than as a part out. The seller is likely better off donating it to a charity.
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Old 09-02-2015, 23:12   #6
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

I would look carefully into the eyes of the owner... Does he look like an imbicile? If yes then he may not have tried the fix the engine. But if he has the iq of a smarter neanderthol or better, he will have had a competent mechanic tell him its no easy fix and the engine is stuffed.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:06   #7
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post

I have read some of the related threads. My question is one of approach. It is not yet my boat and I'd anticipate the owner will be reluctant to have me disassembling the engine on his boat, so pulling injectors or glowplugs is unlikely. Anyway to squirt some WD40 in the chambers thru the intake? I was thinking that pulling the rocker cover off would show which valves are open, maybe even allow me the see if they are stuck, a bad sign I would think. I expect to try a breaker bar on the crank nut and see if there is any wiggle. Maybe pull the exhaust hose if possible to see if there is water in it. Any other clues I can look for? Obviously, if I am negotiating, I'd like to keep the engine as a liability rather than fix it and have the price go up.
The only way this makes sense is if you figure out the value of the boat with a mid-time engine. Then subtract $10k. Then do the engine work yourself for about $5k in parts.

I pulled my engine 2 years ago for low compression. It sat for one year then it was seized. The head is of, it has soaked in WD40 for months and it still seized. The only solution is to drop the pan, remove the conrod bolts And drive the pistons out. At that point I may as well overhaul it.

Also - The guy may seem legit but it could have sucked a valve for all you know, hence the $10k discount.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:12   #8
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

The only logical approach here is to assume that you are going to have to either replace the engine, or at least do a major overhaul on it. Factor that expense into your offer and go from there.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:14   #9
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

This might be a good point of negotiation. Ask to pull the engine apart, if the owner will not agree make your offer less the cost of a total replacement. Also if they do agree, use Marvel Mystery Oil, rather than WD40. If you can let it soak for a day it is great for loosening frozen rings and valves.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:30   #10
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

I've been looking at new 25-30 hp diesels as of late. The engine will be $11,000 new with tax and shipping. Then you have to pay someone to install, $4-5K more. Then there's the lost time and yard fees. I'd deduct $20K for the motor replacement. FYI, Beta Marine has bolt in replacements for that engine.

Don't forget the tank inspection and cleaning, in addition to the survey . Lots of gunk forms in old fuel, especially if there is water in the tank. Good luck.

Dave
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:36   #11
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

Assume you will need to rebuild the engine. Also assume other things are wrong if it's been in water... like the prop shaft corroded inside the packing gland.
If it's an older Cat 30 it's probably a $10k-12k boat if running......
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:50   #12
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

John, unless you are specifically looking for a project boat (and you know what most of us say about those!), this makes NO sense.

There are a gazillion Catalina 30s out there, some in pristine condition. It was/is the most popular 30 foot boat ever made. All 6,000 of them.

Keep looking. I would.

Unless there's something you're not telling us. Really.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:13   #13
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

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Originally Posted by Rough Magic View Post
Then there's the lost time and yard fees. I'd deduct $20K for the motor replacement.
for a C30.. not a bad deal. you get the boat and the owner pays you 8k.
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:29   #14
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

The up side is the Universal diesel C30's are a lot better than the early Yanmar horizontal engines.
Wonder how hard it can be to do a minor overhaul on the Universal?
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:37   #15
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Re: Looking at boat with seized engine

Run, there are no free lunches. And that is more applicable to boats than anything.
A seller's account of why it is seized? Chances are from the explanation it was maintained previously.


Just my two cents.
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