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Old 04-02-2011, 17:39   #1
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Pearson 323 Engine Issues . . .

I am looking at a great deal on a Pearson 323 with engine problems. It has the original Volvo MD11C /V drive. I can't see rebuilding this old engine and would appreciate recommendations for re-engining this fine boat.
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Old 04-02-2011, 17:44   #2
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Welcome to CF Chris,

In my experience, people often jump on the idea of 'rebuilding' or 're-powering' when a simple repair might have provided many hours of use.

What is the specific problem with the motor?

How many hours are on it?

What is the indication it needs to be 'rebuilt'?
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Old 04-02-2011, 17:54   #3
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Thanks for the comments. I am just trying to size up the deal from 400 miles away. The owner says it started making noises, lost power and he shut it down. Just used an outboard to get out of the marina for the next year. Hours unknown. '79 motor. I like the boat enough that re-engining can make sense.
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Old 04-02-2011, 18:17   #4
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While you can pretty reliably count on the seller to underestimate the severity of the problem, it might still be worth while to have the motor checked out before you make a decision to pull it.

Lots of things could cause a 'loud noise', but for purposes of buying the boat I suspect you will find that the cost to repower will cause you to be significantly upside-down on the boat. If the boat is in fantastic shape, and you are comfortable with being unable to sell out of it, then proceed.

With no more info, it seems unlikely that this would be a wise course of action... it is a buyers market right now.

Hopefully someone with some comparable (same coast, same motor) cost numbers for a re-power will chime in.

Might be helpful to think about the cost/benefit analysis of what the dollars you are likely to put into this 'upgrade' from you current boat would gain you.



Good luck what ever you decide.
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Old 04-02-2011, 18:39   #5
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A quick look in the net I found 323s listed for $8900 (boat with no engine) to about $25,000 including one for $15K with 2010 rebuilt Atomic 4 gas.

Repower as a rough guess would be $10-$15k for new diesel depending on what engine, what yard and how much you do yourself.

So if you can get the boat for under $10k you can have one with a new engine for about market of a good boat with a used engine.
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Old 04-02-2011, 18:39   #6
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I new here, thought maybe I could discuss this with you for a moment.

I love my C27, but I am looking for something to live-aboard and also a serious (semi blue water) coastal cruiser. I have done a lot of research and have decided I want something with:

Diesel
Skeg (protected) rudder.
Keel stepped mast.
Wheel steering.

The short list includes the Pearson 323. (I almost bought a 32 Valiant for $30k. I got him down from $45k, but someone snapped up the deal. (TX boat w/o blister problem). It had everything, but everything was worn out.

Love the room of the 323 and it seems to be well built.

It looks like I can get the 323 for $10k. New engine $15k. It would be worth the $25k wouldn't you say?
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:00   #7
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My '78 323 came with the Atomic4 flathead gas engine. According to records on the boat a 2-cylinder Yanmar was installed in '88. Then for reasons I can't know a 3-cylinder Yanmar 3GM30F was installed only one year later in '89. It's rated at 24HP at 3200RPM continuous and 27HP at 3600RPM one hour use.

This is a smooth running engine that easily pushes my boat to hull speed. So it's easy for me the speculate that the previous owner was not happy with the 2-cylinder. Maybe it vibrates more or maybe it was insufficient power for the boat. Granted that is speculation.

At any rate I have no problem endorsing the 3GM for the 323. I'm well satisfied with mine, at 1800 hours it seems like new to me.

In order to install a Yanmar the galley front between the engine opening and the door under the sink must be cut out temporarily in reattached. Not enough opening to install otherwise, and an easy way to spot a repower on this model as the cut lines are usually still visible.

Also the engine mounting setup must be reconfigured of course.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:11   #8
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Chris, for reference, I gave several thousand less for mine. Upgrades besides the engine include Profurl and 130 genny, a propane oven system, and central heat and air.

Chartplotter and VHF are older units but functional. Mainsail is baggy, and I have to rebuild the maststep.

Be sure to check out he maststep on the one you are interested in. It is common to have to rebuild if not done already.



There is nothing about this boat that makes me regret the purchase, it's a fine machine.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:18   #9
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Mast Step 323....

Thanks for everyones comments. Would you help me understand. Since the mast is stepped to the keel, what is to be re-built? The interface between the mast and the keel? What is it?
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:29   #10
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The aluminum masts rests on a steal step that sits on a large wood block embedded in the keel.

Two problems,

1, the fiberglass around the wood deteriorates and lets water saturate it, causing rot.
2, the dissimilar metals in salt water cause the mast to erode away over time, causing the mast to shorten itself.

Mine has a phenolic plastic block in place of the wood block to cure number 1.
Now I need to build a taller plastic or aluminum step and cut the bottom of the mast of accordingly and re-step/re-tension for number 2.
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Old 04-02-2011, 21:16   #11
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the mast step

Had the same problem with my mast step. Steel fitting in the bilge with aluminum mast sitting inside, makes a great battery and eats up the bottom of the mast.

When I hauled last year there were three other Pearsons in the same yard and two of them had the masts out to replace the step. The third had already done it the year before.

Not too big a problem. I'll cut about 2.5" off the bottom of the mast and have an UHMWPE block to make up the height and replace the steel with a non corrosive step.
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Old 02-03-2011, 16:58   #12
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Re: Pearson 323 Engine Issues . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscruz View Post
It looks like I can get the 323 for $10k. New engine $15k. It would be worth the $25k wouldn't you say?
I live aboard a 1982 Pearson 323 and if the boat was in otherwise good condition I'd say it'd be worth it. I paid 19.5k for mine with a 1994 Yanmar 3GM in it.

They're a great boat and I've been very happy with the Yanmar.
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Old 26-03-2011, 21:26   #13
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Re: Pearson 323 Engine Issues . . .

You might want to look at re-powering with electric propulsion. Clean, quiet, no fumes, no vibration, no diesel engine maintenance. Several companies offer drop in systems which would fit that boat perfectly and it could be done for close to or less than the cost of re-powering with a new diesel engine.
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Old 05-05-2011, 22:33   #14
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Re: Pearson 323 Engine Issues . . .

The mast step on the Pearson (later versions anyway) is made of carbon steel, and this is in contact with the aluminum mast. If the bilge was wet over the life of the boat, then there can be galvanic corrosion, where the two dissimilar metals are in contact. The aluminum loses in that battle.

The problem is, you cannot necessarily see the corrosion from the outside; once you pull the mast, if there is bad corrosion, the typical fix is to cut off the bottom 2-3" of the mast to get rid of the thinned section, and install a new step either made of aluminum, or build up an elevated platform in the bilge with fiberglas.

A new aluminum step is great, but will cost you about $400 delivered, but building up a fiberglas platform will be considerably less. If you do pull the mast, be sure to plan on pulling/cleaning/resealing the mast collar.

As for a new engine, you may also need a new transmission, and/or vee-drive (gear box). Beta Marine makes a nice engine, and anywhere from a 20, to a 25, to a 28 HP motor will fit fairly well. The 28 has the oil changer and water pump">raw water pump accessible from the galley. Since the engines on the Pearson 323 are installed "backwards", on the beta 20 and 25, that puts the oil access and the raw water pump into the cockpit locker (tight fit). If you go with the new engine, there is a good chance you may also need to change prop diameter, as the newer engine will rotate at a higher speed.

I have been drooling over a new Beta, but my MD11C so far keeps on ticking. If you could get the boat for 10K, and there aren't any hull or deck issues, sounds like a pretty good deal. Also better have the standing rigging checked, because on a boat that old, if the rigging hasn't been changed, there is a good bet you will need it. New standing and running rigging can run a pretty penny as well.

Good luck.
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