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Old 07-06-2016, 13:19   #1
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Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Today I came across another thread on CF where the OP was concerned about the engine on a boat he had bought (sight unseen and without a survey) over the internet. The critical issue to that buyer was the condition of the engine which the advertisement for the boat said:
"nothing wrong with the engine."

This got me thinking about all the other ads I had seen over the years where the ad clearly says something like "The boat has been on the hard for a few years." Or, "The boat has not been in the water for a few years." Or, "It has been in out of the water in storage for five years." Obviously there are many boats that have been sitting around (in the water or out of the water) for years and eventually get put up for sale.

In this thread I would like to invite you all to post what you think might be the risks of purchasing a boat with an inboard diesel that has not been run in several years, whether the boat has been tied up in a marina slip or out of the water on the hard in a storage yard.

Assume the boat Seller says "The engine worked OK when I stored the boat 3 years ago."

What can happen to an engine in 1-3-5 years in dry storage (on the hard in a yard)?

Please post what you think a prospective buyer should look for or consider as the risks of that unused engine and what might be the possible costs to replace or repair, based on your own experience with your own diesel engine.

Assumptions:
Let's assume that this is an engine in a boat that is "on the hard" or out of the water. Let's assume that the prospective buyer is looking at the boat in an ad or possibly in person, and that this is taking place PRIOR to a formal survey, sea trial, or engine test by a mechanic.

Tips?
What, if anything, can be tested on the engine if the potential buyer visits the boat and the boat is out of the water in a storage yard?
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Old 07-06-2016, 14:31   #2
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Let's assume the engine is fresh water cooled. This would allow for a start and the normal function of the engine until the lack of heat exchange from the raw water began to increase the temperature to an undesirable point. Of course, during this time the raw water impeller would be running dry and likely breaking and lodging pieces in the heat exchanger. I would consider two options to this. One, remove the impeller and lubricate before the test start or replace the impeller and then supply a water hose to the raw water intake hose. I'm assuming the location on the hard would have a hose and there would not be a problem with the wet exhaust.

In addition, for an engine that has sat this long, it would be wise to check the condition of the oil and turn the engine over by hand and move some oil through the system before the start.

Putting the engine in gear would add another complication and there would need to be efforts to keep the cutlass bearing, stuffing box or dripless shaft seal wet,- 'not safe for a man with a hose and I would also be concerned about the prop activity without resistance.
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Old 07-06-2016, 15:22   #3
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

You could provide coolant from a big bucket full of water, need to direct both intake and exhaust hoses, so it could recirculate.

Hudson has the right of it. Remove and lubricate impeller first. Check the oil. Possibly change the oil. Then hand crank for a while (or on the starter) to get up oil pressure.
Then attempt start. Should start okay. Impeller could still die on you.

But, I'm not at all sure anyone would let you do anything till money had changed hands, anyway; and then if it had, you'd certainly want to find out if it floats, check through hull fittings, possibly replace, in addition to giving it a new impeller and an oil change... engines love having plenty of oil!


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Old 07-06-2016, 15:28   #4
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
You could provide coolant from a big bucket full of water, need to direct both intake and exhaust hoses, so it could recirculate.
Don't need to recir it, just let it pump out while controlling the bucket with a hose. That's how I've been winterizing my boat for years by flushing with fresh water and then putting the anti-freeze into the bucket.
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Old 07-06-2016, 16:28   #5
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

To: Hudson, Ann, and Sailorboy1,

Thanks for the good answers.
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Old 07-06-2016, 17:06   #6
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

For sure, I too have seen many interesting statements in boat adds. Contrary to some posters though, I do not find them odd.

I think part of the sailing lore is things like 'as is where is', 'sight unseen', and 'all sails new 1969'. Etc.

Part of the lore. Tricks of the trade. Buyer beware.

I have seen a wooden boat covered in glass/epoxy advertised as 'composite' too.

And I am so fat because I have diabetes.

I think one could expect more than the very basic level of reading and thinking from readers, and buyers, in the 21 century.

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Old 07-06-2016, 17:43   #7
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

In regards to checking the engine on the hard, first thing is check the fluids for water contamination and general condition overall. Don't forget the fresh water cooling system as this tends to be the most neglected. This can be done on initial inspection. When getting serious - as we did when we purchased our boat after it had been left on the hard unattended for 12 months - check that the crankshaft can be rotated to ensure that the motor isn't seized. An initial slight binding before it releases should be ok. Other checks like impeller, belts and fuel quality should also be done. We asked the vendor for permission to fire up the engine which they approved. We couldn't get it to turn over at the time, however, because the starter motor's bendix wasn't throwing out and engaging the flywheel and we didn't want to start fiddling with the mechanics of the motor so stipulated in the contract that sale was subject to a successful running test of the engine. The vendor agreed and we got a diesel mechanic in to fix the starter, run and report the condition of the engine. $400 dollar bill, paid for by the vendor, for a mechanic to tap the side of the starter with a hammer (even though the bill said "remove, disassemble and lubricate") and run the motor.

If you were really concerned about the engine a compression and leak down test could also be performed and perhaps even an oil analysis of the engine and gearbox as well.
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Old 07-06-2016, 17:46   #8
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
For sure, I too have seen many interesting statements in boat adds. Contrary to some posters though, I do not find them odd.

I think part of the sailing lore is things like 'as is where is', 'sight unseen', and 'all sails new 1969'. Etc.

Part of the lore. Tricks of the trade. Buyer beware.

I have seen a wooden boat covered in glass/epoxy advertised as 'composite' too.

And I am so fat because I have diabetes.

I think one could expect more than the very basic level of reading and thinking from readers, and buyers, in the 21 century.

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"New engine installed in 2002"
"New rigging 2006"

and the classics

"Completed circumnavigation in 1972"
"Some TLC required"
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Old 07-06-2016, 17:50   #9
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Gee most boats for sale have not left a dock or run the engine in years. Least from what I've seen. I would be concerned with any marine engine.... period.
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Old 07-06-2016, 18:58   #10
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Yep.

Look at the engine. Turn it by hand. Check if it has been winterized properly. Etc.

If you are serious about buying, you can fire the engine up also while on dry. Etc.

Interestingly, I think I have seen many great condition engines and many more run down ones. Somehow, it seems most users are either maintenance freaks or else complete engine dorks ... ;-)

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Old 08-06-2016, 00:25   #11
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Diesels are not as prone to pistons freezing to the sleeves/cylinders as gas engines. I've started several long term storage engines. Linkage, rockers turbo, transmission,etc., should be checked for movement. Any fuel has bugs, but usually cleanable with a good biocide and catalyst. Always some water in the fuel and oil. I startup on existing oil, get to operating temp and then change it and all the filters. I've never had a big problem with a diesel but improper mothballing can rust valves, etc., shorting life. My boat sat 6 years and started fine but I planned on an overhaul when buying.
Buying an internet boat sight unseen would be like a mail-order-bride. Whose picture is it? And in what year was it taken?
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Old 08-06-2016, 00:46   #12
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

Maybe this is relevant, maybe not....

When i was 12 or 13 my dad picked up an old john deer tractor called a poppin johnny, circa 1940s maybe. We winched it on a trailer, opened up the engine, drained out the water, filled it with a light oil and poured diesel on top of the cylynders. We put a socket on the shaft, it didnt move. A week later, dad drained the oil and filled it up again. Tried to turn it firmly, but not too hard...it didnt move. Came back another week later, tried again and it moved, not far, but it moved. We soaked it another week or so, drained it, put oil in it, opened it up and hooked the starter up and ran the starter for a while. He drained the oil and looked at it, had some rust, so put more new oil in. We ran the starter for a while more, checked pressure etc., hooked up the fuel line and fired it up. Fixed the flats, painted it green again and i was still plowing with it when i graduated high school.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:38   #13
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

not used in 5 years is a derelict boat. period.
everything needs redone.
used boat ads are akin to used car ads-- such as the rolled sedan with ad stating šonly driven on sundays by little old lady schoolteacheršnumbers faded into the paint......
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:46   #14
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

This kind of wording is another way for the seller to say, "I have neglected the boat and have absolutely no idea if anything works at all. BUYER BEWARE!" Or, perhaps, for a few of the more dishonest sellers out there, this actually translates to "I know that nothing is working, but I don't want to admit that, so I'm going to lie and say that I don't know."

Regardless, this is why you need a thorough survey, to include a careful check of the engine by a diesel expert, before sealing the deal.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:08   #15
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Re: Used Boat Disclaimers: "boat has not been used in years"

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
boat he had bought (sight unseen and without a survey) over the internet.
Idiots deserve what they get.




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