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Old 25-04-2014, 09:02   #1
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What do high hours really mean?

Hey folks,
As the admiral and I are closing in on our first Cat purchase, just got pre approved for financing!!!! We are really struggling with the debate over light use non charter vs heavy use charter boats, specifically engines and the hours on them.

How many hours could you expect to get out of a pair of engines, assuming they were well maintained? Some folks have told me they would rather have engines that have been used a lot because they stated Diesel engines like to run not sit. Some one owner boats we are looking at are in the 8 to 10 year range with only 1000 to 1500 hours. Conversely the former charter cats have anywhere between 3000 to 6000. Most of the former cats we are looking at have had some new components replaced i.e. Cutlass bearings, heat exchangers, transmissions etc. We just don't want to have to replace an engine right off the bat. However the discount on the charter cat would allow us to get the boat we really like the Leopard 43.

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.
Thanks again Will

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Old 25-04-2014, 09:05   #2
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

high hours just mean the engine got ran more

but if it was taken care of it probably is as good, maybe better, than and engine with low hours that only ran to get in/out of the slip

get an oil analysis and engine survey if you are worried

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Old 25-04-2014, 09:18   #3
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

An engine at 5K hours is a potential rebuild candidate. Ask for the maintenance records on engines to see what they have been consuming.

10,000 hours is a reasonable expectation with possibly one top end rebuild somewhere in there. Full rebuilds can extend the hours to 20,000 in continuous service.

Typical cruising will put on a few hundred hours each year. So a few thousand hours will go many years in cruising service. Solar panels help reduce the hours quite a bit.

As someone said, get an oil analysis and ask if there are records of previous analysis. An analysis without prior history is a lot less useful. Oil analysis trends are very helpful in assessing internal problems.
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Old 25-04-2014, 09:27   #4
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

A lot depend on the duty rating of the engine. Some engines are rated to 10,000+ hours and some for a lot less. If diesel low duty rated 3 to 6,000 hours is a lot. Our gen set as 2900 hours which is mid life, the main 671 has 1700 which is 1/5 the life. As mentioned a lot also depends on how they were maintained and used. Be sure to have an engine survey done, and a boat survey done.
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Old 25-04-2014, 09:30   #5
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

The JH series Yanmars which is what is typically on a boat of that size, can go 10,000 hours, but probably not in charter service. In that situation the charterer runs the engine on the hook to cool down the fridge and recharge batteries, and puts a couple of hours each day on the engine running near idle. Not good for long life.

You don't just do a top end on these diesels. Rarely do the valves and guides wear. It is the rings, pistons and cylinder bores that wear (or glaze over in the case of running at idle for long periods) and that takes a complete rebuild. Figure $5,000 minimum to rebuild a JH.

So if the charter boat is at least $10,000 less than the equivalent single owner owned boat, then ok. But at the end of the day it is the condition of the specific boat, not generalities.

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Old 25-04-2014, 09:42   #6
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

I think lower hours are better in what you are talking. Although extremely low hours may not be good. Todays small engines like Yanmars are rated at high rpm, as a generalism I dont think they can be relied upon in that kind of use. They are lightweight engines to start with. In a charter boat they've been "rode hard and put away wet". In charter use I say 5000 hours, possibly less, may need rebuilding at any time
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 25-04-2014, 09:49   #7
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Re: What do high hours really mean?

If you do a search on "engine hours" you'll get a lot of previous discussions about this same topic.

Good luck on your purchase.

Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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