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Old 15-02-2014, 11:00   #31
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

You're getting a lot of good advice here, but I wouldn't spend a penny or a second on this boat until you have clear title with no hidden traps (like suddenly YOU are on the hook for yard fees, etc. or "special charges").

Once that is clear, you can bother to spend a second on the engine. Run clean diesel from a jerry can via gravity and bring a grease pencil to mark where all the seals have failed, assuming you can even get it to turn. The advice to spin it to lube all the moving parts is good, as is the idea to do an oil change, drain the fuel system (and clean it out of dead diesel) and so on.

I would consider that a) this engine MAY be salvageable, but you have to consider the cost of rebuild and the cost of Universal/Westerbeke parts (see: what drove me to a new Beta Marine), and b) the ease with which you can haul the engine out for something short of a rebuild, like all the seals and studs and maybe a head job and so on and c) your personal competence at doing this work, plus your floor space in your shop.

It gets close to a split decision even if you can get the diesel to cough and sputter stage given that it's been rusting in silence since the first Bush administration. I would just assume that the engine should come out for a lot of bench hours to even get it into shape. That said, if it had under a thousand hours on it, and you can do this with sweat, skill and a grand in parts/gaskets/rebuild kits, it could be a fine case of bringing a Frankendiesel back to life.
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Old 15-02-2014, 11:09   #32
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
You're getting a lot of good advice here, but I wouldn't spend a penny or a second on this boat until you have clear title with no hidden traps (like suddenly YOU are on the hook for yard fees, etc. or "special charges").

Once that is clear, you can bother to spend a second on the engine. Run clean diesel from a jerry can via gravity and bring a grease pencil to mark where all the seals have failed, assuming you can even get it to turn. The advice to spin it to lube all the moving parts is good, as is the idea to do an oil change, drain the fuel system (and clean it out of dead diesel) and so on. ............
You're saying buy the boat and then evaluate the engine? Sorry, I dont agree.
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Old 15-02-2014, 11:28   #33
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

No, I'm saying don't bother evaluating the engine on a boat to which you don't have, or may not have, clear title without liens, yard charges or other quasi-blackmailing tactics that will only enrich lawyers.

In other words, clarify the title issue(s) before bothering to spend time seeing if the engine can be revived, or it is economical to do so. If the title issues are clear (i.e. vetted documentation proves it is the yard's boat to sell, and whomever buys it won't pay whatever the P.O. or his estate failed to, then proceed to check out the engine.

Then make an offer based on the other stuff I indicated, such as the ability of the prospective buyer to haul out the engine and do the necessary work to bring it back to operating condition.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.
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Old 16-02-2014, 05:56   #34
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Well as I sit freshly awoken at 5am in my sisters house in WI with lists of needed repairs,pros, and cons running through my head I learned a lot yesterday. So the 10year part can go out the window. The boats last year of a good state registration sticker was........1996! So more like18 years! It's been on the hard in sheds and out for a month or two a years since. So to get a little off topic here is how the boat sits as near as I can tell after 4-1/2 hrs spent investigating it. To repeat there are no title issues the yard owns the boat free and clear. The official backstory is the former owner did an extensive refit as witnessed by new winches, gear, sails, ect.

I'll start with the bad:
On the bottom it has no blisters but lots of tiny cracks coming through the bottom paint.
The topside gel coat is in a similar shape crazing over every surface but the nonskid paint.
The woodwork needs refinishing and there are some splits in the cockpit combings at the aft end.
1 stanchion base area had cracks in the deck and sounded like it had some delamination.
The aft pulpit had a support that was not through bolted and instead screwed with a wood screw and is pulled out.
The chain lock on the bow roller was screwed and not bolted and is pulled half way out.
On the very bottom of the keel there are a few scraps. It looks like it's from the yard they only use jack stands and blocks.
All the chrome on deck is getting pretty old and some signs of the bronze underneath showing.

The good:
The hull sounded out good and solid with no delamination or soft spots.
The decks were very solid with very little to no deflection, they sounded out good as well with my hammer except for the previously mentioned spots.
The electrical system looked to be professionally redone with newer wiring from before the 1996 end oft he boats use. Newer fuse panel. All the runs are secured properly and ac is kept separate from dc. When I hooked up a battery all the nav lights and interior electrical worked. As did the radio and obsolete nav equipment.
The boom and spars are in excellent condition.
The rigging and mast are in good shape. The looks to have been replaced at some point in the past as well. There is a hark roller furling that looks fairly "new" as well.
The helm pedestal looks new along with engine controls panel and compass.
Interior is in great shape. Good cushions if a little dated.
The engine!!! Oh the engine! has 71hrs on it! It's a model m4-30 universal. When I keyed it on the gauges all zeroed out and I homed out the glow plugs which checked good. I was able to move the crank a bit by hand and it felt like it had good compression when I used my wrench. The oil looked clean and indeed it was full of antifreeze and the heat exchanger still had its coolant ect. Mounts looked good. I cranked it over and it sounded good like it had compression. I was not able to run it as the temps were close to 10F and the yard asked me not to run it as the water could freeze very quick at the temps we had. It did pop so I think it could be ok but it's a crap shoot. Tanks will definitely need to be cleaned ect.

So we liked the boat and the layout but it was in rougher shape than we thought. As said before we have experience restoring old boats we just didn't think we'd be doing it agin this soon! We are thinking if making an offer but it will be much lower than the asking price. Thanks again for all your help and advice.
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Old 16-02-2014, 06:37   #35
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Been there, done that

I bought my boat from a deceased owner and he was the only owner of the boat - bought it new. It was a westerbeke engine. I pulled the injectors and had them rebuilt, changed the oil, filter etc. new fuel, lines, impeller etc.

I would not assume that after 10 years sitting on the hard that an engine that may start is all you need to do. If you confirm that engine will turn over, then you are only confirming that it is not seized. If this was a tractor, I would not be so concerned but you do not want to be at sea and have an engine failure if you can avoid it.

I suggest that you will likely have to do a rebuild to ensure all seals, gaskets etc are in good shape. Rebuild will likely be less expensive than a seized engine but it should get a thorough inspection from a qualified mechanic.

My engine was rebuilt and runs fine now ....more importantly, I trust it!

My two cents!
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Old 16-02-2014, 08:29   #36
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So we liked the boat and the layout but it was in rougher shape than we thought. As said before we have experience restoring old boats we just didn't think we'd be doing it agin this soon! We are thinking if making an offer but it will be much lower than the asking price. Thanks again for all your help and advice.[/QUOTE]

The Universal 4cyl are Kubota blocks marinized by Universal. You might find some cross-over parts lists online. I found that things like oil filters are cheaper at Walmart if you can find the right part numbers. Parts are readily available though from several dealers online.

I'd offer based on replacing the engine unless the seller offers some sort of warranty. These engines were very reliable though and pretty simple compared to some newer ones. I added an electric fuel pump to mine to assist in bleeding the injectors and filling the Racors. Mine had 1800 hrs on it when I bought it and had over 4000 when I sold it. I always used Rotella synthetic, had an auxiliary oil filter system that gave me 400 hours between oil changes, about a seasons worth. I also had the oil lab tested every change. Never had any issues except the engine put out white smoke all the time. I added a K&N air filter and upgraded the heat exchanger from the original 2" to the newer 3". I also replaced the water pump">raw water pump with a quick change model but other than annual maintenance I never had to do an impeller change. I had dual switchable Racors and I used the 2 micron filters which usually clogged up between 50 and 100 hours. Probably should have fueled through a baja filter, it would have been cheaper. The wire from the key switch to starter solenoid was originally like 16ga and ran a good 15 ft from panel to engine, fixed that with a 10ga replacement.

Good luck, soundd like a project.
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Old 16-02-2014, 08:56   #37
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Hey Appick, I am glad this is mostly good news.
You can pretty much put the engine worries aside, as it is not seized and is brand new except for the time sitting. The major components should be fine and the rest is easily fixable.
What is your time budget? 2-3 years?
Looks like the deck is in the same shape as mine when I got it crazed deck and cabin top. This is probably due to them using a much-thicker layer of gelcoat, if it does not have major cracks, this is not hard, albeit tedious - a lot of sanding and filling then paint and non-skid.
Did you check the thru-hull and seacocks? None seized? Deck to hull joint also provide some unpleasant surprises sometimes, but if you did not see and signs of water ingress it should be ok. Is this joint bolted? Rudder and rudder post are ok?
Depending on the price you pay, you may be in for a bargain, and with the experience you have I hope it all work out for you. Keeps us posted and then reveal the boat details and pics. Good luck
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Old 16-02-2014, 10:54   #38
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Good luck with that. Seventy one hours of use is probably worth reviving if there are no other major issues.

Can you see easily pulling the engine out?
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Old 16-02-2014, 20:01   #39
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Yea the engine is easily pulled it sits right below companionway. Thanks yea I think the engine with a fuel tank cleaning filters oil change might be good to go. Or it might need injectors rebuilt ect. All seacocks are bronze tapered plug styles and all moved. The rudder is original mahogany. I picked at it with an awl and it felt good and firm. Very little movement from the gudgeon and tube.

Time frame would be to rebed thru hulls, farm out the fuel tank cleaning, new hoses impellers ect. Get the engine running and tested for several hours. Caulk up any defects or leaks a stop gap for now and launch maybe late may-June to get it back to our side of the lake.

That is if we get it and the broker agrees to our ridiculously low ball price. I'm planning on offering as if the engine is in need of replacement. And there is plenty of work needed to warrant my low offer so fingers crossed.
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Old 16-02-2014, 20:05   #40
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

As far as getting it totally reprinted, barrier coated, fiberglass work, everything rebedded, rechromed and up to snuff, yea 3 years is along the lines I'm thinking. That's how long it took for the last one.
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Old 17-02-2014, 09:19   #41
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Yea the engine is easily pulled it sits right below companionway. Thanks yea I think the engine with a fuel tank cleaning filters oil change might be good to go. Or it might need injectors rebuilt ect. All seacocks are bronze tapered plug styles and all moved. The rudder is original mahogany. I picked at it with an awl and it felt good and firm. Very little movement from the gudgeon and tube.

Time frame would be to rebed thru hulls, farm out the fuel tank cleaning, new hoses impellers ect. Get the engine running and tested for several hours. Caulk up any defects or leaks a stop gap for now and launch maybe late may-June to get it back to our side of the lake.

That is if we get it and the broker agrees to our ridiculously low ball price. I'm planning on offering as if the engine is in need of replacement. And there is plenty of work needed to warrant my low offer so fingers crossed.
Good luck with all that. It sounds as if you've been down this road before, and you wouldn't be the first person I've been aware of who got as much out of "hopeless" boat restoration as they did sailing a restored vessel.

There's such a glut of old or ill-treated boats on the market that the yard should be happy to see them go.
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Old 17-02-2014, 10:04   #42
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Originally Posted by appick View Post
Yea the engine is easily pulled it sits right below companionway. Thanks yea I think the engine with a fuel tank cleaning filters oil change might be good to go. Or it might need injectors rebuilt ect. All seacocks are bronze tapered plug styles and all moved. The rudder is original mahogany. I picked at it with an awl and it felt good and firm. Very little movement from the gudgeon and tube.

Time frame would be to rebed thru hulls, farm out the fuel tank cleaning, new hoses impellers ect. Get the engine running and tested for several hours. Caulk up any defects or leaks a stop gap for now and launch maybe late may-June to get it back to our side of the lake.

That is if we get it and the broker agrees to our ridiculously low ball price. I'm planning on offering as if the engine is in need of replacement. And there is plenty of work needed to warrant my low offer so fingers crossed.
I dont see mentioned what size boat this is, but imagine with the little Uni Diesel it's maybe 35-38 ft? I wouldnt be shy about a lowball price, with the work you've outlined... it seems to me taking it off their hands for free you'll be doing them a big favor. Seriously.... Gel issues/complete repainting, engine work, tanks, ...wood rudder? There are a lot of boats around with somewhat less trouble than that... cheap.
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Old 17-02-2014, 10:22   #43
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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As far as getting it totally reprinted, barrier coated, fiberglass work, everything rebedded, rechromed and up to snuff, yea 3 years is along the lines I'm thinking. That's how long it took for the last one.
Don't just sail off into the sunset. Let us all know how it turns out.
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Old 17-02-2014, 10:27   #44
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Sounds like you have a good "fixer upper candidate" Your bad things... Ain't that bad at all... Really fall into the category of "normal things found on a unmaintained boat"

Lowball and go for it.... I'll bet you end up elated....
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Old 17-02-2014, 13:21   #45
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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As far as getting it totally reprinted, barrier coated...
If she is yours...

Are you planning to sail/motor it home or truck it?

Being sitting for that long the bottom is bone dry, great chance for paint removal, sanding (soda blasting instead?) and barrier coating before it sees water again.... just a thought.
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