Join Date: May 2006
Location: Left Coast USA
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RWC in an old boat can be a big issue. It really depends on how it was taken care of. like if the inlet water was shut off when the engine was not in use, prevents a rust line in the engine where the water level equalizes with the ocean. An engine will really rust if it has air above salt water inside the engine. One easy test would be to warm the engine up and use a non-contact thermometer to measure all over it looking for hot spots. It is possible to identify plugged passages by looking for hot spots on the engine.
A lot can also be learned from the color of the exhaust and the sound. An oil sample can be sent away for analysis too.
A lot of us have had old engines, they take more maintenance to keep going. It would be worth it to have an engine survey done. The cost is easily justified on an old RWC engine and if you buy the boat you will gain valuable knowledge from the surveyor. Make sure the you find a mechanic that knows this particular engine well to do the survey. They will know what to look for.
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Currently in Long Beach, CA