Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-07-2014
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Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many?

We are looking at a boat to purchase. Very nice classic cruiser. 1987 Hans Christian. She seems to be well cared for and has had many upgrades, especially to the electronics. The teak decks have been removed years ago, and the balsa coring is being removed at this moment and being replaced with foam coring. My biggest area of concern is the engine. It is the original 65hp Yanmar. She has been to the Caribbean several times from the mid atlantic states. As a result, the engine has approx. 5000 hours on it. The broker says these engines are rated at 10,000 hours and should not be a problem. This still sounds like a lot of hours to me. The engine has just had an oil change so I don't know how accurate an oil analysis would be. The exterior of the engine looks very nice, very little rust, newer belts and hoses. The paint looks nice, not like it has been recently painted to hide rust or anything. But with these engine hours, can anyone suggest if maybe it's time to rebuild the engine, or replace the old girl?
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Old 01-07-2014
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Re: Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many?

have a surveyor preform a compression test. (or if you already bought her, DIY).

if the engine looks good, it has probably been maintained very well. A well cared for diesel should last indefinitely.

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Re: Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many?

get an oil analysis too to see if there is wear and how bad is it. I think there are good recommendations on some VW TDI forums of providers of oil sampling...
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Re: Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many?

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Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
get an oil analysis too to see if there is wear and how bad is it. I think there are good recommendations on some VW TDI forums of providers of oil sampling...
Yes Blackstone is good. A good oil analysis may not tell you everything, but if there are bad bearings or something like that then it will likely show up. If they have just changed the oil things may not show up. It is best used to notice trends over time, but can be very helpful even in pre-purchase situations.
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Re: Engine Hours. How Many Is Too Many?

As Blackstone will tell you, if the oil has just been changed an analysis will only show you gross problems, if that much.

Marine diesels typically will run 5000-10,000 hours between major overhauls and even then, everything depends on how they were run, which you really can't tell. At 5000 hours all you can do is look for signs of how it was used, maintained, or abused, and have a mechanic come in to do a real engine survey.

Some engines (i.e. some Volvos) are known to have their raw water cooling passages eaten out after 25 years in salt water use, and sometimes those can't be replaced any more. So if the engine is an old engine, salt water cooled...look into issues like that as well.
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