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madhuri 07-05-2001 03:50 PM

Columbia yacht''''s Chrysler-Nissan engine
July 5 - My husband and I are considering buying a 1974 Columbia 43'' yacht with a Chysler-Nissan model CN4-33 48 HP marine engine. We are hesitating because our mechanic has advised us that parts for this engine are no longer available and that if we need to replace parts such as the exhaust manifold, that we would have to have parts made.

Anyone know other Columbia yacht owners in the Seattle area who may have this same type of engine and who may face this same issue of having parts made? We hope to locate others who can tell us if they''ve found a successful solution to maintaining this type of engine without having to pay exhorbitant rates for custom designed parts.

Any contact information you could send us right away would be greatly appreciated. We are in an urgent situation and need to decide if purchasing this boat is a good idea or not. The Columbia appears to be a well-built boat, but we don''t want to take on a bigger problem below deck than we can handle!

Thanks for your quick response!

Best regards,
Madhuri and Jeff

jack_patricia 07-06-2001 01:44 AM

Columbia yacht''''s Chrysler-Nissan engine
Madhuri & Jeff:

It sounds like the Columbia 45 has grabbed your heart, perhaps a little earlier than might prove wise. All of us with older boats (mine is a 1979 Pearson 424 with a Westerbeke engine no longer made) face many such problems, given that most vendors supplying parts to boat manufacturers of that era have long since stopped operating, or suspended making parts compatible with these older boats. However, major engine components are an entirely different matter: to contract for the design, then molding and finally manufacture of engine parts - plus expecting these one-off parts to hold high tolerances and perform flawlessly - is a position you just don''t want to be in.

I can offer no info on the Chrysler-Nissan engine you mention, but let me give one illustration. Some 424 owners would like to change our V-drives from raw water cooling to fresh water, which requires the construction of a one-piece casting of low tolerances with 2 ports (in/out) and 6 fasteners, about 3" X 10" or so. If 10 boats agreed to order this part, the first estimate for the construction of the parts was $1,000 per piece - not including the initial design work, which we would do. This part is smaller and easier to make than an exhaust manifold, by far.

I''d recommend you help the broker and/or seller understand what many buyers of older boats have already accepted: the value of the boat has now been depreciated by the lack of availability of some key components, no matter how well the boat in total has been maintained. The seller(s) will need to accept a lower price simply to allow you to economically consider refurbing it over the time period and for the use you intend. Your option is to repower (expect $15K), as apparently even doing a rebuild is no longer feasible.

BTW Columbia sailboats were not particularly well built, they were just built early enough that little was known about the long-term nature of grp laminates. Thus, thicker laminates were used, meaning heavier as well as stronger - a good/not so good thing. While the price may seem appealing, there''s no reason to think you can''t find other boats of equal or better quality.

Sorry my comments aren''t more encouraging, but you''re looking at an orphaned boat and must position your offer accordingly.


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