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  #1  
Old 02-08-2011
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Two 20 year old boats--one has 2000 hours on the motor, the other 700

Isn't 2000 hours a lot of time on the motor?

I'm looking at a couple of Catalina 34's. They're both about 20 years old.
Catalina #1: Looks like it's used regularly and maintained, would be pretty much turn key, has 700 hours on the motor,motor is X25 FWC w/ 3 blade prop,
Catalina #2: Is slightly newer, has a walk thru transom, but has been sitting for an unknown amount of time, has 2000+ hours on the motor, motor is a M35 w/ 2 blade prop, the brightwork needs to be completely redone, has a nicer bimini/dodger setup but near the end of it's life

We really like the walk thru transom and swim step... but I have a feeling it's going to be like opening pandora's box if we buy it. My gut says go with the one that is sailed regularly... even if it means getting the older boat without the walk thru transom and swim step.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-08-2011
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I would be more worried about the motor that has only 700 hours over TWENTY YEARS. That means the engine was run on average only 35 hours a year, where 100 hours a year is pretty typical. BTW, a good diesel can last 5000 hours pretty easily if well maintained.

The real issue with a low-hour engine that is 20 years old is whether the engine was maintained properly. They don't really like to not be used for extended periods of time, and if they're only run for short periods of time with long periods of disuse between them, you can get major problems from the engine never really getting up to working temps and condensation forming inside the engine, causing corrosion, diluting the oil, etc. Also, was the maintenance done on an hour meter-rated basis, if so, it may have gone three years between oil changes and such. That's also not good for an engine. If the maintenance was done on a calendar basis that would be much better, since the boat wouldn't sit through winter layup with old oil in it.

Really low hours on an old diesel engine is generally not a good thing.
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Old 02-08-2011
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Two thousand hours over twenty years is only a hundred per year which can translate into a half a dozen trips per year to Catalina in light conditions. If anything, 700 could be light, but I understand that a lot of people use their boats for weekend marina living and thus, are lightly used. Do you have the sail numbers? The 1987 boat is definitely a MkI, but the M35B engine makes the other a MkII which came out later than 1990. You could be looking at a MkI1/2 with a non-standard engine (Butler would sometimes “upgrade” the engine to the next larger size if none were available.) You really want to pose your question over at C34IA.Org That website is a treasure trove of good information and knowledgeable folks. Without more particulars, go for the one in the best condition. Also, bear in mind, Butler would tweak his designs/molds in between each major Mk update, so given the same condition, the newer one will be the better boat. Just make sure that the two blade prop can get the boat up to hull speed as that is not standard to the boat. Feel free to ask questions as I bought my MkII boat in 2000 and have extensively raced and cruised her over the years.
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Old 02-08-2011
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If the newer boat hasn't been used, brightwork gone, etc., then chances are the engine maintenance hasn't been done regularly either. Are there any maintenance logs on board or available from the owner (on both boats). If not then you can rest assured that the maintenance was not done properly. I've found that people that maintain the engine and systems properly keep records and are proud to show them when selling.
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Old 02-08-2011
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Is there ANY chance that the one with 700hrs was re-powered?

Overall, I would go with the boat in better overall condition. I would also suggest a pre-purchase engine survey (pay particular attention to the compression test and oil analysis).

There is a TON of good engine information at these sites;
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Last edited by eherlihy; 02-08-2011 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 02-09-2011
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Hello,

The engine in my 1986 O'day 35 is a Universal Diesel M25. When I bought the boat in 2006 the engine had 3600 hours on it. Now it has 3840. Most important is that it runs perfectly, burns no oil, and make good power.

My boat came with meticulous records, I have the maintenance log from the original owner, and that was what made me comfortable with buying a boat with high hours.

As others mentioned, diesels like to run and will go for a long time. Personally, I think that the age of the engine is more important than the number of hours. The salt water environment is not friendly for iron engines. If not taken care of, the engine will die from rot and rust long before it dies from too many hours. IMHO, once the oil pan rusts out the engine is done. I would way rather have a 3000 hour engine that has been cleaned, painted, and otherwise maintained than a 1000 hour engine that is dirty, rusty, and uncared for.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 02-09-2011
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Thanks all for the good advice. I was comparing to other boat hours on yachtworld and most were in the 1000 range... but doing the math it makes sense.

Now just wish us luck that we get one... I gotta get my 27 listed for sale... got boat fever now!
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Barry's post got me to thinking...

This fall, when I purchased my 1987 O'day 35, also equipped with a Universal M25, she showed only 176 Hours! However, that is because she had a new "Admiral's Control Panel," which includes the hour meter, professionally installed in September 2004. Frankly, that's still not a lot hours in 6 years (about 30/year) but she ran great during the survey and sea trial.

I have since spent a lot of time, however, re-installing everything that the professionals did, because they did shoddy work...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Barry's post got me to thinking...

This fall, when I purchased my 1987 O'day 35, also equipped with a Universal M25, she showed only 176 Hours! However, that is because she had a new "Admiral's Control Panel," which includes the hour meter, professionally installed in September 2004. Frankly, that's still not a lot hours in 6 years (about 30/year) but she ran great during the survey and sea trial.

I have since spent a lot of time, however, re-installing everything that the professionals did, because they did shoddy work...
Just because they're a professional, it doesn't mean they do good work...all it really means is that the IRS knows they get paid for doing it. As an example, Peter Kennedy Yacht Services are professionals, but they do some of the shoddiest work I've ever seen.... READ THIS
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Old 02-10-2011
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Put an offer on the newer boat... wish us luck...and hope my 1980 27 sells fast!
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