1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years?? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 32 Old 04-15-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

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Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
No tool marks, but what about the hand written sign saying "Not again"
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post #22 of 32 Old 04-15-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

I looked at a '78 or '79 recently that had 813 hours on the original engine.

It could happen.

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post #23 of 32 Old 04-15-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Engine survey and oil analysis ($25) on the engine to confirm what's happening inside it. That will warn you of bearing failure and other issues that no mechanic can really see.
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post #24 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Not sure, but 1,300 hours seems like the boat never left the dock very often. Of course, that depends upon how close the boat was docked to accessible sailing waters. Keep in mind that a couple trips up and down the ICW would likely result in 1,300 hours engine time.

Now, 1,300 hours is nothing when it comes to relative terms of engine usage. If the hour meter is correct, this could mean the engine had a lot of down time with repairs, or the person just didn't use the boat very often. I believe the later may be the case. I usually make 50 to 70 trips during the season, but at my marina there are boats that may go out a dozen times a year on day trips and that's it. There are some that I've never seen leave the dock unless the boat is being launched or put up for winter storage. Some serve as nothing more than a waterside getaway where people spend their weekends partying with drinking friends at the marina.

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post #25 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Dave, that would average out to 56 hours a year. Not knowing anything about how active the boaters were, or the timeshare, or whether they had to motor out from a dock or mooring, it is hard to say. But for a boat on a mooring, used 6? 8? days a month for six months? That's 48 days a year of sailing, and we might run the engine for ten minutes to clear the mooring field, and ten more to return while stowing the sails, 20 minutes on the average day times 48 days, a piddling 16 hours a year, which leaves 40 more hours for "light it, we're out of wind".

So back to the original question, the number of hours might not be out of line at all. Without knowing the details of how that boat was used every year, you're still better off doing the oil analysis and mechanical survey. And of course, sea trial for actual performance.
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post #26 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

My 27 year old diesel motor has twice that much and it's perfectly fine. Maintenance is always the key issue. keeping it clean and balanced.

You're always taking a gamble when buying used but I don't think this should be a red flag.

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post #27 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

I believe it. A friend of mine has a 1988 34 ft Catalina on lake Norman with 235 hours on it. The main channel sits 200 yards away from his marina. Once the boat is outside of the no wake zone, the engine is shut off.
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post #28 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

You might grab the serial number off the engine and confirm its actually original.


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post #29 of 32 Old 04-16-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Actually, you may wonder that the engine doesn't have ENOUGH hours on it at that age. If the engine was used like hellosailor describes, it may be in worse shape that one with 2500 hours.

Diesels like to run under load and they like to run warmed up so all the metal parts expand properly. Otherwise you'll get products of combustion blowing past the pistons and fouling the oil in the sump. Like the guys at Mack Boring will tell you, sailboaters need to periodically run their engines as if they were on a power boat--several hours under load--to make all the metal parts happy. (Perhaps not the most scientific explanation!) If you are running your engine for 10 minutes at a time, you are not getting it properly warmed up and are doing it more harm than you might think.

One indicator of blow-by is black oil on your dipstick. This occurs in short order on most sailboats after an oil change, but takes a lot longer on a powerboat for the reason mentioned above.
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post #30 of 32 Old 04-18-2013
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Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

My ex father-in-law owned a trucking company and had about a dozen diesel trucks. The amount of miles on those diesels without being rebuilt was simply unbelievable. He had some trucks with a million miles on them. He also had a full time mechanic, whose only job was to regularly service them.

He used to say that he didn't think it would be impossible to engineer a diesel engine that would run longer than an average human could live.

Disuse is almost always worse for a diesel engine than use.

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