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Any advice would be appreciated. We’re looking at purchasing a sailboat with a 20 year old Westerbeke 42b engine with 1500 hours. It’s winterized, so no ability to start it up. Visually the engine looks to be in rough condition with rust on the underside of the engine block, exterior corrosion on the heat exchanger, and engine mounts that look like they need to be replaced.

Do we just walk away? What kind of work are we looking at if we purchase? We're definitely going to get an engine survey and we're capable of doing some minor engine work ourselves.
 

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Peeling paint shouldn't be a deal breaker Except for debatable mounts (which are considered regular maintenance/replacement) and some normal rust on their bolts nothing screams 'run away' Any idiot can paint an engine and say 'yup.looks like new' What's it's running history/oil change /filters. ,compression .signs of oil leak Have the belts been renewed Batteries and wiring?.If it had cooked to seizing last summer it would look the same. Trust me is easy to say.The rest of the boat may be suffering lack of care and attention too and is ripe for extreme lowball offer Caveat.
 

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What Capt Len said +1.

That all looks superficial. I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker... Maintenance logs and receipts, maybe a chat with the mechanic who serviced it would be helpful, but no way to tell for sure without running the engine.

I don't know how many people paint their engines on the regular, usually part of a rebuild.... I will say that it looks better than mine.
 

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The engine mount looks bad in the pic.

Personally, I think condition like that says something about how diligent the current owner may be. Paint itself isn’t such a big deal, but it’s hard to work on a motor, without cleaning some of it up. The suggestion for maintenance receipts is important. Look for preventative maintenance, not just repairs. I don’t know anyone that repaints their hoses, so those are likely original. 20 years would be far past any manufacturers recommended hose replacement interval that I’m familiar with. Sure, hoses can last longer than recommended replacement intervals, but it tells you something.

I’d also have a different perspective, if I was expecting to have that motor run for my entire ownership, or if it has so many hours I was buying it right and all use was gravy before expecting a repower.
 
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A nasty looking engine is not encouraging or inspiring of confidence that the engine and likely the boat was well maintained.

The picture is my Volvo Penta MD17D built in 1985 taken in 2016 making the engine 31 years old. I have done a spray in place repaint. But you can see it is not perfect. The engine now had over 5,000 hrs when this pic was taken. I do regular maintenance... lube changes and filters, impellers and belts. And I've done pump replacements, hose replacements, exhaust elbows,and engine mounts in 2014. I rebuilt the starter and replaced the alternator 2x. Engine runs fine, and started right up after being de commissioned in 2018.

The engine looks like it is not new and not like it is now 36 years old.
 

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At the very least you're looking at new engine mounts, with proper re-alignment. I'd remove the end caps from the heat exchanger and clean it up and replace the gaskets. Check the Zinc ! I'd also probably replace all the hoses. The fitting on the heat exchanger looks like it might be rusted at the weld? I can't tell if it's the hose, or rust.
If that gives way, you're talking about $500.00 for a replacement exchanger. Been there done that. I'm not saying walk away, just be prepared to invest $ money beyond the purchase price to get it up to snuff. Hoses and gaskets etc. are just regular maintenance.
 

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The good news is a lot of what I see is just peeling paint and not from rusting metal, like the hoses and heat exchanger. The ends of heat exchangers often look like that, it's just the nature of the beast.
As mentioned the motor mount is a definite problem and looks as though water has been getting on it regularly and for a long time. However, if that is what it's like where you can easily maintain the engine, imagine what it's like underneath where you can't.
The most worrisome thing to me is why the paint peeled. All the rust I see appears to be after the paint peeled and most of the peeling paint (hoses, heat exchanger and even block) could have done so from excessive heat. I'm guessing this engine got really really hot.
If all else about the boat seems acceptable to you, get 15k off the asking for a new engine and go for it, if you are willing to go through a repower. If not, there are plenty of boats on the sea for sale.
 
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At the very least you're looking at new engine mounts, with proper re-alignment. I'd remove the end caps from the heat exchanger and clean it up and replace the gaskets. Check the Zinc ! I'd also probably replace all the hoses. The fitting on the heat exchanger looks like it might be rusted at the weld? I can't tell if it's the hose, or rust.
If that gives way, you're talking about $500.00 for a replacement exchanger. Been there done that. I'm not saying walk away, just be prepared to invest $ money beyond the purchase price to get it up to snuff. Hoses and gaskets etc. are just regular maintenance.
I agree and negotiate this repair off the asking price. The heat exchanger is mostly brass and copper, unlikely you'll need to replace unless the tubes are perforated. Take it to a radiator shop to cleanup and pressure test then repaint.

The engine is not unlike mine when I bought the boat.

I'd prefer rust than oil all over.... unless there is something really bad with the engine this should not be a deal breaker.
 

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Any advice would be appreciated. We’re looking at purchasing a sailboat with a 20 year old Westerbeke 42b engine with 1500 hours. It’s winterized, so no ability to start it up. Visually the engine looks to be in rough condition with rust on the underside of the engine block, exterior corrosion on the heat exchanger, and engine mounts that look like they need to be replaced.

Do we just walk away? What kind of work are we looking at if we purchase? We're definitely going to get an engine survey and we're capable of doing some minor engine work ourselves.
Im in agreement with the consensus of the previous posters.....the rust in the pics doesn’t look that bad in and of itself but may be a sign of other neglect. Definitely get an engine survey done by a mechanic and an oil analysis before you make an offer.

Cleaning up an engine in that condition will take some time and elbow grease, but isn’t rocket surgery. You could have it looking nearly new with a few hours of labor a day spread out over a few days.
 
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A nasty looking engine is not encouraging or inspiring of confidence that the engine and likely the boat was well maintained.

The picture is my Volvo Penta MD17D built in 1985 taken in 2016 making the engine 31 years old. I have done a spray in place repaint. But you can see it is not perfect. The engine now had over 5,000 hrs when this pic was taken. I do regular maintenance... lube changes and filters, impellers and belts. And I've done pump replacements, hose replacements, exhaust elbows,and engine mounts in 2014. I rebuilt the starter and replaced the alternator 2x. Engine runs fine, and started right up after being de commissioned in 2018.

The engine looks like it is not new and not like it is now 36 years old.
Nice looking Volvo, Sander! Makes me think we should have a separate thread for showing off our engines!
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to everybody who posted. Some great perspective about it, especially with the potential issues with the heat exchanger. I agree that appearance screams lack of maintenance which makes me worry about Pandora's box. I guess I just have to decide how much I want a project boat vs. one that's ready to sail.
 

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Thanks to everybody who posted. Some great perspective about it, especially with the potential issues with the heat exchanger. I agree that appearance screams lack of maintenance which makes me worry about Pandora's box. I guess I just have to decide how much I want a project boat vs. one that's ready to sail.
I didn't mean to overstate the condition of the exchanger. Just that it warrants close inspection.
When I blow up your picture it looks like what I thought was rust around the weld, actually looks like the end of the hose, beyond the clamp. Still, clean it up, take a look at it, change the gaskets and clean the end caps and replace the zinc every year.

Without looking at my log, I think I replaced my exchanger after 28 years. It's a do it yourself job. it's just that the OEM part isn't cheap on a WB.
 

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Rust on the engine was an ongoing battle on my last boat, so it was just regular maintenance to sand, prime and paint rust areas.

This is what my old boat's 40 year old MD7a looked like when I sold the boat.


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I have a quart of engine paint that I use to coat new parts, such as waterpumps. I also have a spray can, which I use to top coat nuts and or other disturbed items, after maintenance. It's really for rust protection, not looks. These two containers will outlast the life span of the boat, let alone my life.
 

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Before & after of the Perkins in a boat I had a few years ago. Rust is inevitable on a boat engine - I always clean & repaint at every opportunity like when a pump or an alternator comes off - like that.
 

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Non-winterized season is only a few weeks away. Might be worth waiting until then to decide. Some rust is inevitable. The degree of rust on that motor mount suggests to me that it has been exposed to salt water. That would concern me. We use a rust converter as primer on any bare metal before painting. If you decide to do the same, check the temperature ratings for the rust converter. Not all of them can tollerate high temps.
 

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It sort of looks like the owner painted in prep for a quick sale, which didn’t happen. Wait till you can start it up and run to temperature. Get an oil analysis. Then it still depends on the amount of work you are willing to take on. For a minimum all the hoses, motor mounts, and service the heat exchanger which appears to be leaking.
 
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