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Discussion Starter #1
LookIng at purchasing a boat thats been sitting on the hard for 13 years. It has a full tank of diesel that smells like turpentine. Obviously the tank needs to be drained and cleaned. What needs to be done to the Volvo Penta 2002 engine before attempting to start?
 

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I would first be sure it will turn manually and wasn’t seized, before I put a starter to it.

Pump and dispose of fuel. Get fuel out of lines (from tank to injectors) and filters too, change fuel filters and bleed in new fuel. No point cranking on broken down diesel and thinking she won’t start for some other reason.

Change oil and filter.

Change impeller and air filter.

Is she in the water? Engine will need cooling water supply. Clean seawater filter?

New starter battery?

Then perhaps see if she runs. If she does, I’d continue with all routine maintenance: belts, hoses, coolant?, etc.

p.s. engines that sat that long will need TLC. Seals, alternators, cylinder corrosion, anything is possible. Engine last longer, when they’re run.
 

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2-3 years is what I’ve heard as best advice, for diesel, but I’m sure it will burn longer. Not 13 years. For gasoline, with ethanol, it’s lifespan is measured in months.

Fuels are combinations of chemicals and additives, some breakdown, some separate, some change. Some of those chemicals protect your motor, but could be dissipated or altered, even though the fuel physically burns.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Im am not too familiar with marine diesels. Do you think the injector pump will be OK just passing new fuel through it? That’s sounds like an expensive item. Should it just be replaced?
 

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Im am not too familiar with marine diesels. Do you think the injector pump will be OK just passing new fuel through it? That’s sounds like an expensive item. Should it just be replaced?
I would go into a boat sitting 13 years assuming you will need to do a lot of work not only on the hull, boat but especially the engine.

I would assume the worst, hopping for the best. Chances are it was not pickled. 13 year old diesel throughout all its lines, injectors, 13 year old standing water in the mixer....and on and on. The injectors will probably need replacing and if your balking at the cost of them, to bring this boat back from the dead you can’t afford.

Boat maintainence costs less say at least $1000 a year. All in....but that’s cheap and that’s a functioning boat. This boat has sat 13 years.. you should expect to put a few thousand at least into it......more like 5,000 just to get it running.

We haven’t even talked about replacing standing rigging, running rigging which is rotten by now, sails sitting 13 years. Sailing costs.

What would you do if someone who gave you and old car which had been sitting in their yard for 13 years.

Good luck either in this big project or finding a working boat.
 

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What does happen to diesel over time? What about diesel in a sealed container? How long can it be stored?
I've studied this a good bit in my day job. There is no useful short answer, as it depends on the original fuel spec, additives, and storage conditions. The range of on-spec can be 3-4 months to 10 years. The big problem in fuel systems is the presence of metals which can catalyze polymerization.

Sail Delmarva: Are We the Cause of Fuel Breakdown?

For the OP the obvious answer is to dispose of the fuel with the used oil (or burner fuel if someone wants it--which is unlikely) and get new.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Its not about being able to afford the maintenance. Just not wanting to be upside down from the start. Need to estimate the cost for negotiations. $5000 is a bit steep. I was thinking $1500. But, I could be too optimistic.

The rest of the boat needs attention too, all that I have tons of experience with. But all my boats so far have had gas engines. Never dealt with a diesel. Thats where I need advice.
 

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Diesel IMHO is quite simple if you have had the gas experience. Injectors are the big deal.

None of what you mentioned abovenegates the fact it sat 13 years ( the engine) without running. I think you can replace injectors fairly easily if you have mechanical experience, I have. I would be most concerned over what happens to the engine seals and pistons after sitting 13 years. It would be hard to estimate what and how much it would cost to bring up to snuff if it even was possible.

A total rebuild would cost $5k and you’d still have an old engine. I would never buy any boat without having a working engine, unless I was willing to put a rebuilt engine in it, and that I would add to the cost.

So say you offered $1500 . Your cost could be $6500 without improving the other parts of the boat. If you paid $5k now your base costs are $10k

You can find better boats, less of a project than that easily....just saying
 

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M y question concerns keeping a small jar of diesel to use if I need to fill the filter or something... underway... when all the diesel is normally where it belongs... in the tanks. A small jar is easy to use and to keep.
 

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M y question concerns keeping a small jar of diesel to use if I need to fill the filter or something... underway... when all the diesel is normally where it belongs... in the tanks. A small jar is easy to use and to keep.
Understood , my response was for the PO. You interjected the question later in the thread. I couldn’t imagine you’d keep the jar more than a year, because you change fuel filters at least that often I would assume.

We always have a 5 gallon container in the lazzarette to fill a measuring cup with spout to fill racor when we change filters.

I try and empty it into our regular tank at least twice a season which is easy.
We only hold 18 gallons. Which is 36 hours of motoring for our miserly 3GMF
Yanmar😆
 

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What boat are you looking at? Painfully, some boats are worth a negative value. Meaning, the cost of making them seaworthy and reliable is more than they’ll be worth, once restored. Items like sails, rigging and engines alone can be more than some boats are worth. If there is any water in the core, forget it.
 

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On the positive side, the tank is full, so it may not have any rust in it. Also, if the owner filled the tank that's sort of an indication that it may have been put away properly, not 13 years properly mind you, but it would be interesting to know if the owner had intended to use the following year or was giving up on it. Might be a tad hard to gather that info though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It has a plastic tank that is accessible. He planned to store it, but didn’t know it would be this long. Stabilized the fuel, but that only works for a couple years.
 

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1986 Beneteau First 29.
Would you say it’s worth about $20k in good condition? Price a new motor and whatever else it needs.

You may want to check on parts availability for the motor, even if you do get it running.
 

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In the US soldboats.com says an 86' First 29 is worth about $11,500 in decent condition
 

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Turn the motor by hand to make sure it will turn. Check the engine and gearbox oils. Put some new diesel in the fuel lines and it will probably start. Don't pull the injectors unless they are malfunctioning.
 

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In the US soldboats.com says an 86' First 29 is worth about $11,500 in decent condition
Much better data than my guess. That really leave no room for anything significant to be wrong and pay more than zero.
 

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Do not try to start with starter! Use a breaker bar with appropriate socket on the snout of the crank shaft ! Don't force it, just gently rock it back and forth ! It will probably be stuck ! Ie rings stuck to cylinder walls ! If really stuck, remove injectors squirt marvel mystery oil in the cylinders ! Let it sit for a couple of days then go back, and try again ! It should break free, if not badly corroded ! If naturally aspirated it should fire right up ! Diesel will stay combustible for 10 yrs plus ! We had truck engines that sat for ten fifteen years that would fire right up after making sure they were loose, and coolant level s were ok ! N.E USA !
 
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