Monday, June 25, 2007

On buying a boat.

If you are buying a used boat, spend the few extra hundred bucks to get the engine inspected. Especially if you are looking at a 30 year old sailboat.

I got a call from Jim at Federal Marine outside of Chicago today. The first thing he told me was I didn’t have a transmission. When they opened up the case, what used to be parts and gears had essentially dissolved away with salt water corrosion. There was nothing left to be rebuilt.

Apparently, J.D., the previous owner had never checked the transmission oil because it would take several years for a gear to degrade to this state. This is something that could have been easily prevented by a new oil cooler, but was simply overlooked or ignored for too long. I now have to make a choice about having the guys a Federal build me a new gear out of a Paragon case they have or find a new/rebuilt gear that will match the old Westerbeke 4-108.

What has me really scared is wondering how much other deferred maintanence is going to catch up with me during this refit. A rebuild of the old gear would have run about $2,000. A new one is more likely to run around $4,000. I may go ahead and get the engine surveyed now while I am working on the mechanical side of things. I don’t want to spend 4K on a new gear only to have to replace the whole engine later. If there are other problems lurking I want to know about them sooner rather than later.

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