11 Apr

Surveys 1: The mechanics of it all

In retrospect I am increasingly happy that this deal is going through a broker. It’s 10% well spent in this case. I suppose if one was much more knowledgeable and had the time to do intensive research that a broker would be redundant, but as a buyer it’s not costing me and in the short and long run it will definitely save me a lot of stress and even some money.

First off the broker noted obvious deficiencies and and immediately discussed them with the seller. There was a leak of coolant somewhere, the Webasto heating wasn’t working (probably related), a corroded exhaust elbow and the prop needed to be re-pitched. These were all discussed and dealt with without my even knowing about them.

Then the broker recommended both a surveyor and Yanmar deal to do the mechanical inspection. I checked out the surveyor online (Tim McGivney from Aegis Marine Surveyors) and not only did he get rave reviews from a number of sites and forums, but he was also on an insurance company’s website’s list of approved suppliers. Even though this is the choice of the seller’s broker, he did make the recommendation before I made an offer and the reviews seemed to support his recommendation, so I had no qualms.

The Mechanical Inspection

So earlier this week Ben from Stem to Stern Marine service sent a mechanic down and they went over the boat. Two days later they sent the report to me along with oil analysis for both the engine oil and the transmission oil. These later reports were extra, but I thought at the amount I was spending a few extra hundred wouldn’t hurt. I haven’t got the official bill yet but the estimate was 3–4 hours at $125/hr with the oil sample analysis at $58 each.

The report was pretty detailed. These guys seem to work hard to give you a worst case scenario so that no potential flaws remain. I suppose there is a lot of self interest as well since if I decide to fix everything they will make more money, but its nice to know someone is really  grinding the details. For example one of the flaws/recommendations was to replace all the filters with official Yanmar OEM parts instead of the knock-offs currently being used. What this indicates (besides a real anal attention to detail) is that the servicing of the boat has not been done by an authorized Yanmar mechanic and was likely done by the owner. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing it is an indication that the servicing was not professionally done.

They also made recommendations like replacing the fuel filter with clear sediment bowls. I hadn’t realized there was any other kind so that was good. Apparently most charter boats have the clear bowls installed because it makes checking them easier but they are an ‘extra.’

But other than the exhaust elbow, a flaky engine alarm and a few leaks that need to be checked out, the overall condition looks good. Still the estimate to do all the work is $3900 and the Service Manager said to budget 50% more for potential overruns so we will see what the current owner thinks.

The List

  • Checked ­ Hours
  • Checked ­ Oil and Oil Filters
  • Checked ­ Primary Fuel Filters
  • Checked ­ Secondary Fuel Filters
  • Checked ­ Alternator Belt
  • Checked ­ Raw Water Pump Belt
  • Checked ­ Coolant Hoses
  • Checked ­ Raw Water Hoses
  • Checked ­ Hose Clamps
  • Checked ­ Engine Mounts Checked ­Paint
  • Checked ­ Oil Leaks
  • Checked ­ Fuel Leaks
  • Checked ­ Air Filter
  • Checked ­ Exhaust Elbow Checked ­Steering
  • Checked ­ Coolant
  • Checked ­ Corrosion Noted Checked ­Water Leaks
  • Checked ­ Electrical
  • Checked ­ Starter Motor
  • Checked ­ Alternator
  • Checked ­ Control Cables Checked ­Engine Zincs
  • Checked ­ Gauges
  • Checked ­ Alarms
  • Checked ­ Controls
  • Checked ­ Oil and Oil Filter Checked ­Coupler
  • Checked ­ Oil Leaks
  • Checked ­ Shaft Seal
  • Checked ­ Paint
  • Checked ­ Bilge Condition Checked Bilge Pump
  • Checked ­ Bilge Blower
  • Checked ­ Batteries
  • Checked ­ Through Hull and Valve

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