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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: March 16 2007 at 18:07 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken,

Here's another approach to your radar arch problem.  Buy a brand new one! You're probably saying "Is he crazy, there aren't any new ones available".  But perhaps there are.  I walked down my dock today and noticed that radar arches are pretty much alike regardless of what brand of boat they are on.  Perhaps you could buy a radar arch built for another brand of boat (currently in production) that would fit yours. 

The key would be finding one with the right width.  But you could probably make an interface that would allow you to adjust for a radar arch that was an inch or too wide or too narrow.  I saw an Ocean Yacht (about 50') on our dock that had an arch of about the right dimensions and a similar style to ours.  The slope was even about right.  There was also a Hatteras which had an arch which might have possibilities.  The height shouldn't be much of a problem because nearly all arches are mounted on the side walls of the FB enclosure.  And of course all arches provide about the same clearance when mounted.  Color isn't any problem because any arch can be Imroned and our Connies are a standard color (Hatteras Off-White).

I looked at the construction of my arch and found it had a box cross section. That means it has to be made in two pieces.  One piece has a U channel cross section and the other is a piece to fill in the open side.  The parts are made separately and then bonded together.

Frankly, building a custom radar arch of that type seems like a very expensive operation and in order to build it right your guy in CA would have had to have a fairly accurate drawing.  So you must have the approximate dimensions.  Use those to search for a similar arch made by another manufacturer. 

Pete37

P.S.

I just did a quick search on YachtWorld.  I searched for motoryachts built since 2000 (so they might still be in production) and in the 48' to 54' length (so the arches would be about the right width).  I got 1149 responses and after looking at some of them I found that about 1 in 3 had arches with some possibilities.  So you probably have about 400 candidates. Some are obviously duplicates but there must be one with the right width in that batch.  I would pick well known brands with lots of dealers as the most probable sources.  As you search pick some manufacturers even if they aren't quite right.  Get in touch with them and get an idea of the price.  I have a hunch that you may find that even if there is an arch that fits your requirements exactly you won't like the price.  You might even get a lead on who makes their arches.  I would try to find a production arch because I think anything custom produced will be too expensive.  But I don't know how deep your pockets are.



Edited by Pete37 on March 16 2007 at 18:43


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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: March 16 2007 at 19:51 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Greetings again Pete,

Yes, we've thought about that also.  Bluewater Yachts, which builds right here in MN, just about 100 miles from here, has an arch that is basically an identical match to the original equipment.  Six or seven years ago, when my friend bought the boat, they would have sold us one.  However, now they won't sell to anyone other than a Bluewater owner.  I know, I could get creative when talking to them, but I won't blatantly lie to them and tell them I'm putting it on a Bluewater.

I am in the process of measuring others, as you suggest.  However, our boats are still shrinkwrapped and it'll be two to four weeks before they're all unwrapped and after getting the owners' permission, I can get onboard to inspect and measure them.

What I'd really like, is to get onboard a 50' Connie with an original arch, take pictures, measurements, etc, and provide them to one of the many fabricators out there, and say "Build me one, or two".  However, in my immediate area, there's only three 50's and one 501, and none have arches.  I'd even be willing to travel some distance to do it.  The owner, who lives in Nashville, travels quite a bit for business so one of us could get wherever if needed.

I knew you'd come through with a lot of ideas Pete, and we really appreciate it. 

And to the rest of the group here on the forum, if you can add anything, please give a shout.  ANY suggestion is a good one.  That's what brainstorming is all about.

Ken

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: April 23 2007 at 11:26 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To All,

Well, winters over (at least here in MD) and it's time to get our Connies ready for the summer.  I've noticed that there hasn't been any activity on this forum since the middle of March.  My excuse is "income tax time" and that I've been busy dewinterizing.

I started my first major project for the year which is to replace all the old Galley Maid heads with modern fresh water flush toilets.  After some searching I narrowed the selection down to the Sea Era Toilet by Raritan ($529 West Mairne) or the JABSCO Quiet-Flush Electric Head ($730 West Marine).  Many head manufacturers offer an option where you use the old toilet seat and bowl and just bolt it to their base.  Unfortunately West Marine doesn't offer that option in their catalog and won't order it that way from the manufacturer.  So I bought my new head (the JABSCO) model from DEPCO for $459 (including shipping). 

DEPCO, by the way is a great source for all your boat pump needs and they carry just about every pump known to mankind.  Even if you never buy from them the catalog is a great reference source.  They can be reached by phone at (800) 446-1656 or on the web at www.depcopump.com.

I picked the JABSCO unit because it looked to be a little better built although both heads are quite similar.  It took about three days to do the installation.  One day to remove the old Galley Maid head, one day to install the new JABSCO head and its new plumbing and one day to put in the new wiring plus eliminate some annoying leaks in the plumbing.  It works great, is quiet (as advertised) and only uses about 2 quarts per flush thereby reducing the load on the holding tanks.

The head of course uses fresh water from the boat's tanks rather than sea water.  The sea water in the old head used to ferment in a few days and stink the whole boat up.  The JABSCO head has three flush modes, fill, empty and simple flush which is a nice plus.

One of the main advantages is that the entire head is located in the head compartment rather than having the macerator stuffed in the corner of the engine room in a nearly impossible location to reach.  The plumbing is much simpler and uses 1" sanitary hose rather than the more expensive 1.5" hose.  I can pull the whole head for maintenance just by removing three bolts and two hose clamps.  And parts are much cheaper than the Galley Maid parts. RAZ Marine in Florida (800) 824-1186 will buy the old Galley Maid macerator units for about $150.  They also sell Galley Maid parts cheaper than Galley Maid does.

One problem with a fresh water flush system is that you have to have water pressure in order for the heads to flush and on most Connies (with AC water pumps) that means the generator must be working.  I plan to install a PAR pump in parallel with the AC pump to provide water pressure when the generator is off.

I plan to replace the second head in June and the third sometime in the fall.  So far I'm very satisfied.  I had a JABSCO head a long time ago on a previous boat and it was very reliable.  Never had to repair or replace it.  Hope this unit is as reliable.  It certainly has got to be better than the Galley Maid units which required a major overhaul every three years.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on April 23 2007 at 11:28


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David Ross
"Navigator"




Joined: January 02 2007
Posts: 452
Posted: April 27 2007 at 15:14 | IP Logged Quote David Ross

To  Pete and all,

Sounds like you have been busy Pete, especially changing your heads. I have replaced the old timer style Raritan Lectra/Sans with the newer touch pad model. This model will not operate if the salt content or voltage is too low, therefore you cannot pump out anything not properly treated. I am very pleased with this system. I have disconnected the auto salt feed and just add a scoop of salt, from a neat looking container on the vanity top, at each flush (when in salt water you do not need to add any). This works better and eliminates maintenance of that system. I have Raritan heads that have been reliable but a bit noisy during the few seconds of flushing. This set up uses sea water therfore cuts down on aboard water useage. The heads will work if the fresh water runs out or shuts down. I don't need to run the generator since I have installed a 12 volt water pump in addition to the 110 system (surprised Chris didn't have a 12v system from the factory). I don't have any odors from the sea water because of the treatment system and the additive dispensed at each flush. When winterizing  I just put the system through two or three cycles and drain the system. Even then no odors, actually a clean aroma and the water is clear. When in use the discharge is almost 100% just water and salt. They work better than most municapal facilities. Due to their effeciency there is a bill pending to make them legal to discharge in no discharge areas (you would never need a pump out or even a holding tank!)

Regarding the earlier holding tank discussion I considered installing one above the starboard fuel tank in the engine room. I was told this would not violate any Coast Guard or safety rules. There is a deck fitting directly above above used for the oil fill sysytem that was removed from my boat before I owned it. I also considered adding extra frsh water storage above the port fuel tank. The water fill deck hose is located nearby. It would also help balance out the weight of the holding tank. Installing a holding tank behind the ladder in the generator room as someone mentioned earlier sounds like a good place but that's where I relocated my hot water heater. You can fit a 30 gallon unit there, the weight is centered and low and you have more room where the old heater was that can be put to better use.

Everyone have a safe and happy boating season!

Dave "Good Spirits" CC 500



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GOOD SPIRITS
500 CONSTELLATION (1987)
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David Ross
"Navigator"




Joined: January 02 2007
Posts: 452
Posted: June 06 2007 at 00:47 | IP Logged Quote David Ross

Where is everyone? Pete, Ken, John, Al, Van, Furman, Captain Ron....others? Maybe everyone is enjoying their boats so much no time to chat. How are things going Pete?  How is your boat coming along Ken.. ever find a radar arch? Would like to hear more about the west coast Chris, believe that was Captain Ron. The boat had many updates and changes. Hello anybody out there?

Dave, Chris Craft 500, "Good Spirits"



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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: June 07 2007 at 01:07 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Dave,

All the people are still around but I guess they are busy with other things now that spring is here.  I've been pretty busy.  I had 56 "To Do" items on my list this year and have finished off 28 of them.  Two of them were installing new heads.  They work great!

But it's past 1:00 AM and I'm a little too tired right now to give you a full size letter.  I'll get back to you with a more complete response tomorrow or perhaps Friday.  Glad to hear from you.

 

Pete37



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Ken27
"Deckhand"




Joined: December 12 2006
Posts: 138
Posted: June 07 2007 at 18:01 | IP Logged Quote Ken27

Hi everyone,

I'm still here also.  I've been busy with grandkids, work, and the boat.  I've gotten a lot done over the winter and spring, and spent a small fortune.  That's OK though, right? It's a boat!

I'm still trying to get an arch.  I and my buddy with the sister ship both got ripped off on our deposits with the west coast supplier.

I'll also get back to you with details when I get some time.

Take care and stay safe,

Ken

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Fantasy
"Navigator"




Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: June 08 2007 at 16:06 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi all!

Had a successful (uneventful) trip to Florida and back to Maryland.  Put about 260hrs on the boat over the winter bringing our total to about 1560 hrs.  We probably won't go to far away from the dock this summer.

My biggest challenge now is catching a good wifi signal, which I'm still working on

John

 



Edited by Fantasy on June 08 2007 at 16:12


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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: June 08 2007 at 23:01 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Ken, John & Dave,

Glad to see you back online.  I'll get some posts out in a day or two.  Someone cut a fiber optic cable and knocked out our web connection today.  It came back on about 10:00 PM. 

I've been busy with a lot of little projects and a couple of big ones.  Two of the big ones were installing two new heads (and removing the old ones).  I also figured out a way to get rid of the puddles of water under the engines.  I simply drilled a couple of limber holes which now allow the water to drain to a bilge pump (that was a little job).  It seems so simple that maybe there were supposed to be limber holes and the builders just forgot to put them in on my boat.

I spoke to an owner of a 1985 Connie yesterday who had to replace his water tank.  His problem and solution were very similar to Furman's.  Apparently this is a common problem in Connies.  He got his old tank out by cutting through the engine room bulkhead.

Will get out a big post in a couple of days.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 08 2007 at 23:11


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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: June 09 2007 at 21:59 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

I met Jim, the owner of a 1985 Connie named "Too Much", on the 7th at my marina (Piney Narrows Yacht Haven in MD).  He was having his boat hauled in preparation for an Awlgrip paint job.  The gel coat was in pretty bad shape which is why he was having it Awlgriped.  He told me he had contracted with another yard to have it Awlgripped two years ago but they just kept it in their yard without doing anything.  I bet they charged him storage fees though.  This same yard had also apparently screwed up a bow thruster installation (didn't leave enough space for the thruster).  There are a lot of incompetent boat yards around).  So he finally brought his boat to Kent Narrows Yacht Yard at PNYH to get it painted.  They have two large sheds for painting and seem to do pretty good work.

While talking to Jim, I learned that his boat too had suffered from Furman's Syndrome (leaky water tank) and that he also had to replace his water tank.  He said that he obtained access to the tank by cutting through the engine room bulkhead.  As in Furman's case the old tank had to to be cut in two to get it out and had to be replaced with two custom made plastic tanks.  He got the tanks from a place in California at a cost of about 1 BU (Boating Unit, BU = $1,000).  They had to be coupled together with a short pipe.  He described the original tank as being about 10 feet long and extending from the engine room bulkhead back to under the master stateroom vanity.  It is lodged between the two main hull stringers closest to the keel.

It sounds like Furman's Syndrome is a malady that many of us Connie owners will eventually have to contend with sooner or later.  Hopefully much later!

Jim said that he had toyed with buying a new 50 foot Viking but decided to keep his old Connie.  He said he first saw a Connie at a boat show and fell in love with her at first sight.  Like many of us he loves his Connie and just won't give her up.  He keeps his boat on the upper Magothy (way up there he said).  Jim has a charming wife (whose name I have regretfully misplaced) and two German Shephards (whose names I have also regretfully misplaced). 

From what Jim said, this Awlgrip job is the first step in a massive upgrade (sort of like a case of Ken's Syndrome).  But Jim has a radar arch and no he isn't willing to sell it.

As of the moment there are five Connies at PNYH.  Three are permanent residents and two are transients in the Yard.  "Quid Pro Quo", a 46 footer, winters in the Yard and seems to have a lot of work done in the spring.  She was launched today (June 9th) and will probably leave tomorrow.  Jim's boat looks as though it will be spending a good part of the summer at PNYH.

Jim, replaced his old Galley Maid heads a couple years ago with a Vacu Flush system and gave all the old Galley Maid heads away.  I wonder if he knew they are worth $150 each (grinder only) to head rebuilders.  I've got two of them which I will be selling to  the rebuilders very shortly.

Jim received a letter I sent out to all owners of 1985 Connies but for one reason or another never logged onto our Connie site.  Maybe he is not computer oriented or is just nervous about responding to anything related to the web.  It sounds like he and Ken would have a lot to talk about.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 09 2007 at 22:50


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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: June 09 2007 at 23:46 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To All,

I had quite a jolt a week or so ago when a broker acquaintence of mine told me he had sold a 1988 Connie 500 for $140K.  Now I know that Connie prices have been dropping rather rapidly recently but I didn't think that things had got that bad.

Typically, asking prices for Connies are around $260K now.  Buyers will almost automatically ask for 10 to 20% off and walk away from the deal if they don't get it.  Then there is the 10% broker's fee.  The combination with buyers discount plus brokers fee drops the actual money you receive for a Connie down to 72% of $260K or $187K.  But that's still a lot more than $140K.

However, in checking on the actual boat, I found that the boat had very high engine hours (about 2800) and had been on the market for over nearly three years.  Boats degrade quickly when their owner's walk away and they cease to get their owner's TLC.  This boat originally went on the market around July 2004 at an asking price of $295K (which was overpriced) but sold nearly three years later in May of 2007 for a little over $150K.  This was only slightly more than half the original asking price.

We all love our Connies and think they are priceless.  But we should also all realize that someday we will have to sell our beloved boat and that in order to sell it at the best price we have to price it realistically.  The owners of this boat spent three years selling it and in that time had to spend at least $30,000 maintaining it and paying slip rental which drops their real income from the sale to about $110K.  If they had priced it more realistically at $260K and had been willing to sell at 80% ($208K) they might have sold it in a year.  And after brokerage and maintenance costs netted about $180K.  They wasted $70K by poor sales strategy.

In reviewing the brokers ads I see many Connies that have been on the market for four and even five years.  And in most cases when they finally sell they sell far below their original asking price.  Be cautious about how much you invest in your Connie and keep a close track of what you can actually realize when you sell it.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 10 2007 at 19:37


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Furman1
"Deckhand"




Joined: November 27 2006
Posts: 227
Posted: June 10 2007 at 09:28 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete, Is that a fluke, or has  more that one boat sold for that low a price. What are others selling for.  Has the owner died and relatives are selling the boat? There a lot of reasons to dump a boat. For my self, I don't consider my 500 an investment other than an investment in a dream. A lot of boats change hands without a broker.  My thoughts is to enjoy your boat, have fun and damn the depreciation. By the way, current price to turn the engines into new again is between 3k and 3.5 k per hole. That's a complete rework with all wearing surfaces replaced by Williams Detroit Diesel one of the more expensive engine repair services.  Thats 36 to 42 thousand to have new engines. Pretty cheap for two "new" diesel engines.

Right now the trawlers are way over priced.  And when these 6 knot boats find that they can't outrun and problem they generally wish they could get on plane.

Just my thoughts

Furman

 



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Fantasy
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Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: June 10 2007 at 09:50 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

A few years ago I was on a Connie that had been on the market for years.  I believe it started out in the Great Lakes, was moved to Jackson Marine on the upper Chesapeake (where I saw it).  From there I saw it online in Annapolis and I think, later in Florida.

An owner had ripped out all of the teak, including cabinet doors in the galley and staterooms, and replaced them with PINK formica and mirrors.  Everything on the boat was pink and mirrored, except for the side head which was painted a nauseating blue.  Even the master stateroom aft cabinet doors were mirrored. The stair rail between the upper and lower salon was clear lexan.  Bling, bling.  All I could do was shake my head and wonder "what were they thinking?"

I'm sure they spent a fortune "customizing" that boat and it would not surprise me if it sold for $140k or less.

John



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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
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Posted: June 10 2007 at 17:01 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

Yes, I think it is probably a fluke.  I don't know of any others that have sold that low.  But there are a lot of Connies out there that are selling below $200K and there are a lot that have been on the broker's lists for 3 to 5 years.

I think that the high price of fuel is having an effect.  A 50' Connie burns about 39 gph at cruisng speed and at $2.60 per gallon that's $101.40 per hour.  That's about $6,000 for an average 60 hour year.  And diesel is selling for a lot more in some places.  But on some of the broker's pages all boats with diesel engines are noted with a red "Diesel" to emphasize their economy.  Be glad you don't have gasoline engines.

I checked the past documentations and the same guy has owned the boat since 2003 and it was re-documented in his name in August 2006.  And I checked the Social Security Death Index.  He hasn't died. 

There was a 1985 Connie on the South River near Annapolis named "God's Gift" that was on the market for five years for less than $200K.  She finally sold last winter for a rumored price of something less than $160K.

Your price on engine overhauls seems about right but that doesn't include accessories like starters, turbochargers, superchargers, intercoolers, exhaust risers, etc.  They can add another $10K per engine or more depending on what's bad.  And if you are having a 20 year old engine overhauled you would be a fool not to have the transmisions done at the same time.  That adds another $5K per engine.  To make your engines new again costs about $20K for the block, $10K for the accessories and $5K for the transmissions or about $35K per engine.  For two that's $70K. 

If the buyer of this $140K Connie has to do that he's got $210K invested in his boat.  There are plenty of low hour Connies available at that price. Remember that we're talking selling price not asking price.  Asking price for a $210K Connie would be about $260K which is about the average asking price.  There are four Connies with asking prices of less than $200K on the market now and two of them have engine times of less than 1000 hours.

After all the work and TLC I've put in my boat I wouldn't even consider selling her but in ten years that could be another story.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on June 10 2007 at 21:57


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Furman1
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Posted: June 10 2007 at 17:22 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete, I have done a lot of checking.  Trawler style boats that a 50 ft +in length burn fuel at the same rate as our boats if they run at the same speed if they have twin engines. 

Furman



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Pete37
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Posted: June 10 2007 at 18:25 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

Your comments on the "Pink Connie" reminds me of a long time ago when I was looking for a 53' Hatteras.  My wife, Arlene, and I looked at just about every 53 Hat on the market in the eastern seaboard.  After a lot of looking we got disgusted and bought our Connie.

The owners of the Hats had trashed them with poor taste redecoration and neglect of nearly every system in the boat.  But they still wanted top price.  There was one Hat we saw in which the entire lower cabin area had been covered with a dark grey felt.  I called it mouse fur.  And the stuff hadn't been properly applied and was peeling off everywhere.

An overenthusiastic, owner with poor taste can be a boats worst enemy.  Don't decorate your boat the way you want it to look.  Decorate it in good taste the way you think your guests and potential buyers will like it.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 10 2007 at 19:42


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Pete37
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Posted: June 10 2007 at 18:49 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

Surprise! Surprise!  Nearly all boats of about the same length and weight burn about the same amount of fuel at equal speeds.  The so called high efficiency catamaran and trawler styled hulls are mainly salesmen's hoopla.  Of course non-planing boats like trawlers won't reach planing speeds no matter how much juice you feed to them.  But at trawler speeds, planing boats burn about the same as trawlers.

The problem with dropping your Connie down to trawler speeds is that if you run regularly at trawler speeds your engines won't reach proper operating temperature and you will gum up your engines.  This causes serious damage to the pistons and cylinder walls.  Nearly all diesel manufacturers warn against long term operation of their engines at low speed.  Once the gum has formed, short bursts of speed will not remove the gum.  The engines have to be regularly run above 170 F to keep them happy. 

Of course we can't avoid running at six knots some of the time but we should keep it to a minimum.  What rpm do yu have to run to get to 170 F?  About 1400 rpm and at that rpm you will be doing a little over 10 knots.  You will have converted your planing boat into what the salesmen hype as a high speed trawler.  And you will be burning about 14 gph rather than the 39 gph you burn at a cruising speed of 18.5 knots.

Unfortunately, you can't go much lower in rpm without dropping the engine temp out of the correct operating range and risking engine damage.  To go lower into the true trawler range you would have to shut one engine down.  But I'm not going to go into the problems of shutting one engine down.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 10 2007 at 19:35


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Posted: June 10 2007 at 19:16 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete, In my boat in water temps in this area I can get to 170 degrees at about 1000 rpm, this will give me about 1.2  to 1.4 mpg. I have had extensive discussions with Johnson & Towers and Williams Detroit Diesel and all of the engineers and top mechanics there tell me that

1, they have never  repaired an engine from running too slow:

2 they tell me that if I run the engines at crusing speed (approx 1900 to 2000 rpm) for at least 5 to 10 mins at the end of the day of running at trawler speeds that should clean out and gunk that may have developed.

By the way, Johson & Towers engineers state that the biggest detriment to marine engines is condinsate in the cylinders.  In fact they recomend blocking the exhasts when the boat is lay up or pulling (get this) pulling the emergeny stops to block moisture from getting to the cylinders. Both will block damp air from getting to the cylinders.

I have block heaters in both engines to retard moisture in the cylinders. This is a very cheap protection for the engine and seals.

Furman

 



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Posted: June 10 2007 at 20:23 | IP Logged Quote David Ross

Hi all,

 Hi all,         &n bsp;         &n bsp;  Glad to hear the chatter again. I saw that pink connie also. Could not believe my eyes. I have watched connies drop the last few years and have noticed the 52 ft Jeffersons, 49 ft gulfstars and others bringing higher prices than our boats and they were all much lower in price when I purchased my 500 about nine years ago.  Doesn't make since the Chris is a better boat. There are a few connies out there for sale that are dogs but there are some decent boats that have sold low. Again doesn't make sense. The bad boat prices are hurting  the well maintained boats. Also the selling market of boats of our age and size is a real buyers market.  I hope I luck out again when I decide to sell mine.  My last two boats sold to people who knew of my boat and how I  kept it up. No broker and clean deal. These boats were in a much lower price range but I sold a 1965 57ft  WOOD connie for 115k (in 1986)  without a survey due to the superior condition and well documentation receipts and picutres.



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Posted: June 10 2007 at 21:54 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

Yes you are right. The slower you can run the engine the better mpg you will get.  But if you let it run too cold you will damage your engine.  That is a well established fact.

I doubt that your mechanics ever knew they were repairing an engine damaged by excessive idling.  But I bet they have repaired hundreds of engines with low compression and scored cylinder walls.  Engines rarely come into a repair depot with a tag saying "I've been damaged by excessive low temperature running."  They just come into the repair depot with scored cylinder walls which could have been damaged by hundreds of causes.

The key to understanding the problem is to realize that the gum is created during the low temperature running and damages the cylinder walls while the engine is still running at low temperature.  Subsequent high load running will burn off the gum but it won't repair the cylinder walls.

Go to the web and do a search for "marine diesel engines, low load running" and you will get a whole pile of hits. One of the most interesting is on the Goliath site and is titled "Low-power lowdown: running most diesels at reduced throttle settings for extended periods of time can create problems. (Engine Preservation).

A synopsis of the book is part of the site or for $4.95 you can buy the book and get the complete rundown.

Another hit on the site "Sound Marine Diesel, LLC" states under the topic Letting an engine idle: The problem is this activity is very harmful to any engine. 

The article goes on but you get the point.

Your mechanic's comment on burning the gunk off with a 5 to 10 minute run is correct but it won't undo the damage already done.  It's like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen.

I ran my engine temperature tests in the early spring when the water was about 54 F because I wanted to find the lowest engine temperatures I would be likely to encounter.  You get the same temperatures from December to February.  In MD we normally don't run our boats before May or after October.  I don't know whether you guys in Savannah run your boat in the winter or not.  My results indicated that at 54 F  I could run my port engine at 1100 rpm but my starboard engine didn't come up to 170 F until 1400 rpm.  The difference is probably in the meters but which one is right?  I went conservative and picked the starboard engine.  You really can't trust the absolute accuracy of temperature meters to better than 10 degrees. 

Neither one of us would have low temp problems above 1000 rpm during the summer.  But just to be cautious I never let the engines run for long times below 170 F.

Your comment on blocking the exhaust pipes during the winter is one we should all heed.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 10 2007 at 22:02


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Posted: June 11 2007 at 06:59 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

I agree with you reguarding the 170 degree temp as do all the people I talked with.  But, everything I've found out is that as long as you meet the 170 degree temp and bump up toward the end of the day you're OK.

My boat was purchased new in New York and may have a higher thermostate than yours.  I've never removed it to check.

Furman



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Posted: June 11 2007 at 08:41 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

The key to keeping your engine free of gum is to run it at or above 170 F. If you do that you won't gum up the engine.  Since temp meters aren't perfect a little margin is probably in order.  You can run it up to 190 F at the end of your trip if you want but it really isn't necessary.

I checked with Andy Gorman of J&T back in 2000 and he said the thermostats were Part # 2350 3826 which starts to open at 170 F and is fully open at 187 F.  A 180 F thermostat was also offered by Detroit Diesel but it starts to open at 180 F and isn't fully open until 197 F.  J&T indicates indicates in their user manual that the thermostats are fully open at 187 F so it appears they used the 170 F thermostat.

I have a graph in my log book which shows about 1.0 Nmpg (1.15 mpg) at about 1000 rpm vs 0.7 Nmpg (0.81 mpg) at 1400 rpm.   But the speed drops from 10.7 knots to about 8 knots (a 25% drop) and my engine tests indicate that in the spring and fall I wouldn't be able to maintain 170 F.  Below 1400 rpm I should really shut down an engine and run on only one engine.  But there is a limit on how slow I'm willing to go.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 11 2007 at 09:40


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Posted: June 11 2007 at 11:45 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

We are getting ready to do the Great Loop and a little difference in fuel usage in a 6000 + trip will make a huge difference.  We don't know if we'll start this year or next but it's our next trip.

Furman

 



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Posted: June 11 2007 at 21:47 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

I would highly recommend a handheld infrared thermometer to everyone.  Mine is an $80 unit that is accurate to +-3 degrees.  The peace of mind, knowing that your engines are at temperature, is well worth the price.  It is also useful to provide a baseline, so you know how far off your helm gauges are.

I don't understand the concerns about the affect of seawater temperatures on low engine operating temperatures.  Your thermostats do not open until the engines reach operating temps.  Therefore, your engine coolant is not even "exposed" to seawater until after it reaches temperature.

The confusion may be because we have all seen our engine temperatures rise somewhat when seawater temperatures are high.  This is because there is less ability for heat transfer from the coolant to the warm seawater.  However, the inverse is not true.  Cool seawater is not a factor unless you have a thermostat that is hanging up (not fully closing).

On a side note, I run my engines for days at a time at 1350 rpm, which gives me about 8.5 knots at slack current.  This is my hull speed and about as efficient as I can run.  The engines are always about 5 degrees over the minimum operating temperature.  I take the boat on plane, occasionally, to blow out any unburned fuel on the exhaust/turbo side due to low rpms.  My annual oil analysis is always well within normal contaminant ranges, which would not be the case if there was abnormal piston/ring/cylinder wear.

John



Edited by Fantasy on June 12 2007 at 08:47


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Posted: June 12 2007 at 11:28 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman & John,

The Great Loop! That sounds great!  I wish I could persuade my wife to do it.  I've looked at the Great Loop but haven't done anything about it yet.  I picked up a book "Cruising Guide to NY Waterways and Lake Champlain" last year when we were thinking of making a cruise up the Erie Canal to Niagra Falls and back.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 12 2007 at 12:19


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Posted: June 12 2007 at 11:53 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

If you look at a map, once you get that far, it's down hill from there.  We figure it will take about a year and cost about 40 + boating units to do in a 500....if not much breaks down

Furman



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 12:21 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

My wife has no interest in that trip either.  She won't part with the grand kids for that long.  Too bad.

Furman, have you checked out this site http://www.greatloop.com  ?  Also, I wondered what you plan to do with your radar arch.

John

PS  I'll buy it if Ken doesn't get it first:)



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 13:06 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman & John,

Based on what I've learned about the Welland Canal, you won't be able to get under it's 20' minimum bridge clearance without removing your radar or dropping your radar arch.  However, on a $40K budget that's a minor inconvenience.

If you run 6,000 miles at 8 knots you will be adding 750 hours to your engines and if they are like mine (1600 hours) you will be at 2350 hours which is pretty close to major overhaul time.  If you assume that major overhauls cost $70K (both engines, top-end repairs and transmissions) and are required at about 2500 hours that's $70,000/2500 = $28.00 per hour for engine overhauls or $21,000 for the Great Circle trip.  And, if you are running at 8 knots, that's almost the same as the cost of the fuel.

I budget $30 per hour for engine repairs and at about 1600 hours I've spent about $24,000 or about $15 per hour.  But I haven't had a major overhaul yet.  All I have had is top end repairs (intercoolers, superchargers, turbochargers, etc.) and some routine stuff like injector replacements.  Engine breakdowns are quite erratic.  You can go a 1000 hours with no maintenance and then hit a major overhaul costing $40K or more.  But major overhauls are almost a certainty with 6V92s by 3000 hours.  And when looking at the highly supercharged 6V71s their breakdown record isn't much better (read Dave Pascoe's articles). 

Looking at the bright side, at 1600 hours in 20 years my boat has run about 80 hours per year and won't reach 3000 hours for another 18 years (2025).  The boat's engines may well outlast me.  But it's a crap shoot.  I could get hit by a major overhaul at any time.

Pete37



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 13:09 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

The air draft of my radar arch is 19 ft even if I take all radar antenas etc. off.  There is a possiblity of getting 15 or so of heavy weight passagers to take a short trip...100 yards or so. :>)

Worst case is to lower the arch, it's not hinged, but it can be lowered.

The 19 ft 1inch air draft is the least it is as I have been told.  There is a website that can be contacted that will give the current water depth (sorry I don't have it at this time, I miss laid it) but when I checked it a couple of months ago, it indicated a air draft of 22 ft 1.inch.  I'll  try to located the website.

I suspect that the air draft varies as to seasons. There are working marinas  at the bridge that will help lower sail boat masts and radar arches.  This is a lot cheaper than hinging the arch.

Hope this helps

Furman

 



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 13:25 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete, Who is quoting the overhauls to you?  Williams Detroit Diesel is quoting at most $3,500.00 per cylinder x 12 cylinders = at most $42,000.00 for a total overhaul.  (all wearing surfaces replaced)

Yes there can be other things that go bad but that can happen anyway.  You can't take it with you.  We told our kids we're pissing away their inheritance.

 

Furman



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 13:42 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete, There is another factor I don't know if you have considered.  With all the baby boomers about to retire, and there is going to be a mass of population (as in millions) that are looking to fufill their dream.  As you have said there were only 75 or so 500's built.  Though the prices of 500's are depressed at this time,  I don't know of another boat that will give the room, safety, quality of construction that the 46 and 50's give for the money invested. All it will take is about 50 to 75 potential purchasers to realize this and ALL the 46 and 50's will be off the market.

This is just one man's opinion,

Furman

 



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 16:13 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

If I thought I could sell all the Connies on the market, I would set up a brokerage firm in a New York Heartbeat, sell them and retire a millionaire.  But we've got the best brokers in the country trying to sell them and they aren't having much success.  Typical times to sell a Connie are two to four years and the selling prices are way below asking prices.  This is definitely a buyers market.

I ran a check on Yachtworld for 45'-55' long yachts, priced between $200K-$300K made of fiberglass with two diesel engines and found only 1373 out of the total number of boats on the site (77,051).  That's only about 1.8%.  There are about 300 million people in the US so only 1 person in about 300,000 have boats in that classification.  And only about 150 have Connies which is 1 out of each 20 million.  There must be about 4,000 brokers trying to sell the boats on Yachtworld so it looks like I'm going to have a lot of competition.

Of course we could buy up all the 500s on the market (about 35) for about $210K each or only about $7.35M and then we would have a monopoly and could charge anything we want without any competition from the other brokers.  That's only the cost of one medium size megayacht.  And we could also probably get loans for about 80% of the capital so we could do the whole thing for only about $1.5M.

But I'm a little short on capital at the moment and will have to wait for next month's paycheck to consider this option seriously.  How much would you sign up for?  Of course we could set up a small corporation of you, me, Ken, John and 6 other contributors to this forum and get the capital outlay down to a mere $150,000 per stockholder.  I think, I'll still have to wait for the next paycheck.

With 35 yachts in our stable we could set up a production line to detail and upgrade our Connies to impeccable condition thereby assuring rapid sale at high prices.  Since labor is much cheaper in foreign contries we could ship all our yachts to Taiwan for the detailing and upgrade operations.  Ken might be the guy to monitor that operation.  I wonder if he would mind living in Taiwan for a few years?  I'll be the President, you can be the Vice President, John can be the Treasurer and Ken can be the Director of Operations.  If these titles are not to your favor we can work out other arrangements.  In the end we can all retire millionaires.

I'm very glad you brought this factor up Furman.  Please let me know your thoughts and how much stock you will be willing to buy.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 12 2007 at 16:17


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Posted: June 12 2007 at 16:17 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Pete...Pete you have entirely too much time on your hands.

Furman

 



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Posted: June 12 2007 at 17:09 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

This is in answer to your question about where I got my prices for overhauls.  Basically, I agree with William's Detroit Diesel's estimate of $3,500 per cylinder for a block overhaul.  Thats about what I have been getting from other sources.  With two 6V92s that makes 12 cylinders or $42,000.  That will bring the block back to near new condition.  But that's usually just the start.

The overhaul of 6V92s is almost always, in the case of Connies, an in-boat overhaul in which the engine is jacked up a couple feet to allow access the the crankcase but is not removed from the boat.  If you are overhauling a 20 year old engine it will have 20 year old tranmissions which also require some jacking of the engines to obtain access to transmissions if the transmissions are to be repaired.  Transmissions are usually overhauled off the boat because of their smaller size.  Transmissions are pretty reliable devices but they don't last forever.  If I were overhauling a 10 year old engine I probably wouldn't overhaul the transmissions too but on a 20 year old engine I definitely would.  And that costs $5,000 per transmission (or more).  So almost immediately your price jumps from $42,000 to $52,000.

And then, you have, turbochargers, superchargers and intercoolers, etc.. After 20 years they are almost certainly going to need overhauls.  I've had experience with that and know firsthand that it costs $10K per engine.  That jumps the price to $72K.  I just round it off to $70K.  You might get by with $60K but it's unlikely.  It's just unrealistic to believe that engines which are 20 years old and in need of block overhaul won't need some top end and transmission repair.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 12 2007 at 18:21


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Posted: June 12 2007 at 17:56 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

Yes I do have time on my hands on a rainy day when I can't take the boat out.  We just got a thunderstorm front moving through the Bay area with 60 mph winds and torrential rains.  Glad we decided not to go out today.

My previous post on selling Connies was just a bit of whimsy.  I like to fantasize once in a while.  I assume you are not interested in forming a Connie sales corporation.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 12 2007 at 18:32


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Posted: June 12 2007 at 22:01 | IP Logged Quote David Ross

Furman and Pete,

As I understand it the price of a 6V92 overhaul  does not include new hoses or fittings. This can add another $3000 or so per engine. I sure would replace hoses that are older and also the risers.  Usually these items and turbo's and coolers, etc. have already been attended to before an overhaul, but depending on what was done prior or when can add more to the total cost.

Dave

  



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Posted: June 13 2007 at 08:06 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

That's it, I'm taking out my engines AND transmissions and putting in a 4th stateroom for a crew of little people with oars.  Got to be cheaper.

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Posted: June 13 2007 at 14:29 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Dave,

If you are using cast iron risers they should be replaced every seven years.  Failure of risers can be a major catastrophy.  One of mine cracked and caused $22,000 worth of damage.  Fortunately my riser failure was on the exhaust side.  If the riser breaks on the water side it can destroy your whole engine block.  

A cast iron riser can look perfectly normal one day and fail the next so it is hard to tell its condition by inspection.  But if you see any unusual smoke or soot on the engines or engine room walls check very carefully.  It may be a fine crack in the riser which could develop into a major blowout at any moment.

If you are using stainless steel risers they last indefinitely but can develop pinhole leaks.  They should be inspected regularly.  The pinhole leaks can normally be corrected by welding.  Check to see what type of risers you have and how long it has been since they were replaced.

Figure about $1000 per riser (installed) for cast iron risers and when one riser goes the risers on both engines are normally replaced ($2,000 total).

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on June 13 2007 at 14:41


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Posted: June 13 2007 at 15:00 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

The last I heard a human being can only put out about 1/2 horsepower and that's only for a few minutes.  Your going to need at least 50 hp. so you'll need 100 oarsmen.  With four oarsmen per row you'll need 25 rows and if they are on 3' centers the cabin will have to be 75' long.  Even at a minimum wage of $6.00 per hour it's going to cost you $600 per hour whether they are rowing or not.  I think the minimum wage has gone up and little people may not be able to put out even 1/2 horsepower.  And if you dislike the smell of diesel fumes imagine what it will be like with 100 sweaty little people in the bilge.

Diesel engines may be expensive but I think they are a lot better than the sweaty little people route.  However, if you do the sweaty little people route please tell me so I can stay far upwind of you.

Pete37



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Posted: June 13 2007 at 15:37 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

More on the low load operation of diesels subject.

Last night I got out my copy of Nigel Calder's Marine Diesel Engines. On page 51 he says under the topic "Clean Oil":

"The engines run cool, which causes moisture to condense in the engine.  These condensates combine with sulphur to make sulphuric acid which attacks sensitive engine surfaces.  Low-load and cool running also generate far more carbon (soot) than normal, which turns diesel engine oil black after just a few hours of engine running.  This soot gums up piston rings and coats valves and valve stems, leading to loss of compression and numerous other problems (see Figure 3-16).  Small quantities of soot have a disproportionate effect on oil viscosity and its lubricating properties."

Figure 3-16 shows some very sad looking engine parts and is titled "This engine has only 700 hours on it , but has been completely wrecked by repeated low-load, low -temperature operation."

On page 117 under the topic "Blue Smoke" he says:

Blue smoke comes from burning engine lubrication oil. A little blue smoke on starting is not uncommon but it should immediately clear.  If it persists the oil that is feeding it can only get into the combustion chambers by making it past piston rings; down valve guides and stems; or through the air inlet from a leaking supercharger or turbocharger breather.  A plugged oil drain in the turbocharger will also cause oil to leak into the compressor housing and enter the air inlet.

Engines that are repeatedly operated for short periods, or idled or run at low loads for long periods do not become hot enough to fully expand the pistons and piston rings.  They then fail to seat properly, and oil from the crankcase finds its way into the combustion chamber.  In time, the cylinders become glazed (very smooth) while the piston rings get gummed into their grooves, allowing more oil through.  Oil consumption rises and compression declines. Blowby down the sides of the pistons raises pressure in the crankcase and blows an oil mist out of the crankcase breather.  Carbon builds up on the valves and valve stems and plugs the exhaust system (see Figure 5-23).  Valves may jam in thei guides and hit pistons.

Repeated short term operation and prolonged idling and low-load running will substantially increase maintenance costs, including major overhauls, and shorten engine life."

Nigel Calder is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost writers on boat systems maintenance and has been a diesel mechanic for over 35 years.

A short burst at high load may burn off some of the accumulated sulphuric acid in the oil but it doesn't eliminate the soot in the oil or the damage it causes and doesn't correct for previous damage from other low-load, low-temperature runs.

The "Burn off all that gum with a high speed run" statement is an old wives tale that responsible mechanics shouldn't be repeating.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on October 04 2007 at 00:36


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