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  1. #1
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    Default How many hours are too many?

    Hi all,

    I'd appreciate your advice. I'm seriously considering a 99 1850 Bayliner Capri, with a 4.3 Mercruiser. The boat is in excellent condition, but the engine has 424 hours on it. This seems rather high to me from my limited knowledge / research. It has a full 6 monthly service history, and just had a fairly major service, involving replacing cylinder head. I'm confident it has been well looked after, but the seller is not offering any concession on the price in light of what I think are high hours. Should I be wary of an engine with this much use? Thanks in advance. Chris

  2. #2
    Fleet Admiral Gary H NC's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    That would work out to 35 hours per year so that is not extreme usage.
    I would be more concerned as to how well it was taken care of and why the head was replaced.
    Was it from a major over heat problem?

    Also,most hour meters click the time away when the key is on without the engine running.
    My opinion is the hour meter on a boat is about useless.
    Service records are more important.


    1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse

  3. #3
    Rear Admiral Howard Sterndrive's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    25 to 50 hours per year is average useage in my area. 424 hours in 12 years seems fine

    1500 hours would mean rebuild time if the engine is well looked after.

    not exactly a rare boat with rare features, so if the price doesn't beat others with lower hours, move on.. there's no shortage of low hour boats

    of course, not many 18 footers have hour meters.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Sterndrive View Post
    25 to 50 hours per year is average useage in my area. 424 hours in 12 years seems fine

    1500 hours would mean rebuild time if the engine is well looked after.

    not exactly a rare boat with rare features, so if the price doesn't beat others with lower hours, move on.. there's no shortage of low hour boats

    of course, not many 18 footers have hour meters.
    Thanks for the feedback so far. I did mean to say that the trade off is that for the same price, the hull, seating, and interior is in pretty much A1 condition, hence if the hours aren't a showstopper then was planning on getting it.

    On a side note, does anybody have any experience in the difference towing a 185 and a 205? and the fuel consumption on a 4.3 vs a 5.7. Being that the 5.7 is 20% would fuel economy be 20% worse?

  5. #5
    Fleet Admiral HT32BSX115's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    I had a boat that had the hr meter break at 1500 hrs back in the 80's.... It ran fine. I sold it in 2005.

    Just make sure the engine runs ok under load. That means you'll have to "water-test" it at WOT (wide-open-throttle)

    If it makes rated RPM(whatever that is) then 425 odd hrs is ok.
    73 de Rick
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    I would think the difference in towing would be minimal if your using a truck. Bigger is normaly better. A 5.7 would cruise at a lower rpm than a 4.3 with the speed being the same.So the fuel consumption would be close ,but the 4.3 a smidgen better.I doubt 20% unless you run WOT all the time.Also in theory the 5.7 would have less wear and tear if the hours are the same.If it was me I would go with the larger displacement engine for that reason along with..heavier payload,pulling skiers,tubers etc.Give me the 5.7 all day long over a smaller engine.
    Cool Runnings,,, Mr.88

  7. #7
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    1500 hours would mean rebuild time if the engine is well looked after.
    Ayuh,... More like Twice that number,.... If maintained....
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Commander 26aftcab454's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    908hrs 1996 7.4merc/bravoIII--HITS 4600RPM NO PROBLEM knock on my head (mine head is wooden).
    it has required replacing dist cap, water & fuel pumps,alt. but nothing internal.
    1981 Glastron SX-190 300hp 350 SBC
    Living the Dream

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    A friend who ran a shop and has since sold it and retired, suggested to me that an I/O should be good for at least 1000 hours.

    So, at less than 500, you should be less than half life if it has had any care at all.

    Randy

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    thanks that - I forgot to mention, am towing with a Range Rover - 4.6

  11. #11
    Petty Officer 2nd Class brhodes's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    I would say thats not many hours as others have noted. My only experience with buying a used boat was that I would be more concerned with the mechanicals, leaks, bellows, motor, outdrive, soft floor/rot than the interior (i.e. seat material/carpet), although a clean, A1 interior is at least a clue they may have maintained the boat. I have a 5.7 merc, and I know gas prices are going up, but honestly if you are planning moderate usage, then don't worry about it. They'll both use gas, and the difference will not be that much. Just my 0.02, good luck.
    1985 Chris Craft Scorpion 210BR
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  12. #12
    Lieutenant Commander proshadetree's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    We have run inboards for 7000 hrs and still not needed replacement. Forklifts with 15000 hrs and still strong. Keep serviced and tuned and dont beat them to death and they will last as long as the boat.

  13. #13
    Lieutenant dockwrecker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    890 hours on my '90 5.7l 260hp. Still has factory compression.
    90 Carver Montego 21.5 (23') "Lady Minna" (yes a name change in honor of our fallen Labrador. Poseidon understands.)

    In the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson:
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    and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    Gosh knows how many hours are on my 1964 Glassmaster 17 footer with 153 CID 4 cylinder Mercruiser. My guess is at least 2000 hours. This Mercruiser is so old that it painted factory white, not black. It runs great, uses no oil, and is all original. We still use it a lot to water ski and just cruise at the lake house.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    2200 hrs on my 92 305 merc when I swapped it for a 350 last year, still had good even compression and didnt use a drop of oil, still going strong in another boat
    motorsport is the most efficient method known to man of turning money into noise

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    All you boaters with the huge amount of hours on your boats are the exception not the rule. While I have seen and owned a number of boats with many hours on them the "average" life span for a raw water cooled "gasoline" engine is 500 hours. The "average" lifespan for a freshwater cooled "gasoline' engine is 1000 hours. Good maintenance is a requirement for exceding these "averages" but, good maintenance also includes rinsing/flushing of the engine after every use with fresh water and proper winterization. Many will say you don't need to on a boat used in fresh water, You still need to get the minerals out of the engine. One of the biggest give aways is "fresh" spray paint on the engine.

    Check for mainteance and repairs on the drive. The most neglected part of any Boat sale is the drive. At 7 grand for a new one (MSRP) I would be looking it over very well.

    That being said. 475 hours is not a deal buster on a well maintained engine. Head work on a 4.3 is not uncommon and should not be a deal buster. You should be pleased with the pefromance and the economy of the 4.3 in an 18.5 foot boat. Check for impeller replacement reciepts. Should be once a year and at least every 2 years. Two deal busters (especially on a boat that the owner won't deal on) Take it to a licensed merc dealer to have it checked out. If the owner even blinks at you doing this. walk away. Take it on an extended water test. At least 1/2 hour, to include idling, cruising, acceleration tests and wot tests. Once again if he hims and haws about it walk away.

    Last. I don't know what year merc used those stupid bat wing one piece manifolds, but if it has them anticipate the $1000 plus to replace them.

    Last but not least. If it's such a great boat that he won't deal on it. WHY IS HE GETTNG RID OF IT?

  17. #17
    Lieutenant Commander mkast's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by wallerus View Post
    "average" life span for a raw water cooled "gasoline" engine is 500 hours.

    What information are you using to make that statement?
    Last edited by QC; January 6th, 2011 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Fixed quote box
    From Mercruiser:
    Anyone who uses a service procedure and/or tool, which is not recommended by the manufacturer, first must completely satisfy himself that neither his nor the productís safety will be endangered by the service procedure selected.

  18. #18
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    As long as it was ran and maintained by someone who didnt abuse or neglect it, it probabley has a lot of life left in it. Mine has 915 hrs on it and the motor is rock solid, the drive shows the hours but it has no big issues.
    1973 30' Tollycraft Express "Bad Idea" powered by twin 1996 Mercruiser 350's

    1973 26' Tollycraft sedan, powered by a 1995 Mercruiser 5.7 inboard

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    In Minnesota, with the size of our lakes, we (personally) have a hard time putting on more than 30 hours a year because you tend to just drift a lot. On the bigger lakes, you tend to see much higher hours. Those hours at that age aren't anything out of the ordinary even up here for occassional pleasureboating. The fact that boat even has an hour gauge is amazing to me. I suppose it all boils down to price though. By the way, the hour gauge on my Chaparral I believe runs only with the engine running. If the key is just turned to the 'on' position the alarm is literally ear piercing so maybe the clock ticks but I've never had the key in the 'on' position long enough to tell.
    2003 Chaparral 183SS

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    So many discrepencies ,I'm so glad to have some great local providers

    I removed and replaced 2 original volvo aq170's in my 40 yr old skipjack ,that where still up to spec as far as crank and block went.When I asked about the benefits of closed cooling as far as longevity was concerned ,they looked a little puzzled.
    They said that Volvo designed them to last 40,000 hrs which sounded a little like marketing ,but for these engines to sit in the harbor in L.A. for the last 40 yrs and still be rebuildable.
    says something

  21. #21
    Lieutenant Commander proshadetree's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    If I couldnt get more than a thousand hours on a mill I would drive my truck through the dealers lobby with the boat attached.

  22. #22
    Chief Petty Officer JBF 1962's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    my 4.3 has 800 hrs and I personally know of a bunch more with 1000+ (heads still original)... I don't thinks they should require new heads at under 500 if properly maintained these along with 5.7's are likely the most durable and popular marine engines out there. That's my 2 cents worth anyway :P
    1985 Thundercraft Magnum Express
    260 hp MerCruiser

  23. #23
    Rear Admiral Howard Sterndrive's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by proshadetree View Post
    We have run inboards for 7000 hrs
    wow - for real? commercial use I guess.
    7000 hours would be $180,000 worth of gas through my runabout

  24. #24
    Rear Admiral Fireman431's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    If I could only get 500 hours on a gas engine before rebuild/overhaul, there's no way I would buy it.

    I have 575 hrs on 2 7.4L Mercruisers and they are as strong as ever. It's all in how you treat them and maintain them.
    2001 Carver Voyager 374 'Stick's Competition'

    Something tells me I should be on the water....

    If I answer your upholstery questions, it's only because I've been doing it 20+ years...

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How many hours are too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1CS View Post
    Hi all,

    I'd appreciate your advice. I'm seriously considering a 99 1850 Bayliner Capri, with a 4.3 Mercruiser. The boat is in excellent condition, but the engine has 424 hours on it. This seems rather high to me from my limited knowledge / research. It has a full 6 monthly service history, and just had a fairly major service, involving replacing cylinder head. I'm confident it has been well looked after, but the seller is not offering any concession on the price in light of what I think are high hours. Should I be wary of an engine with this much use? Thanks in advance. Chris
    Too many is relative to how well it was kept up. 100 hours and beating it to death without maintaining could be a disaster.

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