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Author Topic: buying a 1988 34  (Read 4314 times)

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Terry Forshier

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buying a 1988 34
« on: March 15, 2006, 05:23:13 PM »

I am having a prepurchase survey done on a 1988 Catalina 34. Can anyone tell me of anything to tell the surveyor to especially check on? Any weaknesses that I need to see now not after I take posession?  Terry in NAPLES (SAILSMAN10@COMCAST.NET)
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Rick Johnson

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2006, 05:37:52 PM »

Off the top of my head...

Water in rudder.
Upgraded wiring harness.
New style alternator bracket.

I bought my 90 last May.  Although I wish I had made a better deal, the boat has been great.

Cheers,

Rick
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Rick Johnson, #1110, 1990, s/v Godspeed, Lake Travis, TX

Stu Jackson

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 12:20:03 AM »

Look at the top two posts on this reference link:

http://www.c34.org/faq-pages/faq.html
« Last Edit: March 16, 2006, 08:47:35 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Stu Jackson

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 04:01:40 PM »

Rick,

Also try this:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php?topic=663.0

Do a search on the word "weblog"  which will also turn up some other "first year" expereicnes with older boats.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Ron Hill

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 07:01:45 PM »

Terry : The best thing that you can do is to go along with the surveyor and look over his shoulder. 
That way you can get an idea of his thoroughness.   :thumb:
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Ron, Apache #788

Footloose

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2006, 09:35:05 AM »

I would agree with Rick's three items.  I also bought a 1988 C34 last year and love the boat.  The family and most importantly the admiral loves the boat.  If the deal goes through, join the association.  It is the best money spent in boating.  Great support from people that know the boat. :clap

Dave
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Dave G.
"Footloose"
Hull# 608  1988 Tall Rig/Fin Keel
Malletts Bay, VT- Lake Champlain

Rick Johnson

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 11:52:33 AM »

Good advice from Ron Hill!  My surveyor decided to drill a 1/4 inch hole in the rudder to check for water.  To say that the owner was upset is an understatement!  My advice is to get references on the surveyor and watch the whole process.
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Rick Johnson, #1110, 1990, s/v Godspeed, Lake Travis, TX

Ron Hill

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2006, 05:47:56 PM »

Sails : Alternator Bracket - The engine should be a M25XP so you shouldn't have to worry about the old "over the top" alternator bracket found on the M25 engine.

Drilling a hole in the rudder - You may or may not get water to run out.  Another way is to remove the emergency tiller cap and see if there's water inside the column (more than just condensation).  Water in the column says it's soaked.

Wiring Harness - Most 1988s have a voltmeter.  An ammeter in the engine instrument panel is a dead give away that the harness has NOT been changed.  Also, You need to see if there's a large 8 pin trailer connector wrapped in black electrical tap.  There's one behind the engine electrical panel and another just behind the alternator on the port side of the engine.  Those connectors are the problem!!  They fall apart and short out!!       

Hope this helps.   :wink:
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Ron, Apache #788

Mike Denest

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2006, 11:26:56 PM »

Check the wiring, especially the 12 volt system.  Look behind the electrical panel to see the wiring, how it is routed, neatness, good connections, etc.  Whisper has a rat's nest from the PO's and it relly needs a cleanup, wires properly routed and identified, etc.  See that the switches and breakers work like they should.
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Michael and Diane Denest
Whisper #680
1988 Tall Rig Wing Keel
Rock Hall, MD

Stephen Butler

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2006, 11:24:36 AM »

We purchased a 1990, standard keel and rig, 2 years ago.  We had a thorough survey done (with me looking over the surveyors shoulder). Things missed included: 1) under-torqued keel bolts, 2) rusted internal rudder grid, and 3) very slight "weeping" from the salt water intake pump.  Not easy items to catch, and all now addressed.  If I had one piece of advice to give to a buyer, it would be to have an engine surveyor (M25 expert) look over the engine...it is the single largest potential source of problems which the average owner cannot readily address, and the single largest cost item on the boat.
Besides this, let me say that our C34 is a joy to sail...good luck on your purchase!
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Steve & Nancy
Wildflecken II
1990, #1023

joe

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2006, 01:10:22 PM »

i shall watch this with interest as i,too, am in the process of buying a 1988 c34. joe
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joe hamilton;  1988 catalina hull # 792; fresh water inland lake; "march hare"

Craig Illman

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2006, 01:13:13 PM »

I'd concur with having the engine survey done. In retrospect, I wish I had had one done when I bought my 91 last year.

Craig
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SteveLyle

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2006, 02:49:44 PM »

My experience on the weak areas of the boat:

- Engine exhaust:  The exhaust riser (the pipe that carries the engine exhaust from the manifold to the muffler) tends to break.  Sometime at the manifold flange, sometime at the raw water inlet just before the muffler.  If the riser is stainless, it's probably been replaced and you should be in good shape.  If iron and in good shape, there's no way to know when it might fail if you don't know the history.  Mine failed at the flange at 500 hours (19 years).
- Engine muffler:  Early boats used a stiff hose to connect the riser to the muffler, which tended to transmit vibration to the muffler, which tended to crack it (it's fiberglass) over time.  If the boat has a silicon 'hump hose' and the muffler flange is solid, you should be in good shape.
- Engine electrics:  see other's comments on the engine harness
- Engine hoses:  If the engine still has hoses that are painted the engine color, then you've got to wonder about 1) the maintenance the engine has had over time, and 2) the likelihood that they're about to fail
- Engine vibration:  the original engine mounts were very stiff.  If 'your' boat still has the originals, they're 17 years old and well past their lifespan.  If the boat has upgraded mounts, it's another positive sign that it's been cared for.
- Battery charger:  If it hums, get rid of it.  You want a 'good' 3 stage charger.
- Electrical system overall:  age of batteries and charging capacity are the keys.  If the boat has a lot of power consuming devices (refrigeration being the likely single biggest) look for a high output alternator and 3 stage regulator, and upgraded battery capacity.
- Engine alignment:  Early boats did not have the engine mounted high enough, so that the prop shaft tended to be low in the log.  Easy to check if the boats out of the water.  If the engine mounts have shims under them, the PO took care of the problem, another good sign.
- Vented stanchions (holding tank on the port side, water tank on stbd):  they tend to leak.  Look for signs of water in the storage bins directly under them.
- Fixed Ports:  they tend to leak.  If your fixed ports don't have frames (can't remember when Catalina went to those) they are a weak spot on the boat - the plexiglass tends to crack, leak, etc..  The plexiglass tends to fog up over time as well, if they haven't been replaced on a 17 year old boat they probably need to be.
- Opening ports: the '86's (at least mine) weren't sealed well, and leaked.  Had to be removed and resealed.  The gaskets in the original style ports also tended to flatten out, eliminating their ability to seal.  Easy to get new gaskets if needed.
- Traveler:  probably fixed by '88, but the traveler needs to be thru-bolted and it wasn't on the early boats.  If yours isn't, contact Catalina for the hardware.
- If your shore power inlet is on the port side cockpit coaming, you need to run your port genoa sheet through a turning block so it doesn't chafe/catch on the inlet.
- Check out the steering cables.  After 17 years they might have stretched or started to fray.  Tighten/replace as necessary.
- Sanitation hoses:  If you've got the original head-to-holding tank hoses, they probably stink.  Pretty simple to replace.
- Head: the pump tends to be a high wear item.
- Galley drain:  early boats used 3/4" hose and fittings for the drain, the hoses tended to crimp, and it would take 30 minutes or so to drain the galley sink.  See the projects page for the fix if you need it.
- Fuel tank:  reports are that you'd be amazed how gunky they can get after 15 years or so.  Not sure how you check that out in a survey...
- Chainplates:  another common leakage site.  Easy to spot if you've got a problem.
- GFCI outlets:  Catalina didn't use them in '86, not sure about '88.  It's a safety item, you'll want to install them if you don't have them already.
- Hull to keel joint:  you tend to get some flexing in the earlier boats, leading to cracks at this joint.
- Water in the rudder:  see other's comments.
- Winches:  early boats used Maxwell winches, which are no longer in production.  My surveyer didn't test any of them, so he didn't catch the fact that the stbd coach roof winch (needed to tension the main and for the mainsheet) was totally trashed, which of course I caught for him when I sailed the boat the first time.
- Shower drain:  the hose from the drain to the pump tends to crimp, normally under the shower sole where it's unreachable without cutting an access hole.

Most of the other issues you'll tend to run into are likely common among all boats (roller furlers, lines, sails, blocks, osmotic blisters, etc.) that any competent surveyer should be looking at.

DO NOT BE DISMAYED BY THE LENGTH OF THIS LIST.  I've dealt with most of these issues, and others, and absolutely love my C34.

Boats like the C34 are complex systems, with lots of subsystems.  Basically floating RV's.  They're in a harsh environment and tend to age fairly quickly.  The good news:  You can't do much better than a C34 if you're looking at 18 year old boats, the builder is still in business meaning parts are available (even if he has to custom make them, he will), and this web site is an incredible way to tap into the knowledge of the other 1700+ C34 skippers out there - the odds of you running into a problem that hasn't been seen and solved before are pretty small.

Steve
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Mike Vaccaro

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Re: buying a 1988 34
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2006, 04:23:38 AM »

Steve:  Excellent list!

Would recommend that any Catalina 34 survey involve removal of the bulkheads in the aft compartment.  This will allow for a thourough inspection of the fuel and steering systems. 

Don't be dismayed if you find problems, factor it into the price.  Product support for the Catalina 34 is wonderful and this website is a tremendous asset.  If you're handy, there is almost nothing on these boats that you can't fix yourself with the proper amount of money and patience!

Most brokers would prefer that you survey AFTER you've made an offer, however it's perfectly practical to negotiate a survey BEFORE you make an offer.  A good surveyor will assist you in validating your offer.  In this case the surveyor is truly working for you and is not there simply to facilitate the "deal." 

Ron's advice is best:  spend the time working with the surveyor.  It will be the best way to learn about the boat and will provide you with not only a solid basis for determining the value of the boat; but also a great "to do" list if you buy her! 

As you go through the process, keep in mind that an '88 is nearly 20 years old.  Standards and production techniques have changed over the past couple of decades; so it's important to to keep your expectations appropriate.  Most folks that maintain their boats well take pride in ownership, and it will be reflected in the overall appearance of the vessel; but when purchasing the key is to look at the condition of the various components and not confuse that with cosmetics.  However, if the boat is "cosmetically challenged" odds are that her systems have suffered from similar neglect! 

You might want to search this forum for discussion on determining the value of C34's as well as discussion regarding investing in upgrades and restoration.

Best of Luck,

Mike
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1988 C34 Hull #563
Std Rig / Wing Keel
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