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Author Topic: Buying a used C34  (Read 2272 times)

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dave davis

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Buying a used C34
« on: November 20, 2001, 06:24:40 PM »

Can anyone help this potential member?
 From: Kathy Jenkins
 Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 4:23 PM
 Subject: Catalina 34 engine size
 I am in the market for a bigger boat and am looking at the Catalina 34.  Georgeous boat.  Now you need to know that I am moving up from a Morgan 24 with a 7.5 outboard.  My intentions are to retire in the spring and live aboard the next two summers cruising the Great Lakes, and then travel the intracoastal beginning in Detroit, MI and ending in Melbourne, FL.  My concern is the size of the engine. Its hard enough to find a used 34 let alone be picky about the engine size.  But I don't want to make a total mistake.  The Universal 23 seems to be the standard and the Universal 30 harder to find on a used boat.  Have found a 1990 at a brokerage with a 23HP.  My question is:  Will the Universal 23HP be adequate enough to contend with the tides and currents involved with traveling down the coast with some hops out on the ocean?  I realilze that bigger is usually better but how have some of you owners on the coast dealt with this problem or is it a problem?
Dave Davis San Francisco, 707, Wind Dragon, 1988, South Beach

Ken Juul

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Engine Size
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2001, 06:36:27 AM »

Luna Loca is a '90 with the 23hp universal.  We do have a 3 bladed prop.  Picked the boat up in NC last winter and motored it up the intercostal to Mid Chesapeake.  On the trip up, fairly flat water we easily made 5.5-6 kts. 2 ft chop on the Chesapeake slowed us to 3-4 kts, but we kept moving.  Got caught in a blow this summer, about 4 hours of 4 ft waves averaged 2 kts.  Keeping the prop clean seems to be the key, even a few barnacles (something you don't have to worry about in the lakes) will really reduce thrust available and therefore speed/fuel economy
Ken & Vicki Juul
Luna Loca #1090
Chesapeake Bay
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M35 vs. M23 Diesels
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2001, 11:46:02 AM »

The M35 engine is found on the Mk II boats so your search would be limited to boats only a few years old.  What you get with the M35 is TORQUE and HORSEPOWER, and lots of it.  With a clean prop (3 blade) and bottom, I can economically cruise at between 6-6.5 kts and I can reach hull speed at full throttle.  The M35 can cruise all day without breaking a sweat and the four cylinder configuration runs smoothly and doesn't seam to put out much in the way of annoying vibration.  All that torque can give you massive port stern walk which I take advantage of when maneuvering in tight spaces.
 The down side is slightly poorer fuel economy and a very cramped engine compartment.  You need to be somewhat of a contortionist to work on it and there isn't much room in there if you want to upgrade your sound proofing.  The M35  is also 60  pounds heavier than the M23.
 We have motored with an older C34 and whereas we throttled back to maintain formation, He seamed to have all the power he needed powering through the six foot sea swells when leaving Half Moon Bay Harbor.  I think the key here is a three bladed prop.  The major difference is the M35 will get you to your destination a little bit sooner.  I do like my M35 a lot, and wouldn't trade it for anything, I also wouldn't turn down an older C34 on account of it's M23 engine.


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M35 engines
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2001, 12:49:11 PM »

Don't know what year they started offering the M35 as an option but our '91 Mark I has the 30HP M35A.

Stu Jackson

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C34 Engines
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2001, 12:49:39 PM »

 We have a 1986 C34 with an M25, a 21 hp engine.  It moves the boat, with a clean bottom and flat water, at 6.0 to 6.3 knots, at cruising RPMs.  We maintain an operating temperature of between 160 and 170 with a clean heat exchanger and heat exchanger zincs are changed regularly.  If necessary the throttle can be advanced to full to get 7.0 knots.  That ends up overheating the engine within about 10 minutes.  On an older M25 engine, one very good upgrade is to replace the old 2 inch heat exchanger with a newer 3 inch heat exchanger, not a hard job.  We recently purchased, but have not yet installed, the 3 inch model.  (Ever since I put the new heat exchanger onboard, the old one has been working just fine!  Does it know something I don’t?)  The C34 website has lots of information about heat exchangers and M25 overheating.  It is NOT an issue that should preclude you from buying a C34 with that engine.  We did, and we love the boat.
 In any event, whatever engine you get with the C34 you finally purchase, you will have no problems.  We’re in San Francisco, with its tides and current galore, and haven’t had any problems in almost three years.
 I have been measuring fuel consumption since we bought Aquavite in July 1998.  The average statistics are BETTER THAN 0.4 gallons per hour or 2.5 hours per gallon.  It shouldn’t differ much with the M25XP (23 hp) or M35 (30 hp) engines.  I do this because I didn’t bother to replace the inoperative fuel gauge.
 We also moved up, from a Catalina 25 with a 7.5 Mercury outboard.  Lots of folks have made that leap, it’s very do-able.  We also have a 3 bladed fixed prop.  Using prop walk is a piece of cake and fun to do.  The 3 bladed prop is almost more of an issue than the size of the engine.
 To summarize, any engine you get will be just fine.  After all, it’s the boat that surrounds the engine that is the best part!
 Best regards,
 Stu Jackson
 C34 International Secretary
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."


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If you do go with the smaller engine...
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2001, 07:34:16 PM »

There are some things to look for:
 1) there was an upgrade made to the M-25 to prevent catastrophic failure of the alternator bracket.  Lots of info re: that on this site.  I believe it's only an issue with the M25 (the 21 hp engine), not the M25XP (the 23 hp engine).
 2) there was an upgrade to the engine harness to eliminate a failure pt (a plug-socket in the harness) and improve charging performance by shortening the wiring run from the alternator to the battery.  Also swaps the ampmeter with a voltmeter in the control panel.  
 3) Many (all?) early boats ran the fuel lines from the tank to the pump to the filter.  Can result in plugged/gummed up pumps, read Tom P's note for the gory details.
 4) If you've got the 3" heat exchanger, there was an issue with the clamps breaking where it attaches to the engine.  I believe there's an upgrade for that as well (don't know much about it, I've got a 2").
 5) The exhaust hose is pretty stiff, and can transfer engine vibration to the muffler, resulting in cracking the muffler.  Later boats have a flexible coupling and beefier muffler connections.  You probably will go a lot of hours before seeing this problem.
 You'd think that in an older boat these things )(especially 1, 2 and 3) would have been addressed, and I'm sure they have been in most.  But not all.  Like #75 that I bought a month ago.
 If raw power was a concern for me (we don't have any currents our tides to deal with on Lake Ontario) I'd take a serious look at a 3-bladed feathering prop.  They seem to give you the best of both worlds, for a price, of course.
 Disclosure statement:  Everything I think I know about C34's I learned on this site in the last month.
 It truly is remarkable how much info is available here - basically if there's a weak spot on the boat, someone has run into it before you and there's a ton of info here to warn you about it and tell you what to do.  The C34 is a good boat.  The owner's association is a FANTASTIC resource.  The two make an incredible combination.
 Good Luck,

Bill Sedgwick

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M35 Engine
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2001, 07:40:47 AM »

SchatzSea is a 1990 model, hull no 1031 and has the 30 hp M35 which was optional that year. I have cruised to Catalina with another C34 with the M25 engine and he had plenty of power for 6.5+ kts. I regularly cruise at 6.7 to 7 knots and top is somewhat above 7 kts so the smooth water performance is small. If considering a M25, I'd listen to the advice on the board from owners. They seem satisfied with it and the 3-bladed prop. And there's over 10 years of boats with M35s available so you have your choice.
 Good luck!
George W (Bill) & Jo Ann Sedgwick
SchatzSea #1031


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M35B is actually 35 horsepower
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2001, 02:59:44 PM »

FYI...When I first bought my boat, I called Universal with some questions about my engine and they said it is 35hp not 30hp as stated in the Catalina literature.  Catalina didn't update the brochure.  Not sure if this pertains to the M35A, but the "35" may very well be the horsepower designation.
 C34 mkII
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Tom P, IMPULSE #233, '86

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Engine Power...
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2001, 03:30:31 PM »

 Although I've only had my Catalina for about a month, my M25 engine seems to be fine (1986 model w/keel stepped mast), and with a 2 blade prop...
 As many of the previous posts have stated, I think the smaller engine has enough power for the job, especially having a 3 blade prop...
 Even if you find the smaller engine doesn't suit your needs, I understand that a 3 blade, variable pitch, feathering prop will make a world of difference; but the cost is around 2 grand...I know that sounds like a lot, but it's a one time investment that may be well worth it since the biger engine Catalinas are hard to find and more expensive (being newer models)...
 I'd find a nice, clean boat and just hope for the bigger engine...If it didn't have it and the smaller engine didn't cut it, I'd order the high dollar prop...
 There were a lot of posts regarding this on the Sailing World Bulletin Board awhile back; you could search those archives to find out more (, then "general messages")...
 Good Luck,
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