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Author Topic: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?  (Read 11443 times)

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Noah

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2015, 09:51:23 AM »

Hey Ralph,
Since you finished your teak, feel free to swing on over to my slip anytime and take care of mine. One more thing I can cross off my list! :shock: 8)
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Les Luzar

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2015, 11:17:56 AM »

Jon,
I started sailing (racing) in 1980 on a Pierson 30. I got the bug. Then I decided cruising was my thing, so I bought a C22, a C30 and then my C34.  For a period when I was raising my kids I was boatless, but I joined a club, and sailed so many different boats; Hunters, Ericsons, Islanders, Beneteau's, Jeaneau's, and Catalina's. I was always a Catalina guy because they had good quality coastal cruisers, at a reasonable to me price point. At the sailing club, they had a C-34 which I fell in love with. Plenty of cabin space, great handling, nice look to me. The web-site was a great benefit. Very responsive and active members. I have owned my C-34 for 9 years now, and I have never ever regretted choosing this boat. There are many boats with many different and various upgrades. Simply find the boat you fall in love with and go for it. You will always have to make improvements that you desire. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a C-34. All around it is a great boat.

Les
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Les Luzar
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Long Beach, CA

Ralph Masters

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2015, 02:44:53 PM »

Noah,
I work three days a week on board USS Midway in the ship restoration department where I have spent the last 18 months chipping paint, scrapping rust and painting and preserving a 1945 aircraft carrier.  I took a week off work to scrape, sand and paint a 1987 Catalina.  What a way to spend time off work.  But we are ready for our sailing season to start, oh I forgot, here in San Diego it never ends. :rolling :rolling :rolling
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Ralph Masters
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SPembleton

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2015, 11:23:50 AM »

One more comment, which is a bit of a restatement from jon above.   Check the critical upgrades.  In my mind, for my year boat, there are three key ones, the traveler through bolts, the alternator bracket and the wiring harness.  My PO only did one of the 3 on a 86 boat.  It tells me that he might not have been kewping up an evwrything else.  You are doing the right thing to learn about the boat in advance to see what you should look for.
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Steve Pembleton
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1986 Mk1 Fin, Tall

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails."

waterdog

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2015, 08:56:00 PM »

I realize there is a difference between a Catalina and a Baba for example, but I got a kick out of the 1,500 nm trip story and to hear the failures he had. They really weren't much different than I've read from people on "true bluewater cruisers" like a Baba. Capability going up and down the west coast of California to Mexico was another question I had, and sure enough got an answer to that. Maybe the comments about the boat not being durable in the Cruisers forums, are exagerated?

Trust me, i could break all that stuff on any brand of boat!   Although the guitar string may have been a uniquely Catalina problem.  I am not sure.   My guess is you won't find comments on durability from a disgruntled Catalina owner...
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Steve Dolling
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Now 1999 Manta 40 cat

TonyP

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2015, 02:18:17 AM »

Jon
Don't worry about a bit of water coming down your mast... you have a bilge pump. A sponge gets the rest if it concerns you.
I think they are one of the best large volume coastal cruisers  around.
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Tony Plunkett
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1992  Hull#1174
Pittwater / Newport
NSW Australia

stevewitt1

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2015, 10:03:46 AM »

Jon
Sailboats in my past include a kit, Lugar Tradewinds 26,
a Catalina 27 then an Allmand 31 and now my Catalina 34.  I evidently wasn't diligent with spraying on repellent this last year because although I found out too late, it appears I was savagely bitten by the "Twofootitis bug" sometime over the winter.  Considering selling my 34 and moving up in size always brings about apprehension and one of the biggest fears is not having a comprehensive owners forum available such as here on c34.org.  Good luck in your search out west.  One thing for certain, if you get a C34, you will have at your disposal the absolute best owners forum with extremely knowledgeable members that have compiles volumes of helpful references as well as tremendous knowledge.  They have helped me in ways that I know I'm just not capable of contributing back in kind.

Steve

visit us at www.ocontoyachtclub.com  and www.warbirdsix.com
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Jon W

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2015, 05:17:37 PM »

Thought I'd give you all an update since you've been so helpful. After 12+ months of reading articles, spec sheets, forums, sailing video blogs, and looking at pictures of different types and brands of boats I've been able to narrow down the possible boat options. The past few weeks have been spent looking closely at boats from the bilge to the bulkhead tabs and hull to deck joints. The result of all this is that I put in an offer for a 1987 C34. We've settled on a price and I have the sea trial scheduled for this coming Friday. If all goes well there, the surveys are next, and if all goes well there I will take ownership. The alternator bracket and traveler through bolts have been done, but not sure about the engine harness. I didn't want to open the control panel to see how many terminals, but will be asking Friday. I read the article, but anybody hear of problems damaging the hull by converting from Marelon thru hulls and seacocks to bronze? Thanks for the help, and I'm looking forward to joining as a member in the near future.

Jon W.
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Jon W.
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San Diego, Ca

Noah

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2015, 05:57:41 PM »

Congrats on pending purchase! Regarding switching out Marelon to bronze: I had considered doing that myself when I bought my boat last year during my "change-out everthying that is old madness". Eventually I decide not needed and could spend plenty of boat bucks elsewhere (and have). Marelon works well and if it ain't broken no need to change them. To answer your question about hull damage, I can't see any reason a switch to bronze would "harm" anything.
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Stephen Butler

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2015, 07:21:25 PM »

Per Noah, congrats on being nearer to your C34!   Regarding the replacement of the Marelons, I agree with Noah...if there is no visible damage, leave in place.  We researched this issue ourselves and the advice we received was to keep them unless damaged, i.e., they do not fail.  So, we lub and work them a bit every year while on the hard and 15 years later, they are still good (we think).  We have heard of problems with broken handles, but we have not had that experience.  Hope this helps.
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Steve & Nancy
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KWKloeber

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2015, 08:18:48 PM »

Thought I'd give you all an update since you've been so helpful. After 12+ months of reading articles, spec sheets, forums, sailing video blogs, and looking at pictures of different types and brands of boats I've been able to narrow down the possible boat options. The past few weeks have been spent looking closely at boats from the bilge to the bulkhead tabs and hull to deck joints. The result of all this is that I put in an offer for a 1987 C34. We've settled on a price and I have the sea trial scheduled for this coming Friday. If all goes well there, the surveys are next, and if all goes well there I will take ownership. The alternator bracket and traveler through bolts have been done, but not sure about the engine harness. I didn't want to open the control panel to see how many terminals, but will be asking Friday. I read the article, but anybody hear of problems damaging the hull by converting from Marelon thru hulls and seacocks to bronze? Thanks for the help, and I'm looking forward to joining as a member in the near future.

Jon W.

Jon

Look for incompatible tailpipes on the thru hulls - like Home Depot variety gray PVC barbed elbows and straight hose adapters -- PVC should NEVER be used.  If there are, replace with marleon NPS (straight) thread tailpipes.  In the case where there is no male NPS adapter made for the size you need, it is acceptable to (carefully) use a Forespar or generic marleon MALE NPT (tapered) adapter threaded into a FEMALE NPS thru hull.  NEVER EVER thread a MALE NPS fitting into a FEMALE NPT of any kind.  In other words, a tapered INTO a straight is marginally acceptable; a straight into a tapered is NEVER acceptable.

Also first check to see if the gummy bear plugs have been eliminated at the engine end and panel ends of the harness.  If so, it doesn't necessarily mean you are home free.  read all the posts about the harness.  The harness upgrade 'kits' were inadequate and leave the harness unprotected from over current (i.e., a fire) and also doesn't address poor wire and terminals used on the ends (panel and engine) of the harness beyond the gummy bear plugs.  All that said, the harness isn't a show stopper - a few hours and a hundred bucks can bring all up to grade.

Look for undersized (ie 4 AWG) battery cables (should be upgraded to larger size.) 


Since you said the alt bracket mod has been done, I presume its an M-25?  There's a few other electrical mods that will bring peace of mind re: starting, charging, and safety.

Check the Aqualift muffler that's woefully prone to leaking at the seams and fractures at the inlet/outlet.  There should be a silicone hump hose installed on the inlet -- also the exhaust riser for perforation and exhaust and deadly CO leakage.

Cheers,
kk
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Indian Falls

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2015, 08:17:01 AM »

If there is no reason to change the wiring, you can affect the upgrade with 2 terminal strips and 2 hours of your time.
On my 1990, there was plenty of wire length to cut the plugs out and replace with a terminal strip.  The type where you strip the wire and insert into the opening, tighten by screw.  My plugs were getting hot and beginning to melt where the wires in the plug were nearly touching.  How the 3 prev. owners ignored this I'll never understand.


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KWKloeber

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Primer on the engine to panel harness
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2015, 10:13:26 AM »

Ken can you remind us of the facts?   Thanks,
Steve

Steve,

I have wanted to put together (and Stu and I talked about) a primer on the harness, panel connections, issues, etc, but I just haven't had time to get 'er done.  Thanks, this is is a good shove to start.
(updated 7/2017)

This isn't a complete and totally logical presentation, but for your immediate needs should begin to answer your questions.  I need to put together a Tech Wiki article and hope this is the beginning of it.  Editing/proofreading is not at 100%

For the OEM harness:

First, understand that I'm talking about M-25/XP, M-35 engines/harnesses and not harnesses on the newer B-series engines.  The original engines generally followed this schematic below.  I say generally because, with boats, you never know.



The harness has these bi-directional functions [Insert a flow diagram to illustrate this]:

To deliver TO THE PANEL:

1) "Full" battery voltage/high current from the positive battery post, battery cables, and the solenoid "B" post, to the cockpit panel (thru Harness Wire #5, red.)

2) A (solid, clean, interrupted) alternating current pulse signal from the alternator to the tachometer. 
This DOES NOT go thru the gummy bear plugs for obvious reasons (HW#10, color varies- orange, brown, gray.)

At the panel, power is DISTRIBUTED TO the:

3) Blower, when the panel switch is on.

4) Gauges, alarms, and gauge & panel lamps, when the key switch is on.

IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION (back from the panel), THE HARNESS provides:

5) Voltage/current BACK TO the starter solenoid, when you operate the key switch and/or starter button (depending on panel model) (HW#3, color varies - yellow w/red, white, solid yellow.)

6) Voltage/current BACK TO the glow plugs, when you operate the preheat switch. 
If you have the glow plug solenoid/relay modification, it delivers voltage/current BACK TO that relay or solenoid that was added in the engine compartment. (HW#2, usually gray or white.)

7) The ground path BACK TO the neg battery post, via the grounded engine block and neg battery cable, to operate the blower, gauges, and gauge and panel lamps, and alarms.  That's all -- that harness wire has nothing to do with starting, your alternator, glow plugs, etc. (HW#!, black.)

8 ) The path from the panel alarm BACK TO the low oil pressure switch (HW#7, light blue) and coolant high temperature switch (HW#9, tan if you have one.)
These are "normally-open" switches that activate those alarms when the switches close (oil pressure goes low or temp goes high) to complete the alarm circuit path back to the neg battery post via the grounded engine block and negative battery cable.

9) The path from the panel temperature gauge BACK TO the coolant temperature sender (HW#8, brown

On a tangent here, NOTE the misnomer. These are called engine "senders" but they send no signal or anything else TO the gauges -- they regulate the current coming BACK FROM the panel.  The "senders" are variable resistors that "throttle" the amount of current they allow to return back to the neg battery post (via the grounded engine block that is grounded to the negative battery cable.) 

So, a "sender" (e.g., temperature sender) is typically a varying resistor and a "switch" (e.g., low oil pressure switch) can have only two states - on or off.

10) Voltage/(low) current BACK TO the alternator to excite the field, so it begins charging at lower RPM (HW#6, usually purple.)
 
11) The path from the panel fuel gauge BACK TO the the fuel tank level sender (usually pink, not on the engine harness schematic and doesn't go thru the gummy bear plugs.) 

11) Voltage/(low) current BACK TO the fuel lift pump (HW#9, sometimes red, sometimes black) This DOES NOT go thru the gummy bear plugs.  Why?  Because like the fuel tank gauge, it's .  It's not part of the engine per-se, it's an add on, so they don't run thru the engine harness..


We all agree that the gummy bear plugs are a problem (the older hard white plug on the engine side is OEM Universal and is better than the mating Catalina gummy bear plug.  The black rubber Universal plugs are even better.)  Universal supplied M-25 and XP/XPA engines with those, 8-position, "trailer" plug on its engine component wiring that it added to the stock Kubota engines.  But if they're so bad why are they there? (on new engines Westerbeke/Universal still uses similar rubber plugs.)

Since the engines came with a plug, CTY had to decide whether to:

a) Pay Universal for it's mating harness. NOT ($$)
(Universal's harness didn't exactly match the configuration of CTY's/Seaward's panels/instrumentation.)

b) Buy both the Universal harness AND Universal's cockpit panel. NOT ($$$$)

c) Cut off Universal's plug and hard-wire the harness extension to the cockpit to the engine pigtails
(this would have added maybe 20 minutes time per install but would have reduced material cost (no special harness with fabricated gummy bear plugs would be necessary.)

d) Remove Universal's wiring and fabricate/connect it's own harness to the engine (very time consuming,)

e) Or, what CTY/Seaward did do, - Fabricate their own harness with a plug that mated to Universal's plug.

So they molded the softer, amber gummy bear plugs [reported, but not confirmed to be out of HOT GLUE] onto the harness wires.  Additionally, instead of hard-wiring the cockpit panel they unfortunately put two more gummy bear halves hidden behind the panel.  But if they didn't go that route, CTY techs would have had to complete the wiring to the back of the panel gauges, etc. (chance for errors.) -- this way the techs just plugged in the panels and screwed them home.
   
These two sets of plugs were installed obviously without realizing the initial downside of having plugs, or the potential implications for years to come thru the line of who knows how many owners.  It's an example of needing to, for marine installations, totally bullet-proofing products/materials, instead of doing what's adequate for ideal conditions.

When I was young/dumb (before these internet great forums) she was my first "real" boat (w/ one prior owner for 9 years) -- and I sorted out potential problem areas.  I thought, "What the hell - clean up those plugs, squeeze the connectors tight so they make good contact, and tape them up to prevent corrosion -- then I'm good to go."   

Fast forward two decades -- here's the engine gummy bear plug after unwrapping the tape during some whole-boat wiring upgrades. 



So, engine heat destroys the (hot glue?) plugs, but that's not the whole story.  High current shouldn't go thru that type (bullet) connector TO the cockpit panel and then BACK to the starter solenoid, glow plugs, and BOTH ways ESPECIALLY for the alternator charging circuit (which could be a much higher current.)  Couple all that with potential corrosion on the plug terminals, and you have a real problem with (at best) poor or no starting, incomplete battery charging, gauge reading problems -- and at worst, plugs overheating, melting, and a fire hazard.

Thank heavens I had electrical-tape wrapped my plug, or I certainly would have had a short and fire at some point. 
For those who don't care to fix their harness - Your boat, Your choice, but unfortunately they might take your dock neighbors' boat along with yours.



For the wiring harness itself - there were different versions but the basic issues are:

1. No over-current protection on the power feed to the panel (harness wire #5.)  Per ABYC there must be a fuse within 7" of the solenoid "B" post.

2. The barrel fuse near the "S" terminal on the starter solenoid is problematic (corrosion), and should be REMOVED.  What does it protect?  I know why Universal put it there -- in case the quick-connect terminal falls off the solenoid (that terminal is just plain stupid in a marine environment, remember that starter solenoid was originally installed on an engine for equipment on terra firma -- not for one that's in one of the worst environments (high heat, corrosion, vibration, plus out of sight/mind, impossible to see/access to service, etc.)

3. The starter solenoid should be one with a threaded post "S" terminal, not a quick connect (I have replacements.)

4. The original harnesses had the battery charging current/circuit traveling through the engine gummy bear plug, all the way to the cockpit, through the panel gummy bear plug, to the panel (ammeter,) and back through the panel gummy bear plug, to the engine space, through the engine gummy bear plug again, to the solenoid "B" post.  That's a recipe for at least inefficient/incomplete battery charging due to the voltage loss each step of the way -- and worse, plug overheating, total failure (corrosion, loose barrel connectors.)

5. Older harnesses had a lighter 16 AWG gauge "S" wire (HW #3.)  That's too small for a critical circuit that needs full voltage/current to energize the critical starter solenoid.  I haven't measured it, but I suspect the solenoid's pull-in amps may be too high for 16 AWG, and for consistent starts it's certainly critical to maintain MINIMAL voltage loss on that circuit.

6. Universal put the harness ground wire (HW #1) on an exhaust manifold stud.  BAD - about the worst location for constant expansion/contraction and corrosion?

7. The connections to the engine components were non-marine-grade, non-heat shrink adhesive terminals.  A recipe for corrosion and failure.

8. The pigtail wire itself on the engine side was non-tinned copper.  That would have been acceptable if Universal used marine-grade terminals that seal the wire ends, but it did not.  Again, a recipe for corrosion and failure.

9. The terminals Seaward used at the panel (switches, alarms, gauges, etc) were non-marine-grade, non-heat shrink adhesive terminals.  More of a recipe for corrosion and failure.

10. The power lead to the panel (HW #5) was 10 AWG - good for 50 amps or so.  But the voltage loss is considerable if you're running the blower, glow plugs, and trying to crank the starter.  Say it's 25 amps total - that can put you back at the starter solenoid with a little over 11 volts on a good day.  The situation is even worse if you have a 16 awg "S" wire (HW #3) between the key switch and the solenoid.

11. Not part of the harness per-se, but the battery ground cable is connected to the bell housing and should be on a starter bolt.

Ken

next - what to mod on the harness and why the "kits" don't solve the problems.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 07:29:16 PM by KWKloeber »
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STE92VE

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2015, 05:17:27 PM »

We're in the final stages of negotiating on a C34 MKII after spending some time in the past years perusing this excellent website.  The "what would you say to a prospective owner" really hit on some of the best of the C34.  I really should have registered sooner but some say better late than never, but I have a question regarding NADA Guide values between a 2002 & 2003 C34.  Would there be any substantial justification why the 2003 is valued 8-10K higher than a 2002, all things being equal?

If we do close on the C34, I'll make the quick move from registered to member!

Thanks for any replies,
Steve
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Buying a Pre-owned C34 - What to look for?
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2015, 06:17:46 PM »

..........I have a question regarding NADA Guide values between a 2002 & 2003 C34.  Would there be any substantial justification why the 2003 is valued 8-10K higher than a 2002, all things being equal?



Steve,  welcome.

No.
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