E30+ Bilge Access

Dave G.

Member II
Hello E30+'s,
Finally going to survey tomorrow & wanted to know if there is any trick to access the bilge under the salon and also hopefully inspect the base of the compression post too ?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hello E30+'s,
Finally going to survey tomorrow & wanted to know if there is any trick to access the bilge under the salon and also hopefully inspect the base of the compression post too ?
There are three access points to the bilge on the E30+. At the bottom of the lockers on either side of the salon table there is a small plastic plate held in place by a couple of screws. Removal of those plates let's you get a hand, mirror, camera, etc. in there. The third access is through a plate at the bottom of the locker at the forward end of the salon walkway, under the v berth. My knotmetre impeller is in there, but I don't know if that's the common location on this model.
You will be able to see the area under the compression post with a mirror or camera, though it's tight.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
There are three access points to the bilge on the E30+. At the bottom of the lockers on either side of the salon table there is a small plastic plate held in place by a couple of screws. Removal of those plates let's you get a hand, mirror, camera, etc. in there. The third access is through a plate at the bottom of the locker at the forward end of the salon walkway, under the v berth. My knotmetre impeller is in there, but I don't know if that's the common location on this model.
You will be able to see the area under the compression post with a mirror or camera, though it's tight.
Frank
Thanks Frank, How about access to the Keel bolts ?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
There are two small plates in the sole/floor under the salon table that lift out with pull rings. Each of those areas includes two one inch stainless steel keel bolts. The remaining three bolts are hard to access--but they can be accessed by feel in the areas under the two lockers I mentioned in my previous post. If the four bolts that are readily accessible look ok (not rusty, etc.) then trying to find the remaining three won't tell you much more.

The only way to really assess keel bolts is to drop the keel in a boat yard, which I have had done and is not easy or cheap, and can not be done for a survey. When I did it two years ago, I found that the caulking seal between the hull and keel was quite thin (other owners have also reported this) but the keel bolts themselves showed only very minor corrosion on two of the bolts, the others looked fine, like new when cleaned up, after 34 years on our 1984 E30+.

On a boat of this age, there will be things that need attention (dropping the keel, replacing sails or standing rigging, repairing blisters, replacing the engine, re-doing some electrical wiring, etc.). Alot will depend on what maintenance the previous owner(s) have done, the shape the boat is in, and how you intend to use it.

Good luck with the survey!
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
Dave,
There are two small plates in the sole/floor under the salon table that lift out with pull rings. Each of those areas includes two one inch stainless st as I'm guessing the surveyoreel keel bolts. The remaining three bolts are hard to access--but they can be accessed by feel in the areas under the two lockers I mentioned in my previous post. If the four bolts that are readily accessible look ok (not rusty, etc.) then trying to find the remaining three won't tell you much more.

The only way to really assess keel bolts is to drop the keel in a boat yard, which I have had done and is not easy or cheap, and can not be done for a survey. When I did it two years ago, I found that the caulking seal between the hull and keel was quite thin (other owners have also reported this) but the keel bolts themselves showed only very minor corrosion on two of the bolts, the others looked fine, like new when cleaned up, after 34 years on our 1984 E30+.

On a boat of this age, there will be things that need attention (dropping the keel, replacing sails or standing rigging, repairing blisters, replacing the engine, re-doing some electrical wiring, etc.). Alot will depend on what maintenance the previous owner(s) have done, the shape the boat is in, and how you intend to use it.

Good luck with the survey!
Frank
Thank you Frank ! Appreciate the info as I'm thinking the surveyor will not know any of this. There isn't a lot of Ericsons on Lake Michigan.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
There are a lot more Ericsons here on the west coast, as they were mostly built in California (some in Mexico). But unless your surveyor is unusually detailed, careful and knowledgeable, most surveyors miss a lot when doing a survey. If you can watch him work, and ask questions along the way about what he is seeing and it's significance, that can help you understand the survey results better. Also, poke around in the engine compartment to see if the hoses meet ABYC standards, are there any leaks of oil, coolant or fuel, does it smell bad in the engine compartment and the head, is there any mould visible anywhere on the boat, are there signs of water leaks around the ports, does running rigging look clean and strong or dirty, mildew and frayed, etc. Check the front edge of both the keel and rudder for gouges/repairs that might indicate grounding, check the deck area carefully for any gelcoat cracks that could indicate stress points, and any spongy areas that might indicate a wet core.
Sometimes it's worth having a separate survey of the engine itself, as most marine surveys don't include that, and yet if the engine is bad, a new one is about $10,000 or more installed with labour.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
Dave,
There are a lot more Ericsons here on the west coast, as they were mostly built in California (some in Mexico). But unless your surveyor is unusually detailed, careful and knowledgeable, most surveyors miss a lot when doing a survey. If you can watch him work, and ask questions along the way about what he is seeing and it's significance, that can help you understand the survey results better. Also, poke around in the engine compartment to see if the hoses meet ABYC standards, are there any leaks of oil, coolant or fuel, does it smell bad in the engine compartment and the head, is there any mould visible anywhere on the boat, are there signs of water leaks around the ports, does running rigging look clean and strong or dirty, mildew and frayed, etc. Check the front edge of both the keel and rudder for gouges/repairs that might indicate grounding, check the deck area carefully for any gelcoat cracks that could indicate stress points, and any spongy areas that might indicate a wet core.
Sometimes it's worth having a separate survey of the engine itself, as most marine surveys don't include that, and yet if the engine is bad, a new one is about $10,000 or more installed with labour.
Frank
Yeah it's a lot like a house inspection I suppose as it becomes another negotiation tool. I never understood why the engine isn't part of the survey. It's definitely a major cost item if it needs replacing or overhauled. Once I get through this survey and if I come out still under agreement I think I'll have the engine checked by a mechanic. I did look at her a couple of months back and there wasn't any bad smells anywhere on the boat including the head and engine compartment. Also I'm guessing he is not climbing the mast to check the rigging either :)
 

Dave G.

Member II
Yeah it's a lot like a house inspection I suppose as it becomes another negotiation tool. I never understood why the engine isn't part of the survey. It's definitely a major cost item if it needs replacing or overhauled. Once I get through this survey and if I come out still under agreement I think I'll have the engine checked by a mechanic. I did look at her a couple of months back and there wasn't any bad smells anywhere on the boat including the head and engine compartment. Also I'm guessing he is not climbing the mast to check the rigging either :)
Frank, below is attached pic of salon floor, where are the plates ?
 

Attachments

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Nope, he won't likely climb the mast, but you can at least check the swages at deck level on the turnbuckles to see if there is rust, any signs of microscopic cracks, corrosion. Standing rigging usually lasts at least 15 years, likely longer in a fresh water/lake environment, but it would be useful to know if the standing rigging has ever been replaced. If not, it's likely overdue.
If the owner is present, and it's possible to start the engine, it can be useful to have him start it. See how long it needs to crank before it starts, watch for any blue, black or white smoke on start-up, and whether the smoke is momentary or lasts a while, does exhaust water come out of the transom exhaust, does the engine seem to run smoothly. If possible, if tied securely to the dock, put it in gear after warm-up and see if it shifts smoothly into forward and reverse without grinding or lurching, see if you can increase the revs smoothly while in gear, and check the engine afterwards for any signs of leaks. While not as good as a mechanic's survey, this could tell you some basic information about the health of the engine. For example, if you get a lot of smoke that lasts, coupled with several other serious concerns mentioned by the surveyor, it might show more problems than you want to deal with, or give you negotiating power with the seller.
Frank
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
My boat has plates with pull rings in the salon/floor in the part that is long and narrow in your pic. I don't see those plates in your pic, but maybe that whole board lifts out of the salon floor to give you access underneath.
It's hard to say based on one pic, but that boat looks in really good shape on first glance.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
Nope, he won't likely climb the mast, but you can at least check the swages at deck level on the turnbuckles to see if there is rust, any signs of microscopic cracks, corrosion. Standing rigging usually lasts at least 15 years, likely longer in a fresh water/lake environment, but it would be useful to know if the standing rigging has ever been replaced. If not, it's likely overdue.
If the owner is present, and it's possible to start the engine, it can be useful to have him start it. See how long it needs to crank before it starts, watch for any blue, black or white smoke on start-up, and whether the smoke is momentary or lasts a while, does exhaust water come out of the transom exhaust, does the engine seem to run smoothly. If possible, if tied securely to the dock, put it in gear after warm-up and see if it shifts smoothly into forward and reverse without grinding or lurching, see if you can increase the revs smoothly while in gear, and check the engine afterwards for any signs of leaks. While not as good as a mechanic's survey, this could tell you some basic information about the health of the engine. For example, if you get a lot of smoke that lasts, coupled with several other serious concerns mentioned by the surveyor, it might show more problems than you want to deal with, or give you negotiating power with the seller.
Frank
It's on the hard, which does bring to another question. Can you run the engine while in the cradle and if so what do you need to make tha happen safely ? I do have a sea trial clause as the final step but that won't be til mid May and would prefer not to find out the engine is toast that late as I'm sure the other boats I have on my list won't be there or will cost considerably more by then.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Dave,
My boat has plates with pull rings in the salon/floor in the part that is long and narrow in your pic. I don't see those plates in your pic, but maybe that whole board lifts out of the salon floor to give you access underneath.
It's hard to say based on one pic, but that boat looks in really good shape on first glance.
Frank
Weird as they are both 84 models built weeks maybe days apart...looking closer i think there are what appears to be screws in the corners of that board.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
It's a bit risky in my opinion to run the engine with the boat on the hard, though it can be done, but I've never done so. The most important thing would be to pump a steady stream of water from a hefty hose into the raw water intake, and hopefully have a way to handle that amount of water pouring out of the exhaust. If it were me, I would not try to run it on the hard for fear of overheating the engine or ruining the rubber raw water pump impeller. Rather, I would try to get a maintenance history from the owner--how many hours on the engine (per engine meter), how often oil was changed, inspect the oil for lubricity, check for leaks, any other work done on the engine like valve adjustments, injector service, fan belt changes, new alternator or starter motor, etc. If it seems ok, and the rest of the survey is good, then a sea trial for sails, sail characteristics of the boat, and engine.
Frank

ps. If there are screws in that board, I would want to undo them if the owner agrees to see the bilge. I don't know how else you would access it. One possible explanation in the difference in our boats is if the owner or someone in the past replaced the cabin sole/floor, so it wasn't factory produced. Then they could have designed it the way they wanted without the access I mentioned in my earlier post. But I can't imagine why one would close off access to the bilge, in case of emergency.
 

Dave G.

Member II
It's a bit risky in my opinion to run the engine with the boat on the hard, though it can be done, but I've never done so. The most important thing would be to pump a steady stream of water from a hefty hose into the raw water intake, and hopefully have a way to handle that amount of water pouring out of the exhaust. If it were me, I would not try to run it on the hard for fear of overheating the engine or ruining the rubber raw water pump impeller. Rather, I would try to get a maintenance history from the owner--how many hours on the engine (per engine meter), how often oil was changed, inspect the oil for lubricity, check for leaks, any other work done on the engine like valve adjustments, injector service, fan belt changes, new alternator or starter motor, etc. If it seems ok, and the rest of the survey is good, then a sea trial for sails, sail characteristics of the boat, and engine.
Frank

ps. If there are screws in that board, I would want to undo them if the owner agrees to see the bilge. I don't know how else you would access it.
Definitely looking under there. The owner is a broker who took this in trade on a brand new Beneteau 36. He won't be there in any case. I did get a statement from the owner that the engine has always ran good. I also know from the marina where the boat is that they serviced the engine spring and fall, installed a fuel pump a few years back, belts, hoses, etc.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
That's good information. I would think that if he's buying a new Beneteau 36 then he's got money, and probably didn't scrimp on maintenance of this Ericson. As well, if the marina serviced the engine regularly, it's likely in pretty good shape or they would have advised the owner if there was a significant problem needing attention. Not a guarantee, but a good sign in my opinion.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
That's good information. I would think that if he's buying a new Beneteau 36 then he's got money, and probably didn't scrimp on maintenance of this Ericson. As well, if the marina serviced the engine regularly, it's likely in pretty good shape or they would have advised the owner if there was a significant problem needing attention. Not a guarantee, but a good sign in my opinion.
Frank
I hope so, I was also looking at a Tartan 33 but this Ericson was much cleaner and hadn't been hacked and modded like a lot of older boats.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I hope so, I was also looking at a Tartan 33 but this Ericson was much cleaner and hadn't been hacked and modded like a lot of older boats.
Each boat is a compromise, and none is perfect, but I would always opt for the boat that was well built to begin with, and then maintained well. Maybe this Ericson meets both of those criteria. Have you done good price comparisons, and is this one reasonably priced?
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
Each boat is a compromise, and none is perfect, but I would always opt for the boat that was well built to begin with, and then maintained well. Maybe this Ericson meets both of those criteria. Have you done good price comparisons, and is this one reasonably priced?
Frank
I looked at a lot of boats, Tartan, c&c, Hunter, Catalina,Pearson, S2, etc. Hunters and Cats are typically the least expensive. I kept coming back to this boat because A) I liked it, it felt good & B) the price. I'm guessing it's because there few and far between here in the Great Lakes. Early to mid 80's Hunters and Cats were in the $15-18k range and most were pretty beat up. This boat was listed for $12k and I have a purchase agreement @ $8,500 pending survey & trial. Now we'll see what turns up in the days ahead but for now I feel good about it.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I looked at a lot of boats, Tartan, c&c, Hunter, Catalina,Pearson, S2, etc. Hunters and Cats are typically the least expensive. I kept coming back to this boat because A) I liked it, it felt good & B) the price. I'm guessing it's because there few and far between here in the Great Lakes. Early to mid 80's Hunters and Cats were in the $15-18k range and most were pretty beat up. This boat was listed for $12k and I have a purchase agreement @ $8,500 pending survey & trial. Now we'll see what turns up in the days ahead but for now I feel good about it.
That sounds like a really good deal if the survey goes well!
Good luck!
Frank
 
Top