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TOPIC: 3870 buyer checklist

3870 buyer checklist 06 Sep 2017 02:39 #1

  • Bacon
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I am going to be making an offer on a 1987 3870 and I wonder about typical issues for this boat I should be on the lookout for.

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Tony Bacon,
Washougal, WA
Purchase of 3888 in progress, offer accepted, surveys and sea trial being scheduled

3870 buyer checklist 06 Sep 2017 03:07 #2

  • Craggles
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Hi Bacon.
Go to motoryachts and check out the "looking for gotchas" thread in the list.
Lots of info. I bought my 3870 and this thread helped heaps.
Actually this link will get you a lot of info as well. Good luck. Great boat

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Long list of past boats. Now living aboard Manda Lea, 1987 3870 in Townsville, Qld, Australia. Sailed up here in 2013 aboard my 2008 Bavaria 37 which has now been sold.
Last Edit: by Craggles. Reason: Addition

3870 buyer checklist 06 Sep 2017 03:30 #3

  • davesisk
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Here's the main list I worked from last year:

1) Engine health (I'm assuming Hino EH-700's)...will the engines run at 2800 rpm's for an extended period, push the boat onto plane at around 14-16 knots, and do so with any overheating or running too warm and without blowing clouds of black smoke? Should be 175 degrees F on the gauges. Will the engines spin up to 3000-3100 rpm's briefly? If yes, the engines are in good health (at least internally) and are not overloaded (which will lead to a shortened lifetime). Major work here will be expensive, just like any marine diesel. She should run fine at cruising speed of 16 or so knots, and touch 18 knots at brief WOT.

2) When were the exhaust risers replaced? Are they aftermarket stainless steel ones, or stock cast-iron ones? (Note: I'm assuming Hino EH-700's. If they are angled to starboard as they come off the manicooler, they are "long-drop angled" risers that haven't been available for a decade or more...so if they are and the owner claims "changed last year", ask to see the receipt. The stock risers are in two pieces...a collar and an elbow, so make sure the receipt reflects replacing both. The aftermarket stainless risers are all one piece. In fact, if it has any cast-iron risers, I'd discount the price by around $3000.)

3) Check for soft wood in the decks of the flybridge, bow, and along the sides. (This is stuff the surveyor should be checking for.) Fixing this is expensive, just like any boat of this vintage and construction. (There are generally no hull problems with these boats...they are solid fiberglass and vinylester coated at the factory. But have surveyor check them anyway...someone can always run a boat into rocks, etc.)

4) Check for any engine or generator water or fluid leaks. Any machinery leak is a bad thing.

5) Get oil samples (one from each engine) and send them off for analysis...it's about $25 per sample, and worth it.

6) Oil and coolant change receipts...once at least every 2 years, preferably once per year.

7) Do the engines start right up with only a few spins? My 3818 has 2600 hours on the engines, starboard starts on the first or second spin, port starts on the second or third spin, and they do so without me even touching the pre-heat buttons, even in the dead of winter (which in NC, is usually the 30's or 40's, sometimes 20's or teens).

8) What appliances have been replaced? I think those stock fridges usually die by now. Icemaker will probably die sooner than later, if not already dead. Have these already been replaced?

9) What electronics are onboard? I'd discount it's price if it doesn't have modern electronics...modern GPS chartplotter (preferably with auto-routing), I prefer forward-looking sonar vs a basic depth gauge, and modern 3G or 4G radar. In one year, the old depthsounder and old radar went out on mine...I replaced them both with much better electronics, plus a new GPS chartplotter.

10) Check the radar arch for shakiness and/or wood rot. The vinyl and plywood under-covers usually get water-logged and heavy, and at least some of the wood-coring in the arch itself will likely have some rot.

11) Check for signs of leaks inside around the cabin windows and hatches. You'll usually see some stains on the carpet on the walls.

12) Check the back window corners of the salon...the teak usually rots at the bottom of the plank at the bottom of the aft window pane on each side. The drip-rail causes this on a lot of these boats. Mine didn't have any, presumably because of the aft cockpit cover.

13) Full bimini up top? That extends the boating season by quite a bit...comfortable on a sunny day up top even in cold and winter weather.

14) How clean is the engine room? How clean is all of the boat?

15) Any smell from the holding tank hoses? If so, they need to be replaced...that's expensive non-compressible hose, and it's a pain to replace. What kind of heads? in my experience with Jabsco manual heads, they are reliable, but the pump needs to be replaced every 1-2 years. Any provisions for freshwater flushing?

16) Do front and aft manual and automatic bilge pumps work?

17) How's the AC/heat? If original, they'll prob need replacing sometime soon. If already replaced, check date on receipts.

18) Check there are sea-strainers for both main engines, the generator, and the AC/heat water pump.

19) What conditions are the internal flooring, internal upholstery, and flybridge seating?

20) Are there any sort of external window coverings that block heat from the sun, at least for the large windshield? All that glass is really nice for the view...but it also let's a LOT of heat in a hot summer.

21) Is the generator operational, and will it power everything on the boat? Don't take the sellers words, check it yourself.

22) Any smoke, diesel mist, bad smells, etc., coming from the engine room while running at cruising speed?

23) Are trim tabs all working? This sometimes needs a haul-out to fix, although it's not crazy expensive in and of itself.

24) How many hours on the engines, and when was the last valve adjustment, injector servicing, etc? If the valves have been adjusted (ever), there will be a notch cut in the floor joist aft and starboard side of the main floor hatch...you can't get the valve cover off without cutting a notch in that piece of wood....no notch, valves have never been adjusted.

I'll add more as I think of them. Hope this helps!

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Last Edit: by davesisk.

3870 buyer checklist 10 Sep 2017 06:05 #4

  • guntar
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I created a excel check list that has gotten good results from many buyers on BOC. Send me your email in a PM and I will send it to you..
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1999 3988
Cummins 270s
Last Edit: by guntar.

3870 buyer checklist 11 Sep 2017 15:48 #5

  • kev_rm
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If the freshwater tank has not been replaced, plan on it.

DIY cost is <$1000, but a solid 25-40hrs of work.
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3870 buyer checklist 29 Sep 2017 18:26 #6

  • Damorsoft
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Look above the lights on either side of the salon for any sign of water (rust or any stain) and down the aft corners of both side of the salon. Anything there then the roof is leaking so tap the roof for soft spots..
Ask for the maintence logs for the engines and fuel filters. If they exist buy the boat, that is where all the money is. 20K+ per engine to rebuild...
No logs may not be a bad thing, but most responsible owners will lot that stuff.
Check the impellers on the hinos and the generator no matter what. (for last change)
Good luck
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1988 3870
Hino 4 cyl 210 turbos (upgrade)
Hull extension

3870 buyer checklist 30 Sep 2017 02:22 #7

  • boatworkfl
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Use a phone camera and take pictures of the water tank in the small hatch just inside the port stateroom, then hold the camera so you can take a picture of as much of the bottom as you can, then take photo's of the top and look for corrosion, my tank had more holes on the top than the bottom from salt air.
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Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
Twin 350 GM power
Located in Seward, AK
Retired marine surveyor
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