Looking for thoughts, advice, and reviews on a 47’ Commander. I currently have a 410 Commander in Wisconsin and am looking to buy a 1969 47’ Commander for my son. The boat is located in Seattle, Washington and it has Detroit Diesels, while mine has gas Crusaders. Is anyone familiar with these engines in terms of noise (loudness – which I don’t like – my 410 is so quiet, I can barely hear it running) and smell and general upkeep? The broker indicated that the engines may have around 2000 hours. Any other advice would be much appreciated.
It's diesels for cats sake !! They make a lot of mechanical and combustion racket, plus if you can smell the exhaust, it's going to be stinky. It's jut the nature of the beast ! Our 47 has Cummins 370's in it, and while it's pretty quiet at the helm and even the exhaust noise is nicely muffled, if you go down to the main salon while underway, you will definitely know there is 20 cylinders of diesels pounding away down there (4 for the generator). This is not a fun place whilst underway. If you can't tolerate a little noise in the boat, stay away from diesels, especially the older ones we find in most large Commanders. If you go into the engine room for a check while underway, ear muff protection from the racket is a good idea. Most diesel boats have earmuffs somewhere for this very purpose. This 47 you're looking at probably has 8V-53's. This is not my favorite engine for this boat as I don't think they have enough power for a 47 (258 HP), but they do have a pretty good reliability and longevity history. Although the link below is of an old 6V53 in a truck, it will give you an idea of what a Detroit sounds like --- certainly not a gasoline Crusader :-)
I had 6-71N (280hp) Detroits in my Connie, and I'd agree with everything Dick said. I, too, had a set of earmuffs hanging at the ER door.
My Commander with 427s is practically silent by comparison (at idle, anyway). It seems like the range of noise gassers make is wider than the diesels. In other words, at idle they make very little noise in the salon, especially if the hatches are pushed together and carpet covers the hatch seams. The farther forward you push the sticks, the intake roar seems to grow exponentially. I'm guessing the throttle plates muffle intake noise more the closer they are to the fully closed position. On my 42, it is impossible to get on plane at less than 3600rpm, so there's quite a bit of noise at fast cruise. At WOT, the 427 are roaring out the tailpipe and in the salon.
Diesels, by comparison, are noisy at idle and get a noisier as you go faster, but you're always on the "noisy" end of the spectrum and the increase in racket seems more linear. Marine diesels don't have throttle plates, so you always get the full blast of intake sound. Detroits are even louder than 4-stroke diesels because they've all got gear-driven blowers right at the intake.
That said, you would have to search long and hard to find a more reliable engine than the Detroits. 2000 hours is most likely not a big deal at all. My only concern with the 53-series engines is that I've heard certain parts are no longer available new. All of the normal maintenance and rebuild parts are easily found, though.
Here's what those motors sound like under way in a Hatteras: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjDlM0HcIbE