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Engine and prop. shaft problems (leaks)

Here are 2 novices in narrowboat world who are in the process of buying the boat. We felt in love with a boat which was over our budget so to cut the cost we unwisely cut the surveys (it comes with new BSC). The engine sounds good and the first impression was the same but few days later I brought better light and found the leaks around the engine.
First there is a bowl sprayed with black grease around with a bilge pump under the propeller shaft, here is a photo:
Then I found the pot under the engine half-full of engine oil:
and one of the valves shows some small leak too:
There were not any leaks when we tried it today for half an hour (mostly idle gear)
Well, we should take the survey before but could anyone suggest us how serious and expensive can it be to repair? The brokerage (or the owner) does not want to agree for a service now (we would pay for it), before changing the ownership so we are a little suspicious. My wife wants to pull out and just loose the £1000 deposit but I would find some money to fix it if it is not very expensive. The boat seems to be very good except the engine.
Could anyone share his/her experience or give a piece of advice please?
Thank you already.
Kind Regards
Jarek and Joanna

Asked by: Joanna and Jarek   | 7.23pm, Saturday 29 January

WW says:

You do not say how old the boat is, or what type of layout, however the engine looks reasonably new.
The diesel leak on the spill pipe connection is easily remedied, but needs to be sorted before the BSSC can be issued.
A pot of oil under the engine could have been left behind after maintenance, or could be to catch a leak. The only person who will be able to provide the answer is the owner (not the boatyard unless they put it there)!
The grease around the stern gland is probably a sign that the gland has been over greased. The greaser is obviously remote, possibly on a cruiser deck where it is easy to grease even if not required as the bearing can not be seen. If the gland is not leaking with the shaft turning there is no problem. Otherwise it might need tightening or repacking. Stern gland do not require much grease when in good condition. The presence of a thrust block and bearing between the engine and propeller indicates a good installation.
A hull survey is important when buying a boat since engine problems are quite easily sorted, whereas the hull is more fundamental. If the boat is less than twenty years old and has been well maintained, there should not be major problems.

Rupert Smedley  | 2.30PM, Tuesday 1 February

Readers say:

There is no real excuse for not having a survey - if all you have potentially lost is a 1,000 pounds then I would suggest you have come out lightly as it sounds as if there is more wrong with the boat than you bargained for. If the owner will not come to the party and have the sale conditional on it passing a survey - cut and run and look at some of the better Boatsellers in the game - WW has heaps.

PAUL BROWNETT  | 3.06AM, Sunday 30 January

Thank you for your answer. The Marina said that all fuel leaks will be cleared according to new BSSC certificate issued.
They also said that a lot of grease around prop. shaft is normal.
Well - we would loose the deposit anyway so we will wait till BSSC completion (there is Morso Squirell and Paloma gas water heater to change) and then we will see if everything is OK.
Kind Regards
Jarek and Joanna

Joanna and Jarek   | 9.34AM, Monday 31 January

Thank you Rupert for your help.
The boat is 22 years old, reverse layout, engine Vetus M4 14 under the traditional deck.
We found the Marina (where is the boat) helpful and patient.
We hope everything will be fine.
Kind Regards

Joanna and Jarek   | 12.01PM, Wednesday 2 February

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