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hanschristian.org • View topic - Pathfinders

Pathfinders

This is the very first HCOA message board. The messages were converted but may contain some booboos. But there are over 9000 messages of info to look through.

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Pathfinders

Postby gary » Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:43 pm

Wondering how many of you other Hans owners may have Volkswagon Pathfinder engines in your boats and what your experiences are with them? I have no prior experience with them in marine applications, but have been told by a few others that they are a piece of junk and dont last. I appreciate any input. Thank you. captng1@aol.com
gary
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Lewis Whitesell » Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:59 pm

My mechanic claims that they are hard to get parts for, especially in some remoter areas of the world, but are good, reliable engines when maintained properly. I have a Westerbeke 55A.
Lewis
Lewis Whitesell
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Doug » Wed Dec 03, 2003 5:49 am

I have a Pathfinder in my HC33 and it works great. The Pathfinder folks are located in Canada (just over the New York State border near Champlain). We are on a first name basis ( they are a German couple, Inge and John)and I can't imagine a company being more supportive. I can call them from my boat on Guam (we live aboard) and speak directly with them. Inge knows me by name, remembers everything about my engine as soon as I say howdy (I may call them once every two years)and is very knowledgable. In fact, she talked me though cleaning out and working on my coolant system. They will send parts immediately any where in the world and I can attest to the speed of the deliveries. Parts are sent COD with service bulletins attached. When you buy an engine from them, you get a manual with your boat's name on the front and personalized for you. The engine itself is a VW Golf diesel. It is freshwater cooled with a saltwater heat exhanger. It is small and light; the four-cylinder weighs 225 lbs for 57 hp. It's a high rpm engine and hence the power in a small package. It burns half- to three-quarters of a gallon per hour and is self-bleeding, so none of that hassel. Last summer we motor-sailed with six of us on board on board. We were loaded with full water and fuel tanks and enough food and gear to sustain us for a month on an uninhabited island. We easily kept 6-7 knots--nearly hull speed--for six days through choppy seas in the Northern Marianas, day and night, without problems at 2300 rpm. The mechanic who installed this engine six years ago--the old one was ruined when the previous owners put the water hose in the fuel filler and then ran the engine until it stopped and left it for a year--did say it was a relatively complex engine compared to others. But, I'm no mechanic and I do all my own maintenance, though I will have someone change the timing belt when that comes due. By the way, I asked my brother-in-law, who is a foreign car specialist and a VW diesel mechanic about this engine and he said they'll go forever. Good luck! Doug
S/V VATNA
Sumay Cove, Guam darvid46@yahoo.com
Doug
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Ed Daugherty » Wed Dec 03, 2003 2:50 pm

I have a Pathfinder that is twenty+ years old and has over 3000 hrs on it. It has always starts and runs fine. Volkswagen parts are easy to find. However, some of the add ons, suchs as raw water pumps, are hard to find and expensive. As Doug says the folks at Pathfinder are always helpful and will spend hours on the phone to solve your problem. Their manual is excellent and well worth the price. I am not a mechanic but with the help from John and Inge, I have replaced the timing belt, retimed the injection pump ect. Ed D
S/V Hokuloa hokuloa@bigplanet.com
Ed Daugherty
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Gary » Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:02 pm

I thank everyone for their input. captng1@aol.com
Gary
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Doug » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:03 pm

Regarding raw water pumps: You can get them from John and Inge at Pathfinder. They will rebuild your old ones and send them back in perfect condition. This includes impellers. It takes maybe a week to arrive once they get your order. No problems. darvid46@yahoo.com
Doug
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Danny » Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:59 am

Gary, Can't say that I had that high of a regard for the Pathfinder Engine. One of the problems that I found with the engine is that in order to remove the starter motor one had to remove the engine mounts, a uniquely delightful experience under adverse conditions. I have since removed the VW engine and have now installed a Yanmar 4JH3E which fit very nicely into my 38 MKII. I am also a German national, but I find that the Japanese build a product much more to my own liking. The Yanmar is a marine engine from the ground up where as the Pathfinder is a modified automotive engine and most marine diesel repair shops have at least heard of Yanmar engines which I found not to be the case with the Pathfinder Units. In the end I guess it's all a matter of personal preference. Danny
Danny
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Adrian » Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:43 am

I have a 23 yr old Pathfinder with 3700 hrs on it in Silent Partner. When I bought her 2 years ago I was very leary of the Pathfinder but have since learned to respect it. I've put a few hundred hours on it in the past 2 years and it just purrs on. It has never failed to start. Admitted, my experience with it is limited but so far I am impressed and would seriously consider replacing it with another whenever that time comes. Adrian
Silent Partner adrian@leeslabs.com
Adrian
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Doug » Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:57 am

Speaking of the personal touch, here a note I just got from Inge at Pathfinder regarding providing a new manual for my engine: Hello Doug;
the new engine manual is ready, but we would like to include the
transmission manual (Hurth) which has been written per specific Model
HBW. If you cannot establish a Model (on the old transmission it was
part of the housing casting in the square opposite the shift lever
housing halve) just measure the length and height (approx). This way we
can at least determine whether it is an HBW 5/100 or an HBW 10/150.
I really do not want to "guess" what is on your engine.
Hope all is well
Regards
Inge darvid46@yahoo.com
Doug
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby John J Graham » Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:44 pm

Gary;
I recently replaced my 55hp Pathfinder (2001) after many hundred hours on it. All through out Mexico I never had a problem with it until I returned to the SF bay and sucked somthing up in the raw water intake and over heated the Aluminum Engine hence needed replacing. I replaced it with a 65hp Pathfinder. John Scherer & Inge are Great (und fuer Danny "Sie sind SEHR Nett!) I help Todd Huss on S/V Sugata replace his engine with a new Pathfinder as well. It was nice to be able to replace an engine with the same "footprint" and no hassels of chopping up the engine rails or messing about with different engine mounts. There were some problems howevver.....the wet elbow brace put to much strain on the wet elbow and pulled (striped the threads)it from the exhaust mainfold requiring Heli-coils to remount the exhaust wet elbow. lastly, it has run great in the last 2 years, and hopefully as we go cruising next year it will continue to provide goood service.
John
S/V Cracker Box graham7@ix.netcom.com
John J Graham
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Ed Rambo » Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:24 pm

Gary, I have a Pathfinder on my 38MKII. What I find is that marine mechanics do not like it. I think that is because it is basically an automotive marine engine. Mine has performed very well. Most parts are very easy to find and inexpensive becuase they are automotive parts and not marine parts. ewrambo@aol.com
Ed Rambo
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Danny » Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:49 am

John, Yes John you are quite right John and Inge are very nice and helpful people that was never in dispute. It' just that some folks like apples and some folks like oranges. I live in Alaska and it is very difficult to find someone who has experience with the "Pathfinder" engines. Your comment did how ever make me smile though :) :) Just a side note, I have heard several times now that people are cutting up their engine mounts to install a different make of engine, this is most interesting as the only thing I had to do was to fab up some new mounts which was really quite straight forward and the new engine fit beautifully (4JH3E). If anyone is planning this type of a project I would be glad to share my experience in doing this. Danny
Danny
 

Re: Pathfinders

Postby Paul McGrath » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:13 am

I have the orange Pathfinder in my MKII 1980; any problems were always with the add ons -like cooling; has run well for 17 years, no bleeding when changing filters! It was installed by RS Marine in San Pedro, they are still informed on Pathfinder and I have an independant mechanic located in Torrance,CA who is very good and has worked on many. I joined the Canadian folks in their membership program and got an excellant repair manual from them. svwolfbalboa@aol.com
Paul McGrath
 


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