Advice on Gas versus Diesel on 380 DA

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by gordonhks, May 18, 2014.

  1. gordonhks

    gordonhks New Member

    10
    May 18, 2014
    Florida
    Past Boats
    1990 Hunter Legend 40
    1985 Hunter 28.5
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    We are thinking of purchasing a used 380 Sundancer. We plan on taking the boat to the keys for a couple of months during the winter and then embarking on the Great Loop in April of 2015 with that boat.

    We can get a gas boat for a lot less than diesel. A broker says that for our planned usage the diesel is the only way to go. Advice? If Gas how many hours are TOO many on the engine?

    Also what are our options for storing a dinghy on the boat? If we spend a couple of months next winter in Boot Key Harbor (Marathon) a dinghy seems to be a necessity.

    If all of these questions have been addressed ad nauseum, please point me in that directions, since I am a newbie here.

    Thanks,

    Gordon

    Hudson, Florida
     
  2. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    The diesel 380DA will burn about 22 gph at cruise……pull the throttles back to about 75% power and that number is more like 18 gph. THe gas powered boat is going to cruise at something over 30gph.

    I also find that routine maintenance on my diesels costs far less thanI spent on the gasoline engines in my previous boat. Sure, they hold more oil, but diesels don't have risers, manifolds, plugs, plug wires, Mercruiser seawater pumps, etc.

    As far as the initial cost is concerned, The boat next to me in Panama City is a late 380DA with 340 hp Caterpillar 3116's with less than 300 hours on the engines; 200 on the generator, and it was just listed this week for $129K. That gets the diesel premium pretty close to a no-brainer in my book.
     
  3. gordonhks

    gordonhks New Member

    10
    May 18, 2014
    Florida
    Past Boats
    1990 Hunter Legend 40
    1985 Hunter 28.5
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    Frank, thanks for the advice and the quick reply!
     
  4. mawyatt

    mawyatt New Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Clearwater, Fl
    2008 Sundancer 38DA
    8.1L Mercruisers
    Gordon,

    We have a 2008 38DA here in Clearwater with gas. We use about 33~36GPH at cruse with 3400rpm. Our decision was that we weren't going on the long trips, thus the extra initial cost ($75K I recall) was not justified. For your use of trips to the keys, diesel would make sense. I pull a small 8.6' dingy bow first part way up on the swim platform. I put two SS large ring type fittings with proper backing just under each hatch on the stern on port and stbd sides. These rings are outward located to keep a large angle for the lines to the dingy, helps keep the dingy from rolling over. Lines are attached to the bow of the dingy to each ring, the dingy has rings on bow port and stbd sides about 2' back. This works well for us, but we haven't been on a long cruise. We have encountered some heavy seas for a short time and everything held together.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  5. Alegria

    Alegria Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Lancaster,PA Boat: -Sue Creek, MD
    2000 410 DA
    3126 CAT
    If you are serious about the loop this is a great site - http://www.captainjohn.org/

    I think for the range of cruising you are looking to do diesel is the way to go... Good Luck!
     
  6. katricol

    katricol Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 4, 2008
    LONG ISLAND SOUND
    2000 540DA
    CAT 3196 660 HP
    I will say that the gas engines are WAY louder. We used to take trips and after one or two hours couldn't WAIT to turn off the boat. With diesels we go for five or more hours with no noise issue at all !!
     
  7. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    One thing to consider in the gas vs diesel wars, yes, you will pay more for a boat that size with diesels in it, but when you go to sell it you'll recoup much of that upfront cost.

    If you are like me and tend to keep things a long time, the fuel savings you'll enjoy with diesels will be much appreciated. With gassers you might not want to take those long trips just because the fuel costs will be so much higher.
     
  8. quality time

    quality time Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    Upper Chesapeake Bay
    2003 480DB and Kencraft 190 CC
    QSM11's
    My previous boat was a CAT powered 380DA so I'm a little biased. Diesel is the way to go for the trips that your are talking about doing and they just sound cool! Not to mention that the 3126's are a great engine and are easy to learn if you are new to diesels.

    I never had much luck carrying a dingy on the platform because the CAT boats sit lower and the dinghy was always being washed around coming off plane and at lower speeds.
     
  9. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    I'll obviously echo the others on comparison between gas vs. diesel, but I would like to just bring your attention to the type of boat you're looking for and make sure it will meet your needs for such extensive cruising you're looking to do. When we're talking about the a month or so in the Keys, is one thing, but once you start doing much linger "live aboard" routine and doing the loop I'm in doubts that 380DA is the right boat for this type of cruising.

    Just my .02c.
     
  10. dpmulvey

    dpmulvey New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 19, 2007
    Homeport: Charles City, VA
    1999/2007 330 Sundancer Hardtop.
    6.2 Merc Horixons
    1.5:1 Velvet Drives
    Diesel is the way to go. Playing devil's advocate though, how much of your time is going to be spent on plane at 33 gph? Is there any diesel availability issues for the trip? I cannot comment as I've not done the trip. Is a 380 the way to go for that trip? It's cold up there.......I'm talking George Costanza shrinkage cold!
     
  11. Southpaw II

    Southpaw II Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Aug 18, 2008
    Madison, MS
    2001 380 DA
    T8.1 Horizons
    From a 380 DA owner....if you are going to travel, get the diesels. If my boat was diesel, I'd keep it forever. My next boat will be diesel.

    Don
     
  12. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    That's what I wondered. I'd love to do The Loop someday, but a 380 is very similar to my 400. I'd want something a little roomier.
     
  13. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    One will think about this all day long after deciding to pull the throttles and trawl at hull speed for fuel savings. IMHO cruising LONG distance and for very extended time period in express style vessel (40-45'er) is not very much practical.
     
  14. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    Would you do the Loop in your 420DB?
     
  15. gordonhks

    gordonhks New Member

    10
    May 18, 2014
    Florida
    Past Boats
    1990 Hunter Legend 40
    1985 Hunter 28.5
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    Thanks for all of the replies. I am putting a 2001 380 DA with Cat diesels under contract tomorrow. As some of you have pointed out this may be too cramped to do the loop in.... However we will have until March of 2015 to use the boat in Florida/Bahama waters to determine if that is doable for us.

    We have had a 24' Class B RV based on a Mercedes Sprinter for about 4 years and 50,000 miles, so we are used to cramped quarters. At this point the boat seems very spacious to us... but then again, at anchor you can not just walk around to shake off claustrophobia like you can while RV'ing. :)
     
  16. gordonhks

    gordonhks New Member

    10
    May 18, 2014
    Florida
    Past Boats
    1990 Hunter Legend 40
    1985 Hunter 28.5
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    BTW, I counted it up and this will be our 16th boat that we have owned. However, I feel that we are newbies, as this is the first big powerboat that we will have owned....
     
  17. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    You are getting a great boat. Best of luck with the deal!
     
  18. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    +1 to what Ron said!
     
  19. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    I kinda wish you had taken a look at a 450DA before getting this far...........

    beamier, 2 heads, separate standup shower, huge galley, aft compartment that is big enough to really sleep in, best engine room access Sea Ray ever gave us on anything, Same Cat engines as on the 380 so you have the same fuel efficiency, just 1-2kts slower.........
     
  20. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.

    Let's face it, pretty much there are not many SR models which would be suitable to do the great loop comfortably. But, if it was just me and my wife, I would consider my boat just fit the entry point. But, it would require some modifications. Water maker would be a must.

    I haven't looked in the whole route in detail, but Lake Champlain route would be out of the question due to the bridges clearance.


    + it would be much more feasible for doing a loop. Most likely the purchase cost wouldn't be dramatically more compare to 380.

    When making purchase like this it's best to take it VERY SLOW. There are a lot of things to consider, so no need to jump in to conclusions.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2014

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