Salt Water to Fresh Water?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by 340Sundancer, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. 340Sundancer

    340Sundancer Member

    Aug 11, 2015
    Great Lakes
    2005 - 340 Sundancer
    Blue Hull
    Twin 8.1 MerCruisers
    Hey everyone, just wondering your thoughts on a 2005 390 Sundancer diesel (700 hours) from Florida (salt water) and bringing it back to the great lakes? So far the boat is in perfect condition, just wondering your experience if you have ever bought a boat in salt water?

  2. Phasma

    Phasma Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Sep 17, 2016
    West Michigan
    2003 360 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 8.1s Horizon
    My 360 spent 3 years in salt and the remaining 10 in fresh. It took me a couple of years but I managed to de-salt it at least in general. You should be able to save a ton buying a salt boat compared to fresh. Watch switch panels, wiring connections, buss bars and breaker panel as well as mechanical. Salt is obviously very corrosive and chews up light bulb sockets, actuators and pretty much anything metal. There is a general hysteria about salt boats in the great lakes for a good reason yet there are thousands of miles of ocean shoreline loaded with boats. If you are careful about the boat you buy, get a good survey and are willing to put in the work I can tell you its a labor of love with a good amount of frustration. Good project to keep you out of the pool hall. In the end you will learn a ton and build a love-hate relationship. Good luck...
  3. sfergson727

    sfergson727 Administrator TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 12, 2007
    Washington Park Marina, Michigan City
    '07 340 DA, E97, A75, VV4, Soft Top
    '18 Boston Whaler 15 Montauk
    8.1 Mercruiser V-Drives, Mercury 60 HP Bigfoot
    Resale value will take a huge hit, and you WILL find issues. There is no such thing as a perfect salt water boat. Then you've got to get it up here. All that considered, I'd spend a few more $$ to get a fresh water boat that already lives in the Great Lakes. Besides, by the time you consider the cost of getting it here, plus unforeseen issues you will undoubtedly come across, are you really going to save that much $$?
  4. Underwater254

    Underwater254 Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    1995 330 EC (SOLD)
    454 mercs
    Agree with Phasma. You can save a ton of money if you do your homework. There are many freshwater boats with similar problems. Check service records and get a good survey. Closed cooling helps too
  5. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    There is some mass hysteria in the Great Lakes Region regarding salt water boats. I've got one that was 7yrs in salt and has spent the last 8 in fresh water. Yes, there were issues at the beginning involving the raw water cooling system from the intakes/strainers to the exhaust manifolds. Basically you need to check anything where the raw water flows for little sea creatures plugging up the works. In my case, I didn't know this and I burned up a dripless seal since the small hose carrying cooling water from the exhaust manifold was plugged up, starving the seal of water. Also, the aluminum exhaust manifolds were plugged in spots with corrosion and leaking in one spot through a corrosion hole on the outside - a known issue with my engines. Replaced those. Engine was fine since it's closed cooled.
    I've had no salt water issues with the wiring.
    Given the right price, you can "desalt" the boat like I did and still end up with a great boat at a great price. You might take a "huge hit" on resale, but a Great Lakes purchaser will probably take into account the 8yrs operating in fresh water as a big indication that any salt issues were long gone - especially after seeing the proof of the "desalting" steps taken 8 yrs prior. I would.

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