Sunday, April 14, 2013

On getting what you pay for...

Let's take a walk down Whittier Blvd, a big guy Mini-Simmons of note, and I'm pretty sure the operative phrase here is ass-backwards...

Over at Cruisers Forum there is a thread concerning Chinese-made diesel engines and, as usual in these things, several people made the point that "you get what you pay for..."

It's an oft heard phrase about things concerning boats and, more often than not, it's as accurate as something your politicians might say during the election season. It certainly sounds reasonable but it has very little, if anything, to do with truth.

In the past I've used the example of the lowly cleat to show how what you pay has very little to do with its actual utility but the same goes for all products these days and that includes things like engines.

Way back when I was researching a new engine to replace the Atomic 4 for "So It Goes", I looked very seriously at all of the various diesels including Chinese ones and pretty much found all of the engines seemed to be problematic. I talked to folks with Yanmars, Volvos, Universals, and Saabs. The thing I kept hearing was that diesel engines just don't seem to hold up like the older simpler ones. This bothered me.

Something else that bothered me was a friend of the "you get what you pay for" mindset with a catamaran who, in the last six years, has had to replace three engines. Now, seriously, there is something really wrong with that picture is there not?

Which is not to say if my friend had installed older/simpler designs of a Chinese build for a fraction of the cost he'd would not have had some engine problems but it's hard to imagine he'd have had any worse luck.

Most folks I've talked to with Chinese diesels are pretty candid about their engines and how they work. Most have the opinion that they are certainly a bit old school and a little cantankerous/special but they do seem to work and have the saving grace that they are fixable most anywhere you go due to that old school/simplicity design thing where more highly engineered diesels are written off as total losses.

Which is a roundabout way of saying don't ever judge a piece of gear by its price tag look at its actual build and utility... Nuff said.

Listening to MacY Gray

So it goes...