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Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

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Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by dandan » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:13 am

Hello all, and I use that term loosely as there seems to be so little activity in this particular forum. Through a bit of luck, I am the owner of a 1966 16' Cavalier, hull number VUD-16-2074C. The boat has never been restored and is mostly original, it seems. I've decided to do some work on it, but for this season, I may just do enough to get it into the water and suss out what needs to be done next.

The motor runs, but has a burned exhaust valve in #4. Most cylinders have compression ranging from 120-135, but the one bad one is around 10. A leak down test on that cylinder shows 90% failure. I can hear the compressed air gurgling in the exhaust even when the valve is closed. A borescope through the plug hole reveals a bad spot on the valve and maybe the seat as well. I may pull the head next week and get that valve/seat repaired.

As long as I keep the RPMs up, the motor stays running, with a backfire occasionally. I can get as much as 3200 RPM after tickling the throttle a bit. I've only had it out a few times just to evaluate the boat. It handles nice and gets up on plane with just me in the boat. Add a few friends and it's not got the power to get moving very well.

I hope to find out more about the boat, and Cavaliers in general, and make a decision how to proceed with repairs. At the moment, it's a numbers-matching, never-been-restored boat with the original trailer. The seat cushions and the hummingbird fish finder seem to be the only non-original parts.

I've learned a lot already reading through these forums, and look forward to some engagement with other enthusiasts.


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Location: Powhatan Courthouse Virginia

Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by jfrprops » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:54 pm

Welcome aboard! Great first boat that Cavalier. You can sort out the engine problems and sound like you are knowledgeable about engines already. She looks in great original shape. That boat came with three engine options, the 283, the M, and the interceptor C121, I would assume you have the M?

Keep us in the loop Dan and thanks for checking in...this is a good resource for all things CC

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

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Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by joanroy » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:52 pm

Boat looks to be in Great Shape! You'll have to deal with that dead cylinder sooner than later. My advice to new owners of good originals is do what's needed, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Happy and Safe Boating!

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Location: Three Lakes, WI

Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by drrot » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:11 am

Welcome! And thanks for posting the photo. We love photos :)
Jim Staib

1947 Penn Yan 12' Cartopper WXH474611
1950 Chris-Craft 22' Sportsman U-22-1532
1957 Chris-Craft 26' Sea Skiff SK-26-515
1968 Century 17' Resorter FG-68-174

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Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by dandan » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:46 pm

Well, I'm going to pull the head this week and get that one valve replaced. I keep getting advice to pull both heads and do 'em all, but, like Joanroy suggests, I'm only going to replace the one that's actually tested as having failed. If something else goes wrong, I'll address it then.

I had to replace the Sherwood water pump impellers, and my local West Marine actually had the parts in stock! No luck on finding brass or bronze woodruff keys though, so I had to reuse the old ones.
New impellers.
It's got the 283 engine in it, and a lot of the original blue paint is still on it. Lots of rust though. I took the carb off the motor and it spent a week at my friend's motorcycle fabrication shop getting vapor blasted and rebuilt. I got the carb rebuild kit from Mike's Carburetor parts at If you're in the Washington DC Metro area and need something like this done, check out (If you need a custom rat bobber or a chopper, they're REALLY good at that.)
This is before vapor blasting.
No, it's not a new carb.
John in VA, I see in your signature something about a James River Batteau. I have been involved with the Mount Vernon Batteau build since it first began last year. We built a 24' Cypress over Oak 5-man Batteau, 18th century style, in costume, and with period correct tools. We're building another boat there this season. I can already smell the pine tar.

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Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by bflaherty » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:14 pm

Holy smokes!! Vapor blasting is a treatment I have never heard of but dang the results speak for themselves!

Welcome to the club and congrats on getting a great original boat!

Once you pull the one bad head, take a good look thru all the components if anything shows wear then you be well off to pull the other one and just do them both now. The original heads did not have hardened valve seats and with today's crappy gas it is only a matter of time before another valve seat goes out. Overall having the heads rebuilt is very cheap step toward reliability and fun!
Brian Flaherty
1969 Chris-Craft Cavalier 17 Ski Boat "TUPPERWARE"

"You'll never discover great lands, with your feet planted in the sand"

68 cavalier
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Re: Got an old Cavalier as my first boat!

Post by 68 cavalier » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:04 am

Nice looking boat. I've had my 1968 for 40 yrs now. Same 283/185. I'm working on restoring it when I have time. If you have any questions I'm here! mike

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