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almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

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mark.pauster
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 8:59 pm

almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by mark.pauster » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:06 pm

I am close to completing the restoration of my 1957 Chris Craft 28’ Sedan Cruiser with flybridge. It currently has twin in-line 6-cylinder Hercules K engines. This fall I want to replace the engines economically, possibly with readily available remanufactured 283”s. I have lots of experience with auto engine rebuilds/retrofits and my goal is simple low-cost retro-fit. Doing a lot of research on this and other great forums, still have a few questions and would appreciate any advice.
- besides brass plugs, marine gaskets, flame arrester, fuel pump, engine mounts, prop shaft mods, linkage mods, electrical mods, are there other considerations?
- prefer not to pay the premium for a reverse starboard engine, can I compensate rotation in the transmission?
- “velvet” or standard Paragon wedge transmission, or other lowest cost option?
And or course any other advice is greatly appreciated. thanks

Tmalko
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:31 am

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by Tmalko » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:04 pm

I have a 57 27 ft sedan with fly bridge. I have 2 KL engines. I would be interested in staying in touch with what you learn as well. I don’t have much experience with KL engines. I am having some issues. Thanks.

mark.pauster
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by mark.pauster » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:27 am

First I would like to thank those for your responses and help, and also wish a safer and happier 2021 for everyone.

Soon I will remove both engines for breakdown (KFL and KLC), with pics to follow.
Current plan is to rebuild (low cost and simple retrofit but I heed to consider a Plan B, since I had so many different issues with both engines last summer.
Now I am considering a Merc V6 or a SBC 283, but haven't been able to find any threads or info on the retrofit (fit/clearance underneath a hatched deck, shaft log/strut and prop conversions..etc.)
Reman marine engines or used but ready to run engines of the above seem to be available for less than $3K each.
Any advice or previous posts on such conversions would be appreciated. again, just looking for simple and low costs conversion options.
regards mark

Peter McBratney
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Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by Peter McBratney » Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:47 am

Hi Mark

For what it s worth I am also near the end of a restoration but mine is a 1961 Capri that had 283 V8. This block is in fact a GM block with all the CC bits and pieces. I also have a good bit of experience with auto engines and motor cycles, but mostly UK stuff from the 60s and 70s. So when I looked at my 283 I decided to take it to a friend who built race engines for the Australian motor racing circuit where V8 GM and Ford engine cars compete. He offered to do it at cost and my brief was to keep that down as low as practical, seeing I wanted reliability as a first cut. I said NO hotting up as the boat is wooden and a show boat not for racing.

Well the first news was that mine was in bad condition and had been underwater at some time.(Note I bought the complete boat as a project, not going and mostly rotten, but all there). The good news was my friend found a 1981 Firebird engine that had not been bored and was in generally good health. This engine has a slightly bigger cubic capacity but all the CC bits bolted straight on. He put a new Holley carb and inlet manifold on top, ground the camshaft and changed the ignition and distributor to a modern Mallory system. He used the Firebird heads as well as they were in good nick and designed for unleaded fuel. It was delivered back to my on the steel stand I made, having done approx 1 hour on his dyno. He said it will spin to 5000rpm versus the 4400 of the original motor and at that RPM will product about 250HP compared to the original 150 HP. He said that is what you get with a modern engine and proper fuel management. As I did not want the extra power, I have not changed the prop so the hull will not be stressed.

Now I know that this is not kosher, so to speak, but for me it was a sensible way out keeping in mind that I am in Adelaide, South Australia and CC bits are non-existent here. I am still maybe a couple of years away from the water due to time constraints, so I cannot say for certain that the engine fix has been 100% but all the signs are good so far. Hope this short story is on interest and maybe even a help.

Regards
Peter

mark.pauster
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by mark.pauster » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:09 am

I get a lot of great help from this another similar forms so this post is just updating anyone who is interested in rebuilding my Hercules K engine rebuild

I built a wooden stationary gantry crane since this is going to be a several month project and also it’s really inaccessible in my backyard to any type of lift. Actually this idea is a copy from another poster/thread on this forum

I made a miscalculation and had to take the oil pan off the engine to have it clear the side of the boat. btw-this is the Portside engine

Tomorrow I plan to lift the other engine out. I bought a lot of items from Harbor freight tools like 2 engine stand and what not because of their great prices and one and I’ll probably not use this equipment again
IMG_5889.jpg
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mark.pauster
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by mark.pauster » Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:08 pm

an update
spent the last month reading almost all of the posts related to my engines (KFL, KLC) and what an incredible source of info to help me in this endeavor!!

posting a few pics of the engines almost ready for the machine shop (bake, hot tank and magnaflux). then i will know if I can rebuild or if I am in deeper water.....
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mark.pauster
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Joined: Sat May 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by mark.pauster » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:35 pm

Today the Blocks and Heads went to reputable local Machine shop for bake/dip/magnaflux. hopefully in a week I'll know the results.
I plan on the following:
- machine heads and blocks
- all new parts except cam, crank, piston rods and maybe lifters
- ditching the oil cooler and installing filter and will use detergent oil
- no lead additive in gas

rgmxk22
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:49 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: almost done my '57 Chris Craft Cruiser restoration, and seek final engine advice

Post by rgmxk22 » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:22 am

Hey Mark, best of luck with your engine rebuilds! From simplicity stand point, rebuilding what you have would be a lot easier than refitting for the 283s like your first post mentioned.

I just found this thread and in case your rebuild goes sideways and you switch gears back to thinking about a pair of CC 283s, I believe you are talking about the flywheel forward engine set up CC used. To address your question the reverse rotation engine, the basic difference between a standard and reverse rotation set up on these engines, they used a timing chain and gears like a small block Chevy would in a car. But on the opposite/reverse rotation engine, they used a gear set without a chain to drive the camshaft in the "opposite" direction compared to the standard rotation engine and reverse grind camshaft.

But other than that on the 283 Flywheel forwards, there are very little differences between a standard and reverse rotation engine. Little things like if the engines have rubber impellers in the water pumps, you have to arrange the vanes on the impellers for the correct rotation. But not much is truly different.

I can't speak about the Velvet Drive reverse gears (transmissions) but on a Paragon like their HF-7 series, I think the only changes to the rotation is that you have to flip the front pump 180 degree for the choice of rotation. If i recall correctly, Paragon cast something like: "This way up for LH rotation" with an arrow in the pump's face, and the opposite "this way up for RH rotation" on the other side of the pump face. You also have to "flip" the reverse band inside the gear, which i believe was no big deal if the pump was off the front to the gear.

I have read that on other brands of engines and reverse gears, the rotation change was handled in reverse gears so they only had to make one rotation engine.

So it's really not difficult to set up a pair of opposite rotation 283s. Especially if you could find a pair that was removed from twin screw set up from re-powered of junked boat. I would consult the CC parts books and the manual with whatever reverse gear/trans you were dealing with to double check my statements. But my dad owned a CC sea Skiff with the 283s in her and i worked on those engines for about 30 years, so I am pretty familiar with the flywheel forward 283s

Ron Michael

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