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Where to start?

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Icanoedou
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Where to start?

Post by Icanoedou » Fri May 13, 2022 3:07 pm

Finally getting back to work on my 1963 Constellation. I have a pretty good idea of what to do on the hull and other woodwork, but I do have a question about the engines. Pair of 283s that have not been started in about 15 years. Always a freshwater boat, but don't know much about the history and care of the engines. Should I try and do anything to test them in the boat, or just assume they will need to be rebuilt and pull them out.
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tparsons56
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Re: Where to start?

Post by tparsons56 » Sat May 14, 2022 9:21 am

I would say there is way too much uncertainty with these engines to not have them rebuilt. The last thing you want is to spend that much time and effort on the hull and have bad engines.

rgmxk22
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Re: Where to start?

Post by rgmxk22 » Tue May 24, 2022 11:10 pm

Not knowing how many hours are on these engines, there are things to consider. But my dad had a pair of these 283s in a 1963 Sea Skiff with over 3,000 hours on them and they ran fine. Rebuilding them will not be cheap if they are done right and you rebuild everything including the carbs, starters, alternators and the rest of the accessories which will probably need done anyway after the boat sat so long. And pulling these are a lot of work, yes unbolting them is fairly simple, actually getting them out of the boat can be tricky. Hopefully, they were winterized properly before you got the boat since if you have any freeze cracks in the blocks, you are out of luck and will need to pull the engines for replacement. So depending on your mechanical ability, you might consider the following.

Before I would pull these engines, I would do a couple of things to see if the engines are not stuck and will turn over. First, I would change the oil and then remove the tachometer drive to use a priming tool that with a drill, you can pre-lube the engines. If you can't borrow one, a place like Summit Racing will offer one. Using the tool to pressurize the oiling system will help prevent any damage to the engine's bearing from a dry start.

Now before trying to to actually turn them over, I would remove all of the spark plugs, and squirt some motor oil or maybe something like Marvel Mystery Oil into each cylinder and let it sit for a day or two. Since I see one engine doesn't have a carb on it, you don't have to worry about it starting somehow, but on the other one, play it safe and remove the wire going from the ignition coil to the distributor cap. Also, on the fuel strainers/filters on the left rear side of the blocks next to the transmissions, make sure the shut off valves are closed so you don't pump fuel out of the open line on the engine with no carb of pump the other carb full of 15 year old gas,

Also, see what water pumps you have on the engines, CC used 2 styles of pumps around 63, there is a version with bronze gears inside that can run dry for a little bit. The others have rubber impellers inside and after 15 years of sitting, the impellors need replaced anyways, but you shouldn't try to run them dry since the impellers will self destruct when run dry.

The gear style pumps will have a grease fitting or grease cup on the pumps to help identify them, the impeller pumps will not have a grease fitting or cup. So if you have the impeller pumps, you might want to remove the pumps or loosen the drive belts before turning the engines over.

Now at this point you're getting close to when you could hook up a battery and bump the ignition key to see if they engine will even turn over.

So with fresh oil, pre-lubed bearings, a little oil in the cylinders, closed fuel valves and the water pumps taken care off, see if they will turn over. If they spin/turn over with the starters, this is a good sign. I would then get a compression tester and do a compression test to see if the piston rings are sealing along with the valves in the cylinder heads condition. With these engine being dormant for so long, the compression might be a little low, say around a 100psi or so in each cylinder.

So if you decent compression in the engines and they spin freely, if might worth trying to get them fired up. But that is another bunch of steps such as rebuilding the carbs, replacing the distributor caps, rotors, points, plugs and wires too. Don't be surprised if the fuel pumps would need replaced if the diaphragms are torn for sitting and as I mentioned, if the water pumps are the rubber impeller style, replacing the impellers would have to happen at some point too. But you could bypass the pumps and rig a garden hose to the outlet hoses of the pumps to cool the engines if you try to start them.

If they can be started up, they might be able to be put back into service as they are now and you can worry about doing a rebuild later on or you'll find out that they need rebuilt now.

Ron Michael
Ohio
72 CC XK22

rgmxk22
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Re: Where to start?

Post by rgmxk22 » Tue May 24, 2022 11:14 pm

One more detail, pull the dipsticks on the reverse gears/transmissions and make sure they have fluid in them. When the engine are turning, the pumps in the transmissions are turning too. So you don't want to run the pumps dry. You won't be putting a load on the transmissions with the boat being on land, but again, you don't want to run them dry.

From what I see in your pics, you have Paragon HF-7s in there for reverse gears and I know they have a dipstick to check the fluid level in them.

Ron Michael

rgmxk22
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Re: Where to start?

Post by rgmxk22 » Wed May 25, 2022 10:08 pm

I forgot one detail that is pretty important if you try to fire the engines up. After you would use a priming tool to pre-lube the engines, you must remove the tool and replace the tachometer drive before starting the engines! This is because the tach drive engages the shaft that drive the oil pump. So without the tach drive in place, you will have ZERO oil pressure. That would destroy the engines if you got them started.

Ron Michael
Ohio

Icanoedou
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Re: Where to start?

Post by Icanoedou » Fri May 27, 2022 1:14 pm

Hi Ron, thanks so much for the detailed answer, I really appreciate you taking the time to write it. I will give it a try in the next week or two.

rgmxk22
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Re: Where to start?

Post by rgmxk22 » Fri May 27, 2022 6:48 pm

You're welcome. I am pretty familiar with the 283 CC flywheel forward engine. So if you have more questions, feel free to ask.

Ron Michael
Ohio

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