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Just bought the '52 Chris Craft Riviera from Riviera Wish

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Just bought the '52 Chris Craft Riviera from Riviera Wish

Post by jim.eakin » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:21 pm

Hi everyone,

I just joined this forum, even though I've been lurking as a reader for a while. Many have probably seen the posts of Riviera Wish (Steve) in this forum as he was restoring a '52 Riviera. I bought this boat from him about a month ago.

It's a beautiful boat with the following niceties:

-5200 bottom - restored before Steve bought the boat.
-Restored woodwork - beautiful job by Steve
-Restored chrome
-Restored interior
-Really nice single axle trailer with Trailer Valet (really nice to have)
-Rebuilt KBL 131HP engine - more about this in other posts to come

In essence, it was like a new boat. For various reasons, neither Steve nor I ran the engine in the boat for a period of time before I brought it home.

The first weekend I tried to start the engine, it would run briefly on gas fed into the carbs, but it appeared there was no fuel feed. Having worked on '50s cars, I decided right away not to mess with mechanical fuel pumps. Based on info on this forum, I bought and installed a Carter 6V inline electric pump. While installing, I removed the mechanical pump and sure enough, the mechanical lever wasn't even attached to the diaphragm. I just put this mechanical pump back in as a hole plug.

I set up a trash can with water and re-routed the water pump intake hose to this water source. I got the engine running. It was a little touchy, and changing the throttle caused the engine to die sometimes. Well, when I was trying to fiddle with the carbs, I got a spray of water in my face. Turns out there's a leak in the top of the exhaust manifold. (Who knows what other leaks are lurking elsewhere!)

When I first turned the ignition on, the ammeter went slightly negative - not supposed to do this. Managed to get the engine fired up, being very careful with how long the starter was on each time.

I let the engine run for a while to warm up. Steve had put a 140 deg. thermostat on the engine and it worked fine - temperature gauge working. (Oil pressure gauge worked, too.)

When I turned the engine off, I noticed that the ammeter was pegged in the negative direction. So the generator is fouled up.

I've worked with '50s cars in the past - MG TD and Porsches - and I realized I don't want to screw with 6V systems anymore. So I'm planning on converting to 12V before proceeding.

I had thought I could have the boat running in time for the upcoming show at Lake Arrowhead, but that's not happening now.

I want to say that I appreciate all the help that many of you here gave to Steve. The first restorer did the bottom, Steve did the wood and interior restoration, and now it's time for me to sort out the engine.

Hopefully I can get some sage advice to get this beautiful boat to completion and in the water soon.

1952 CC Riviera 18, KBL

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Re: Just bought the '52 Chris Craft Riviera from Riviera Wish

Post by Bilge Rat » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:19 am

I think the first order of business would be to look into the exhaust manifold leak. External leaks are one thing but water entering the combustion chambers will cause a hydro lock and very expensive repairs. Could also indicate an engine that wasn't winterized properly and caused cracks when it froze. Once that has been identified and corrected, electrical would be next. Your experience (like mine) with British twin carb engines will come in handy with the multi-carb KBL.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

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