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KBL , at the end of its life?

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Jarmo
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KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Tue Feb 01, 2022 3:01 am

Dear fellow boaters. Having gone through the posts in this forum ( very useful), I did not find a thread to this one.
I have a 1949 CC Riviera 18'with original, but a few time reconditioned KBL. I had the cylinders sleeved to original size pistons 3 years back. Reconditioned the Zenith carbs, changed all the ( 12V) electricity components etc etc. BUT, since summer 2021, I just could not get the engine running properly. It idles and revs up nicely, when the gear is not on - but once moving, the revs only go up to max 1000-1200 rpm - and engine sounds like misfiring - and eventually stalls, with difficulties in restarting. The last two seasons I've noticed also an accumulation of fumes/smoke, from the oil dip tube and breather. ( tried to fix with a blower + extra air vent tubes). Now, after all spark and fuel related items checked, with no cure, I suspect a more serious issue. Could it be so that the block is cracked ( by the exhaust manifold)? Question: Is there a way to check this without lifting the engine out? Any other possible problems I should check, before doing so? And further, are there KBL blocks available - or is this the end of this engines long life? Thanks a lot for any advice. Jarmo

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Bilge Rat
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Bilge Rat » Wed Feb 02, 2022 7:34 am

You didn't mention it, but a compression test might tell a lot about what's going on. You could have a dead cylinder and that could cause a lot of what you are experiencing. KBL engines are available either in need of a total rebuild or complete and ready to run. Finewoodboats.com and mccallboatworks.com might be possible sources but I wouldn't give up on the original just yet.

Granted triple carbs are a challenge to get dialed in correctly, but since they idle and rev okay I think its something else.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Wed Feb 09, 2022 3:47 am

Thanks for the comments Bilge Rat. Yup, compression test done - all cylinders seem to be in good shape.
The slight problem is that the boat and the motor, are in Finland - thus I need to try to work on this on my own, and with a little help from my friend on-the-know there. Sending the carbs for reconditioning to US is a viable option, in case we do not find anything more worrying. will probably only get smarter at the start of the next boating session up North, in June.

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mbigpops
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by mbigpops » Wed Feb 09, 2022 5:51 pm

Are you running points or Pertronix ?

You may have a bad coil that is overheating and breaking down.

There are known defected batches of coils manufactured overseas.

Mark
1953 CC Rocket Runabout "Rocket Man"

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Thu Feb 10, 2022 1:53 am

Thanks Mark. Pertronix. Changed the ''Ignitor'' and rotator. Got a new Coil. ( realized that I had an incorrect Ohm coil in the first place, not for a 6 cyl engine). Changed all plugs + wires. No cure.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:04 am

Anyone used ''Color Tune'' plugs to detect how each cylinder works? I'd assume that would reveal a lot. I know this is not a ''classifieds'' section, but if anyone happens to have a set of six plugs, and would not need them anymore, I'm a buyer. I shall be in Tavares Sunnyland boat festival end March 2022. Would be happy to grab them there.

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Banjopilot
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Banjopilot » Sat Feb 12, 2022 8:09 pm

First of all, your engine is definitely NOT at "end of Life"! :wink: Based on everything you've done and tried, I'd be willing to bet that you have a blocked exhaust system. All your symptoms point to that. I have a 1969 Chris Craft Corvette, and just had the exact same problem with one of my engines. I pulled the muffler, pulled out a bucketful of rusted out baffles, and after washing out all the remaining debris and re-installing, it runs perfectly now. Check for any possible blockages in the muffler, risers and piping and I'll bet you'll find something. Good Luck!

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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by [email protected] » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:25 pm

Another thing to check is the valve lash. It might be hard to check and/or adjust without pulling the engine, but incorrect valve lash can create exactly the symptoms you describe (running until the engine is up to operating temperature, then not being able to start). Based on watching folks restoring flat head sixes on YouTube, the lash is constantly drifting and should be checked once a year or so. I have a new (to me) 1957 Sportsman with a KFL, and that is one of the first things on my list to check.
My 2 cents,
Ron C.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Tue Feb 15, 2022 3:58 am

This KBL/Riviera one has one straight brass metal exhaust tube. The exhaust elbow had rusted through , and was changed recently. Will certainly check the condition.
Valve lash settings NOT done recently. Will surely go through that exercise as well - hopefully can be done without lifting the engine out.

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Banjopilot
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Banjopilot » Tue Feb 15, 2022 12:21 pm

Just an FYI.... While valve lash is an important adjustment that needs to be check periodically on some engines, the Chevy-based engines (283/307/327/350) have hydraulic lifters which only need to be adjusted when you remove the heads or change the camshaft. They're not hard to check, but I doubt you'll find anything wrong there. :)

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Mon Feb 21, 2022 3:30 am

Valve lashes adjusted. New compression test done. Cylinders 2 and 4 show bypass leak. Diagnoses: The cylinders were honed/sleeved back in 2014, and new, original size pistons replaced. Noticed back then that the block is pretty badly rusted, and could not hone enough to get rid of all bad patches. Thus, suspecting rust accumulation, pressuring the sleeves, and making them elliptic, thus allowing leakage. Now thinking of how to find a fix, without a major overhaul of the engine ( = new block). Next boating season will only tell if any tricks found to make it run ok.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Fri Apr 08, 2022 5:15 am

Well, time to take stock from the Tavares boat show weekend ( what a great one that was), ref to my KBL problem. A few strong old timer opinions directing to replace it with a bit more modern power. And just as many against, insisting on keeping the original KBL. An interesting point from Jim Staib: ''Well, these engines were originally built to last 5-6 years. Yours is some 70 years old now..."' . The KBL has been rebuilt a few times, for sure. If I cant get it running well the coming season - a replacement it will be, for the 2023 summer. Then this opens an entirely new chapter: WHAT replacement engine would be the best option? A few comments came already: a small block 283. But hey, those are also just about as old as I am, born 1960. Yes, if one could find a relatively new rebuild, with CC Manifolds etc. aesthetically that would be a correct choice, but....why to change an old engine to another old engine - when the aim is to have trouble free cruising , and not showing off. I'm seriously thinking of a crate 350, and to set it up for closed cooling as I'm running the boat in sea water. All opinions/advice highly appreciated.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Mon Aug 29, 2022 4:24 am

Report after summer season 2022 from Finland. Valve and the 3 carbs adjustments fixed (sort of) the problem, to at least still have a few enjoyable runs. The KBL revvs nicely up to 3200 rpm, when the gear is NOT on - but once on, does idle nicely, but does not take revvs over 2400-2500 rpm. Thus, just about a planing speed, but not in full level as it should. Alot of smoke also hovering in the engine bay, and around the cockpit. Two cylinders clearly out of pressure/leaking. The Pertronix ignition also causing major issues. Engine just suddenly cuts off and sparks are lost. Might be caused by humidity ( water sprayed by the axel when bilge has some left after pumping, when the pump is located under the front seat. Calls for another bilge pump to be installed near the stern).
A solution found? Pls comment, if you have experience: I have located a rebuilt ''K'' 95 hp engine. Is it so that this is exactly the same block as my KBL 131hp, but the only difference is the carb set up? 95 having one, 131 having 3 Zenith carbs? If so, is it possible to convert he K 95 to KBL 131hp just by adding the 3 carbs set-up? All other hardware compatible? K is 1948 and KBL 1949.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Wed Aug 31, 2022 4:01 am

Since my last post, found out that a conversion of a single carb 95 hp ''K'' motor to 3 carb KBL 131 is not that simple/feasible at all.
Dropped the idea. Will open the old KBL to see in what shape the pistons and cylinders ( sleeved) are. Probably have to find a ''new'' KBL compatible block to re-build this old lady once more. Anyone with a good condition KBL block forgotten in the garage corner, hand up?

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maritimeclassics
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by maritimeclassics » Thu Sep 01, 2022 7:24 am

Dave Moore at Northwood Boatworks most likely has one. 231-331-6516
Family member of Chris Craft founder
Owner of Maritime Classics
http://www.maritimeclassics.com
Ph# 231-486-6148

Restoration Projects:
1936 25' Gar Wood Custom
1947 Ventnor Hydroplane
1957 17' Deluxe Runabout
1948 25' Chris Craft Sportsman Twin
1959 19' Sliver Arrow Hull #75
1929 26' Chris Craft Custom Runabout
1937 25' Chris Craft Custom Runabout

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Fri Sep 02, 2022 6:38 am

Thanks. Will try to make contact.
Btw, head just removed. Noticed that ALL pistons have been jammed at some stage. SLEEVES are still in good shape, thus either water cooling issues, or poor quality pistons/rings....

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:29 am

Latest: Decided to, once more, rebuild the KBL: Reconditioned ( bored) block with OS pistons ordered. Will convert to CLOSED water cooling. Will convert to ONE CARBURATOR, to make it more user friendly. The job will be done over the coming winter, in Finland, to be ready for the 2023 boating season. Watch this space.

Jarmo
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Re: KBL , at the end of its life?

Post by Jarmo » Tue Sep 27, 2022 2:21 am

QUESTION ( and maybe a subject to a full new tread). Has anyone done a conversion from sea water to closed cooling system on a KBL engine?

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