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Rebuild or Repower

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Rebuild or Repower

Post by BClarkPM » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:18 am

I'm the proud owner of a 1961 Chris Craft Constellation 36' with an interesting history. This boat has been on the hard, under cover and well protected for 30 years before I acquired. After 18 months of working on her, I'm at a point that I have to make a major decision -- do I rebuild or repower. The original MEL430 engines have been pulled and do spin. So, rebuilding these beasts is feasible. But, the thoughts on new engines is very compelling -- reliability, dependability and economy. On the other hand, this boat is 100% original. Seems a shame to ditch the original engines. Opinions?

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Re: Rebuild or Repower

Post by drrot » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:32 pm

My opinion is if you are going to boat local stay with gas. If you are going to boat long distance go with diesel. Staying with the 430 vs say 454s? I'd have the 430s opened up and get a quote first.
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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Bilge Rat
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Re: Rebuild or Repower

Post by Bilge Rat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:36 am

To add to Jim's reply; taking an internal look into the 430's makes sense if you're looking to keep original if possible. New possible 454 engine increased horsepower would probably call for new prop pitch, possible new tachs and other unknown sundries to install, monitor and control the different engines.

If the 430's are too far gone to be sensible, at least you investigated. I can speak from experience that rebuilding original power can approach or even exceed the cost of new very quickly and ultimately what warranty do you have on the rebuilds as compared with new? Use an engine machinist that you can trust to give you a fair estimate.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

jim g
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Re: Rebuild or Repower

Post by jim g » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:11 am

I'm rebuilding a 430 right now. They are a very expensive motor to rebuild. Most of the internal parts are no longer available so you have to track down new old stock parts.

Also the combustion chamber is in the block so you have to find a machine shop that has the jigs to bore the cylinders. Think or google chevy 409 cylinders.

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Re: Rebuild or Repower

Post by maritimeclassics » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:23 am

If it was my boat and I was going to cruise I would put in two 4 or 6 cylinder Yan Mar diesels engines. It would extend your range greatly and have good cruising speed as well. It would take some engineering but be totally worth it.
Family member of Chris Craft founder
Owner of Maritime Classics
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

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