Back On The Water

The plan was to clean up the engine, put all the marine parts on it, and stuff it in the boat. Sounds pretty simple. There was one minor problem, though. How to get the new engine into the boat? I had rented an engine lift to pull the old engine out, but that was $50/day, plus the hassle of picking it up and dropping it off. My carport is too flimsy to support a 500lb engine, but maybe I could build some kind of lifting frame? At this point my buddy Rob mentioned that there was a dumpster full of 2" schedule 40 pipe out behind his workplace. Since it was Saturday we went over and loaded up. I got my dad to draw up a basic design, and we started cutting and welding. It turned out to be a lot of work. The pices of pipe weren't long enough, so I had to make a number of butt welds. I also had to use the plasma cutter to make a bunch of braces out of 3/16" plate. And I had to run long beads to attach the braces to the pipe. The worst, though, was drilling the holes. I wanted to be able to take down the frame when I wasn't using it, so the design included 12 holes, each 1/2" in diameter. Drilling through the pipe and the plate took a long afternoon and six bits. It was a real argument for getting a drill press. If only I had a place to put it.

You can see the engineer posing with his design, while we test it using the old engine. Also a shot of my assistants relaxing after a long day, and the first real use of the frame, to hold up an Air Chair.

theEngineer.jpg relaxing.jpg airChair.jpg

Now it was time to build up the engine. I started by pulling off all the non-boat parts.


I got the new engine built up, and it was time to put it in the boat. The lifting stand performed admirably.

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The boat was loaded on the trailer, and the crew was ready to go.

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We got the boat launched without incident. The engine ran fine, with plenty of oil pressure. The new distributor, with the timing set properly, meant that the engine would fire the first time, every time I turned the key. The reliability was great. But there was a problem. The gps showed our top speed at 30.0, after a long acceleration run. And there was no neck snapping hole shot. The boat acted like it had a slipping clutch, or an automatic transmission that was low on fluid. The engine would rev, but the boat would only accelerate slowly. Towards the end of the trip water began to show up in the oil, and the oil pressure started to drop. I could see a leak around the intake manifold and the head, so possibly it's coming from there. We still had fun, though. Note the gps on the dash.


The gurus on the jet boat board said it was a bad wear ring in the pump. The slop in the pump made it so inefficient that acceleration and top speed suffered. In the next installment we learn all about fixing the Berkeley jet pump.