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97 Ski Nautique Winter Maintenance

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    Posted: February-07-2018 at 1:03pm
Last fall I finally got an inboard ski boat of my own, a 97 Ski Nautique. It was in good condition overall, but as any 20 year old boat with ~900 hours that's had just necessary maintenance, there were some things to be done. Luckily, the PO kept great records, and I got the original binder with receipts for all repairs, etc. I ran it last fall with no major issues, but wanted to get it in tip top shape for this year. I've found a lot of value in threads on here, so I thought I'd post some of what I've done/found/learned as well.

One of the first major projects I'm undertaking is swapping the cutlass bearing. The PO told me that he was going to do it this year if he didn't sell it, and it was original to the boat. It still seemed pretty tight (I could barely move the shaft), but I could see the rubber was heavily weathered and cracked, so I went ahead with the swap. Before pulling the shaft, I measured runout as well, and found only 0.0025" of runout at the end behind the strut, but 0.014" in the middle of the shaft. A few interesting things I found in the process, and questions from them:

1) I found that the key was protruding ~0.25" from the coupler/shaft when I split it from the transmission. This made the socket method of removing the shaft a little more interesting, but got it taken care of.


2) When I pulled the shaft, it's obvious that the packing was bad on the shaft, and it had visibly worn on the shaft. Is this normal at all? If the 0.014" runout wasn't enough to order a new ARE shaft, this sealed the deal. The rear layer of packing was actually torn and frayed.


3) I ordered a 6" cutlass for the boat from Deep Blue after a lot of reading on here. After pulling the shaft, it's clear that I had 2 3" ones in there originally. I found it interesting that the fore 3" bearing was recessed ~0.5" from the front of the strut. Should I cut my 6" one in half, or just install the 6" ones as is, which is my current plan.


4) The rubber on the hose on the stuffing box is protruding through the clamps. The hose looks good in general. Do you think it's worth replacing?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February-07-2018 at 1:27pm
As far as replacing the rubber hose for the stuffing box, now's the time with the shaft already out of the way. Otherwise you'll get it all back together and your first issue to pop up will be a leaking hose then you'll have to take the shaft out again

Good to see that you ordered a double tapered shaft

Life is a whole lot easier with one of those as compared to the interference fit coupling at the transmission end.

They're worth every extra penny just in saved aggravation alone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February-07-2018 at 1:36pm
As far as the cutlass bearing, since you have a 6 incher, I wouldn't cut it in half

Just stick it in the way it is
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-12-2018 at 12:53pm
Due to some travel and other obligations, it's been a while since I worked on the boat, but got back to it yesterday (spring's getting close!)

Installed a new BADE cutlass bearing that I got from Deep Blue Yacht Supply and replaced the stuffing hose and repacked the nut with new gore tex packing. When I started to slide the new ARE shaft in, I noticed it wasn't very tight in the bushing when the shaft was only through the strut (and not into the stuffing box yet). There was at least, if not more, play at this point than there was before (when the shaft was fully installed). Once it got up to the stuffing box (nut w/ packing not installed), the shaft stopped, and I had to push it a bit to get it past. When I spun the shaft at this point, you could tell the inside of top part of the stuffing box was hitting the shaft. I was able to put the nut with packing over the shaft and tighten it, and the shaft spins, but with some resistance. I can also pull it in and out, but it takes some force, and definitely won't slide out on it's own. Things look fairly well aligned by eye, with the center of the ARE shaft lining up with the shaft on the trans.

Questions:
1) Should the shaft be able to slide through the stuffing box without the nut installed with 0 resistance? It almost looks like the hose may be bent a little, and then the shaft pulls it straight.

2) Is the excessive play in the cutlass when the shaft isn't in the stuffing box yet anything to worry about? The bushing ordered is a 1" ID, 1.25" OD. I can post a video of it as well.

3) What's the "normal" amount of force required to spin and push/pull the shaft with no prop, and not connected to the trans? I'm guessing that my fresh packing in the nut will make this slightly harder than it will be once it's run for a while.

4) The original Nautique shaft had 2 divots for the set screws for the retaining ring (that keeps the shaft in the boat in case it breaks near the coupler), and the ARE shaft does not. Can I get away using the original ring w/o divots, or should I just buy a clamp style ring from McMaster?

Stephen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gt40KS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-12-2018 at 8:29pm
Hi Stephen,
I went through this whole process myself last fall, replacing the shaft with an ARE and a new stuffing box also. Though I've had boats for 25 years, this was my first DD so this whole process was new as well.
First, it's absolutely paramount that the shaft be centered in the log (without the stuffing box hose attached) as you're extending it upward. Pete has a video about shaft alignment that explains a little on this subject (and a lot about alignment) that should help you.   
BTW - when you had the old shaft out, did you ever check to see if it was bowed?

Pete's alignment video

I've been told the cutlass bearing needs to be snug when you first replace it. If it wobbles around at all, they may have given you the wrong one. I believe with the proper bearing and stuffing box adjustment, you should still be able to turn the shaft by hand, though it isn't easy. And when I replaced my shaft the majority advised a new, 2-piece stainless safety collar - search on ebay, they're fairly inexpensive, maybe $12-15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 12:53pm
Thanks for the reply.

I never put the shaft in without the stuffing box hose attached, so I'll give that a shot to see what it looks like. From the underside of the boat, it looked spot on.

I've watched Pete's video many times getting ready for this, and it's been a good guide.

I'm not sure if I'd call the old shaft "bowed", but when I measured runout of the shaft between the strut and the log, it was 0.013"

Here's a video of the play in the shaft, with the shaft approximately centered in the cutlass.
Cutlass Video
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gary S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 2:14pm
At .013 I would not call it bowed either, I'd call it bent. You should remove it and have a machinist check it out    Not too sure you could accurately check it that way anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 3:02pm
Stephen,
I too suggest getting a better measurement. Setting the shaft in V blocks and then using a dial indicator is best. What does the shaft OD measure? I agree that it seems pretty sloppy in the cutlass. In your video, is the cutlass the new one? Unless I missed it, I didn't read where you installed the new. All I saw is you had the new "ordered". If that is the new cutlass, was it a tight fit in the strut? Don't worry about the push/pull resistance getting the shaft in since you're fighting the rubber in the cutlass.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 3:11pm
Um........... the old shaft was bent or bowed or whatever. Steve is talking about 2 different shafts here.

The shaft he's talking about now and has in the video is his new ARE shaft. You can even see the taper on the coupler end.

Yesterday he said he installed a new cutlass bearing too and talks about sliding the new shaft through the new cutlass bearing.

Originally posted by scorban2 scorban2 wrote:



Installed a new BADE cutlass bearing that I got from Deep Blue Yacht Supply and replaced the stuffing hose and repacked the nut with new gore tex packing. When I started to slide the new ARE shaft in, I noticed it wasn't very tight in the bushing when the shaft was only through the strut (and not into the stuffing box yet).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 3:21pm
Steve

Here's a thread from last year with some clearance info

thread
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gt40KS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-13-2018 at 8:38pm
Curious that a new cutlass bearing would have that much play. If that's the new ARE, I highly doubt it is under-size. More likely the bearing was too loose from the factory. Mine was slightly loose before I pressed it in the cutlass but pretty snug afterward.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-14-2018 at 7:43am
I haven't checked the shaft, but was assuming (I know, I know) that a brand new ARE shaft would be within spec. I checked the cutlass play again last night to see if it was better now that it was at room temp (I froze it to make install easier), and the play seems similar. With the end of the shaft right at the shaft log, I can move it, with just enough force to lift the shaft, up and down to where there's only ~1./8" clearance to the top and the bottom. That being said, the middle of the range of shaft movement is definitely right in the middle of the shaft log.

From the thread last year, it sounds like the cutlass bearings from DBYS might be a little looser than they traditionally were, but seems like at least a few folks have had good luck with them. Any reason to pull it now and find a new one, or just see how it runs once I get it in the water? I'll drop a note to DBYS as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-14-2018 at 1:07pm
Since it's in already, why not finish the installation and see how it feels/looks.

You have an ARE shaft so removal will be easy if you decide things are too loose and want to return the bearing

You'll have half of the people saying use it and the other half saying not to so that's gonna be up to you

If you really have 1/16 of an inch that's a whole lot, but with everything bolted up, the coupling end won't be able to move and you might see different results.

It'll be a good practice run if things aren't to your satisfaction
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-14-2018 at 1:53pm
While working on alignment of the shaft I would leave the packing nut off. It takes a while to find the happy spot where the shaft freely rotates in the log and is in proper alignment to your engine/tranny connection.   The front of the shaft will sag while in place so you have to support it to see approximately where it will work best.
I cut a short piece of 2x4 and then cut a v in the top wide enough to cradle the shaft near the tranny coupler.
The bottom of the boat slopes up moving towards the log so I was able to lift slightly on the shaft and slide the 2x4 back a little at a time trying to find the happy spot.
What I refer to as the happy spot is the location where the shaft spins freely with no drag in the cutlass. You will feel the drag increase and decrease as you move the block forward and aft and port to starboard..   Once you know where the shaft wants to be located then look at the alignment and see if you can get your engine/tranny adjusted to match that spot.
With mine I found the shaft did not line up at all and was inches off center.
I had to remove the shaft support and align it properly to get the shaft in the correct spot. This took time and was caused by a hit the previous owner had not repaired.
The supports can be tweaked to get your alignment right.
Mine was way off, again due to impact damage. Some can be fixed just by taking your old prop shaft, not the new one and use it as a lever to slightly bend your strut the right direction. This is for minor tweaks not a major adjustment.
Mine needed some sanding and a couple washers with the strut removed to get the alignment perfect.
The Engine and Tranny have 4 adjustment spots to help you get it correct.
When I finished you could spin the prop freely with one finger and little drag.
All this was done with lots of help from this forum as I was a rookie at changing the shaft properly also.
Next read up on proper install of the packing, it is not hard but there is some technique involved to have a dry but cool running shaft.
Then you need to read about lapping in the propeller properly.
I had been a tournament boat owner for 25 years and did not know you need to lap in a prop.
If you have not figured this out yet this forum is fantastic if you want a good running boat! Excuse me, not a boat, a Nautique!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-19-2018 at 1:19pm
I was able to get the shaft into the boat this weekend, and spinning nice and free. It too me quite a while, as my engineering curiosity got the better of me a few times. It seemed like something in the shaft log/hose/stuffing box combo wasn't straight, so I isolated the parts to spin them and see what happened. With the hose firmly clamped to the shaft log, I spun the stuffing box (no packing nut installed), and the shaft position in relation to the trans flange didn't change at all. I then tightened the clamps between the hose and the stuffing box and loosened them on the shaft log, and spun the hose+stuffing box. When doing this, the shaft moved radially around the trans flange, proving that something wasn't true. The only things this can be is a bent hose (it's brand new) or the stuffing box hose barbs are deformed such that when the clamps are tightened, it causes it to walk around. Do any of these seem reasonable? At this point, I got it lined up so that it put the shaft at the position it spun freely, and clamped it all down.


Also, shaft spins with almost 0 effort without the packing nut on, but when I put the nut on, it gets quite a bit tougher. Since the shaft isn't hooked to the trans yet, this resistance is due to the packing. Is it normal that a newly packed nut adds a significant amount of drag to the shaft rotation? Or, is it possible that the 1 time I tightened it, I've over expanded the packing material. putting too much pressure on the shaft? I thought it could be due to alignment, but the drag of the nut is the same when not attached to the stuffing box.

With everything lined up and spinning nice, my alignment is visually off (flange won't even bolt up), mostly right/left. It's just the 1 bolt on the engine mount to free them up, right? Any good tips to get the engine to slide? I had the 5' prybar out, but saw that I was crushing the rubber bushings in the mount.

Thanks for all the help
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote storm34 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-19-2018 at 2:14pm
Be sure to loosen the nut on all transmission blocks first.

A small bottle jack placed horizontally between the stringer and transmission works well to move the engine left/right. (place a 2x4 or something to spread the load of the bottle jack across the stringer) I've had to use a small spare tire scissor jack between the block and stringers to get the front to move.

If it doesn't break loose you may need to remove the mounts to disassemble, clean and lubricate everything.    


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-19-2018 at 5:42pm
As far as over crushing the packing material, Yes it can be done. I did it.
I tightened in my garage then took it out on the lake. Even with the nut all the way loose, not even touching the packing I could not get the packing to relax. I was getting no water drip at all and the packing and shaft was getting hot. I took it all out and started over with new packing. This time, on the water where the packing would be lubricated by the leaking water.
I slowly tightened the packing by hand, no tool needed.   Doing it on the water I was able to slowly tighten the packing while we idled till I got it down under 10 drips per minute while running in gear.   Then we ran it at speed, 30 to 45 MPH while checking the packing nut for heat. It got a little warm but never hot. Drips were 6-10 per minute and no drips when the engine was off.   It has worked perfectly since, that was 4 years ago now. My buddy and I cruised around on the lake for about 2 hours getting the drip set correctly.   Take a couple beers and relax while doing it. Mine does not drip parked which comes in handy when we have the boat in the water for several days at a time. It would have been much faster if I did it correctly the first time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gt40KS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-19-2018 at 6:56pm
Originally posted by MrMcD MrMcD wrote:

... not even touching the packing I could not get the packing to relax. I was getting no water drip at all and the packing and shaft was getting hot ...


Good to know - never thought about the friction and heat that might creat   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-20-2018 at 2:10am
There may be an easy way to set the packing that others may share.
The way I did it was not hard it just took patience.
With the boat in the water and the packing removed water does come in but not fast at all. Maybe a pencil sized steam at low pressure. Probably a gallon every 2-3 minutes.   I did change packing on the water and never felt any need to rush. I did use the bilge pump after I was done but I don't remember there being much in the boat.
As you adjust the packing nut and get close to the correct amount of drips per minute while in the water, in gear at idle, the nut would slowly heat up. That slight temp change starts reducing the clearance and slows your drip lubrication of this water lubricated seal.
I would start by adjusting till it was dripping maybe 30 drips per minute and leave it loose and drive the boat some to bring it up to temperature and break it in a little, then start playing with adjustment.
Each time you move the nut tighter it changes the number of drips per minute and minor changes make a difference. I left it loose and made adjustments with my hand. Once I thought I was perfect I tightened the jamb nut against it and guess what. That changed the drip slightly so I learned to back off about one flat on the nut and then tighten the jamb nut against it.
Be really patient and let it run a while as you check temps. I used my hand as the thermometer on the shaft and packing nut. A temp gun would have saved bending over so many times.
Once the packing nut was adjusted it does run warm at speed but not hot and the shaft stayed pretty cool. When mine was adjusted and we ran it the nut got warm and then stopped getting warmer, it held that warm temp even after a hard run, 3 miles or so at 40 mph. When I was too tight it would continue to heat up as we held a fast speed. I know boat shops never do this so there must be a quick way that gets this job done to an acceptable level without the 2 hour test drive.
I wanted it right, our last boat never leaked and I never had to adjust it in 24 years. Never replaced the prop in that time either, that boat was lucky.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2018 at 1:26pm
Had a few good afternoons to work on the boat, so I thought I'd post some updates, and more questions.

I got the shaft in the boat, packing in, and aligned to within 0.001".. I believe the spec is 0.003", but wanted to get it closer. As others have said, it's a time consuming process, and after having it perfect, it moved by ~0.004" when I tightened all of the mounts, so I had to adjust again. Also for others doing this in the future, to slide the engine side to side, removing the nut from the mount isn't sufficient, you need to knock the stud down until it moves freely up and down. After getting that all done, I took a look at everything, and the only thing I see not perfect is that I'm not 100% centered in the shaft log. That being said, the shaft was free in the packing gland before I put the nut on it. There's still plenty of clearance to the log, it' just not perfect centered. Any issue with that? Also, to line the engine up, I had to slide it over ~1/4" on the mounts, and there's quite a bit more of the rod exposed on the left vs right side of the engine (pictures attached). Any issue with having the engine cantilevered that much off of the left side?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2018 at 2:01pm
I think the log in these boats are not precise so you may be a little off center.
How does it all eyeball? Can you get a good view to see if it looks straight.
looking from the rear of the boat towards the nose.   The prop shaft should look straight to the boat.
I have no concern moving the mounts 1/4" not an issue, that is what they are designed for.
Once the mounts have been broken loose it is easy to loosen and adjust the second time.
The first time with everything stuck can be a bear.
I found slight movements could be adjusted by tapping on the mount with a ball pen hammer with the adjusting nuts loose.
Does your shaft spin freely once it is bolted up?
.001 is very good adjustment.
Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2018 at 3:35pm
Since you had a question about the strut bearing clearances a while back...............what did you do use the bearing you had or what?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gt40KS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2018 at 9:30pm
My question is whether the shaft enters the log (under the boat) centered and exits inside off centered ... that may be an indication of a bent or misaligned strut. Also, if the shaft isn't centered in the shaft log @ the bilge, once you install the packing gland (hose and all) it will naturally try to center the shaft in the opening. Wouldn't this have the effect of altering the straight trajectory of the shaft, or at least causing stress, excess friction, etc. when the packing nut is installed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 7:57am
The shaft spins very freely without the packing nut, or being bolted to the transmission, With the packing nut on, a little friction is added from the packing material, but it spins with little effort. There's a little more effort required when bolted to the trans flange, but the output shaft on this boat doesn't free spin when nothing is hooked to it (feels like bearing pre load). In general, I'm not concerned that it's binding. In placing the shaft, without the hose or packing nut, I moved the shaft up down, and side to side and placed it in the center of the free spinning range.

As for the shaft being off center, I'll take a look at the bottom tonight. As I mentioned in an earlier post, something isn't completely straight as when I rotated the hose/packing gland assembly on the log, the shaft would move slightly in relation to the trans flange. Possibly it was due to a slight bend in the hose from supporting the weight of the shaft for a few weeks. It's in it's smoothest position at this point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 7:59am
As for the bearing, I used the BADE bearing from Deep Blue I got. I got a similar response as someone else on the forum did last year about the play, so I'll give it a shot and see how it runs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SNobsessed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 12:12pm
I had some play with brand new shaft & cutlass bearings too.

Hasn't created any problems,

I am sure it is letting plenty of water thru there!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 12:36pm
Sounds to me like you are dialed in.   The log will allow slight movement,
Time for a water test.   Be careful at first if you don't have enough water lubricating your packing that area will heat up fast.
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scorban2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scorban2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 12:47pm
With the weather, it'll be a while until I get to a water test. I've also got quite a few other things on the chore list as well.

One of the next things on the list (that I'm mostly done with) is putting a depth finder in. I've got the gauge in the dash, wired, cables run, etc. The last step is mounting the transducer. I got a Faria gauge with the P79 in hull transducer. It's the type that has a base mounted with RV antifreeze added, then the transducer sits above it, dialed to meet the dead rise of the hull. The 2 places I thought of mounting it is under the left front corner of the engine and right behind the left rear engine mount. The logic is putting it forward was to sense depth quicker, but I've read that having it that far forward will cause issues when running due to the turbulence of the water that far forward.

Another task is replacing the manifold riser gaskets. I ended up removing them to get the exhaust off to have more room to work on the alignment since the hoses wouldn't just slide down over the fiberglass tubes. Plus, there were hard water drips on both manifolds at the riser, so they were due to be replaced anyway. The manifolds and rises actually look pretty good, but the bolts are junk. The long one measured 5.25", but I can only get 5.5" from McMaster. I see that NautiqueParts is selling a 5.5" bolt for this application, so does anyone know if the 5.5": will work? If not, I'll cut it down.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KENO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 2:03pm
Originally posted by scorban2 scorban2 wrote:

The manifolds and rises actually look pretty good, but the bolts are junk. The long one measured 5.25", but I can only get 5.5" from McMaster. I see that NautiqueParts is selling a 5.5" bolt for this application, so does anyone know if the 5.5": will work? If not, I'll cut it down.


it should be pretty easy to do a little measuring on your manifolds and risers and then you'll know the answer for yourself
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2018 at 2:27pm
Originally posted by KENO KENO wrote:

Originally posted by scorban2 scorban2 wrote:

The manifolds and rises actually look pretty good, but the bolts are junk. The long one measured 5.25", but I can only get 5.5" from McMaster. I see that NautiqueParts is selling a 5.5" bolt for this application, so does anyone know if the 5.5": will work? If not, I'll cut it down.


it should be pretty easy to do a little measuring on your manifolds and risers and then you'll know the answer for yourself

Plus if the bolts from McMaster aren't fully threaded, you may also want to measure the threads length.


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64 X55 Dunphy

Keep it original, Pete
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