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From: "Stanley Butler"
To: Subject: 94 sunbird
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 20:16:30 -0700

I just found your page and I think it is great! It would be awesome even if you could help me with a problem. I recently purdhased a 94 sunbird 170 with a evenrude 115 hp outboard.The boat had less than 100 hours operation. All seemed well first time out till I noticed quite a bit of water in the bilge. After a couple of trips we find it takes on 10 to 15 gallons just docked overnight. much more cruising. There are absolutely no voids or cracks in the hull that i can find. There is little more than a few scratchs on hull bottom. I am stumped. Where could this leak be, or how do I find it? I have known the prev. owner an the boat since it was new and he had no problems. Water leaks in from somewhere but it does not show from where? Can you please help? THX Stan Butler

Dear Stanley, If you are taking on that much water, it sounds like a major problem. However, if you do not see any cracks in the hull, focus around the engine area. There are several things that cause a bilge to fill up, and yet are fairly minor. Inspect all hoses to and from the engine, including the fuel line. Pay close attention to the area, have someone inspect it while you are in a now wake to wake speed and look for any water working its way in. Inspect any live wells for water level changes and its hoses. Inspect any on board coolers for ice melt drainage (which usually drains into the bildge). Also inspect the boat cover, make sure it prevents any waves from splashing into the boat while at dock or pulled up on the beach. Stern drive owners will find that there is a need to check the exhaust drain plugs on the, make suure that they are in place. Also visually inspect the drain plug on the boat itself, remove it and re tighten it while the boat is out of the water. Any other water at this point would be seeping in from the hull itself. Hull repair kits are available and with a little time on a Sunday afternoon, can be in expensive to repair, but does require patience. Hope you spot the culprit. Have a great 2002 boating. -Mark

From: "Michael Bracken"
Subject: Mercury Outboard problems
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 15:30:29 -0400

Mark, My name is Michael Bracken. I just finished restoring my first wooden Lyman. It is 17ft with a 65hp Mercury 650. I am having problems with it at low speeds while in gear. If I give it more gas the motor kicks in and runs great. Also while at idle at the dock out of gear it runs great. Starts every time without any hassel. The area police are giving me problems because I cannot keep the boat running at low speeds in the channel. Haha. For a while I was fine flooring the motor then coasting but that has been uncomfortable for my passengers. I cleaned out the carb bowls and sprayed carb cleaner through which seemed to help but not correct the problem. Any suggestions? Much appreciated, Michael Bracken Rocky River, Ohio

Dear Mike, Sounds like a timing problem. Change your plugs and gap them by manufacturer's specs. It sounds like a condition when the gap is too wide, better at higher speeds but rough at lower. A closer gap will give you a smoother ride at lower, but may ping at higher. The specs should take care of a wide range of speed. Have a great summer boating! -Mark

Subject: Boating Tips
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 15:26:40 EDT

Hi Mark, I stumbled upon your website today and found it extremely interesting. I have a couple of questions hopefully you can answer. I bought a 1988 Chris Craft I/O last year; it has a Mercruiser 3.0 litre and runs great after I gave it a full tuneup (plugs, cap, rotor, condensor, etc.) I have stored it in my garage since October of 2001 and didn't prepare it with any type of winterization since I decided to keep it inside and I live in California. I'm ready to pull it out for the summer but I'd like to change the oil. Is there a drain plug on this motor or do I have to buy an oil pump? Does the motor just use standard 10-30w oil? When reading other user emails, I found information about a gimble bearing. Should I pay the money to have this inspected sometime? I have no prior information about this boat. My Dad and I purchased it used from a boat dealership who received it as a trade in. It has been extremely reliable thus far and I hope to keep it that way. When I bought parts for the tuneup, the guy who helped me suggested I buy or replace a water pump (pumps water out of the engine compartment). I tried to find anything online that would help me locate this part but user manuals on these motors and/or boats seem to be non existent. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!! thank you! Tiina Maide

Hi Tiina, Your best bet is to contact Mercruiser for maintenance specs. Several book sites sell maintenance books as well for these models. But as most Mercruisers go, they generally do have a drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan and the oil is changed just like in a car, the difference is you usually need a heavier weight oil. My 94 model uses 25W 40 Quicksilver brand, which can take the stresses of a marine engine and keep it lubed properly. Also you need a marine oil filter. Its also a good time to change any possible fuel filter's as well. Grab a Trailer Boating Magazine and there are listings for parts in the classifieds you can usually call on for your water pump. The Gimble bearing should be inspected by a dealer. Have a great 2002 boating -Mark

From: Jamie Herring
To: "''"
Subject: 1995 sunbird 115 hp overheating
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 12:03:11 -0400

How do I confirm overheating or bad sensor on my sunbird. I was on the water less than 2 minutes when my overheat alarm sounded. The intake is clear of debris. I read somewhere that you should monitor water pressure and it should be at least 30psi. Where is the water pump located on this omc engine? HELP!!

Hi Jamie, It sounds like a stuck thermostat, which would be good news as far as repairs go. You will need to remove your hose around the pulleys, this is where your water pump is to see if there is ample water there. If there is your engine is taking water in, but not getting put back into the lake. The water is staying in the engine which would cause a boil over. There is a hose that leads to a thermostat device, if the thermostat doesn't open, then you will over heat, if it stays open all the time the engine will run too cool and wear down faster. Have a mechanic check and change the thermostat. Some model engines don't contain a thermostat and at that point would need a impellar change in the outdrive itself which would be more expensive in labor costs. Most importantly, don't run your engine until this is done or you could warp the head, and at that point your into thousands for repairs. Talk to your mechanic! -Mark

Subject: Lake Cumberland House Boat Rental
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 21:31:24 -0400

Mark, I was wondering if you could recommend somewhere to rent a house boat on Lake Cumberland for a long weekend for two people for this summer. Any information you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks, Julie Hayes

I highly recommend Jamestown which is easy to access from a main highway, second choice would be Grider Hill, a little longer drive and near the southwest portion of the lake. State Dock is also good. Be sure to visit Lake Cumberland Websites including Jamestown. Have a great summer houseboating! -Mark

Subject: 3.0 Volvo SX performance
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 21:55:03 -0400
From: "Henry T. Grimmick" To:

Hello Mark, Great site! After searching the site and reading a number of posts regarding 3.0 performance I thought I would post what I have run into/found out so far.

My 3.0 is in a '99 Glastron SX 175 (17') bow-rider. She originally came with a 14 1/2 x 19 aluminum prop. Day one she turned 5200 rpm's and had massive detonation and after run. I purchased the timing shunt from my dealer and noticed that the timing was about 6 degrees advanced. (spec with the shunt is 0). After backing the timing down to spec and switching to premium grade fuel she would run about 42 at 4600. WOT cruise with 4 people and gear was 36+ Operating range posted on my motor is 4200-4600.

I then tried an aluminum 14 1/4 x 21 prop. Rpm's went down to 4400 but WOT with one person shot up to 46. WOT cruise with 4 people and gear went to 40+

Currently I'm at a 14 1/4 x 23 cupped stainless SST. Rpm's went down to 4200-4300 but WOT with on person is up to 49. Hitting 51 on a couple of occasions in "perfect" water conditions. WOT cruise with 4 people and gear is a healthy 45. Holeshot suffered slightly but cornering had improved dramatically. Also a nice little rooster tail. Note that at the prop change (100 hours) I also replaced the cap and rotor with Volvo Penta replacement parts, replaced the 7.0mm plug wires with 8.5mm (hand matched at a auto performance shop), swapped the AC plugs with Champion Copper Plus Marine, kicked the timing up 2 degrees, switched to synthetic oils in the motor (Castrol Syntec) and outdrive (Volvo Synthetic gear lube). I also burned a can a carb cleaner at 2000 rpm to clean out the intake and burn off the carbon. I forget the name but is was some white foamy stuff that really smoked and smelled bad while burning. Boat U/S suggested it.

I pulled the plugs after a couple of WOT test runs and notice she is running way too lean. #4 shows signs of detonation and is still shiny silver. 1-3 have a light brown dusting on them. Turns out the carb is a 500cfm Holley 2bbl, a fairly respectable carb. It came equipped with .75 jets. Holley advised to go up two numbers at a time when changing jets. I ordered .77, .79, .81's from a local source plus a couple of float bowl gaskets as leaking fuel is bad... These should arrive this week. I'll let you know how they work out after this upcoming weekend.

I spoke to the guys at K&N and they think they have a filter/arrestor setup that should work. I just need to get them the carb number and the amount of space I have with the deck closed. I'm defiantly going to put a filter on it after seeing how plugged up the arrestor was and how dirty the carb was at 100 hours. They also suggested routing the crankcase vent somewhere else besides the arrestor as oil can cause detonation. (The source where I ordered the jets from also suggested this.) I'll hold off a bit on this as I'm not fond of drilling holes in my hull, oil stains and dumping oil in the water..

Lastly I found a marine performance shop in West Palm Beach who thinks they can rig up a through transom exhaust. I need to get them measurements and may go this route depending on how well the jets work. If I can get a good mixture going I should be able to kick the timing up a little more and get closer to the upper end of the operating range. I'll save the exhaust as a last resort only if I need 100 or so rpm's as it is going to be expensive. Best regards. hg

Hitting anywhere near 50mph on a 3.0 is pretty outstanding. I would be careful of not going for hole shot with that much of a prop, but the top end sounds good and the speed is great. I have a 21" prop and love it, and top out at 42 on a 3.0 Mercruiser. I give it a tune up once a year. Keep us informed on what results you get on the new jets and filter. -Mark

Hello Mark, Just a quick update. When I pulled the original jets from the carb I was shocked to see that one was a .68 and the other was a .67. So far I have not found anyone who could figure out why Volvo did this.. The smallest jets I had available were .73 so I threw them in and kicked up the timing to 4 degrees advanced with the shunt installed. Turns out that +4 degrees is a bit to high as I heard detonation over 3500 rpms so I quickly backed it down. The .73 jets are a bit too big. I have much more get up and go at mid throttle but no noticeable gains in top end, hard cold starting, stalling at idle and a significantly increased fuel consumption. I have ordered jets ranging from .68 to .72 in .01 increments. They should arrive this week. I'm going to start with .68 on both sides (unlike the stock setup) set the timing back to 0 with the shunt installed and work my way up one set of jets at a time. Once I find a good jet setup. (probably will be .70-.72) I'll start kicking up the timing one degree at a time.



-Mark Billy and Gwen Winsett wrote: Mark, I have a 1977 Chrysler Pro Bass Runner. My trailer has center rollers up the middle of the trailer. It is very hard to load my boat centered. I was wondering if I could buy board guide-ons to fit the contour of my tri-hull boat? Where I can just drive the boat centered on the trailer. I would appreciate any information you could give me on this subject. Thanks, Keith Winsett


There are different "Guide On" products available for trailers that guide your boat onto the trailer. I find them very useful while trailering on a fast moving current in a river. What these are are basically two adjustable poles, one on each side of the trailer towards the rear, some have cushioned rollers while others are bunk boards both on each side to guide you on in almost any condition. You can find these "Guide Ons" at most major marine parts dealers and run around $ 60.


Subject: Re: Questions

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 19:47:51 -0400
From:  Mark <>
References:  1 , 2 , 3
Mark wrote:
I just recently bought a 1990 VIP 1700 Vision.  It has a 2.3 OMC that is
128HP.  Well when I first took it out is ran pretty bad, started so so
and when you hit the gas to go it would quit, well since then I have
changed plugs and fuel filter and since the motor back fired thru the
carb I decided to check the timing and that was off also.  Now I still
have the carb problem, if I hit the gas full throttle it goes, if I
slowly throttle up it work ok, but if I push the throttle down medium it
asks like it floods out or isn't getting gas.  The timing is right on
now and it still does it, it does seem to run smoother since I set the
timing though, any ideas on the carb problem?  Also when I bought the
boat the dealer said the previous owner said it would go 43, well I had
it out and 35 was all I saw with me and my wife in it.   Most of the
time I don't get past 32 with a friend or two.  I have a 13 3/4 x 15
Mich. prop on now.  Now I have tested it since I change the timing,
would that gain me any more power or speed?  I also have a very hard
time pulls a 200lb skierup now also.  I was told I probably need a carb
kit, what do you think?  Also is it a big job to do a kit or should I
leave it to the experts?  Now do you have any idea what the boat should
do as far as speed goes?  Is there any way to increase HP to gain speed
and power?  Also what size props can I put on this motor?  Are the 4
blade composite any good, I was told they would flex too much.  I what
to increase speed but would like to put up a skier too.  I also read
some other post about people with the 3.0L and that is only 135 Hp I
thik and they seems to have way better speed than me.  This is my first
boat and any help would be good.  If you could email me a reply also I
would really appreciate it alot.


Mark Cameron wrote:

  A 2.3 with a light load, including only having yourself on board and low
fuel levels, may hit 34 and 35 with your size prop, but one possibility is
to try a higher pitch prop. You could hit maybe 37 on a 15" and maybe 39-40
on a 17", the latter two will not be good towing props. You will want a prop
that will still let your RPMs stay around 4500. The newer 3.0 litres have
higher compression and I can hit 41 with a lite load on a 21" on an 18' on
a cool day (when the air is more dense). The 2.3 may not achive that.  As
far as timing your engine, make sure to follow the specs. Unplug any vacuum
hoses around the distributor during the testing. If it is still correct,
then check the plug gap.  Check timing again. A valve adjustment should also
be performed and if you still stall, try advancing the timing a couple of
degrees (this may induce a pinging sound which you don't want either, but if
it doesn't ping and the power is up considerably then the slightly advanced
setting should be OK but as always seek the advice of a Volvo Mechanic).  If
all us fails do a compression check, and then go to the carberator, (which
is about the same amount of work as changing one on a car, but easier to
reach on a boat). Have a great summer boating!. -Mark


Mark wrote:
 Hello Mark, I have a 15" on now and i am only getting 34 out of it and that is
on a good day and the rpms are about 5500, the specs say 5200-5600 for the rps,
so I am with in that range.  Can my engine handle a 21" or 19"?  It there anyway
to get any more horsepower out of the engine?  What about the 4 blade comp
props, bad or good?


I would recommend a 17" that will put you at 37 at maybe 5200 RPM. A 19 may bogg
down too much.  Ask your dealer about the return policy and try a couple!  -Mark

Subject: Re: New Boater
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 20:13:30 -0400
From: Todd <>
Todd wrote:
   Mark,I just bought my first boat last July. Saved for about 5 years to my my used 18' 1988 Bayliner. I heard all the stories that strike fear in the hearts of all new boaters: forgetting the plug, damaging the prop, forgetting to unplug the lights and having them short out. After finishing up the year with a bent prop, I decided to take a cours by the Coast Guard Aux. her in sunny Columbus, Ohio. The course was 14 weeks (about) and ran about 2 to 2 1/2 hours one night a week. At $30 dollars it was a steal. It covered probably more than I could ever use. But it helped possibly stop some of those embarassing stories.The neatest thing was when one of the instructors laughed and said," ...we make some of the stupid errors you might out there.." Sort of helped me realize that this will be an on going learning process.I would like to ask one thing. You mention being from Ohio, have you ever been to Indian Lake? Grand Lake ST. Mary's?  I have always heard horror stories  about people finding stumps at Indian  Lake. Got any insite on these two places? I started to think about going there after seeing their website.

I have been to Indian Lake and it has an atmosphere all of its own. Instead of being a lake surrounded by trees (similar to many of Ohio's State Park Lakes like Alum Creek),  you find numerous lake style cottages and small homes.  The same goes for Buckeye Lake.  Both lakes have restaurants with their own docks (McDonalds at Indian and Pappa Boos at Buckeye). So if you are out on the water and get the craving for a Big Mac, as I did while there in the middle of winter, and enjoy the town wrapped around the lake atmosphere, I would recommend it. The stumps are a problem especially during low water. The best advice is to stop by a marina and check the charts.  Also talk with other boaters.  Once you know the lake, the odds of hitting a stump are less of a worry. Same advice goes out for Grand Lake St. Marys (I haven't been on that one).  If you are from Columbus you can also enjoy Griggs as well as Alum Creek.  If you are a weekend boater the best ramp times are before 10:30 am and after 1:30 pm and after 7:30 on both Saturdays and Sundays. One last thing, it would be worth purchasing a depth sounder.  A simple Hummingbird for around $ 99 will be enough to give you deoth readings below your prop.  Though it doesn't warn you whats ahead, it does allow you to get familiar with the depths of a lake and you can set a beepr off when the depth gets less than a predetermined footage which is great for using in shallow coves. I break one to two props a year even on familiar lakes, and it is always when the water is low.  It goes with the sport. West Marine in Dublin has the best prices on props. One other bit of advice, you should try Seneca Lake (if you have less than 180 hp), there are few shallow spots and several uninhabited islands.  It is about two hours east of Columbus just south of Cambridge off I-77 and the Senecaville Lake exit, (my favorite Ohio lake). Have a great summer boating!  -Mark

Subject: Re: Wellcraft V-20 Step lift
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 20:17:36 -0400
From: McClain Christopher R SSgt AFPC/DPDPS <>
McClain Christopher R SSgt AFPC/DPDPS wrote:
 I found your website and I must say your positive attitude and wealth of
 knowledge is very refreshing in today's "screw the boat" owner environment!
 I recently purchased (or should I say stole) a beautiful 1984 Wellcraft V20
Step Lift for $1100. It has a Volvo 4 banger (AQ145 - 2.3) with twin solex
 carbs and a 280 Outdrive - I believe the ratio is 2.15:1. I have rebuilt the
carbs, the impeller and all the other basics for getting the boat back in
 top-notch condition and it is currently in the shop for the final lookover
 and synchronizing of the carbs . The trailer is a single axle trailer that
 needed some work, so I replaced the old axle with a new 2x3 3500lb five lug
 galvanized. Now - my questions! :-)
 First - What kind of quickness and speed can I expect from this boat/engine
 setup. The mechanic I took it to thinks I have a 14x21 prop - I don't think
 expert! What prop would you recommend and what could I expect from that
setup? I am looking for that elusive all around quick hole-shot and good
top-end......Yeah, I'm dreamin.......
Secondly - I have a full size 94 Bronco with a 351 and the E40D elec. OD. -
 just like OJ's minus the glove and blood spots! Towing is ok but I can sure
tell that boat is back there which is to be expected with around 3500lbs.
The engine bogs down and I bottom out a bit on bumpy roads.  I may have to
much tongue weight which is relatively easy to fix if that is the case but
would making this a tandem axle setup help or be a waste of my money? I ask
this in regards to several factors like tongue weight, overall towability
 and trailer ride for the boat. I do realize two wheels (single axle) is less
rolling resistance but would the four wheels (tandem) actually make it
easier to pull at higher speeds and on the highway?
Thanks for the inputs and keep up the great advice!

It sounds like 17" prop is the best bet for an engine of that size. A 19" will
have little if any hole shot. A 15" is a good hole shot but may overrev the
engine, however great for a 20' with a large load.  I would recommend a 17 for
good average running. You should get at 30-35 mph  top end on a 17. On a 15 you
will be lucky to get to 30, ani it  will nearly redline the engine on small

 If your Bronco is bogging down it is probably due to the gear ratio.  Overdrive
is great on low altitude level driving. But on uphill grades or higher altitude
you will need to shut off the overdrive.  Also make sure you have a transmission
cooler.  Tounge weight can cause you to bog down as well.  You may consider
raising the ball to avoid bottoming out, it will reduce the weight slightly.
Also load items in your boat to the rear while trailering, this will also reduce
tounge weight.  Have a great summer boating!  -Mark wrote:


I would suggest an Aluminum prop at 19" for that in between ride, a cross between
hole shot and speed. Stainless is great for deep water but shallow it could mean
a damaged shaft because the shaft would break before the prop if you hit
something while running shallow. Aluminum is cheaper than stainless, and can be
repaired if it isn't too chewed up. I carry a 17", a 19" and a 21".  The 21 is
slow to build speed but tops at a good speed and is efficient on gas.  A 19" runs
slower but will pull a 200 lb. skier. A 17" will pull up a 200 lb. skier without
having to drop a ski for slalom skiing. The speed on the 17 is about 34 while the
21 goes around 42 all on a smaller engine. You should hit around 36 -39 on a 19"
and your 16 is right on specs. If you plan on skiing then install your 16" prop.
Unless your barefoot skiing 30 mph is about all the faster most skiiers want to
go thus your 16 is good.  If you are just out for a spin and hole shot isn't
important then put on the efficient 21" prop. Aluminum props are also better at
cornering than stainless because they distribute the water wider at higher speeds
while stainless shoots more of a strait line. As for your 1961 Chris Craft, at
that age I don't recommend it for water skiing or heavy use, but it is becoming
an antique and therefore worth restoring.  I don't have a parts supplier list for
that brand but you may call around to some marinas for parts information.  I
would try 1-800-837-BOAT and they may be able to connect you with a supplier if
not themselves (Clearfork Marina).  Have a great summer boating!  -Mark

Subject: Paintsville Lake Ky.
Date: Jul 97 20:45:59 +0000
From: NAME : Mike Justus,,,,Delaware, OH
Kentucky Wonder! Paintsville Lake
My family and I, along with another couple, had the opportunity to discover Paintsville Lake in June of this year. Oh, what a gem we found! The lake is located in eastern Kentucky near the town of Paintsville and only about 4 miles off Rt. 23. It is approximately 200 miles from Columbus or about 4 to 4 1/2 hrs driving time, depending on stops. The lake is not real large at 1,100 acres but it is approx. 20 miles long to its most navigable point. In fact, the term lake is somewhat of a misnomer because after you get approximately 3 miles above the dam, it narrows down considerably to more resemble a river. A deep river....depths in the channel were often 75&rsquo; or more. The lake is not for the go fast types, with its twisting &ldquo;S&rdquo; turns and narrow areas, it's more for the cruiser that likes to take it slow and enjoy the sights. There are quite a few bass fishermen fishing the drop-offs along the entire length. I recommend you slow down to a no wake speed when passing them. We discovered that after coming up and down off plane so much to avoid disturbing them with our wake, that it was easier just to cruise the entire length at no wake speed. The lake appears to receive very little traffic from out of state visitors. I was amazed at how little boat traffic there was for a summer weekend. Although there are houseboats-both private and rentals- at the marina, we saw only one houseboat out on the lake all weekend. Most of what traffic there was appeared to be fishing boats and pontoons. There is one launch ramp at the dam near the lakes only marina. The ramp is very good and not steep at all. After launching our boats, we skirted a large island near the dam and proceeded to the nearest swim cove for lunch and a swim. The water was clear and refreshing! After a few hours we decided to push on toward the upper reaches of the lake. As the lake narrowed down , we began to appreciate the hidden beauty of this jewel. We motored by miles of rocky limestone bluffs complete with caves, overhangs and huge boulders. We gazed at the oaks, cedars and rhododendrons clinging tenaciously to these cliffs. I wondered how many bass the fallen trees at the base of these rocks held. If you could picture cruising through the Hocking Hills cave area in your boat, it would be a similar experience! We arrived at a fork in the lake and headed up the portside branch. We quickly found an uninhabited cove, set the hook and rafted off each other. We took turns using the wave runner to explore further from our &ldquo;base camp&rdquo;. I discovered a pristeen small cove with a waterfall spilling over the craggy rocks at one end, surrounded by a thick grove of wild rhododendron. I mentally marked that spot for a future anchorage! After supper aboard, we enjoyed a nice evening swim and enjoyed the tranquility of our quite little cove. Saturday brought more great weather and another day of exploring all of the lake&rsquo;s nooks and crannies. We departed Sunday, beating a thunderstorm, but vowed to come back to this beautiful place. It was truly a trailerboaters dream!
EMAIL : NAME : Mike Justus,,,,Delaware, OH


Thanks Mike for the mail, I dropped this in the techniques because of the idea of base camping and running politely around bass fisherman. This lake sounds great, I hope to launch in down there sometime soon. Take care and happy boating this summer! -Mark


From: "Michael Adams"
Subject: Volvo Penta AQ125A Timing Belt Problems
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:19:16 -0400

I've got a 1985 Bayliner with a Volvo Penta AQ125A. Last summer while running out on the river, the timing belt broke. After being towed back to the ramp, I replaced the belt with a new belt and re-synched the timing pulleys. The engine ran fine. When starting the engine up for the first time this spring, it would not start or even kick at all, except for the occasional backfire through the carb. We noticed that somehow the timing belt had slipped and threw things out of sync. So, while taking things off to re-sync the timing pulleys, we noticed that the raw water pump was quite difficult to turn by hand. After re-syncing everything, the engine started right up. It was running a bit rough, but not bad. After adjusting the ignition timing a bit, it ran a little bit better, but still a bit sluggish. Upon further inspection, we relaized that the timing belt had slipped a few teeth again! My question is what could be causing this? Is it a bad belt or bad pulleys? Or is that raw water pump too tight and is causing the belt to slip? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Mike

The water pump is usually turned by the fan belt and since it is hard to turn my guess is that it is causing the fan belt to stop faster, there-fore causing the drive shaft that turns the fan belt to stop faster and in some cases before the timing pully stops which would cause a belt to slip and possibly break. This would especially be a problem if it "diesals" after you stop the engine. Since the engine is 16 years old I would go ahead and replace the water pump and also inspect the cam shaft while the belt is off to make sure everything is turning properly. Good luck and have a great summer boating! -Mark


From: Bill Kay
Subject: Gimble Bearing
Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 10:05:49 -0400

Mark, I was searching the web and stumbled on a boating Tips web site. I was very impressed with some of your comments. Could you please answer a question for me. I have a used 1988 18' ft Searay/Bowrider with 140 HP/ I/O Mercruiser 3.0L Engine. Upon having the boat prepped for the season I was told the gimble bearing sounds funny or that like it needs some looking at. Can you briefly tell me what that is. Is it critical? Can I just let it go? Is is something that I should address immediately? Can it lead to additional trouble. Most importantly, your valued opinion as to the expect cost/average cost, I would incur for repair or replacement? THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOU HELP. I'm most grateful.
Bill Kay

You definitely want it checked, and if there is nothing wrong at least you will have the outdrive off and that's a good time to have it lubricated. They should be lubricated as frequent as once a year (by some manufacturers) some boaters I talk with have never had them lubricated. It is basically a the bearing at or near the joint where the engine and the outdrive connect. If you hear a grinding noise it is probably going to need to be replaced. To have it lubricated or replaced your mechanic will (in nearly all cases) pull the outdrive and this is where the labor fees can get expensive. It requires draining the outdrive oil, disconnecting the tilt and trim system, pulling the nuts and sliding the outdrive off. At this point the bearing is easier (and at least possible) to access and replace or repack as necessary. A boat your age should at least have it checked. Regular checks are recommended after 200 hours of use based on Mercruiser specs for many engines (at last notification). Have a great summer boating! -Mark

From: "Shane Bingham"
Subject: age requirement Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 07:47:09 -0500 Is there a minimum age limit for a child on a recreational boat?

I am not aware of any minimum age limits in any state. You may want to call your state's Division of Watercraft. Most states just require a life jacket for the size of the child by weight. Otherwise its a matter of judgment from the parents regarding the conditions, type of boat, and of course the type of sun block the child should be wearing when it comes to allowing an small child out on a boat. From personal experience I recommend that the child should at least be able to talk to understand what's it going on. -Mark

Subject: service an mercrusier out drive
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 20:22:02 -0600
From: Brad Anderson

I was wondering how you service and lube a mercrusier outdrive. I need to know the lube weight, etc. . . areas of grease fittings are located, and other items that I should beaware of. Thanks for you help in advance. Brad

I highly recommend Quicksilver products, the out drive needs high performance gear lube, its also has grease fittings on each side of the out drive that are easy to find, 2-4-C from Quicksilver fills the bill nicely and Special Lube 101 from Quick Silver is also great for all the steering and throttle linkages. You may want to check our store at for a manual on your boat. We now carry manuals for a wide variety of manufactures and the information they contain will be more specific on maintenance specs for your particular model year of drive. Have a safe and great 2000 boating! -Mark



Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 14:24:36 -0400

Hi Mark. Great website. I have learned a lot just by reading all of the e-mails. I have just purchased my first powerboat 1989 Sun Runner 220 CV. It has a Volvo Penta 205 HP 4.3 liter engine and a DuoProp outdrive. There is no hour meter on it and I believe that I have the original set of props.

1. The previous owner told me that the boat will go 43-45 MPH. I get an indicated top speed is 37 MPH@4800 RPM. At 3500 RPM I get about 25 MPH. Is that normal for this engine/hp setup? I would like to use this boat for skiing and cruising. How can I increase the top speed or check if the speedometer is accurate? Should I go to a different set of props? If so do you know where I can find them? What type of prop do you suggest (material

2. Do you have any recommendations on what material I can use to sound-insulate my engine? What do you think about the Peace&Quiet noise reduction kit (West Marine)?

3. Since I am not used to the steering system on the boat I don't know what to expect. It appears to have a lot of play in it comparing to an automobile. I have adjusted the linkage for play and the only play I see is on the bolts that connect the linkage to the outdrive. Am I expecting too much. Right now the play is about 1/8 turn. Thanks for your help. Marcin

First of all a new prop is a must for more speed. It sounds like your pitch is good for towing and hole shot, but for speed you may want to look for a 21" or 23" prop. My guess is you have a 15" or 17". I would try to keep the engine less than 5000 rpm as well. With a larger pitch prop you will have less hole shot but more speed. At 4500 RPM you should be around 40 +. Of course weight is a big factor as to what your top speed will be. Weight is more of a concern with 21" or 23" props then a 15" or 17" prop.

Second, there are sound kits available through various suppliers. Expect to pay around $ 100.

Third, a little play is normal, but 1/8 is a little too much. Check all cable support fasteners. Too much play where the cable is mounted to the boat should be fixed. It is best to speak with your local marine technician about the proper cable adjustments. Too much cable tension can be dangerous as well. If worse comes to worse you may need a new steering kit. Have a safe and great 2000 boating! -Mark

Subject: Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 17:09:38 -0400
From: "Charles Chinn"

mark i have a 3.0 merc- 4 cyl. inboard -out board. it heats up at idle but cools down at runing speed. the boat dealer down the street said it could be the inpeller or the water pump. would it have both? and where? charlie, southern ohio, taking it easy at myrtle beach.

It sounds like the Impellar, but it could be both. The water pump would usually have a squeal and be loose or leaking. If it is not then I would change the impellar, if that doesn't solve it then it would probably be time to replace the pump as well. A few other things to check would be to drain the manifold, make sure all the deposits that build up are cleared out, there are two plugs to drain. If water doesn't run freely out then take a piece of wire such as the end of a coat hanger and carefully push through the build up to free the water. Also pull the hoses off and inspect them, they should be free of any debris other than the support spring. Plus replace the thermostat. Remember on most 3.0 Merc engines you are cooling with lake water so there is probably just build up. Its also a good idea to use a muzzle bag if you leave it in the water. Muzzles can also clog up the cooling system inside an engine. -Mark


Subject: SUNRISE BOAT, there I've said it. Now maybe if someone else searchs the internet they will find at
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 21:23:58 -0500
From: "Robert St-Amour"

SUNRISE BOAT, there I've said it. Now maybe if someone else searchs the internet they will find at least one place that talks about it. Hi Mark Just happen to fall on your site and I have to tell you, it's very interesting. Learned alot, even as to why the driver in a boat is on the right side (simple but you had to think of it). Now can you tell me why nobody on this planet as never heard of a Sunrise boat. I bought this 1993 Sunrise MVB1800 boat with a 3.0L GM engine. Searched the internet for days to no avail. I'd like to know if it's considered a great, good or bad boat. Specs would be appreciated, like the weight, gas tank capacity, prop size recommended, horse power, if the '93 cobra sterndrive where still a problem, maximum speed etc etc etc. You probably noticed, I'm a perfectionist and have to know everything about everything. Hey can't be perfect. Took the boat out on the lake once before putting it away (it's was wonderfull but now winter sure is long). Maybe someone out there in this univers has or knows this boat. Anything would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Thank you Mark for your time and all the readers out there who decides to answer me. stamor@cepeo.on

I haven't heard of sunrise boats either. I think I have seen a sunfish sailboat 25 years ago, but as far as the specs go it probably weighs in at 1700 lbs give or take a few hundred. The GM engine is probably around 110 to 130 hp and will cruise around 36 with a light load on a 19" prop around 4400 rpm unless the gearing is radically different. If it ran well last fall then the only thing is to contact your local dealer for a basic maintenance manual (if you are the do it yourselfer when it comes to season maintenances) on the Cobra drive and nearly all marine dealers should have a good knowledge on this engine and I haven't seen any that don't carry basic parts for it. I have you posted on the "Tips and Parts" page and perhaps someone will respond regarding the manufacture with more information. Have a great 2000 boating!


-Mark star10764 wrote: Hello Mark, spent some time looking through all your e-mail, some good suggestions made!! We are buying a boat, its a 174 Larson sei series, 3.0 mercruiser, We are just about to close the deal on this 1994, I am a little worried, because they say it would be to much work for them to take it to the water for a test run, they say they will let us hear the boat in the shop, is this ok? They say boat runs like a clock!!!! Also I was wondering what size prop would we use for this boat? thanks for any info Joyce

The only way I would buy a used boat is by test running it. Also find a another mechanic for a professional opinion. On the water you would want to test it on the waves. If it rattles too much you may have very serious problems. If it is tight on the waves, seems to hold together, and runs at least 32 MPH on a 17" prop, you should be OK. You can go up to a 19" but have slower take off speed -known as "hole shot" and I have a 21" on the same engine, but I don't tow much. If you plan on skiing or towing, settle for the 17". Also while test running it make sure it doesn't hesitate or have any excessive water showing up in the bilge. If its too much work for them to take it out for a test run then they may be trying to hide something. Offer to test run it yourself if you have too, but with that attitude they are either not interested in selling or they are hiding something. Its not just a good motor that makes a mechanicly sound boat. I would however be more comfortable buying a new boat without running it, which I have before, because its under warranty and I was and still am familliar with the different brands. If they still refuse either go somewhere else, call the previous owner, and make a offer a thousand less than they are asking to put towards a possible repair. A good marine sales person will go with you out to the lake on any boat in the lot if they are interested in making a sale, it builds your confidence in the product and they don't get as low an offer to deal with or reject. Good luck and let us know what happens! -Mark


Subject: Starcraft Boats
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 08:28:24 -0800
From: "RMCI"
To : Greetings Mark, Your web site is truly great! I've been able to make much use of information published here! I'm hoping you or someone else might be able to assist me in my quest to identify my Starcraft Boat. I've definitely have a starcraft manufactured boat, the gunwale caps are aluminum and have starcraft stamping. The boat itself is made from galvanized steel and had wood gunwales. I'm in the process of restoring the boat and am searching for good quality ash to use for the gunwales and seat tops. The boat measures 14' and it's last owner (my grandfather) thinks it was built in 1954 or 1955. The steel is in great shape. I've already restored the exterior and primed it. I would also like to know what type of paint you recommend to finish the boats exterior. I appreciate you time and assistance. Happy boating!! Sincerely, Pat Collins

I have heard great things about Sterling. There are also Pettit, Awlgrip Interlux and Z Spar. Z Spar is more for the budget minded, where sterling is the best I could find and seems to offer the best gloss of all I have looked at. The last time I checked it was around $199 a gallon (as opposed to $30 a gallon or so for Z Spar). This is for the Marine Enamel used above the water line. Below the water line there are a variety of types of paints you can use, such as for Tropical 18-24 months Pettit has a superior product. You have to consider how much you are trailering etc. before you decide on an anti fowling paint. There are Four general kinds. Modified Epoxy, which is compatible if its going over older paints. Vinyl Paints are more for resisting bottom scrubbing but are not compatible with most prepainted surfaces. Copolymer Ablative Paints which is best for trailering and works well when exposed to air and is easy to recoat, works well as long as the paint is over the surface. It dries a little slower and is a little more expensive because of the requirement of extra coats, but works the best for trailering. It is not good for scrubbing so you would want to wipe the surface down with a soft cloth. There is finally the Thin Film Teflon Paints. This is mostly for boats left in the water, its thinner and lowers resistance. It also dries quickly. In your situation I would probably bottom paint with Copolymer Ablative Paints. There are Single Season and Multi-Season Ablative paints. If you are in over the summer, the single is OK and you would shell out around $90. Multi Season for year round use is the best, Interlux, West Marine, Pettit and Awlgrip are all good, and run between $110 and $200 a gallon and recommend 3-4 coats for best durability. Also be sure to compare the type of paint you buy with your local environmental laws. Awlstar is the most expensive but dries in 3-4 hours per coat and has a more environmentally friendly CuOx content. Hope this helps and I would recommend painting as soon as possible if you would like to be in the water in the Spring (noting some paints take up to 60 days to dry). Have a great 2000 boating! -Mark



Subject: Alum Creek Res. Date:
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 21:40:45 EST

Hi Mark, It has been awhile since I have visited your website. Boating season is over and like most boaters my boat is in storage for the winter and I can't wait until next year. If there will be a boating season next year, at Alum Creek Res, north of Columbus Ohio. The lake is so low that I wonder if they can fill it before next year? I live across the street from the reservoir and I have never seen it this low since I have moved to Columbus a couple of years ago. Islands have formed in strange places. I'll bet the Lake is at least 20" low. I sure hope we get a lot of rain before next year. Have you or anyone heard what is going on there. Are they still pumping millions of gallons a day into Hoover Res? Oh well there are several months left before boating begins again so I think I will just DDDRREEEAAAMMM, some more. Mike

Its was low like that in 1988 during the drought that year. This year it was up at least through Labor Day weekend, in 1988 it was down in June. I boated on that lake three weeks ago from the New Galena Ramps, it was quite a walk from what was the temporary tie ups. Keep in mind it would take several heavy two inch downpours or a real snowy winter to get the reservoir back up for next year. Lets hope for a lot of rain or snow! It is also interesting to boat on now (with this unusual late season warm weather several are still out running the lake). I felt a little like I was at Lake Powell! -Mark


Subject: new boater
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 23:21:24 EDT
Mark, Just spent the last two hours in my hotel room looking at your emails
and responses, thanks for the site, great info.  I just purchased a 1990
regal 170 valanti (17ft) with a mercruiser 3.0 alpha one. the boat is in
great condition and I finally got it out last week, after waiting for an
early fall cold snap to break.  The boat planned out great but speed only
reached tops at 30mph on a cool dry day.  The old owner put a smaller prop on
the boat because the factory one wasn't good out of the hole but would reach
in the 40's.  I live in Fort Collins Co. around 4500 above sea level, what
kind of performance drop should I expect?  also since I got a boat without
something to pull it (plan to moor in the summer for now) would a toyota
truck probably a four cylinder pull the boat a short distance?  Horsetooth
resevoir is 10 minutes away but all up hill.  Keep up the great work for
Bill Marsh

At 4500 feet you will loose some performance and 30 miles per hour is repectable. You may want to try a higher pitch prop, but at the high altitude the performance will drop, and with a light load you may make 36 or 37.  Its a matter of experimenting.
As for the Toyota you will have to stay in low gear up and down those grades.  Be sure to have a little extra weight on the truck for traction on those ramps.  If possible tow with a near empty tank on the boat and fill it before your outting at the lake. A 17 foot is usually pretty safe for towing with a 4 cylinder (over short distances).  However in the higher altitudes its much better to have at least a 6 but ideally an 8 cylinder.  Have  a great fall season boating! -Mark

Subject: Volvo Outdrives
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 16:08:10 -0500
From: "couch, jeff" <>
To: "''" <>
I have just read the lengthy letter from dated March
1999. In the letter he states that Mercrusier outdrives are superior to Volvo.
Should one want an honest answer to that debate, may I recommend the
1. Obtain one each Volvo and Alpha one outdrives.
2. Spread a clean sheet of paper on a bench.
3. Disassemble each unit.
4. Compare the sizes of the bearings, gears, shafts, etc.
One will be immediately convinced that the Volvo is superior.  I have seen
soooo many Alphas pile up when subjected to any abuse.  A Volvo 280 has no
trouble handling 400-500 horsepower, the shifting action is far smoother,
and they are very simple to remove, install and service.

Thanks for the analyses on Volvo Drives.  I here the debate quite often and am glad to see someone concerned posting information about the drive. I have to admit that I have seen many beat up Alpha drives especially after giving them too much horsepower especially on Baja Boats. However if all boaters follow the recommend horsepower limits to all brands of drives they will not have much trouble with any drive. Its also important to keep up on all the annual maintenance on all drives to get the maximum capable performance.  -Mark

Tom Mitchell wrote:

I have spent several pleasant hours today reading through your web site.
Your advice is excellent and the range of subjects covered is pretty
comprehensive for power/trailer boating.  Been a boat nut since the age of 6
(40 yrs ago) so finding your site was a nice surprise.

There are a few boating items I would like to endorse.  Recently we were
posted to Kuwait for five years.  Four of these years we had a 1991 20'
Bayliner Capri bowrider with a 150 hp Force outboard engine.  We ran the
boat winter and summer in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf using it to ski, fish,
island-hop and as a platform for scuba diving.  The boat handled relatively
heavy seas (when the weather kicked up unexpectedly) and the very salty
water over there with only a touch of rust from 1 screw in the bow rail.  I
was surprised to hear that Bayliners and Force engines were possibly having
quality control problems around '91.  Our experience was all positive.

Back home in Memphis, TN we have purchased a used 1997 Four Winns Horizon
220 bowrider.  We have only run the boat for a few weeks, but enjoy the
extra room, heavier hull, good sterndrive (5.7 EFI Volvo SX outdrive) and
general quality feel of the boat.  We went camping/boating for a week at
Kentucky Lake and had an excellent time.  We have also taken it for day
trips on the Mississippi River, Picwic Lake (Tenn. River) and Sardis Lake.
We hope to visit some Ozark lakes in Arkansas later this month/early Aug.

The surprise has been the good towing performance of our 1995 2-WD Jeep
Cherokee Sport.  We thought that we might need a larger V-8 powered vehicle
to tow this 4400 lb boat/trailer combination.  The Jeep's towing limit is
stated as 5,000 lbs in the manual.  With its 4 litre 6-cylinder in-line
engine (190 hp) we added: an auto-transmission cooler, rear air
load-leveller shocks, synthetic gear oil in the diff. and good Michelin
tires.  We also attach extended rear view mirrors when towing the boat.  It
towed our boat w/camping gear and mountain bikes like a dream the 150+ miles
to Kentucky Lake.  The Jeep can haul the 4-Winns up a steep ramp without a
problem.  If the ramp is wet or has loose gravel I hold the parking brake
partially on to get good traction from both of my rear wheels (as I read in
"Go Boating" magazine).  My only problem has been some sliding when backing
down a steep ramp.  I have to be very slow and careful when reversing down
any steep or slippery ramp, (in Kuwait we drove a 4-WD diesel Toyota
Landcruiser and never had any slipping going up or down the ramps!).

We would like to do most/all of the boat's engine maintenance ourselves (2
sons and myself). I have 2 questions concerning maintenance of the engine
and sterndrive.  The manual says that the sterndrive needs to be removed
from the boat each year to grease the universal joints of the drive shaft.
Can we try to do this at home or should we take it to a boat shop's
mechanic?  The manual also says that with this fuel injected engine to mix
several gallons of gas with the right quantity of oil in a outboard fuel
tank to run through the engine at the end of the season.  To do this one has
to remove the normal fuel line and attach the auxiliary tank's line (not
very desirable to me).  Is this necessary with a fuel injected engine, or
can we pour or spray fogging oil into the air intake as you describe with
regular carbarated engines?


Tom Mitchell

Since the boat is only two years old (and with that the technology has been updated), I would recommend to go by the book. Fuel injected engines do require a different type of winterization. I would recommend a shop manual if you are the do it yourselfer. It is not that difficult to briefly change fuel lines and pump the oil mix through the engine. As for removing the drive unit, you will need two strong individuals  to do the lifting or in this case your sons! Again for the procedure I would refer to the shop manual.  The bearing that should be inspected annually, (especially in salt water climates) is the gimble bearing. On the other hand some boaters only remove the drive once every five to six years and get by OK (especially if the boat is seldom used). Some manuals recommend the bearings checked every 100 - 200 hours of use rather than annually. The best option is two have a mechanic do it this winter  and ask if you and your sons can watch, (some don't mind while others do), plus obtain the shop manual for your own job next year. Once you have gained the experience you will feel more comfortable doing it the following years. By the way as far as trailering and backing on steep ramps, put as much weight as possible in your jeep. The traction is the key, if you are still slipping, increase the trailer tires to the maximum allowed pressure (only if you are slipping on retrieval) , and decrease the vehicle air pressure to the tires about 5 - 10 pounds. This will help for trailering and unloading. Return the pressure to normal once you are ready for towing after retreiving.  Have a great summer boating!  -Mark

Subject: Re: House Boat at Lake Cumberland
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 19:25:13 -0400
From: wrote:
Any suggestions on where to rent a house boat on lake cumberland?
Im planning a trip there soon. Wanted to check rates.
Great web sight, any ideas when the kids and boating article will
be ready?
Lee back

  You can rent for around 1000-1500 for four nights. .  We did a feature
artical a few years ago about houseboating at Lake Cumberland. You can
see it at,
and rental info on our Kentucky page at

Have a great summer boating!

Subject: Your Web Site
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:35:33 EST
Found this web site to be fun and informative. Just bought our first boat
(1999 20' IO Bayliner w/4cyl, bowrider)..and found out some interesting
lessons in the "shopping" game of buying boats. First, let me ask...have not
seen any new entries in your email except one dated Mar 1, 1999..yet nothing
else all year?..anyway...Here's my "first time boat purchaser" story.
When we decided we were going to purchase a boat, our first intentions were a
used boat..since we were in the $5 to $6K range. We wanted to pay cash, and
not finance. I bought a "Boat Trader" magazine and started the hunt. We knew
we wanted an open bow, IO style boat..and something that would hold 8 people
comfortably (as well as legally) since we have 3 kids. All of our friends have
speed boats..but they only hold 4 or 5 people, they're loud, they're windy,
and there's no where to put an ice chest. Plus, I'm not very mechanically
inclined, and I know everyone who owns a speed boat with automotive engines
are always having to wrench on them...thats not for me. So, we head to a
used/new boat dealer in our area. We pulled up and were given a price list. We
liked this, since I don't like salesman following us around anyway. The boat
that was pictured that originally took us in this dealers direction was a
wreck. Needed interior work, outside paint..looked plain ugly..for $4,000! So,
we kept looking. I then talked to a salesman, wanting to pick his brain about
boats..prices of parts, expense, how do we know how many hours are on the boat
if there's no meter, whats the plaque in the boat that the legal limit
of how many people can ride in boat..and if so, how come that 20' boat says 10
people, and that 20' boat says 6 people? are the answers I received, and
again, I had'nt read a magazine, a book, been in the net or anything.
         "Engines...well theres Volvo and theres Mercruiser. They're both GM
blocks..and if you had a problem, you could buy an engine for about $1200. The
only difference is the head gaskets..copper instead of regular".  "I've been
selling boats for
30 years I know my stuff"....(this was what the person told me). The
correct answers are: Engines vary from about $4000 upwards to $12000,
depending on size, and this doesn't include the out drive portion of the
engine, which is another $2000 to $6000. My 4 cylinder Mercruiser with Alpha 1
out drive is $6200 to replace. Marine engines are high performance parts..from
valves, cranks, pistons, rings and Marine sealed starter, alternators
exhaust...all that. They are higher performance, stronger
engines than automobiles..simply because they are designed to run at much
rpms than a car, because most boats don't have transmissions.
         The answer I was given about the amount of people was: "Thats just a
they have to put on the boat for coast guard purposes, but you can put more".
boats just put a larger number than others, and charge more for their
real answer: The yellow plaque is mandated by coast guard on all boats under
26' (I believe) and is 2 things. The boat can stay afloat for 72 hours with
the posted amount
of weight or persons after being will still float. It is also
the maximum amount of people you can put in the boat..period. Same size boats
are rated differently, because some are built better...therefore tests show
they can withstand more weight/bodies for the 72 hours submerged test than
other boats. This is important...because it can help determine the quality of
a manufacturor.
         Why no meter?...salesman said its not required..but really doesn't
mean much. Well, its true, its not required..but it is better to find a used
boat that does have a meter on it. You can also tell by the carpet wear and
tear....its a help, but not scientific.
         When we accidently priced some new boats (while next door looking at
used boats at another lot)..we decided it was worth it to buy new. Some rumors
of brands and engines I heard at the boat show...Bayliner is a lower end built
boat..and was built poorly prior to 95. They used Volvo/Penta systems..which
arent as good as Mercruiser (well this might be true..since Mercruiser run
about 8% higher in price). The older (pre 95) Bayliners hold 5 or 6 people (19
to 20") which was true. The outside jell coats were cheap and fade...again,
true..look at any 5 year or older Bayliner. Well...I am happy to say, that
with alot of research and asking questions of the "competition"...they all
seem to say some good, and obvious things about this brand of boat. Bayliner
moved to the better engine system, they've fixed the gell coat problem, and
they are better built, because now my 20' tested to hold 9 people, as rated on
the yellow plaque.
         Things I did'nt like about buying this boat...after I paid? There is
no where to store the bimini top, and the bars do not fold. The trailer came
with no spare. The kits I purchased from the dealer (coast guard kit, anchor
kit, bumper kit) cost less to buy the items from the dealer individually, than
as a kit, and about 50% cheaper to buy them at a Walmart, Kmart, or any
sporting goods store.
         So, if your thinking of buying a alot, ask alot of
questions, and make them take you for a test drive. Oh, by the way..the brand
new boat, with trailer and tax..was just over $12k...we think this was a
steal..we'll let you know in 5 years!

Thanks for your input. I have always purchased my boats new, this way you know where they have been and how they are being cared for. The prices you quoted on the engines are reflecting brand new prices, keep in mind if you have a failure in a used engine the best thing to do is resort to rebuilding the engine or purchase a rebuilt engine and or outdrive (which ever needs to be replaced).  Otherwise its makes more sense to just buy a new boat. The warranty is always a plus too. -Mark

Parts Needed

Where can I find parts for my 1957 Elgin boat motor, 35hp ? I bought it from Sears Roebuck back then and have found some parts from other engines that work but now I need to know if there are any dealers with these parts. Johnnie Fossum, ND

That could be tough to find, I have this posted for you and perhaps a dealer will send you more information. -Mark

Looking for a 2000 year, 2700 Maxum. David Phone: (352) 683-2659 Fax: (352) 683-8116, E-Mail:

Subject: omc electric stern drive
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 18:20:37 -0500
From: "E. Wells"

I am looking for a casing for an OMC electric stern drice (1969). Would take complete unit also. Can anyone help? Thanks Eric


Subject: Too Hot in the Carolinas
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 15:00:41 EST
To: Hey Mark, This is my first visit, and I've just spend three hours on the site. Congratulations on a most helpful and informative forum. Last year I bought a new Chaparral Signature 240. It's a great little cruiser for weekends on Lake Norman but hot July and August nights are just too hot in the cabin. Two additional deep cycle marine batteries power cabin fans but with the cabin door, hatch and all ports wide open it's still like sleeping in a sauna. Several companies manufacture small 5000 BTU AC units and an available hatch drop in model looks good. Each draws about 18 amps at start and 6 amps running. We don't like having to be tethered to the dock so an inverter or small genset seems to be in order but inverters don't seem to have enough juice to power a small AC for more than an hour and gensets cost thousands and are complicated to install. Your advice on cooling would be of interest to a huge group of owners of 20' cuddy to 28' cruiser owners and judging by the number of new cruiser buyers, I'd bet cooling this class of boat would make for a great feature article. I know about 100 of my docking neighbors who'd be really interested. I'll post your response on the marina bulletin board and in the news letter. Your advise and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Chris Young Charlotte, NC

Lets Talk Air Conditioners. I am all to familiar with the hot humid days north of Charlotte (while fishing off I-77 on Norman). I probably perspired more there in one day than lying on the sand down in Myrtle Beach four hours away (on all my visits combined). There actually are some good options for air conditioning for the cuddies under 28 and even more options for those over. After comparing prices I have found that West Marine offers several units, some also can generate heat for less than $ 2000. There are also a few make shift ideas I want to elaborate on. I checked out one model (Cool Mate 5000) that draws 5 amps at 115 volts (which is just under 600 watts) for around $ 1200 and is ideal for cuddies up to and on a 25 foot boat. The complete kit can run on an inverter and weighs around 40 pounds and includes everything you need including a little duck work. Again the problem with any unit is the need for power, so an inverter may give you an hour or two, or keep the engine running. It does take some assembly which would require careful study of the instruction book and some knowledge of how to hook it to an inverter. Another option is to hook it to an on board generator or shore power. Once installed it would be a permanent fixture, unless you are into using a screw driver frequently! For really hot areas and larger craft you can purchase up to 16,000 BTU for just under $ 2000. Keep in mind a 5000 BTU is enough to break the humidity and keep it down about 10 to 15 degrees below the outside temperature on craft 25' and under. Larger craft shouldn't need much more than 9000 BTU unless you hang out on Lake Bartlett just outside of Care Free near Phoenix (where you can actually sweat on a jet ski there).
   There are also new lines of "carry on" A/Cs I want to elaborate on. Most are under $ 1000 (as low as $ 699). They look a little like a "make shift" air conditioner which are removable one unit even sets on top of the hatch. They are not an under way A/C by any means, the hatch unit would probably pop off after hitting a hard wake, but they are great for sitting at the marina and requires only an extension cord and maybe a hatch cover. Komfort Industries has just come out with a carry on that looks like a brief case. You simply run the water hoses (which several A/C units use to cool the condenser using water in place of air) over the side and you are set for comfortable cooling. The latter is also a great unit for anchoring or at the dock and can run on a small generator using only 650 watts and giving 6,500 BTU. Don't forget there is also the $ 11.99 fan if you are on a tight budget!

The only other option besides inverting and or generating power for these units is to buy a portable generator and set it on the shore (in a primitive area) and run a cord to your boat. You may be able to sell power to other boats as well! I have seen this done on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. Also if you are flexible enough, plan your outings on cooler days watching the weather forcasts, etc. Thats about all that I have found for safe marine based A/C units. It looks like the B.O.A.T. law strikes again (Break Out Another Thousand!). Let me know what you decide. After comparing items West Marine seems to have the best prices, but then again I have to give them a plug for listing our site on theirs (at least the last time I checked) and they do cook up some good shrimp when they demo those new boat side burners.





Subject: Re: Glastron part
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1999 23:15:45 -0400
From: wrote:
I have a 79 Glastron tri hull with an Evenrude 85 hp  outboard.  This is my
first boat.  I picked it up for a song and enjoyed taking it out in the NYC
area to chase the striped bass last season. The boat is about 17 feet and has
a walk through windshield and open bow.  I am missing the center section of
the windshield and would be forever grateful if someone could give me a tip
on tracking down a replacement.  Thanks in advance.  Joe

You can reach Glastron's dealer locater online at they should be able to locate the part for
you.  -Mark

Subject: Plexiglass Windshield
Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 13:00:51 -0400
From: James Melwing <>
To: "''" <>
I am in the process of restoring a late 60's or early 70's Starcraft aluminum runabout.  The 15.5' boat is in great shape except for the old curved styled windshield.  Are you aware of anyone who has replacement windshields for this type of boat.
Jim M.

I checked with my resources and couldn't find anything on this line, I have you posted in the parts section! -Mark


Subject: How do you know the correct propeller for your boat?
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 04:33:23 +0000
Dear Sir
I thought I knew alot about boats until it came to a propeller. I few months ago I moved from the Texas Coastal Bend Area (South Texas) to the other end of the state of Texas. I now live in far West Texas. I have a 16' - 2" Wrangler Skeeter Bass Boat with a 150 HP Evinrude motor. In South Texas I could run the boat at 65 - 70 MPH at 5500 RPM with a 14.5 X 24 propeller. I went to a lake in New Mexico and could not go over 53 MPH or turn over 4200 RPM. I think this could have hurt my engine in the long run. I purchased a 14.5 X 19 propeller for the new alttitude which made the boat run at 55 - 57 MPH at 5100 RPM. I can't seem to find any two so called experts that say the same thing. I have three questions:
1. Are the RPM's correct for the alttitude (4000 feet above sea level)?
2. Did I buy the correct propeller for the boat/motor combination?
3. What is the formula or rule of thumb for the correct propeller?
4. Am I hurting the motor in any way using the 14.5 X 19 propeller?
Please contact me a SKIP24U @ AOL.COM Thankyou for your time

The important thing is that you don't redline your engine. Check with your Evinrude dealer for high altitude prop suggestions. A smaller propellor will decrease stress on the engine, but at lower altitudes it will send you straight to redline on full throttle. RPMs for that altitude are normal based on suggestions from other boaters. Some have found ways of adjusting the carburetor for improved performance. Some fuel injected models automatically adjust for high altitude. I have heard of three different improvements for high altitude boating. One is adjust the carburetor for a leaner fuel mix, or you will burn rich (again check with your Evinrude dealer), prop switching (only after adjusting the carburetor), and on some brands, different octane of fuel. At higher altitudes you may actually find that lowering the octane will help, (thinner air causes different combustion). As far as the rule of thumb goes, read below, it varies with manufacturers, however if an Evinrude technician happens to read this please e-mail us!. There are charts available for some manufacturers. I will do some more digging this week and hopefully get all of them and post them as made available. Here is a list of Propellor terms I borrowed from a technician. These are what the the men and woman of the marine engine and blade repair world live by.

1. LEADING EDGE - The edge of the propeller nearest to the boat cuts through the water first, starting at the hub it extends to the blade tip.

2. BLADE TIP - This is the farthest point that a propeller extends from the center of the hub to the outer radius of the blade.

3. TRAILING EDGE - The edge of the propeller farthest away from the boat where the water leaves the blade.

4. CUP - The cup on a propeller is designed to help lock the propeller in the water to reduce slippage and prevent cavitation. The cupped area is located on the trailing edge of the blade starting approximately 1" from the hub extending out to the blade tip.

5. PUSHING FACE - This is the face of the propeller blade away from the boat. More commonly called the PITCH FACE which faces the pitch block when repairing.

6. NEGATIVE FACE - This is the face of the propeller blade toward the boat.

7. BLADE ROOT - The thickest area of a propeller where the blade and the hub are joint together.

8. HUB - The center of the propeller that fits over the propeller shaft.

9. OVER HUB EXHAUST - Exhaust gasses flow over the hub and blades.

10. THRU HUB EXHAUST - Exhaust gasses flow through a barrel of outer hub to prevent exhaust gasses from flowing over the blades of the propeller.

11. RUBBER HUB - inner hub bushing made of hard rubber, molded to a splined spindle to protect the drive train when shifting.

12. ACR/DIFFUSER RING - The flared ring used on through hub exhaust propellers. The ACR/Diffuser ring prevents the exhaust gasses from backing up on the blades which produces cavitation on take-off.

13. CAVITATION - The introduction of air on the propeller blades resulting from running a damaged propeller, or from sucking air from the surface of the water. A cavitating propeller is actually slipping and produces very little thrust.

14. PITCH - The theoretical travel of a propeller through a mass per revolution. EX: a 19" pitch propeller moves approximately 19" per revolution.

15. STRAIGHT PITCH - The pitch is constant or the same from leading edge to the trailing edge of the propeller.

16 PROGRESSIVE PITCH - The pitch increases from the leading edge to the trailing edge. EX: Leading edge measures 17", trailing edge measures 17" pitch - this is a 3" regressive pitch.

17. VARIABLE PITCH - The pitch increases from the leading edge to the trailing edge, and from the hub to the outer tip.

19. RAKE - The angle of the propeller blade in correspondence with the propeller shaft.

20. FORWARD RAKE - Blades are angled toward the boat. Commonly used for inboard propellers and small outboard propellers.

21. AFT RAKE - Blades are angled b back or away from the boat. This type of rake is used to help lift the stern of the boat on take-off, and on top end will help to lift the bow up - improving performance.

22. PARABOLIC RAKE - The off center development of a propeller blade used to make the rake concave or convex.

23. DIAMETER - The overall width of a propeller.

24. RIGHT HAND ROTATION - The propeller turns clockwise on the shaft.

25. LEFT HAND ROTATION - The propeller turns counter-clockwise on the shaft.

The pitch on most propellers can be changed to obtain better performance if necessary. Aluminum propellers can be changed two (2") inches up or down in pitch. Bronze propellers can be changed two (2") inches up or down in pitch. Stainless Steel can be changed one (1") inch up or down. We do not recommend changing the pitch any more than one (1") inch.

When changing pitch you need to know how the propeller performs before you change it. By lowering the pitch one (1") inch the motor will gain 200 RPM. By increasing the pitch the motor will lose 200 RPM. Do not attempt changing the pitch of a propeller in towards the hub. The metal in this area usually will not bend. It is only necessary to change 1/3 to 1/2 of the propeller blade to the new pitch.

  • 1" Pitch = 200 RPM
  • Lower pitch to gain RPM
  • Increase pitch to lose RPM
  • Single cup = 200 RPM
  • Double cup = 300 RPM
  • 1/4" Diameter = 200 RIM
  • Decrease diameter - gain RPM
  • Increase diameter - lose RPM

  • A Progressive pitch on a propeller makes it more versatile and helps the motor adapt to different loads. A progressive pitched propeller accelerates better than most straight pitch propellers and also develops very good top end.

    Most propellers can be changed from straight pitch to progressive pitch. For better take off - lower the pitch over the leading edge. For better top end - increase the pitch over the trailing edge. See example below.

    To figure out which pitch will be the most effective on a given boat, follow this formula.

  • 1.Gauge the existing propeller and determine what pitch it is.
  • 2.Find out what RPM the prop turns.
  • 3.Find out what the motors recommended RPM range is.

  • Example

  • 1.Motor - Mercruiser 120 HP @ 4400 - 4800 RPM
  • 2.Motor has 1:68 to 1 Gear Ratio
  • 3.Prop has true 17" pitch
  • 4.Motor currently runs 4600 RPM


    Here goes the calculator.

  • Pitch in Feet 17" pitch / 12" per foot = 1.42
  • x RPM at prop = 2738
  • = Speed in feet per minute = 3888
  • x 60 (60 minutes per hour) x 60 233280
  • / 5280 feet (number of feet per mile) / 5280
  • = Theoretical Speed = 44.18 MPH
  • x .82 (average slip = 18%) x .82
  • = Probable Speed = 36.22 MPH


    Here are a list of Typical Rakes

  • 10 degree Forward Rake - Weedless design used on outboard motors by various manufacturers.
  • 2 - 4 degree Forward Rake - Wide blade design used on outboards, I/O's and inboards by various manufacturers.
  • 0 degree Rake - Used on outboard, I/O's and inboards by all manufacturers.
  • 5/6 degree Rake - Used on Pontoons and Houseboats. I/O's outboards and inboard props.
  • 8 degree Aft Rake - Used on outboards and I/O's by various manufacturers.
  • 10/11 degree Aft Rake - Used on outboards and I/O's by various manufacturers.
  • 15/16 degree Aft Rake - Used on outboards and I/O's by various manufacturers.
  • 19/20 degree Aft Rake - Used on outboards and I/O's by various manufacturers.
  • 23 degree Aft Rake - Used by OMC on 70 - 140 HP motors and older style outboards and I/O's.
  • Parabolic Rake - Various rakes - 3 degree Forward through 35 degree Aft. Used for performance propellers by various manufacturers.


    Again check with your manufacturer for exact recommendations before changing your prop in order to satisfy the performance recommendations. -Mark

    -- -- 

    Copyright ©: Mark K. Cameron Revised June 4th, 2002