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Thread: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

  1. #1
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    Default 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    I got this vessel a little over three years ago. Her name is Harms Way and she is located on the Ca delta in Stockton. She is a 1961 CC coni 50' in solid shape. The boat maintains a dry bilge and was hauled when I bought it. The basics were done, it was painted and one board that was a future problem was replaced.

    Since then I have chipped away at the topside slowly and saved for a major refit. I stripped the starboard side and refassened it down to the splash line but the marina changed owners as I started and the new owner hurried me and I will be finishing that and doing the port side this spring. So for now one side is partially done and painted with the other with nothing done as yet. I have hired out the rails and decks. They should be done by the end of January.

    I have also started remodeling the interior. I have the main state room, guest room and bathroom done. I am waiting until I have the engines done before I do the front of the boats interior for obvious reasons. I already have the kitchen appliances just waiting on timing.

    Since getting the boat I have plotted and schemed to repower it and restore it for delta and San Francisco bay use. But it needed new engines. The original 430 Lincolns still run but are done. I wanted to use a pair of 383 stroker small blocks but they simply won't produce the torque I need at the lower rpm band. So I found a pair of remaned crusader 8.1l fuel injected v8s. A new pair of zf63a transmissions at 2.5:1 reduction. Together they should be a good modern replacement.

    To monitor these mew engines I will be running a simrad 16" touch display with a seagauge interface module to transmit the engine data to the simrad. No radar planned at this time. Just sonar.

    I will add some pics in a bit. My phone and photobucket don't get along.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-23-2016 at 10:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    When I got it.



    When it came out.



  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    So why can't I post pictures? Funny they show up on my other computer but its like this one is missing the plug in.carry on...

    When I stripped the side and had to close it up fast.




    I got the boast presentable as to not get evicted. Worthless marina!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    the guest bedroom. It has a mini washer and dryer. They work nice.


    T
    he flooring and how i did the access hatches with mahogany trim.


    The bathroom.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    The main state room remodel was captured on video as well but since I can't edit for **** my brother has that fun. He takes vindictive joy in including my rants in the videos as well. So keep in mind the video was for entertainment which is more than i can say for anything i am working on. Wooden boats are a labor of love, not a labor you love.


    Stripped it to the stringers and ribs.


    Then got a flat surface with new subflooring.



    Then exhaust boxes and bed framing. Its a full bed.


    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-23-2016 at 10:59 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Almost done



    I know that plug box I am bitching about is the original box but it made me feel better to rage on the previous owner, captain sawzall. He would sawzall whatever he wanted on this boat regardless of appearance. he also mangled the electrical which is still being replaced and another story.....
    https://youtu.be/WI3F955SIVM

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    You are doing such a wonderful job that I can’t help but think a little time learning such nautical terms as plank, stateroom, head, bow, and galley.

    Teasing just a little. When I was a kid, Constellations seemed to all belong to windy puff balls who struck terror in all of us on the yacht club gas dock. Now these boats are classics being restored and maintained by people of admirable determination and skill, like yourself. The advantage of learning nautical terms is to align another aspect of your life with your restoration skills. Sailors will understand what you’re talking about Farmers will be confused. As is only right.

    G’luck

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Now the electrical Fun stuff!

    Lets start off with the beginning. Romex baby running hot to the port plugs. No switch. You will also notice it was originally single 110. some idiot added the second leg while screwing the electrical in the process. The square and round holes are a dead giveaway, along with everything else haha.


    Now thats marine grade baby!


    After, Best I could do and keep everything running. It will all come out soon anyway.


    I am using what was used on the boat originally and has lasted for 55 years. Standard breakers. I did however use chemical 120c rated wire on everything. Looks better now. I will eliminate the old wiring all together next year once the interior is finished.


    I have a new upper panel that I am connecting to the new wiring room by room as i remodel them so half the boat is running on totally new wiring. I hope to get the rest of it done by the end of next year.

    I am currently getting ready for the re-power. I have both the new trans ordered and the new simrad 16" touch system to replace the old gauge set. Purist look away, yes I am doing away with my old gauges for a touch screen. A seagauge interface module will transmit the engine data to the simmered system. I am keeping the mechanical throttle and trans though.

    I only need the money for one more engine and it will be pucker time. By the end of January I hope. then another year or so on the exterior and interior and I can slow down a bit.

    The hardest part is finding a place to haul it out that has the equipment to pull and put the new engines.also willing to do a wood boat and the last part is the hardest. No one wants to haul her for me.

    Also this is my home and my only financial obligation. No wife no kids no girlfriend. Makes this much easier.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-14-2016 at 07:08 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Thanks. I am a carpenter by trade so I have some terms imbedded into what's left of my brain. I will learn them eventually,,,, or not. Only time will tell. Also autocorrect has some of my terminology all screwed up.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-23-2016 at 11:11 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    AMAZING!!! Love it!! Keep it up ... good to have another saved!!!
    Nothing else matters but how I raise my children ... and their opinion of me, as a father.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    The two transmissions will be here by Thursday as will the simrad system but the engines are not slated to ship until the 18th of January. So it's a waiting game now. I am currently working on the decks and plugging all the old screw holes around the rail for the stainless rub rail. They were all stripped out. There is a piece of 1/4 round along the gunnel and around the cabin along the deck that needs removed and and some of it replaced that is taking lots of time atm. The screws were varnished over several times and it takes forever to clean out the heads but is working.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Lovely boat, great work. You might consider joining the Chris Craft Antique boat club. There is a lot of expertise there, and obviously like minded people on their forum. Here, it will only be a matter of time before someone insults you for having a power boat, let alone a production Chris Craft. Nature of the place now unfortunately... I have two Chris Craft power boats by the way... that really makes me an outcast here LOL.
    Wooden boats are like shingles, recurring, and often painful.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Well,... I guess that sort of makes me another outcast here (sort of. ). Though I do enjoy powerboats and sailboats pretty much equally, I do own power boats (33 ft presantly). You are doing a beautiful job there! It looks like you did find a good solid boat to begin with. I pretty much grew up on a 46 ft C.C. (1950) so I am pretty darn familiar with what you are going through. Good for you!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Thanks and given I am doing a retro mod with fuel injection and touch screen gauges I will be an outcast everywhere. I am a member of the ccabc but they are all about keeping them original and don't like what I am doing. Insult me for being a power boat owner? Won't hurt my feelings.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-21-2016 at 01:21 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Keep up the great work.

    I love threads like this.

    As an old CC guy, I am enjoying this.
    Nothing else matters but how I raise my children ... and their opinion of me, as a father.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    The state room is very close to having the little finishing touches done. The mahogany available in a three hour driving distance is all african, no santos so I was forced to use a lighter mahogany than i wanted. It was this or order a large batch of santos and take it all even the bad stuff. Then wait until February for it to arrive. So i decided to move on with the african. I think it looks great with the change in color.


    The night stand


    I replaced the original style trim pieces with some blocking to hide the bolts and that come through the deck



    A short video of the progress.
    https://youtu.be/jKIaxJLiobY

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Beautiful work, really really nice.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    THANKS!

    It will just fit between the throttles and allow for two ignition switch and push button start panels.


    One of the new transmission with 22" center top/side stringer mounts. It is looking like ups may have lost the other transmission. Yep I went to the local distribution center/customer center and was told no it's on the truck. I asked if they would go look and there it was. So now I have both transmissions.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-29-2016 at 06:26 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Is it worth making a new panel up for that display, rather than cutting up the original?
    You could then space the throttles out to make more room, and be able to go back to original further down the road.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    I will remove the original consol intact and make a new one. Mainly so I can sell the original one. I will not damage the original instrumentation. It all works even if it all needs re-cromed. There will be no reason to go back once this is done. These boats aren't worth that much in completely original condition like one would think. I have seen cheery boats like mine go for well under $90k and non original repowered boats go for $40k

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    To start off wit there is no one in the area who has the equipment to do the removal and if there is they no longer work on wooden boats due to insurance issues. So I am on my own to a point> I can get someone to pull the engines but I will have to do all the prep and get them into a position where they can be easily hoisted out. To that point I made the gantry to remove the engines and position them for crane to remove them. The roof is removable on this model of chris craft but the engines are about three feet to far back under the cab for the crane/hoist to reach therm. So I will have to remove them and move them forward to allow for a strait hoist. This also saves many many monies that it would cost to have the boat pulled and them removed on land. I will have the new engines in the truck when we pull the old engines so I can stage the new engines for install.

    The Beam is complete overkill at 8"x5,3/8" flange and can support 5 or 6 tons. I won't be dropping anything through the bottom of my boat. The A frames are 6"x6" posts.




    https://youtu.be/J8d737m9Ngw

    The trolly and chain hoist will be here this week. I will start off by removing the 4 cylinder 10,000 watt generator.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-29-2016 at 07:39 AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    I have a concern that the new engine's radiator fluid cooler won't clear the steps on the starboard engine. Only way to know for sure is to fit it. Here is the side shot of the new engine from michigan motor. The new engine will sit further back by as much as a foot and then there is the cooler.


    The steps are almost certainly in the way but by how much.


    There is a rule that you don't open more than one can of worms at once but i want more done in a shorter time. Also I hired out the deck and rails bright work and am doing the carpentry and removal work there to save on that cost.
    This piece of edge round has to be removed to do the decks properly. Lots of varnish to pound out of the screws to remove them.



    The gunnel in this area was split and buckling so I needed to remove it and replace it prior to the decks and rails to be stained and finished.

    Last edited by Hill160881; 12-29-2016 at 06:18 PM.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Good progress!!! Love it.
    Nothing else matters but how I raise my children ... and their opinion of me, as a father.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Thanks. As it turns out these boats were not real mahogany so finding a mahogany to match will be hard to impossible. To that end I will try to obtain some light and dark red Meranti. These boats were made from a mahogany that does and never actually existed. The boats are Brazilian mahogany which is actually red Meranti.

    Wish me luck otherwise I am stuck with african mahogany.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    I have discovered through the very helpfull forum over at the chris craft club i will be using Famowood to fill the screw holes.

    The port side begins.....



  26. #26
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Removed the generator and it was a good trial run for the engines. Had to split the generator to get it out. B+?#* was heavy!
    You can see the load transfer to the stringers. The new 2x4 below deck. It transfers the load to the stringers to avoid a collapse of the deck.


    The hoist i made is heavy as hell but solid as a ROCK.


    Split in half but she is topside.




    Still moving on the hull*work. Slowly but surly.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Nice to see your progress. Thank you for sharing!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Thanks!



    A small setback, after the marina owner telling me I could do this my marina has shut me down again. But they waited until I had it stripped to bare wood with the screws removed. All because a neighbor complained as a way to win a domestic squabbl. Her boy friend started by coming onto my dock and threatening me. I told him I would have none of it and to leave, And she called to complain and threatened to call the EPA. So I gave her my friends number who is the local EPA rep...... I am a licensed boat work and protect everything. I am very clean

    This won't stop me by any means. Just stall things a bit. Some people just can't be nice.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 01-07-2017 at 12:24 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Yippee! I may have found a spot to finish the hull work. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have that all worked out. The engines should be here in less than two weeks. As soon as I get shipping confirmation I will remove the old engines and positision them for removal. I sold the gauge cluster so I need to remove it today and get it packaged up.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Keep on keepin' on...appreciate the updates.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    The helm is built. I will need to cut two more holes for the ignition and starting panels then I will cover it with grey vinyl.




  32. #32
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Now the helm was a piece rat heaven when it came to wiring.

    I only needed a few of the 60 wires for the refit.

    This is before the removal.



    After.


    Some may think I am nuts but it's only DC voltage and it only
    Goes one place. So the wiring is simple and I don't need a diagram.

    The engines will be here next week so lots will happen in a short time.

    The start to the wiring. The fuse panels are in. I am removing the one down in the engine room.


    I don't really like the way the old style fuse holder looks and they are made of plastic so I will replace those fuses with a marine breaker. Also this will be a busy area. The starter and fuel pump relay will connect to each sides power block.

    Last edited by Hill160881; 01-16-2017 at 08:16 AM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    Amazing Job, good luck

  34. #34
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    That wiring looks suspiciously like house wiring...solid core. Is it? (#8)

  35. #35
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    Default Re: 1961 Chris Craft constellation refit/repower long term project.

    The old wiring the last owner installed that I removed was standard hard wire romex. All new dc wiring is marine tinned 16, 14, and 8 gauge wiring. The only non-marine wire was in the state room for the 120v led lighting and it's at least multi strand. I know better than to use solid in a vibration prone environment. The 120volt wiring is 120c rated chemical housed 12/3. The new supply line from the inlet plugs to the main breakers is 120c rated 10/4. All neutrals and grounds are kept separate on the ac side and all grounds ac and dc are combined. Standard marine layout.
    Last edited by Hill160881; 01-17-2017 at 09:17 PM.

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