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Thread: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Since many have given an opinion here, I thought I might take the opportunity to present my opinion, since I restored runabouts for 35 years or so. Below is a Chrysler Ace, the little brother of the engine in the original post.

    15K.jpg

    The rebuilding cost of this engine was $15,000. It was common to be asked whether or not to rebuild an original engine. It is a personal question; there are many points to be considered. Here are a few, in no particular order.
    1. It ain't a cheap job. One is rebuilding the engine AND the transmission.
    2. There are very few people who are qualified to rebuild a vintage marine engine. In this town (Seattle) I doubt if there is more than a handful of guys. And there are fewer every year.
    3. Yes, they are simple engines, but they typically have many things wrong. It takes a pretty bright person to sort it out. A typical car or modern marine engine will have a few things wrong. It will be MUCH easier to figure out.
    4. Yes, old engines are really cool. However, they can be a royal pain in the butt. Again, it is a personal decision, but I think that most would be better off with a modern engine. It will be cheaper and more reliable.
    5. If one is concerned with originality...fine. However, there is only a modest show judging penalty for installing a modern engine in a classic runabout.
    6. Parts and labor can be very hard to find. Yes, there were thousands of these engines built. Used to be that Crowns could be found easily. These days we are at the bottom of the barrel.
    7. I wanted a rebuild on the carb on the Chris MB in my Racing Runabout. Thought I could do it myself. Ended up finding a guy out in the sticks to do it. Looked simple but was not.
    8. A customer rebuild his Chris MB in his Custom. If I recall, the major rebuild cost about 10k almost twenty years ago. The engine blew up almost immediately upon starting. The machine shop had not been checked it out properly. The mechanic rebuilt another block for nothing; he was a solid citizen.

    In other words, the answer is considerably more complicated than the boys here would have the original poster believe. Good luck! best/pcf

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    I'm not so sure it would be that much, but you can pay as much as you want to for anything.
    A master rebuild parts kit for that specific engine is about $750.00.
    That is everything except pistons. All brand name products.
    https://www.cleggengine.com/engine-r...1933-1960.html

    (Even if it needed bored with new pistons (which I would do if it showed more than .002" wear), decked and line bored with new hard seats installed, I don't see how it could be much over $3500, assembled. The transmision I don't know, but if it is now working, I think seals and bearings would "freshen it up" for a few more years.)

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I'm not so sure it would be that much, but you can pay as much as you want to for anything.
    A master rebuild parts kit for that specific engine is about $750.00.
    That is everything except pistons. All brand name products.
    https://www.cleggengine.com/engine-r...1933-1960.html

    (Even if it needed bored with new pistons (which I would do if it showed more than .002" wear), decked and line bored with new hard seats installed, I don't see how it could be much over $3500, assembled. The transmision I don't know, but if it is now working, I think seals and bearings would "freshen it up" for a few more years.)
    Yes. I think it's worth noting the difference between "rebuild" and "restore". Dan Payne's Ace in Pat's photo is a beautiful motor and I can see why it took $15k and 18 months or whatever to get it done. And if the OP sends his motor to Dave Van Ness for a concours restoration I think $15k is the low end of what it will cost. But a simple top end rebuild could be done by any competent mechanic with experience working on old American motors and wouldn't be anywhere near that much.

    The gear on the other hand I would leave alone unless there is some indication that it needs work. And in that case I would send it to a specialist. Sad story there: My dad gave the gear from his Chrysler Crown to an old boy in Maine for a rebuild. Two years later and it's still sitting in pieces under the old boy's workbench and the boat - a pretty little down east picnic launch - is now free to a good home as my dad has lost the energy and enthusiasm for it. They aren't complicated but they do require someone who knows what they are doing.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    FWIW, I had that engine, which was in my Dodge Power Wagon, rebuilt for $200. Of course, that was in 1966.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    You guys that are guessing about how much it should cost to rebuild a Crown marine engine:
    Are you aware that there is a difference between a car engine and a boat engine? Did not think so.

    Please furnish bonafide estimates on how much a rebuild should be. I have.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    I just rebuilt the 283 in a Chris-Craft (with new pistons because it was bored 0.020 over & a complete, done by a machine shop, valve job) for about $1K. Of course much of the labor was my own, but if I'd billed at $75/hour it woulda been well under 3K.

    While the gaskets are all CC only, pistons, rings, bearings, etc. are all "buy it on the internet" car stuff. Cam shaft would be CC only as well, but mine was fine.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I just rebuilt the 283 in a Chris-Craft (with new pistons because it was bored 0.020 over & a complete, done by a machine shop, valve job) for about $1K. Of course much of the labor was my own, but if I'd billed at $75/hour it woulda been well under 3K.

    While the gaskets are all CC only, pistons, rings, bearings, etc. are all "buy it on the internet" car stuff. Cam shaft would be CC only as well, but mine was fine.
    So what it sounds like is that we are obviously comparing apples and oranges. Or being a mechanic is a great way to get rich. Kinda doubt the second. However, would believe you if you can find someone in Seattle to rebuild a vintage marine engine for 3 thousand bucks. I will wait here.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    wow, 18 months and 15k! must have been many unobtanium parts on that restore. i mean that is not an airplane engine. then again that model may well have been a rare one.

    jim

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    C'mon Pat, if you are going to be insulting please base your condescension on specific info not unsupported generalities. Do I know the difference between a car engine and a boat engine? Well, yeah. I do. Can I tell you the exact differences in compression ratio, cam grind, piston metallurgy, valve sizes, carburetor settings, etc. for a 1956 Chrysler Crown M47S over the equivalent car or industrial motor? No and I don't think you can either. But what I do know is that a top end rebuild is a top end rebuild and the rest is just parts.

    As for the cost - well no, you haven't provided a bonafide estimate for how much the rebuild on the OP's motor should cost. You have provided one cost example for one motor restored to what is evidently a high degree of finish and, I assume, a commensurate level of work on the internal rebuild, and you are asking us to take it as a given that every other rebuild of a similar motor would have to cost the same. BS. If I asked you how much it costs to restore a boat you would want to know what kind of boat and what it needs and the level of restoration desired and a bunch of other info before you would tell give me an estimate, and that estimate would vary widely based on the answers.

    At some point we got far enough into the weeds with this thread that I very much doubt it is doing a service to the OP. I maintain that there *may be* a path forward to rebuild that motor for far less than it would cost to repower. Maybe not. It could have a broken crank and a cracked head and rusted-through cooling passages in the block. But it's also possible that it it could be made serviceable and reliable with far less work. We don't have that info so we can't say.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Please call a local (Seattle) engine shop and get a rough quote and report back here. I've done this stuff for nearly forty years. I am not just guessing like you boys.

    By the way, as I said, the rebuild on the Chris MB was 10k. That was about 2001 if I recall correctly.

    Nobody is doing the original poster a favor by suggesting that his engine can be rebuilt for $3,000.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    C'mon Pat, if you are going to be insulting please base your condescension on specific info not unsupported generalities. Do I know the difference between a car engine and a boat engine? Well, yeah. I do. Can I tell you the exact differences in compression ratio, cam grind, piston metallurgy, valve sizes, carburetor settings, etc. for a 1956 Chrysler Crown M47S over the equivalent car or industrial motor? No and I don't think you can either. But what I do know is that a top end rebuild is a top end rebuild and the rest is just parts.

    As for the cost - well no, you haven't provided a bonafide estimate for how much the rebuild on the OP's motor should cost. You have provided one cost example for one motor restored to what is evidently a high degree of finish and, I assume, a commensurate level of work on the internal rebuild, and you are asking us to take it as a given that every other rebuild of a similar motor would have to cost the same. BS. If I asked you how much it costs to restore a boat you would want to know what kind of boat and what it needs and the level of restoration desired and a bunch of other info before you would tell give me an estimate, and that estimate would vary widely based on the answers.

    At some point we got far enough into the weeds with this thread that I very much doubt it is doing a service to the OP. I maintain that there *may be* a path forward to rebuild that motor for far less than it would cost to repower. Maybe not. It could have a broken crank and a cracked head and rusted-through cooling passages in the block. But it's also possible that it it could be made serviceable and reliable with far less work. We don't have that info so we can't say.
    Last edited by pcford; 09-14-2018 at 01:32 PM.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    So what it sounds like is that we are obviously comparing apples and oranges. Or being a mechanic is a great way to get rich. Kinda doubt the second. However, would believe you if you can find someone in Seattle to rebuild a vintage marine engine for 3 thousand bucks. I will wait here.
    Please note I said "rebuilt" not "restored". To restore a motor to perfect condition is a completely different thing from rebuilding an engine to get it running better. For example, a lot of attention (& many hours) went into painting & polishing the engine you pictured. I spent $15.00 on a couple of spray cans of CC Blue & spent upwards of 15 minutes spraying the assembled engine. IOW - I'm afraid it's comparing a rebuild to a restore that's apples & oranges.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Please note I said "rebuilt" not "restored". To restore a motor to perfect condition is a completely different thing from rebuilding an engine to get it running better. For example, a lot of attention (& many hours) went into painting & polishing the engine you pictured. I spent $15.00 on a couple of spray cans of CC Blue & spent upwards of 15 minutes spraying the assembled engine. IOW - I'm afraid it's comparing a rebuild to a restore that's apples & oranges.
    Yes - exactly this.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Pat, I'll grant you one point. I don't think $3,000 is a realistic estimate either if you just hand the motor over to a shop and ask for a rebuild. I said "under $10k" and I'll stand by that number assuming there are no major issues with any of the big parts - crank, head, block, etc. - or any marine-specific stuff like the manifold. But I do think you could get close to $3k if you were willing and capable of doing a lot of the work. Disassemble, send the head and block to Hill Machine and then reassemble with new pistons and rings? Sure. I think that's doable. Even if you had to machine the crank and do the bottom end I don't think it would get much over $5k. But that requires a certain level of mechanical ability and tools.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    I am still waiting for someone to quote a local to Seattle bonafide vintage marine engine mechanic offer to rebuild the Crown for $3,000.

    Not looking for what an amateur "thinks" is reasonable. Real world stuff, please.

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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    I am still waiting for someone to quote a local to Seattle bonafide vintage marine engine mechanic offer to rebuild the Crown for $3,000.

    Not looking for what an amateur "thinks" is reasonable. Real world stuff, please.
    I have a call in to Mike Murley for an estimate on a top end rebuild, not a full show-quality restoration. Not local to Seattle, but I'd guess he has as much or more experience than anyone around here. I'll report back.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    We should be talking about a total overhaul. Including the transmission. No cheating please.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    I have a call in to Mike Murley for an estimate on a top end rebuild, not a full show-quality restoration. Not local to Seattle, but I'd guess he has as much or more experience than anyone around here. I'll report back.

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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    We should be talking about a total overhaul. Including the transmission. No cheating please.
    Ok Pat, I talked to Mike. He says $10k-$12k for a full rebuild including the gear, and he says that's the only type of job he would do because anything else is just going to be a problem down the road. I'm going to say you win on this one. I still think you could find someone to do it for less but I would rather spend a bit more and have it done by an expert so there you go.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Ok, I appreciate your honesty. This ain't my first rodeo.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Ok Pat, I talked to Mike. He says $10k-$12k for a full rebuild including the gear, and he says that's the only type of job he would do because anything else is just going to be a problem down the road. I'm going to say you win on this one. I still think you could find someone to do it for less but I would rather spend a bit more and have it done by an expert so there you go.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Ok Pat, I talked to Mike. He says $10k-$12k for a full rebuild including the gear, and he says that's the only type of job he would do because anything else is just going to be a problem down the road. I'm going to say you win on this one. I still think you could find someone to do it for less but I would rather spend a bit more and have it done by an expert so there you go.
    I've known Murley for many years, (assuming that is Murley Marine in St. Clair Shores) and he is quite good. He doesn't do production rebuilds anymore, although that was his main business for decades. Last time I talked to him, he said he only took on a few high-end projects, and did them his way, which is quite good and expensive.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    What you appear to be attempting to imply is that Mr. Murley's work is an outlier and that he does work for "showboats." I don't think this is the case, but you could prove me wrong by producing a thorough overhaul quote from a bonafide vintage marine engine expert for significantly less than that quoted by Mr. Murley. I do not think we will see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    I've known Murley for many years, (assuming that is Murley Marine in St. Clair Shores) and he is quite good. He doesn't do production rebuilds anymore, although that was his main business for decades. Last time I talked to him, he said he only took on a few high-end projects, and did them his way, which is quite good and expensive.

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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    mr. ford, i have not been on this forum very long but somehow from the first post you made i get a very negitave vibe. is there a lot of trouble in your home life or some other underlying problem? i bet you mean well but your communication skills seem to be lacking- despite your avowed "not my first rodeo". just some food for thought.

    jim

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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Gentlemen!! Yikes! Let's take it down a notch here!! OP here... I didn't look at this thread over the weekend and didn't realize it was still going!

    I appreciate everyone's input and advice, especially from those with greater experience than my own. There are clearly a number of approaches to a rebuild.

    In the course of trying to diagnose and possibly repair my engine problems myself I spoke with a couple of shops who have rebuilt or restored these engines. I spoke with Dave Van Ness initially, and today I called up Drake's Engines Inc. in Rochester, NY. My notes from speaking with Dave two or three years ago say this:

    "complete re-manufacture ~$5800
    new pistons, rings, valves, guides, springs... rebuild transmission, paint...
    10-15 hours

    rebuild can be less"

    My notes don't say whether Dave is including accessories in his ballpark number. I'm waiting to hear back from him to get more details and current information.


    Drake's would' probably be Van Ness's closest competitor. Most of his work these days is flathead 6 cyl engines. He has photos on his website of a very sharp looking crown
    http://www.drakeengines.com/marine.html (Crown photos under "Chrysler marine engine")

    From my notes from Drake's this morning:
    "Drake complete engine and transmission rebuild + accessories (starter, generator, water pump, etc...)
    $8000-8500

    Motor and transmission less accessories rebuild $6000-6500

    12V conversion could run to $1500 to $2000 with gauge conversion, new bilge pumps, other electrilal"
    Electronic ignition conversion would add ~$200"

    Neither of these includes costs of removing and re-installing the engine from the boat or transporting it to New Jersey (5-6 hrs) or Rochester (7-8 hrs) or any other hull work that might be accomplished with the engine out.

    I believe the owner's name is Jim (Drake?). He cautioned against a basic rebuild-kit type of job and suggested that it would lead to endless tinkering in such a tired, old engine. So I might not be looking at $2k, but it sounds like it wouldn't necessarily have to cost $15k either. Another guy I spoke with in Michigan over the summer said to expect around $1000/cylinder, which is consistent with Drake and Van Ness.

    Jeff
    Last edited by guillemot; 09-17-2018 at 10:09 AM.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    Quote Originally Posted by guillemot View Post
    Gentlemen!! Yikes! Let's take it down a notch here!! OP here... I didn't look at this thread over the weekend and didn't realize it was still going!

    I appreciate everyone's input and advice, especially from those with greater experience than my own. There are clearly a number of approaches to a rebuild.

    In the course of trying to diagnose and possibly repair my engine problems myself I spoke with a couple of shops who have rebuilt or restored these engines. I spoke with Dave Van Ness initially, and today I called up Drake's Engines Inc. in Rochester, NY. My notes from speaking with Dave two or three years ago say this:

    "complete re-manufacture ~$5800
    new pistons, rings, valves, guides, springs... rebuild transmission, paint...
    10-15 hours

    rebuild can be less"

    My notes don't say whether Dave is including accessories in his ballpark number. I'm waiting to hear back from him to get more details and current information.


    Drake's would' probably be Van Ness's closest competitor. Most of his work these days is flathead 6 cyl engines. He has photos on his website of a very sharp looking crown
    http://www.drakeengines.com/marine.html (Crown photos under "Chrysler marine engine")

    From my notes from Drake's this morning:
    "Drake complete engine and transmission rebuild + accessories (starter, generator, water pump, etc...)
    $8000-8500

    Motor and transmission less accessories rebuild $6000-6500

    12V conversion could run to $1500 to $2000 with gauge conversion, new bilge pumps, other electrilal"
    Electronic ignition conversion would add ~$200"

    Neither of these includes costs of removing and re-installing the engine from the boat or transporting it to New Jersey (5-6 hrs) or Rochester (7-8 hrs) or any other hull work that might be accomplished with the engine out.

    I believe the owner's name is Jim (Drake?). He cautioned against a basic rebuild-kit type of job and suggested that it would lead to endless tinkering in such a tired, old engine. So I might not be looking at $2k, but it sounds like it wouldn't necessarily have to cost $15k either. Another guy I spoke with in Michigan over the summer said to expect around $1000/cylinder, which is consistent with Drake and Van Ness.

    Jeff
    Sounds like you are getting good advice and quotes from knowledgable people. That all seems pretty reasonable compared to a re-power and keeps the boat original. With the Boeing history (if documented) it seems like originality would be beneficial.
    Tom

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    If it were me, I would "repair" the engine to be within the original specifications. Those clearances or tolerances are worked out to last reliably within a working standard of maintenance. Generally this is about 4 or 5000 hours. If the engine has been well maintained it could be significantly longer.
    Most engine problems are age or maintenance related (gaskets, seals, piston rings and maybe valves and a camshaft. Given a running engine, a simple disassembly, visual inspection and measuring will tell everything. To simply surmise that "it needs everything" and replace it all to me seems silly, but it does make a nice profit for the man selling and fitting the parts.

    There are factory prescribed tolerances for every moving part and fit in that engine and if within those tolerances it is as good as it needs to be.
    It is simple; If it needs to be bored and new pistons fitted to have the correct clearances, you do that. If it needs pistons because the ring lands are worn, you do that. If it needs valves and guides, you do that. If it needs hardened seats to comply with modern fuel they can be installed, no big deal. This is not a competition or contest where "blueprinting" (making up your own tolerances) will gain a thing.

    The engine will not know the difference between gaskets, valves and pistons and seals etc. If the parts are listed for the application they are fine, in this case listed for "marine and industrial" applications or "continuous duty".

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    Default Re: Re-powering a Century Resorter - seeking input on engines

    To further what CanoeYawl said - when I redid the above-mentioned 283, I bought automotive pistons & rings (as I bored to .020 over). The pistons were purchased as part of an automotive rebuild kit from Summit Racing. They were literally 1/5 the price of Chris Craft ones & turned out to be the exact same brand that was installed in the engine. Plus - folks buying from a place like Summit are building far higher horsepower engines than this (relatively) low compression boat engine. The rebuild kit: 8 pistons with rings and wristpins, main bearings, rod bearings, cam bearings, full gasket set, and a timing gear/chain setup was about $200 including shipping. I did have to buy CC gaskets for a few things as they were different from automotive.

    While you may need marine-specific gaskets or possibly a camshaft or the like, most of the internals (pistons, rings, bearings, etc.) are no different from what's in your boat.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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