91 four winns 285 express cruiser question

estame6

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Hi all, was reading an add for this model and mentioned it having a solid fiberglass bottom. Is this referring to the hull and the stringers being solid?
 

Lou C

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Probably a fiberglass cockpit liner not just carpet covered wood decking; which was standard in the cheaper boats.
 

estame6

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Thanks for that. Here is the exact text in the dealer add:
1991 Four Winns 285 Express
Very roomy and comfortable pocket cruiser. This Four Winns 285 Express has a relatively wide beam at 10'2". Some nice features are fold-away aft bench seat, air conditioning and a solid fiberglass bottom.
 

estame6

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I have looked at a few and haven't seen carpet covered wood decking, would have just walked off the boat...
 

Lou C

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Next question
OMC power or Merc?
If OMC keep looking. I have one and know it inside & out but you have to be good at finding parts. Some (electronic ignition and EFI) are nearly impossible to find. Parts for the cone clutch drives also are hard to find. Parts for the old school points ignition and Rochester & Holley carbs are readily available as are parts (mostly) for the standard Cobra dog clutch drives.
 

estame6

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Thanks for that Lou, good info but have made a deal but at least I know where to get advice.
 

Lou C

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Ah looked at the ad. Twin Ford 5.0s with Cobra drives but I don’t know if they are the cone clutch or dog clutch units. If you're going to buy do you have an OMC trained mechanic near by?
At least it’s a fresh water boat, so less stuff will have to be replaced (manifolds & elbows). The dog clutch drives are very good if set up right and if the shift system is maintained. Transom mounts are also quite durable less prone to leaks and steering looseness than Merc drives.
The problem is finding some parts and mechanics who know the shift system quirks. I had a great mechanic and I eventually taught myself how to adjust these because I knew they would eventually retire (and did a few years ago!)

PS I looked up the '91 twin 5.0 Fords and its mostly good because they are carbed engines, simple Holley 2 or 4 bbl carbs, and mechanical fuel pump. So none of the early EFI stuff which is like unobtanium same with that silly Splitfire igniton system. Standard Cobra drive which is easier to gets parts for by far. The one thing that is not available is the electronic module for the Prestolite BDI electronic distributor but if they go bad they can be replaced with electronic Pertronix modules. I also have used crowley marine (OEM only). Hope you can find an local OMC mechanic.
 
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estame6

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Sep 21, 2006
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Do have couple of OMC mechanics on hand and do understand the concerns. Two quick questions in that I'm experiencing a small leak at the stern after putting the boat in the water, could be around the transom mount but hard to see. Any suggestions where to start looking? The other question is where are the drain plugs at the lower end of these ford engine, please don't tell me there behind the mounting bracket. Winterizing is around the corner and just getting my ducks in a row. Thanks much....
 

Lou C

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I would pull the drive and at least check the driveshaft bellows for water, that’s the only “easy” cause the others are all more “interesting” Lol. Welcome to owning old I/os with lots a places to leak water
 

estame6

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The other question is where are the drain plugs at the lower end of these ford engine, please don't tell me there behind the mounting bracket. Winterizing is around the corner and just getting my ducks in a row. Thanks much....
 

Lou C

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Well that might be the case. If you follow my posts on this forum I've complained quite a bit about what I feel is the poor and cost-saving design of I/Os....in that they should all come standard with:
Closed cooling so you don't have to contort yourself to get the damn drain plugs out, and makes winterizing much easier, you can run in AF from a tank with a pump feed, literally in 5-10 min you are done.
remote oil filter mount for the same reason, makes the oil change much easier.
Soooo....when/if I eventually repower this boat it will for sure have both of those features and thereby cut my winterizing day down to about 1.5 hrs from 3 or so. No more pulling out the rear seats just to get at those things.
And if I decide to not repower this one and get a newer boat for sure it will have outboard power only. I can do all the work, I'm just not sure as I get older that I really WANT do.

There's a guy who runs a marina here in Long Island who is a diehard straight inboard or outboard fan...he says....the only thing worse than one I/O....is two I/Os....lol

Edit:
way at the end of the block one on each side, see this pic, part # 59
 
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estame6

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Sep 21, 2006
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#59 Petcock, drain plug. Seems higher than I'm use to on the 350's. Is there a procedure to get the water out or will it drain? Good link btw, thanks.
 

Lou C

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not sure I never owned a Ford marine engine.
I'd advise trying to find an OMC factory shop manual, they are out there on ebay.
 
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