What to do with my two 470's?

Kolbads

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Dec 21, 2022
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I bought a 1983 Commander 26 (BC built cruiser) with twin 470's. (Yes, now I know better!) First boat. I've spent LOTS of time since on boating forums, mainly this one, reading up on the 470's. I've pretty much decided that keeping the engines isn't a sensible option, but I thought I'd see if any of the very experienced experts here would advise otherwise. I know most would agree, but maybe @achris @stonyloam @ROY WILLIAMS? Mechanic had an initial look (after I bought it): one of them "runs"; the other has zero compression on #3 cylinder. after removing head, he thinks it's a stuck lifter but would need to pull engine and investigate further.

So, I i planned to sell to recover what I can of the *too much* I paid for it. But Commander 26's are well-liked around here, and some say to repower it, either with single or twin gas engine, or with single diesel. (My first queries on cost of repowering were a shock: approx $100,000 (CDN), but I have some more looking to do on the sub-options there.)

I would have to get a hull survey before deciding to repower. Mechanic says transom is "solid as a rock" and no obvious repairs elsewhere, but hasn't done thorough check for soft spots. I haven't seen the boat yet; I live 1200 km away. I bought it on online auction, with only this info (link): https://bid.ableauctions.ca/1983-CO...EN-NOOK-3-BURNER-GAS-STOVE-SLEEPS-4_i47315371

So, I'd really appreciate hearing thoughts from the members here, on each of the options: maintain 470's, sell, repower. Thank you!
 

racerone

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Dec 28, 2013
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I think you need to talk to a few more shops.-----Or learn to install engines.----Your location ?
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
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Jul 23, 2011
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42,874
No need to pull motor to look at a lifter, however it will help.

If your drives are 34" apart, you can swap up to V6 or V8s

If they are 30" apart (common on 470s) then you need to redo the transom, stringers, engine beds, etc.

A repower will not cost you 100k unless you are smoking dope. 2 brand new long tails, controls, etc will cost about $40k

2 bobtail V6s would be about $10k and you use your drives.

Me, If the drives are on 30" centerlines....I would ditch the iron heads, swap to an aluminum head, use a bore stabilizing spider to keep the bores from moving and redo the 470s. If the drives are on 34" centerlines, I would drop in 2 5.7 liter motors with heat exchangers
 

racerone

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Dec 28, 2013
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32,667
Looks like BC.----Determine condition of running engine.-----Determine condition of the drives.-----If good then rebuild / repair the bad engine.----Sell the boat.
 

Kolbads

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Dec 21, 2022
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Thank you @racerone and @Scott Danforth. I didn’t think replies would come so fast, so I wasn’t paying attention until now. I’ll try to reply to replies much sooner now.

This is a long post. I hope not too, TOO long.

Yes the boat is in BC lower mainland. I’m in Alberta … will see the boat in a week or two.

The comments from both make sense to me (except I don`t know which are longtail engines and which are bobtail, but that's for later. I gather from the forums and googling that the Com26 isn't an easy hull to fit other engines into).

I'm a beginner. I did a complete rebuild with a friend on an old vauxhall engine 45 years ago (45? Really? ouch!) when I had access to a well-equipped automotive shop, and 30 years ago pulled the cylinder head on my toyota to get it redone after the timing chain broke, but those experiences are very distant memories. I'm game to dig in and get my hands dirty, but concerned about how very long it is likely to take me; also need to start from scratch acquiring tools/equipment beyond my current ratchet sets, and a place to work. (I think I have a line on an outdoor spot which I could cover, but it's a $2500 tow away.) Also considered bringing the engines and drives to my home garage in Calgary to work on them, where at least one motorhead friend would be happy to help.

Re sterndrive spacing, pretty sure it's 30"; I'll verify. The overhead view of the engines in the link of my first post would probably tell the tale.

At risk of turning this post into a novel, this is what mechanic reported:

26' commander
Twin Mecruiser 470 and MR drives.
Compression test.
Port engine.
#1. 130
#2. 130
#3. 125
#4. 125.
Starboard engine.
#1. 160
#2. 155
#3. 0
#4. 150.
Port engine compression is good starboard engine fails due to #3 cylinder.
Head was removed to assess.
Cylinders and head kook in good condition. 1 hydraulic lifter is jammed and holding a valve open.
I tried to remove it but wasn't able too.
Engine oil level was on both engines and it is clean with traces of moisture.
Coolant levels are good on both engines. Port was clean. Starboard is low concentration.
Both cooling systems passed a pressure test.
Both engine exhaus risers need replace.ent.
Hydraulic steering fluid is n/a because the steering lines are not connected at the helm.
Starboard engine temperature was good while running @160deg. Oil pressure was good at 40psi.
Both sterndrive oil levels are good.
Oil is contaminated with water in both drives.
Prop shaft seals loom good.
Both ujoint bellows have water ingress and the u joints and gimbal bearings need replacement.
Power trim fluid level was good.
Both power trim switches don't activate the trim pumps.
Both fuleul systems are correct with anti siphon valves and water separating fuel filters.
Batteries were dead when boat arrived but we were able to get 3 charged.
Both 6v batteries are good.
I 12v battery is good and 1 needs replacing.
Belts look good on both engines.
Shift and throttle are operating correctly on. Oth engines.
Gauges all function on Starboard engine.
There is no working bilge pump on the boat at this time.
Bilge blower function properly.


I'm confused about a few things there, but will try to clarify with him. After removing rocker cover he said valve train is functioning properly. Next day after removing head I thought he said on the phone that he had applied a lot of force to the lifter with a screwdriver, it suddenly gave a big a snap "and went right through". Thinking it through afterwards, I thought he must have said or meant valve. Neither makes sense to me given his report above, that hydraulic lifter is jammed, holding valve open, and he's unable to remove it.

Bits of good news: Port engine has 4" heat exchanger (needs leak repair); stbd has 3".
Both have "proper marine alternators".

Does all of the above change what you have very helpfully suggested so far?
 

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Kolbads

Recruit
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Dec 21, 2022
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PS: Here's the overhead view of the engines, which I just figured out I cut and paste from the auction website. Plus a few to give a sense of the boat overall. 1675666288828.png

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1675666998485.png
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
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Jul 23, 2011
Messages
42,874
this is TOO long.......Im a beginner.

above change what you have very helpfully suggested so far?
You have a project.

You bought a project requiring a giant pile of cash if you can't do the work yourself

Your best bet is buy two running 470s your next best bet is rebuild the two you have.
 

Scott06

Rear Admiral
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Apr 20, 2014
Messages
4,148
Thanks Scott. Appreciate the additional comments.
“I’ll be back” :cool:
Places like michigan motorz offer remans of your engines. https://www.michiganmotorz.com/3-7l-470-mercruiser-marine-engine-1976-89

IF the space is there you would be money ahead swapping in 4.3's . if they are too close together for V engines then you are stuck rebuilding these or swapping in 3.0's or rebuilding the transom.

Either way the drives are older MC-1s , the port lower is a newer R/MR/Alpha gen one. You can use the newer Alpha gen one in their place if need be but transom parts and trim component supply may be iffy due to age (I think MC1 was last made in 1980 or 1981...)
 

stresspoint

Petty Officer 1st Class
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Sep 19, 2022
Messages
261
i would be curios to know why the hydraulic lines on the steering were disconnected HMMM .
iv always loved that style boat ,it will be a project , but guessing worth the work an $$$ to bring it around. i hope you are planning to keep it period correct .
 

nola mike

Rear Admiral
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Apr 22, 2009
Messages
4,400
You have a project.

You bought a project requiring a giant pile of cash if you can't do the work yourself

Your best bet is buy two running 470s your next best bet is rebuild the two you have.
I'd swap the order of that. His motors seem to be in decent shape. I mean, nothing even emergent about it. Get the head straight and he's got 2 runners until he feels like rebuilding (could even just do the port side)
 

Kolbads

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Dec 21, 2022
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Thanks for the new comments. I'm arranging a marine survey for the whole boat, mostly to see how sound the boat is structurally. I'm not keen on putting tons of time into fibreglass/core replacement. We'll see how that turns out. Then I'm thinking along the same line as @nola mike, see if I can get both engines and drives going without too too much work/$$, and get it in the water for a season and see what happens. Then make up my mind about repowering.
 

ROY WILLIAMS

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Aug 8, 2022
Messages
145
Thanks for the new comments. I'm arranging a marine survey for the whole boat, mostly to see how sound the boat is structurally. I'm not keen on putting tons of time into fibreglass/core replacement. We'll see how that turns out. Then I'm thinking along the same line as @nola mike, see if I can get both engines and drives going without too too much work/$$, and get it in the water for a season and see what happens. Then make up my mind about repowering.
my 470 engine is great 1978 ....I was changing the ignition timing 2 deg lower . then the engine oil is the SN PLUS 4-6 oz.....additive . also the heat exchanger is putting in the zinc drain plug ..the fall was the marvel mystery oil one oz in the cylinders .....
the outdrive in the fall take out ,, the the grease and inspect the bellows and the outdrive gear oil ....
the fall was taking out the gasoline tank ... in todays world the alcohol ... gasoline 10% .. put the gasoline 1 oz MMO 10 gallons ...
then I take it out gas and put in my 2000 silverado truck in the fall ..
 
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