Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Quick Fix to Get The Boat Home

As we found out last time the boat looks like a chain smoker and I still needed to get it to my parents cottage. The problem was that the boat would not start with out extra throttle and while trying to shift into gear the engine would choke and die. After recharging the battery I came up with a quick fix so that I could get home I adjusted the throttle linkage to open up the primaries during idle. This allowed me to get the boat home and put it on my makeshift mooring of 4 cinder blocks. Before the carb rebuild my boat did not have a smoking problem. This helps narrow down what the issues is. I think the choke is set wrong and the choke is staying on all of the time. Also, the accelerator pump might need adjusting. The bigger problem is that there is no dock at the cottage and the weather was great for sailing but not for working on boats. Sadly the boat did not get worked on and the next time I will be able to get to the cottage I will be winterizing the boat instead of skiing behind it.

Tough Starting

Well, I installed my carb back onto the boat and took it for a test run, or at least I thought I was about to. With the battery all charged up I took the boat to the lake. While attempting to start the boat with out any extra throttle the engine would turn over but not fire up. So, I pulled the neutral pin and gave it some gas. Eureka, it started up right away but it was running really rich. The boat was sending up a column of blackish blue smoke like and old coal burning train. finally to top it all off the battery died after too many attempts to start the boat in neutral.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Carb Rebuild

   While my boat runs and can get you across the lake I would not say that it runs like a top.  I know that the secondaries were not opening during my test run with the boat so I will start my diagnosis by rebuilding the carburetor   Now, I would not be surprised if there are more problems with the engine such as the timing or the spark plugs.  Unfortunately I do not have much access to a lake right now I will only work on this right now.
   The PCM 351 is fitted with a Holley 1460 4 barrel carb.  It has vacuum secondaries and an electric choke.  I suspect that there is a blockage in the vacuum tubes that operate the secondaries.  Cleaning the carb is pretty straight forward.  You simply buy a rebuild kit and a good amount of carb cleaner.  The rebuild kit should come with new gaskets, needles, power valve, accelerator pump and many other parts that wear out. The general steps for rebuilding a carb are:
           1.) Disassemble
           2.) Clean
           3.) Reassemble
An exploded view of the carb comes with the kit and is pretty easy to follow.  There are some detailed guides for rebuilding on the internet and these are a few of the ones I used.

   There is only one special tool that is needed.  On the metering block there are screws that look like phillips heads but are a little off.  I forget the technical name for the bit you need but it is possible to grind down a phillips bit as an alternative.  Be very careful with this and you can do it with out stripping the screw but if you grind too little or too much and are careless then you will strip the screw.  You will also need a stand for the carb so that you do not bend the throttle linkage: a simple wooden block can work for this.
   This is a pretty simple thing to do and can help your boat get closer to running like a top.  I have a few tips for you.

  • Do not cut your hands while getting the carb off the boat.  I nicked a knuckle and learned the hard way that cuts and carb cleaner are not a good combination.   
  • Soak the parks for at least 24 hours.  Giving the parts plenty of time to soak insures that all the passageways get cleared out.  You don't want to get out on the lake and realise that the carb is still gummed up.
  • Be careful lining up the gaskets.  You do not want an air leak in your carb.

   Many people see a carb rebuild as a difficult and scary procedure but it is really not that hard.  It can easily be done in two evenings with a minimal amount of tools and mechanical know how.  If you are having carb trouble I suggest that you give a rebuild a try rather than spending 5 times as much having a marina do it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trailer Jack #2

After two days of working on the old jack I have given up.  The screw is seized so badly into the jack that there is nothing I can do.  The aftermarket jack is just to dangerous to keep using so I will need to replace it. I really like the idea of using the welded on snap ring mount so that I can put a spare tire mount on the drivers side of the trailer.  I found jack that should work with the weld mount and is not too expensive.
Fulton Jack
Picture from

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Trailer Jack

The trailer has two jacks on it.  One is the factory Attwood jack that is welded to the trailer.  This jack does not work.  It is missing the caster wheel, it will not rotate on the trailer mount and it will not move up and down.

The second jack is aftermarket and is also in bad shape.  When the weight is on the jack the top of the jack will move back and forth around 2 inches.  The previous owner broke his foot when that jack broke and the trailer feel on his feet.  So, basically I don;t trust the second jack and have the trailer's weight resting on a log. 

   I first sprayed the Attwood jack in PB Blaster then I was able to pry the rotating pin out and start loosening the jack's swinging motion.  Next I tried turning the crank to see if the jack would go up or down.  Unfortunately the jack just spun in place and did not move up or down.  I took the Attwood jack off by removing a big c-clip.   To disassemble the jack I punched out the pins that hold on the two gears.  This freed up the inner tube of the jack.  At this point I could see that the screw the gears turn was seized inside the inner tube.  Tonight the jack will soak in PB Blaster and hopefully I can work it free in the morning.

New Boat

   I have been looking for a ski boat in my budget for about a year now.  It started when I started working as the Water Ski Director at a summer camp.  After skiing behind Mastercrafts all summer there was no way I could go back to my Dad's big wake throwing deck boat.  My budget was small but I had plenty of time to wait for the perfect boat.
   I finally found a boat in my budget.  It is a 1985 Sylvan Ski-Tastic.  The boat needs some work and is not a collector boat.   I met with the owner and took it out for a test drive.  It has two big problems, one is a major vibration and the other is a lack of top end power.  Apparently the vibration was started after the owner hit a stump.  I am taking an educated guess that the lack of power is a carb issue.  Here are a few photos of the boat.

Minor issues with the boat are
ripped interior
drivers seat is not original and sits too high
gelcoat and teak platform are dull
trailer jack is not sturdy and unsafe
stereo is old and speakers don't work
no glove box or cup holders
carpet is dirty and doesn't match
bow vents are bent
speedometers don't work
horn doesn't work

I will keep posting with each part of the boat that I fix.