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Re-power or just buy a new boat?


swc5150
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Just kind of thinking out loud here. For those of us who have older (90's) boats, and don't really want to or can't drop the cash on a new or late model ZO boat, how many are considering just re-powering? Many of us love our old tugs, it would just be nice to have a modern powertrain. I got thinking about when a friend of mine rebuilt the drivetrain in his '93 Stars and Stripes last year, at the cost of $3k. Drop another $7 or $8, and you've got a state-of-art motor to last another 20 years. Granted, I'm not sure this is a viable option for the hardcore tournament guy, as you'd want to train behind something you may draw at the site? But if a guy's had his boat paid for many times over, $10k-ish doesn't seem to be a bad deal for a sweet upgrade? Again, just thinking out loud.
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In the last three years I have sold and re-powered about 15 older boats with either 350 chevy's or 6 liters. Mostly due to the needs of Zero Off. The oldest we have done is a 79 SN. Keep in mind I do all my re-powers with PCM motors as PCM did a great job thinking about their re-power program. We can drop a EX-330 or 6liter right where a Ford motor went due to adapter mounts and plug and play adapter harnesses along with fitting designed by PCM to allow for fuel return to the tank. These re-powers have not been only in one manufacturers but have done Malibu, MasterCaft and of Course Nautiques. Commonly the price to do these re-powers have been below the 10K number and if the owner has been able to sell some of their pull out components the total cost has been as low as $7,000 after it is all said and done.
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I considered re-powering my 92 MC, but decided that there was no fixing the side spray at the shorter line lengths, so got into the promo program in 2010, BTW - the 2012 is supposed to be ready today, just in time for the College Allstars event @ Borderline this weekend !
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Another option if you have a GM350 or similar would be simply to upgrade the FI unit. Would need to be adept at the conversion to update to a DBW system to adapt to ZO. Your compromise is it would be very unique and not a validated package like the PCM that Jody refers to so you would be doing your own troubleshooting. Also, not all mid 90's boats have shortline spray. . .
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91-94 was the same hull, and I've never had a problem. Again, I've never been beyond -35. I still love the TSC 196's too, but don't think the spray was any better behind them. Now the 200, I noticed no spray, even in wind.
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eliminating the spray on an older MC ( 91 to 94 ) is no problem at all. Not 100% sure, but I think problem could be solved on 95 and up MC's as well. In the mid 80's MC pro tour boats, were awesome, Rob Shirley, just put a little more hook on the back of the hull, ( which pushed the bow down ), and bingo, no spray, up to, and including 39. You can add some hook, with Gelgoat. really not that big of a deal.
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"swc5150 How much modifying would be needed to put a 343 with power plus tranny in a '91 prostar, or could a 343 mate to a 1:1 velvet drive?"

 

Provided a Chevy came out it is no problem at all just utilize the original motor mounts. also the Borg will go on a EX 343. I just did the same thing to a Malibu Euro F-3.

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Being it is a Indmar Ford (assuming) It might take a little more fanegelling to get it set. I know I could do it and I am sure their are others out their that can do it but it wont be as easy as the direct replacement of PCM Ford to PCM Chevy so the cost of doing so would reflect in a re-power. How much difference?? Remains to be seen I would assume around $500 (minimum) more to adapt or build what would be needed to make the adaptation work.
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Why not just ski with what is available? Is ZO really that big of a deal? We ski with a 95 MC Prostar 190 with PP, a 99 Malibu Response with PP, a 00 Malibu Response with PP StaRgazer AND A Z-Box, A 2006 Malibu Response LXI with PP, a 2008 CC 196 with ZO and a 2011 Malibu Response LXI 6.0 Liter with ZO. Just getting to go to the lake and water ski is a great day. I will admit that it is nice to have 300+ Horsepower, but as far as the speed controls, I don't think that it makes a "hill-of-beans" difference in any of our skiing. IMHO
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I re-powered my '97 Nautique over the winter and it has definitely been worthwhile. Looked at selling and going to a '08 or '09 Nautique would have been about a $20k cost to have a 4 year old boat with 500 hrs. The upgrade was just under $10k. The difference in the rest of the boat between my '97 and the 4 year old boats (interior, upholstery, hull condition, etc.) was negligible and certainly didn't justify another $20k.

 

A couple of caveats

- If it was just for slalom, I would have stayed with PP and the GT-40, but my kids are jumping and the difference in jump pull between PP and ZO induces a significant safety hazard, i.e. practice with PP, then get to a tournament with ZO and get a lot more gas at the bottom of the ramp......

- With 2 adults slaloming and 2 kids with 3 events, I'll put around 200 hrs a year on the boat for the next 10 years. So in 2022 its a choice between a 14 year old boat with 2500 hrs, or a 25 year old boat with 2000 hrs on the engine. The difference in value at that time will probably be less than $5k.

 

Jody was a huge help in getting the re-power done.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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Jackski, you will notice an improvement in the wake due to the weight reduction (100# +/-). Your next step would be aluminum exhaust manifolds to get another 90# out of it. What heads/manifold did you get, are you FI or carb? I did mine with the fast burn heads along with a ZZ4 cam and am very pleased with them. One area you will want to watch is exhaust manifold gaskets, you will go through them faster now (about every three years or so) due to thermal cycles and expansion/contraction of the aluminum.
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@ DW - Performer RPM heads and manifold. Now I've got a true 9.49 : 1 compresion ratio. The heads are 64cc with the 180cc intake ports so it keeps the power down low. Stayed with the stock (marine) cam for that reason also. Had to port & match the manifold/heads. This doesn't give you more hp but does make it easier to tune.(no flat spots). I wanted to keep the total cost down below $ 2,500 so I stayed with the edlebrock carb and stock exhaust. Will get tuned exhaust probably next year. Does the ZZ4 idle OK?
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My combo is the fast burn heads (58 cc & 10:1 comp ratio) w/ the ZZ4 manifold and Perf. RPM for the exact reasons you noted and I had to port & match the exhaust even with the aluminum headers I got (Stainless Marine). Idle is silky smooth, great grunt off idle, will pull up multiple footers no sweat as that was one major criteria. I did my own 4" dia. exhaust w/ H pipe and that helped mid range torque & did a cold air box and intake tubes to keep cool air at the inlet. Boat actually tops out at about 55 mph. These boats have to have great low end grunt as you noted so I certainly would not put any more cam in it. The marine cam is very good.

 

Kona: no issues at all, not finicky in the least. I have to pay attention to my raw water pump as I removed the engine circ pump & tstat housing (90# reduction) so there is no safety margin. Boat runs great, other than having to remind the neighbor not to pull my arms off on the get up. Has over 800 hours on the parts. With all the aluminum (heads/exhaust headers) I do have to change the exhaust manifold gaskets every three years.

 

It is interesting to see all the discussion on the various engine marinizers, the long blocks they use are all the same (heads/cam/etc.), they simply tune and install the marine parts. Of course they now have several base engines to choose from.

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I would repower mine. It comes down to budget.. I figure the newer boats have flatter and softer wakes than my 94 Nautique, so the tournament conditions will be better than what I practice on. The EX343 would work very well in my boat, but the 240 HP with PPSG still gets the job done..
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swc5150, my local dealer has a professionally rebuilt GT-40 waiting for you to buy it. The head of service bought and rebuilt it to put in his old Bronco, but ended up not doing it. I look at it as my boat's retirement plan if no one buys it. But I always steer people their way. They are a top notch dealer.

 

Honestly, from a horsepower/mid range torque perspective, an acme prop, an edelbrock performer intake, and a set of GT40p heads will get you close to the 300 hp mark with so much mid range torque, you won't want for more for slalom. Probably would cost under $1,000. That was my experience in my old MC 205.

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GAJ0004 I had 265hp for the last 17 years. It was a bit of a pain. Even at 34 it wouldn't hold decent segment times with 3 people in the boat, it was somewhat better with 2 and acceptable with just the driver. It would struggle to get in tolerance for 36 times with 3 people in the boat. Now with an additional 60-70 hp there is no problem being within .01 all segments. But the big thing I notice is the the pull duration is shorter so you get free earlier.
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I had my boat in for service this spring. The one thing that will kill your engine is overheating it. It can cause the heads to crack, and wear out the valves. It would take me 15 years to pay for a new boat, so I would probably repower mine. If the hull, stringers, and interior are in good shape, repowering is a viable option.

 

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The reason I ask is because my temp with a 160 therm jumps, after a couple passes, from 160 in tow 34 mph to 200 (within a couple minutes) at idle when shortening the line for the next pass. Does not really go past 200. With the therm removed it is 150 and jumps to 180 under same conditions. Water pump impeller less than a yr old, water strainer clean, no obstructions in intake under boat and temp gauge seems normal as raising the engine cover when at 200 feels abnormally warm. Sorry this is kind of a thread hijack but Ive had people try and tell me that 200 is not a prob but I don't believe them. Any thoughts?
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The engine heat load is still present when you drop down to idle, so as the water flow drops and there is still quite a few BTU's needed to be taken away via the cooling system, the temperature rises at the exit point which is the output side of the intake manifold. As you noticed, it is not the tstat controlling the temperature but the water volume of the raw water pump in this case. There might be a restriction in the system (weeds in the trans cooler is a common example) adding a restriction in the system. It actually is not a problem unless there is a restriction in the system somewhere. When skiing behind the boat can you see equal amounts of water coming out the pipes? You might also compare to another boat.
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@DW. 97 SN have only one exit pipe. Seems like a restriction to me. How do I check for weeds in the trans cooler? The prob has been going on sence last summer but winter months with colder water has kept it in check. Warmer water now. Where and how else can I look for restrictions? Any other common areas to look?
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I have seen boats heat sink when sitting in the water with the engine off, but not at idle. To check the transmission cooler, with the engine off, pull the hose off of the lakeside end of the transmission cooler and shine a flashlight up there. There is a screen that tends to catch lake debris. Check your sea strainer as well. Make sure it is clear of debris and make sure it seals well when you put the cap back on. You might want to check the pump side of the transmission cooler as well. As odd as it seems, if an impeller has ever been chewed up, the bits of it often fall downstream of the pump on the GT-40. Finally, check your impeller and be sure that the plate between the two sides of the pump housing is lined up correctly when you reinstall (mark the water pump orientation "this way up" ahead of time---you don't want to install it upside-down).
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@Wish restriction wise, one 4" exhaust pipe is slightly smaller than two 3" exhaust pipes. But it's negligible. @Than_Bogan could probalby geek you all up on it. As a dumb plumber all I know is a 4" waste pipe will handle nearly twice as many fixtures as a 3".
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The area of one 4" pipe is 12.56 sq in. the area of (2) 3" pipes is 14.1 sq. in. so not a big difference and that would not really cause that issue since the pipes carry both water and exhaust gases.

 

I have seen the temperature rise on a boat when one throttles back when the skier drops, it rises several degrees then falls back down after a couple of minutes, which sounds like what you are describing. Good suggestions on what to troubleshoot (east tx skier/thager) I would second the same items. Do you have a shower or heater? You might be "stealing" some needed cold volume depending on how it is plumbed.

 

I have seen differences in impellers causing this same problem, some seem to have weak vanes (old one being reused / defective one) and once changed the problem goes away (I have experienced this very thing when I reinstall a good looking impeller in the spring and it is fine until the water warms up). I also have had one of the plastic Jasbsco housings basically get chewed up inside probably due to weeds or water debris / impurities and then it doesn't transfer the water effectively. Can you tell if you boat is louder than it was when not exhibiting the problem, if the answer is yes, you are not pumping enough water to the exhaut pipes as it acts like a muffler (less water/more noise). If still mistified, you might have some debris built up in the block/manifolds/passages etc. causing blockage.

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No heater or anything. Motor, trans, seats and a tow bar. Live in FL so no real winter. Feel like I need a laxative for my boat. I have a lot of trouble shooting to do. I very much appreciate all your suggestions. All could be valid and all will get a good once over. Hoping for simple fix. Week impeller sounds interesting. It's been to long to remember sound level but it's louder than my buddy's 08SN. And seems to have a little more visible exhuast then yrs back. Thanks tons guys and I'll take any other ideas as well.
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I had a the same problem many years ago. The problem was in the impeller housing itself. After being at three dealers with no help or luck, I swapped housings with a ski partners housing and used my impeller. Finally found the problem. Wear in the housing.
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