"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
~Henry David Thoreau
People often ask me if I am finished with my boat. I just can't imagine being finished! I respond, "I believe that if you think you are finished with a boat, it means you have lost interest. I hope to never be finished."
And so, the work continues.
Since the day I first looked at my boat, people around me have been worried about the engines. She has been sitting for 6 years without being started. I have received more advice about the engines than about any other part of her renovation (and I have asked for advice about the engines less than any other part). :)
Advice I have received: "Just crank the engines to be sure they are not seized." "Get the engines started before you do anything else." "Ford 302s are easy engines to work on...anyone can help you." "You should only have a marine engine mechanic work on your engines." "Those engines are old and they are shot--you just need to replace them altogether." "Just try to start them so that you can hear them." "Do not try to start them until you have removed the old oil and put in fresh oil." ...and the list goes on...
Each time, I just smiled and nodded. I knew that I would get to the engines...in good time. They weren't going anywhere; they'd be there when I was ready.
Now I'm ready and work on the engines has begun.
I have the two original 1972 MerCruiser Ford 302s.
My brother, Bill, and good friends, Kevin and Gregg, are helping me with the engines. We decided to start with some maintenance and clean up. We drained the oil and refilled it. Replaced the spark plugs, spark plug wires, points, thermostats, distributor caps, water pump gaskets, etc.
The starboard engine was the first to get attention. We purchased automotive spark plugs (yes, you can buy marine spark plugs). After reading several chat threads about this, I decided to go with automotive. We also bought automotive spark plug wires. But, after getting the wrong ones (twice), I went to Sea Ray of Cincinnati and bought the marine spark plugs made for my engine. We had a tough time finding automotive wires that were long enough to fit around the engine, and the marine wires that were made for my engine are perfect:
Here is the beautiful sound of my starboard engine running:
When we tried to start the engine, it started but would not continue running for long.
When we removed the fuel filter line, fuel gushed out--letting us know that it was pressurized. Also, when we disconnected the fuel line near the carburetor, fuel came out. Now we knew that the fuel was running through the line to the carburetor. My brother sprayed starting fluid in the carburetor and this kept it going. All of this told us that the carburetors needed to be rebuilt--the fuel was getting to the carburetor, but it wasn't getting through it to keep the engine running.
We removed the carburetors and I took them to Ray's Carbs to have him rebuild them (he can be reached at 859.496.4847). It will cost about $150 each to have them rebuilt. After looking at both of them, Ray told me that one of them will not be a problem to rebuild, but the other has water in it and flaky deposits from the water. He told me he could attempt the rebuild if I wanted him to, but he would not be able to guarantee it. After consulting with my brother I've decided to give it a shot. Once it is back on the engine, we will run some Sea Foam through it.
We also need to replace the water pump gaskets:
We weren't sure if we'd be able to find these at all. I consulted Sea Ray of Cincinnati, and they told me the gaskets are no longer made. However, they were able to find several places that had some in stock. They even printed a list of companies who carry parts for my engines that are no longer made! I called one of them, Sea Way Marine Inc. in Seattle (206.937.7373), and they had them in stock! I ordered 4--one for each engine now and two to have as spares. Here is the list of companies (if you want a copy that you can read better, just send me a message and I'll email them to you):
As the fine folks at Sea Ray were looking up part numbers for me, I asked them if they had any idea how I might go about getting a manual for my engines. I figured it was long-shot, but was hopeful that they'd know where I could start my search. The person helping me went back in the storage room, and when he came out, he had found a manual! Now I am the proud owner of this two-volume engine manual--and I couldn't be more excited about that!
I am very excited by the idea of taking her out on the Ohio River and anchoring for the sunset--laying on her bridge bench and looking at the stars...I think she will feel very proud at that moment too! This will be dream come true--and we are confidently heading in that direction!