View Full Version : Newbe: Restoration Company ? for Sweet 16

08-02-2011, 02:14 PM

I joined the Donzi Registry a few years ago looking to make my dreams come true by buying a Sweet 16. I finally bought a 1990 Sweet 16 4.3 Liter OMC Cobra. When it is working properly it is great. Everything is original as far as I know. I really don't know much about Donzi's other than I love the way they look and perform and have dreamed about them all my life.

If anyone can answer the following questions that would be awesome and I know they will sound stupid for those that are so experienced here on this forum:

Does anyone know of a reptuable restoration/repair Company that I can use. I am located in Northern NJ. I do use the boat at Lake George New York and in NJ. Thinking about maybe adding a few of the below items:
1) OMC Engine is original but it has been in the shop 3 times for rough idling/gear switching issues already this summer. I would like more reliability for the season as it is so short. What does it cost to switch out the engine with drive to a new one roughly ? I don't need anyting fancy; just reliable, easily serviced and 55+ mph is fine.
2) The boat seems to oscillate up and down unless I have the trim all the way down. Do I need Trim Tabs or do I have poor driving skills. Rough Cost and where could I get it done if that is what I need?
3) I am thinking of adding Thru-Hull Exhaust with quiet switch. Rough Cost and where could I get it done ?
4) Minor Fiberglass Chips/seat rips etc. Where could I get this done ?
5) Don't get mad at me but is there such a thing as a swim ladder I could add; (Portable would be best so not to mark up the classic)

My main issue is reliability. When it runs it is sweet. I'm thinking maybe doing 1 big overhaul over the winter. This is a great forum and thanks for any help/opinions/thoughts/recommendations !

08-02-2011, 02:26 PM
Great looking boat, same color scheme as my 18C. One option you may consider are Smart Tabs as a cost effective alternative to full blown trim tabs.
There is another member on here named Bob in Covington and he has them on his 16' and said great things about them when I spoke with him last.
As far as the engine and drive, I would bet that if you looked hard enough you could find a used 4.3 or a 5.0 Merc with an Alpha drive and then work off those if you wanted to go a cheaper version. For a new power engien and drive I would guess you would be in the rabge of $4K + install. Maybe a little more.

08-02-2011, 02:48 PM
what problems were found with the shifting mech? Three times in the same year sounds like your mechanic might be band aiding or just chasing his tail.

08-02-2011, 03:11 PM
what problems were found with the shifting mech? Three times in the same year sounds like your mechanic might be band aiding or just chasing his tail.

First time I couldn't get it to shift into neutral from forward. It was scary as I had to turn the key off to stop the boat. I ended up breaking the cable trying to force it into Neutral. So first time cable got fixed. Then got the boat back and it would shift but very hard to shift into Neutral. Took the boat right out. They tried it and it worked fine at the shop but then they looked at the Shift interrupt switch and the roller arm was bent away from the cam. They straightened arm so it rides on the properly on cam. It worked perfectly after that. They did notee that the carb dripping from secondaries at idle causing rich running. I ran it for a few weeks with no issues but now it is rough idling and ready to conq out so they have it now. I think they are good people/service group and maybe it is just an old boat/motor hopefully ??

08-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Where on Lake George are you? There are a few good shops around the Lake.

08-02-2011, 04:27 PM
Bolton Landing. I know the names but have no idea which ones are good or which ones are so so. Especially one that could service a Donzi if I run into a problem. I kind of need both; one that could fix a problem with the engine if I run into trouble while I am up there and then if there is another long term who does restorations or major work. Thanks for your help !

08-02-2011, 04:40 PM
Performance Marine.

And bring your boat to the Fall Picnic at Treasure Cove in September.


08-02-2011, 04:41 PM
A few thoughts

the porpoising can be controlled with right prop.

I used a rope boarding ladder from a blowboat worked well attached to grab rail near a support bracket but all of my passengers kids and adult found it easier to climb the drive.

tabs are great for side to side leveling and to keep the nose down in snotty water. my 16 had them only time i used them once i got the right prop was on lake george when it kicked up.

thru hull on a v 6 doesn't sound as nice as a v8 so if you are going to cut the transom and put them in maybe a switch to a v8 would be in order but then again a 16 with a v8 and all the fixxings then throw in the tab pump and the y pipe and it is going to be tight.

I would find a good OMC mech and get the boat running correctly. the right prop ,the right mech, then see if you need tabs.

If your in North jersey there are good mechs nearby in lake hopatcong greenwood lake , on the hudson , PA or up in lake george .

the cost upgrade to V8 with tabs and quick and quiet would probably the same or close to the same as selling the 16 and adding in the money to be spent on upgrades and buy an 18 setup the way you want. the 18 is a better boat for lk george any way so why not upgrade to a bigger boat.

08-02-2011, 05:06 PM
Performance Marine in Bolton Landing work on quite a few Donzi's, but I don't know if they are OMC guys. Give them a shout and see. They are a great bunch of guys and love the boats they work on.

08-02-2011, 05:14 PM
One of our sponsors here, Jamie at Lakeside Restorations, is in eastern PA, near Wilkes-Barre. I'd think that was within about 2 hours of you. -Mike

Greg Guimond
08-02-2011, 06:16 PM
Welcome........I would move the trim tab thought to the last in priority.

08-03-2011, 07:34 AM
One of our sponsors here, Jamie at Lakeside Restorations, is in eastern PA, near Wilkes-Barre. I'd think that was within about 2 hours of you. -Mike

Thanks Mike.. Yes I am close to NJ..

08-03-2011, 09:21 PM
Thanks to all on your comments. They all help. I will let you know how I make out.

Phil S
08-05-2011, 02:18 AM
All have posted great advice. I went thru my fair share of shifting issues with my 4.3 cobra....and lots of folks here helped me sort them out. A good OMC technician should be able to go straight to the problem (emphasis on "good"). The bellcrank in the outdrive was worn out on mine. I think the part was about $130.00. Which cable broke? Control to engine, or engine to outdrive ? If you haven't replaced the engine to outdrive cable...do so, and have them check the run-out (see if it's bent..even slightly) on the bellcrank. There's a detailed description of the entire set-up of the cable adjustment procedure at "stuarthastings.org" and your OMC tech should know this procedure.

The other issue sounds like your idle. Your engine should be idling perfectly down to about 600 rpm minimum...lower is even better. Even if your shift mechanism is set up perfectly, if your engine idle is rough to begin with, you're likely to stall when shifting. That "roller-arm" they bent back into place sounds suspect as well. If that arm doesn't "center" itself after shifting, you'll definitely be "running rough", as it kills the spark to cylinders while you shift in / out of gear.

They can shift ver-ry smoothly though when set up right..and it's a sturdy drive IMO.

Certainly not trying to talk you out of bigger boat / engine upgrades ! :) Just hoping this helps somehow.

Phil S.