View Full Version : Happiness is. . . . . .

Just Say N20
06-04-2012, 02:49 PM
I did a road trip on Saturday. Put 974 miles on the Magnum. Averaged 20.2 mpg, towing a small U-Haul trailer.

Keith finished my engine. :)

Should push the old Ski-Sporter along nicely.

CMI E-top headers should look pretty good too.

06-04-2012, 03:48 PM

Looks great - hang on tight!

Just Say N20
06-04-2012, 04:02 PM
I was just thinking I could have named this thread, "Bill can't keep a secret."

But I find this kind of stuff interesting, and thought others might too. I never intended to make a super fast, stealth Ski-Sporter. I wanted to make a boat that could comfortably and easily cruise at 45 - 50 running about 3,500 rpms. With this engine making almost 315 hp, and 470 ft lbs of torque at 3,500 rpms, IF I can find enough prop, that should be very achievable.

Besides, if my goal were to make a super fast little boat, a 1967 Ski-Sporter most certainly isn't the boat I would have chosen to start with.

Matty, hopefully I can get the engine in the boat sometime this week (I had to order some additional parts), and can test out your props.

06-04-2012, 04:02 PM
Nice, now get her done!!!!

06-04-2012, 04:29 PM
I can't keep a secret either, plus I always say good news travels fast - and your boat may travel faster than that - Congrats!

I wonder how a 26" Ultra would run on your boat?

I forget - what did you do about steering?

Just Say N20
06-04-2012, 04:34 PM
I forget - what did you do about steering?

Nothing yet. I'm sure that at some point in the future hydraulic steering will become a reality. A little "wallet recovery" time is necessary at the moment.

06-04-2012, 05:20 PM
I may do something one day, but for now I've been reading Ralph Savarese's steering upgrade thread very closely.

Not sure if there is as much room in the back of a 16 as there is on an 18 - but I may take some measurements.

06-04-2012, 06:22 PM

06-04-2012, 06:32 PM
Bill, those fuel consumption numbers are very impressive.
Particularly in the 3400-3900 RPM range. And if they're real, in Diesel territory!

06-04-2012, 11:36 PM
Bill, that is a very nice-looking engine!

Jay's Ski Sporter, formerly mine, has a tuned up SBF and was a real handful at wot. The "helmet slop" coupled with the chine walk made it quite exciting, to say the least!

The next time I get over to GR I'd love to take a gander at your impressive renovation. Now that I'm retired I ought to have plenty of time on my hands!


06-05-2012, 01:57 PM
I didn't notice the gallons/hour column the first time. That adds some fun.

Let's see, if you can spin a 27, and get slip down near 11, you could make 55 mph at 3900. At 20 gph...2.75 mpg. That'd be pretty awesome for 55. Don't know if it's really possible, but it'd be very cool if it were.

Just Say N20
06-05-2012, 03:55 PM
I didn't notice the gallons/hour column the first time.

That fuel burn rate is at WOT as the engine is pulling against the dyno up through the rpms. Just running at 3,000 rpms will not burn 19.xx gallons an hour.

Should be pretty efficient. Pending finding the right prop.

06-05-2012, 07:54 PM

Those dyno specs look great. Max torque under 4,000rpm is nice for your cruise expectations. Engine looks really nice too, I really like that crossover. I said it before, but it really warms my heart to see the time, effort and top notch results of your restoration. Now comes the fun part, get that motor in and start enjoying it.

- Marshall

Bobby D
06-06-2012, 10:23 AM
Excellent restoration the motor looks awesome. Iíll be watching very closely to see how the new mill fits in the 16 engine compartment. At your current pace you will complete well ahead of me. Also looking forward to seeing performance numbers and how the Holley and MSD work out.

06-06-2012, 07:54 PM
The last column is lb/HP/hr and is the true indicator and gives about 17 GPH @ WOT.......if you were propped for that engine speed.

Anything under .5 lb/HP/hr is really good for gasoline.

06-06-2012, 09:04 PM
----Was just going over the torque figures and I think your new power-plant would do well in a tractor puller. BIG TQ numbers........Bill S

Just Say N20
06-06-2012, 10:19 PM
was just going over the torque figures and i think your new power-plant would do well in a tractor puller. Big tq numbers........bill s


Honestly, the very healthy torque numbers, and the AF numbers, along with gcarter's comments just reenforce to me what a talented engine builder Keith is. He REALLY knows what he is doing. I am very pleased.

06-07-2012, 05:32 PM
with that setup you are going to need to keep a 23 solas on hand as a spare and find someone to press a michigan volvo hub into something merc around 26-27 pitch. The cleaver I sent you is setup that way. with 310 hp I got the 25 chopper to about 4500 rpm on 1.6 . If you find a 26 ultra make sure it has the modified hub or that thing will melt the hub in no time. you might want to find a 1.3 gear set.

the 23 solas acts like a 24-25 pitch prop and my last conversation with Grizz I was going to have mine tweaked he basically said they did all the tweaking needed and not much more could be rung out of it.

good luck should be fun watching your numbers

Just Say N20
06-07-2012, 10:49 PM
Fixx, thanks for the offer to try the Ultra 26. Should be interesting to see how it runs.

I'm also intrigued by Matty saying the 25 Cleaver he sent me to try has a Volvo hub pushed into a Merc prop. If I could find someone to do that, it would open up a lot of possibilities.

I'm still thinking I will need to try a Solas 23. From what Maddad has told me, that looks like it could be the ticket.

Just Say N20
06-13-2012, 08:42 AM
OK. Maddad, is my understanding correct, that you have a 400 in your boat mated to a Volvo 280?

If so, how did you do it?

I drove 150 miles to the shop last night towing my engineless DONZI excited about installing the new engine.

Patiently, we removed one of the solid engine mounts to get clearance, removed a valve cover, and then a roller rocker, loosened the bell housing, and got the engine ready to slide into the bell housing.

And then things went terribly wrong. Although I had consciously thought about the fact that the 400 uses an externally balanced crank, and therefore a 168 tooth flywheel (rather than a 153 tooth, like all 350 derivatives), which also required me to purchase a new starter, I never completely thought out the implications. Apparently.

The 168 tooth flywheel, is LARGER than the opening in the bell housing. That's right, the Volvo 290 bell housing (and perhaps the 270/280) will not accept the larger flywheel. And the fit is such that you couldn't "shave" enough off the inside of the bell housing for it to fit, and have any structural integrity left.

So I'm sure I'm not the first person to have made this little discovery. So, to those who have done this before, what did you do?

Keith is seeing if he can get a custom made 153 tooth flywheel that is balanced and weighted like a 168 tooth flywheel, so it can be used on my engine. Maybe this is done all the time, and is no big deal. But I'm telling you what. As we got ready to slide the splined shaft into the flywheel coupler, and it became obvious the flywheel wouldn't clear the housing, I felt like all the wind had been taken out of my sails.

Bobby D
06-13-2012, 09:34 AM
Here you go I’m sure he will lean in but until than here is Mike’s response to similar questions I had with my project -Good luck with it Bob. You run an SX Volvo right? To mate the external balanced 406 to my AQ drive, I had to have a small SBC flywheel drilled so it had the right counter weight.

Before buying my 406 I needed to figure out the crankshaft bolt pattern puzzle as well. I had to go from a 1986 and later crank with 3.00 “bolt circle to a pre 86 production 3.58” crankshaft. Flywheels and flexplates for these cranks are available in 12-3/4" and 14" diameters. All 400ci small-block Chevrolet V8's are extremely balanced, and must use a counterweighted flywheel (or flexplate) for proper engine balance.
The Volvo SX bell house works with either a 12ĺ” or 14” flywheel, as it turned out I had a 14” 168 ring gear teeth flywheel that did not work, also the Volvo SX rubber coupling has the wrong bolt pattern as well. I ordered an externally balanced 400 flywheel and a new two-piece SX rubber coupling, rebuilt my existing starter and my problem was solved.
Good luck,

Just Say N20
06-13-2012, 10:17 AM

Thanks for the encouragement.

I did some online searching, and found there are externally balanced, 153 tooth flywheels available for the 400 Chevy. A lot of hot-rodders, who also do the mix/match thing with parts from every vintage, also encountered this problem way before I became aware of it, so there is a solution available.

Sounds like your fun was much more problematic than mine. You got through it, and I will too.

And when it is done. . . . . . :)

06-13-2012, 09:38 PM
I used a small flywheel drilled out for the right counter balance, but I'm pretty sure you can buy one new already balanced right.Also make sure the snout on your SBC starter is the one that fits in the Volvo bell housing you're using.

Sweet Cheekz
06-13-2012, 09:58 PM
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Nicely done Bill Congrats
Last year at the gorge run my 16 averaged 3mpg at 60mph (about 3700 rpm's) over a 200 mile run so its possible
BTW thats a 180 mile range in a 16 It was one of my highlights of the run!
Anyways back to Bill So much for all that manure I heard about how you didn't want to put any money in your boat Now its a showpiece. The sickness continues to spread
Well done.

Bobby D
06-14-2012, 09:57 AM
FIXX gave me a heads up to have a machine shop check the flywheel, the one I ordered replaces GM 3986394.
I followed his advice and my buddy who has a machine shop checked run-out on the flywheel it was .001.
Sounds like your going with the new 400 flywheel however should you decide to drill a small one see attached.

Just Say N20
06-14-2012, 11:41 AM
Bobby, thanks for the additional information.

The custom speed shop Keith used for many of the parts in this build (and I also learned he did some of the machine work on the block) is taking back the 168 tooth flywheel and is going to make a properly weighted/balanced 153 tooth flywheel for my engine. :yes:

Believe me, if I ever read a thread about someone else going down this particular path, I'm going to be sure and bring this little flywheel/bell housing issue to their attention way early in the project.

06-24-2012, 09:20 AM
so Bill how is it going? figured I would just give you a note of encouragement, sometimes these things jump up and bite you on a project, can't let them get the best of you. sometimes it pays to walk away from it for a while do something else for a day or two and come back at it with a fresh eyes and attitude.

with my project and the disappointment of not being able to take the boat to the dustoff, I went had a great time forgot about the boat for the weekend. when i got back I looked at it with fresh eyes and a fresh attitude. I was ready to take a torch to it before I left thankfully I didn't !!!! what I thought was water in the oil turned out to be GAS. when I got back and re checked the oil I could clearly smell the gas which I didn't smell due to either being greasy and gassy myself from tinkering in the bilge. Then after thinking about it , it made perfect sense I was running the boat trying to get the misfiring cyl's going, dumping unburnt fuel into the crankcase. so now firing on all cyls and 2 oil changes of clear oil looks like I'll be water testing later in the week.

That's what you're working for, and when you test yours and the numbers start coming in you will get that ear to ear grin and realize it was all worth it. :)

on another up-note gas is almost down to 3 bux a gallon here in jersey!!