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View Full Version : 1972 18 - Volvo 270 to Alpha Gen 2 Conversion



Daveyrat
01-05-2015, 09:14 PM
Best day of my life! I finally removed the 270 anchor!!! Not sure how to make the picture bigger...

81236

Bigbroadjumper
01-06-2015, 09:04 AM
Best day of my life! I finally removed the 270 anchor!!! Not sure how to make the picture bigger...

81236

I wonder if the Alpha Gen 2 will last another 42 years? :)

Lenny
01-06-2015, 02:38 PM
How do you plan on doing the conversion ? The whole ordeal and the stringer/transom glasswork and a re-cut ? ... or are you thinking of a bracket ?

If you're doing the reglass thing I'd be tempted to hang a Bravo and be ready for the future motor that you might be thinking of.

:)

Ralph Savarese
01-06-2015, 08:33 PM
Why? Volvo 280 with the right power 70mph trust me I am running my donzi since 66 now re powered with external hydraulic steering volvo zz383 chevy 450 hp 450 lb/ft torque crate engine FWC turning a solas 23 5300rpm 69.8 gps that's 70 in my book steers like its on a track

Daveyrat
01-07-2015, 06:34 PM
I should start with a thank you to the forum: I have been devouring information from this site ever since I feel in love with Donzi's - First Sight!!! Never posted much but my user name used to be Ratliff240 - couldn't figure out my password so I made a new account.

I am not here to discuss the durability of the 270: I know first hand that the thing will work forever. I ran the **** out of mine for 6 years trying to kill it and aside from reverse going out twice, it always got me home. I run my Donzi in the Straits of Juan De Fuca: From the Seattle area to the San Juans and beyond into Canada(100+ miles). We get rough water, huge tides and with long runs (burning a full tank) an variable loads (people and gear) it is not safe to go without TRIM. I am done smashing and shooting in the air with the boat, then hanging off the back trying to move the trim pin in big water! IT IS NOT SAFE and as I get older I am more cognoscente of that.

Here is the plan:
Remove 270:
Remove and re install 350 merc bell housing to my PCM 350
Use adapter Plate to fill hole- gosh this thing is big and ugly... having second thoughts
Bolt the thing together to align it, then remove entire set up.
Install trim pump, steering (have a interesting dampener design/retrofit idea...) shift interupter, remote oil filter
Glass in trim pump platform near batteries (I have already moved the battery back and added another 27 series which sit on either side of the motor). Fresh paint!
Change lower unit of the leg to be counter rotating
Add MSD to 350 and rebuild holly( it is a 4 barrel with vacuum secondaries... not much control in the upper RPMs), not sure if it is better to keep the water pump in the drive or in the serpentine system?

I plan to ask lots of questions and keep everybody informed along the way. Cheers!

Conquistador_del_mar
01-07-2015, 07:44 PM
It looks like you have made your decision so best of luck with the conversion. You could have tracked down a 280T trimmable transom assembly which would have given you the power trim ability with the 270. It uses the exact same bolt pattern, but it has two extra holes that have to be drilled for the hydraulic hoses.

Daveyrat
01-07-2015, 09:08 PM
Thanks Del Mar! You are correct, I am committed and have the majority of my parts already.

P.S. I followed your build and had a picture of your 18 on my computer background until I found my boat. Your engine hatch it different than mine/most. I have always liked the white bottom paint that follows the highest strake to the bow. What do you have for power?

Conquistador_del_mar
01-08-2015, 12:04 AM
Thanks Del Mar! You are correct, I am committed and have the majority of my parts already.

P.S. I followed your build and had a picture of your 18 on my computer background until I found my boat. Your engine hatch it different than mine/most.

I'm tickled that you kept a picture of my 18' and followed the thread. The only reason my hatch is different is that the boat came with an LT-1 350/350HP engine with a high rise intake that necessitated a hole in the engine hatch. Donzi used a Cigarette scoop.

smidgen too
01-10-2015, 12:26 AM
It looks like you have made your decision so best of luck with the conversion. You could have tracked down a 280T trimmable transom assembly which would have given you the power trim ability with the 270. It uses the exact same bolt pattern, but it has two extra holes that have to be drilled for the hydraulic hoses.

Bill this is how I made the trim for my son's X-18, works great. Found all the Merc parts on ebay for under $250.00. This X-18 had the Volvo 270T trimable drive, what a nightmare. This set up I have made & used for over 35 years is clean & simple. Mark

olredalert
01-10-2015, 09:22 AM
----I have seen Marks trim set-up close and it is really slick. Every Volvo drive should have it!!!......Bill S

Conquistador_del_mar
01-12-2015, 12:25 AM
Bill this is how I made the trim for my son's X-18, works great. Found all the Merc parts on ebay for under $250.00. This X-18 had the Volvo 270T trimable drive, what a nightmare. This set up I have made & used for over 35 years is clean & simple. Mark

Mark,
Are the trim cylinders on your modified system the standard Merc Alpha trim rams? Great modification!

smidgen too
01-15-2015, 11:06 AM
Mark,
Are the trim cylinders on your modified system the standard Merc Alpha trim rams? Great modification!

Bill they are standard Merc outboard cylinders just like the ones used on many trim tabs.

smidgen too
01-15-2015, 11:43 AM
Best day of my life! I finally removed the 270 anchor!!! Not sure how to make the picture bigger...

81236

I love these anchors I have 5 boats with them 4 have twins Volvo drives [Donzi Doral, Mag sedan & sport & Cobra] . Volvo drives shift nicer than a Merc, and are easy to work on, & raise them up 3" like on my Magnum Sport and you would never switch them out.

Conquistador_del_mar
01-16-2015, 01:09 PM
Bill they are standard Merc outboard cylinders just like the ones used on many trim tabs.

I thought they looked shorter than I/O trim cylinders. Very creative on your part!

smidgen too
01-17-2015, 01:20 AM
I thought they looked shorter than I/O trim cylinders. Very creative on your part!
Bill these cylinders have been used for Volvo drive trim since 1974. They were used in a cruder form back then on many Magnum like this pic of Lil Rhino, I started making my version back in 1976.

f_inscreenname
01-17-2015, 11:51 PM
You could always use a 280T shield ...

Daveyrat
01-21-2015, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the info, it is great to see people are keeping these drives functional ( I appreciate keeping the boats original!!!).

1) Does anyone have recent experience with matching a the existing '72 steering cowling with a new Teleflex system at the dash? I do not have the cash to go hydraulic...

2) How about getting behind the throttle and gear controls without splitting the deck? Any tricks would be appreciated. I am only removing the shift cable (need to add the shift interrupter) as the throttle will not change.

3) Ideas on running a counter rotating alpha or not? From my understanding it is only the lower unit which is counter.. I am left-hand steer.

Thanks!

Bigbroadjumper
01-22-2015, 09:27 AM
Thanks for the info, it is great to see people have the time to keep these drives functional.

1) Does anyone have recent experience with matching a the existing '72 steering cowling with a new Teleflex system at the dash? I do not have the cash to go hydraulic...

2) How about getting behind the throttle and gear controls without splitting the deck? Any tricks would be appreciated. I am only removing the shift cable (need to add the shift interrupter) as the throttle will not change.

3) Ideas on running a counter rotating alpha or not? From my understanding it is only the lower unit which is counter.. I am left-hand steer.

Thanks!

Regarding the throttle. I replaced the throttle control on my 16 and did not split the deck. I went after it from under the dash. I have long arms and needed every inch. Pretty sure there are a couple of wrenches still hiding in that boat. :)

smidgen too
01-22-2015, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the info, it is great to see people have the time to keep these drives functional.

1) Does anyone have recent experience with matching a the existing '72 steering cowling with a new Teleflex system at the dash? I do not have the cash to go hydraulic...

2) How about getting behind the throttle and gear controls without splitting the deck? Any tricks would be appreciated. I am only removing the shift cable (need to add the shift interrupter) as the throttle will not change.

3) Ideas on running a counter rotating alpha or not? From my understanding it is only the lower unit which is counter.. I am left-hand steer.

Thanks!

I repaired the the shift cable on the X-18, it can be done without cutting a access hole. My biggest problem was with all the sharp pieces of fiber glass cutting into my arm while working with a mirror in reverse. Adding a shift interrupter could be something else. I took many pic's with my camera before starting, that really helped.
My X-18 had so much torque steer with the stock steering I felt it was unsafe. I watched for deals on ebay for Teleflex & Hynautic parts. I built the system for around $500.00, money well spent. And I too left some tools in there.

Conquistador_del_mar
01-22-2015, 01:57 PM
I can't help on your question about the helm conversion, but my guess is that you will probably have to get creative if you want to keep the old Teleflex bezel with a new steering system. In my opinion you would be better off with the counter rotating Alpha drive if you are definitely going with the Alpha since you are left hand drive. I will also agree with the others that you can get to the throttle/shifter parts after producing lots of frustration, blood and sweat. Many years ago I made the decision on my 1971 18' to cut an access hole and I never looked back.

Daveyrat
01-22-2015, 02:18 PM
Del Mar do you have information on the carpet that you used? I like how is goes up the sides under the dash.

Can anyone confirm that the Alpha Gen 2 lower is all that is counter rotating?

Also any suggestions on sticking with the serpentine driven raw water pump versus the one in the alpha lower unit? It seems like it would be a pain to split the case once a year but i am not sure the serp system will work with the alpha...

Thanks all!

murfman
01-25-2015, 11:45 PM
If you go with a Volvo 290/SP-A transom you get trim and being that the transom is bigger you can raise the drive almost 3 " without any glass work. The original 270'leg will bolt right back on as well. I found a complete 4 cyl
SP-A for 500$. Sold off the lower and the bell housing for 200$ so I had a net of 300$ in everything needed to add trim and raise the drive.

Daveyrat
02-27-2015, 04:21 PM
Work has been crazy but I have been able to make some progress. Found out that the adapter bracket would have required me to cut halfway through the drain plug and the transom light... Bailed on that idea and found a glass guy who has a good reputation. I am still concerned the blue will be very hard to match!

With the 350 out of the boat I am took the time to clean up a bit of rust, removed the raw water pump, changed to alpha thermostat housing, and rebuilt the carb. Next is installing the electronic ignition after I can confirm the clearance in the boat will be the same.

Hopefully I will have pictures of the boat in a few weeks.

Also, I have discovered that the counter Alphas are junk, so I will be sticking with the regular rotation. From my understanding smaller diameter props help with reducing listing at speeds. Is this the case? I am starting prop research now. Factory 330 HP at the crank. Thinking Mirage Plus not sure if I can push a 23???

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