Finally bought a boat

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by BikePilot, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    It's a 1995 Cobalt 272 with a 385hp fuel injected 454. Needs a little work, but price was right so I went for it. Drove it home to Apollo Beach from Treasure Island and enjoyed the cruise. It was owned by an older guy who generally kept it well maintained, but it does need a few items. Mostly his mechanic was not great so things that got "fixed" need to be re-fixed :lol3 I've made a big list that should keep me busy for a weekend or ten :lol3

    Must-do soon
    • Bilge pump, OEM pump not connected, small pump located too far farward instead (works, just doesn't get as much water out as quickly as I'd like)
    • Engine performance issue: doesn’t go past 3,600 rpm.
    • Silent Choice Exhaust, not connected. When connected left side stays open, the right stays closed. Haven't figured out which switch is supposed to control it.
    • Trim tabs inoperative, driver side seems to go up and down regardless of which switch is pushed
    • Horn doesn’t work
    • Replace or re-fill fire extinguishers (both read low, no sign of a fire, must have leaked down over the years)
    Should do soon
    • Outdrive trim gauge doesn’t work (don't know if its the sending unit, wiring or gauge itself)
    • Outdrive trim switch on control lever only works to put outdrive down, have to use trailer switch to go up
    • Fiberglas engine cover cracked at rear
    • Clean out head enclosure (mildew), figure out how water and waste systems work, fix if/as needed
    • Repair a few small dings in gellcoat

    Fix eventually
    • Interior lighting, several bulbs burnt out
    • Oil pressure gauge backlighting inoperative
    • Stereo/sound system, can't get it to turn-on
    • Clean bilge area, slimy from not getting totally dry after a rain

    Upgrades/to purchase
    • GPS System
    • Marine Radio system
    • New or repaired covers (current covers have shrunk just enough that I can't get all the snaps snapped)
    • Full-boat cover
    • More life-vests so friends don't have to bring their own :lol3
    #1
  2. 68deluxe

    68deluxe Long timer

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    Congrats. Will it be used for cruising, fishing or skiing?
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  3. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Cruising, skiing, tubing, that sort of thing. I'm not a fisherman.
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  4. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Only boat owners hate money more than motorcycle owners.
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  5. Hardware02

    Hardware02 Long timer

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    You forgot owners of aircraft.
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  6. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    :clap:freaky:freaky
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  7. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius 1.5 Finger Discount

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    Cross post in JM so we can name it for you.
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  8. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    Nice boat!

    Bust
    Out
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    Thousand

    :lol3
    #8
  9. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Only because I don't know any. I circulate in low budget circles. :evil
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  10. ImaPoser

    ImaPoser adventure imposter

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    Wow, that's a heck of a list of things to do on a recently purchased boat! I hope you got a heck of a deal on it as a few of those items are going to get pricy.

    engine rpm issue is most likely the boat is propped wrong. What pitch prop is on it currently?

    Since you are going to keep it out on a lift like that, in your should do soon list should be a full cover for it.

    I'm pretty certain that vintage mercruiser would not have a closed cooling system, and even if it did, you would still want to run some fresh water through it at the end of each outing. Looks tough to get to the back of the boat to put muffs on it, I'd look at adding a fresh water flush out fitting accessible from the swim platform area as well.

    Looks like you you'll be having fun on the bay this year. I may be sending you a pm in the future regarding your move and what you think of it. I'm contemplating the same area some day, possibly sooner rather than later. :1drink
    #10
  11. MikeFromMT

    MikeFromMT Past Tense

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  12. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Thanks guys :freaky

    IP, the prop occurred to me too so I checked, it has a 21P Mirage prop--should be correct for the boat (or slightly under-propped) according to the manual. I'm pretty positive its not making full power. Had a quick look today and I noted that the distributor twists easily if I grab the distributor cap and twist. Maybe the timing is just way-retarded :ear

    It already has a freshwater flush port fitted, definitely needed with my setup, flushed for about 15min today after taking it out :) Boats tend to get used a lot down here and most everything I looked at needed that much work or (a lot) more and most of what I looked at was 2-3x the price. I looked at a couple boats with really low hours and they had all sorts of issues from sitting, there's no winning:lol3 Price on this one was fantastic and its a bigger, fancier boat than I was looking for so I'm totally thrilled :clap

    I'll move the full cover to the soon list, any recommendation for a supplier? I'd love one with a drawstring rather than straps that go under :D
    #12
  13. ImaPoser

    ImaPoser adventure imposter

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    After I posted, I reread your list. All the issues with trim tabs/trim switches/indicators, are you able to trim it properly right now? That would also greatly affect your ability to get the rpms where they should be. 21p prop sounds about right. I certainly wouldn't be messing around with other props till you are positive there are no engine issues, and all the trim stuff works correctly, but only pulling 3600 rpm is a problem.
    As for a cover, you can go the cheaper cover that wears out more often route, or have a good one custom made once. If you think you're going to own it 5+ years, it's probably worth it to have a good one made exactly how you want. If not, a cheapo that just keeps the sun off it and needs to be replaced every three years will be more cost effective. If going the cheap route, watch ebay for closeouts. They don't even have to be a perfect fit, just go a little bigger and customize it as needed.
    Oh yeah, if the silent choice is closed, I'd move it to the don't bother to ever get around to fixing it list. :lol3 When I bought my last cuddy, that was on my must have list. I passed up at least a half dozen boats only because it didn't have it. A month after I got the boat, I don't think I ever turned it on again. :doh
    Likewise the onboard water and head compartment. It was used the first couple trips out on the boat, then we decided it was more of a pain in the ass to maintain than a convenience to have. I winterized it the first year and never put it back in service after that. By the time I bought my second boat, I specifically shopped and had to special order mine to delete any on board water system.
    GPS is a must, a cheap handheld would be fine. A VHF radio is also a must. Where you are, I would go with a fixed one and as big of an antennae as you are willing to stick on it over a handheld.
    And don't forget a boat u.s. membership for towing. :lol3
    #13
  14. RonS

    RonS Out there...

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    Cobalt's are very well built boats and they are pretty as well. It seems like you looked over the boat thoroughly and your list does not sound very long to me. But then I've owned boats of various types for over thirty years and have come to the conclusion that if something is working on a boat, it should be considered a temporary condition. Nothing to worry about and usually easy to fix. Most of the items on your list appear minor with the possible exception of the 3600 rpm limit. Most of these boats will top out at 4000 to 4500 rpm depending on how they are propped. 3600 rpm seems a little on the low side for it to be a prop issue. Worth researching.
    #14
  15. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

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    What's the price of fuel down there, and what's that thing's burn rate?
















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  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    IP, the trim is a good thought and I'm sure I haven't got it exactly right, but I'm not so far off as to cause that much rpm loss. The trim tabs are stuck almost all the way up so they aren't doing much. The outdrive I can move, just can't use the gauge to see where it is. I tried putting the drive all the way down, throttle wide open then very slowly raised it until the boat started porpising and never broke 3800rpm. The merc' spec is a minimum WOT rpm of 4600 and max of 5000 with rev limiter at 5200. Tests were done with the boat pretty light (once tested with ~10 gallons of fuel in the boat and 3 people, yesterday with ~70 gallons and 2 people, essentially no gear either time) so I'd think it should max out near the top of that range, esp with the 21p prop.

    I suspect I'll be the same way with the head and silent choice, but I want them to work as a matter of principle if nothing else:1drink

    Already got the boat US tow gold tow service on it :lol3

    I like the idea of the fixed radio, I'll try and get one pretty soon. I'll also get a GPS. For now I've relied on a smart wife holding a chart:deal Also the channel to my house is right next to a super-tall power station that can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Tampa Bay so its easy to figure out which way is home, just gotta stay off the shallow bits.

    Anyone know if the distributor is supposed to be bolted in tight or rotate around easily? Motor is essentially the same setup as the GM 502 Ramjet crate motor that hotrodders use.

    Ron, I'm definitely looking into the rpm issue, it's definitely not making anywhere near full power.

    Smithy, I like sailing a lot too and was in the sailing club at school for 3 years. Good fun. I decided I wanted to try out power for a bit. I think for sailing to really make sense down here I'd need time to go out in the Gulf a lot and I haven't either right now. Also I wanted to do a bit of skiing/tubing/wakeboarding and have a quick and easy way to get to the island a mile out from my house and the many waterside resturants near-by. Something with sails is most definitely in the cards sooner or later :D
    #16
  17. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius 1.5 Finger Discount

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    Maybe I can rig something up for him.
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  18. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    The distributor should not move. While you are there see if it is mechanical advance and make sure the weights aren't rusted. Same for the carb linkage. Easy stuff first. When I bought my Shamrock she was stuck at 3600 and just would not get over that hump even after all the easy stuff including a full tuneup, carb rebuild, cleaning up the ignition advance weights and swapping the points for a breakerless ignition.

    So I bought a timing light and found the timing was off by only 2 degrees (apparently set for a 351 rather than a 302). Believe it or not that 2 degrees made a huge difference. It immediately start turning almost the full rated rpm. If you have been turning the distributor it is probably off at least that much. After timing it correctly what finally got mine to rev all the way out was tracking down a tiny little vacuum leak in the PCV hoses.

    Just do everything one step at a time and you will find the problem. But the exhaust issues, checking the advance weights and retiming it would be first on my to do list.
    #18
  19. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Thanks, I'll definitely check it. The motor is fuel injected and the timing advanced is controlled by a computer module, but base timing is done the old fashioned way. The computer references the base, mechanically-set timing so if it isn't supposed to move, but does then the advance will be all screwed up too. I'll start by setting base timing and tightening it down and then see what it does. I also want to get some software and a cable so I can monitor everything from the laptop (or at least monitor what the computer thinks is happening).
    #19
  20. ImaPoser

    ImaPoser adventure imposter

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    Is that generation mercruiser capable of it? No idea, I haven't been boating long enough to own something from the 90's, but the latest generation smartcraft stuff is awesome. If possible, I would put it at the top of the list of things to spend money on.
    #20