Its amazing how complex and failure prone such a old boat can be. Anything is apt to blow-up at anytime!! Its got several hydraulic systems and two control stations, one on the bridge and another in the cabin starboard side. During one effort to leave the dock the bridge controls "fell apart" in my hand. Had to rush into the cabin controls to get back to the dock! Both control sets were replaced by units retailing for $200 plus. My cost however, $75 as they were returned items. You can really mine some gold at the marine store return shelves!
The hydraulic steering pumps are located at the steering positions and control the turning of the lower drive unit with a power piston. This hydraulic piston is connected to the lower unit steering rod located behind the engine. All components are connected by hydraulic lines which are subject to leaking. Fluid level is checked at the steering units.
The trim tabs are controlled from the bridge . The bridge control is a small yoke toggle switch which can be pushed in several directions depending on how the trim should be applied, This control connects via several electrical wires to the hydraulic pump located on the starboard forward bulkhead of the engine room. Actually there is enough room to walk around the engine (but not the back) with the rear deck about chest high. Its very roomy compared to most boats this size. Three hatches can be lifted out for complete access. You step down on the fuel tank then onto the bottom of the bilge.
Well back to hydraulics the third system controls the lower unit which goes through the transom from the engine to turn the 16x16 inch prop. There is another bundle of wires coming from the bridge control which is a standard three push button switch system. These wires control the lower unit hydraulic pump to raise/lower the propeller end of the drive system. There is a hydraulic power piston on each side of the lower unit to push it up and pull it down. I eventually discovered these power pistons cost a couple hundred dollars each! I replaced them for under $200 each by ordering out of a marine catalog. Another good source of occasional bargains. Engine oil is the fluid used in this and the trim tab hydraulic pumps. The steering control uses standard auto power steering fluid. By the way no manuals or instructions came with this old boat (which may usually be the case) so these fluids could be other than those originally specified!
While were in the engine room a few words about the engine. Its a small block Chevy, 305 cu.in. with a four barrel carburetor. The engine is rated at 225 h.p. with 188 h.p. appearing at the propeller. I'm familiar with GM engines from the auto's I have owned. Although this was a marine version it still seems very characteristic of their old auto engine systems. The starter and carbs always seem ready for maintenance or replacement and the spark plugs are hidden under the exhaust headers. In an auto I use to own (78 Olds) I would go in under the fender wheel well to change plugs! The boat engine is very easy to work on as I can sit down beside it for repairs and maintenance. This engine even has room to drain the oil into a pan underneath rather than pumping out of the oil dip stick tube.
There is a two battery d.c. power system with a Bat#1, Bat#2, All, selection switch. I use $100 auto batteries as the cabin is not used overnight etc. so a long life, low drain battery is unnecessary. Better I think to have two batteries that can be used for engine starting. i.e. this old engine sometimes takes a lot of cranking to get started when cold. The cabin a.c. system is tied into the portable generator via an adaptor cable connected at the cabin a.c. external input plug on the starboard side. Would also like to have a d.c. inverter someday but 800 watts to run a microwave cost "big bucks".
I do have a LORAN installed in the cabin ($99 at a marine store special sale day ,$400 plus retail, this while GPS was still in the testing mode) beside the steering station and a depth gage overhead. Also have a new depth sounder on the bridge where most boating time is spent. With the shallow waters and mud flats of the Potomac river a depth sounder at each station is a good thing to have. Also have a hand held Garmin 45 GPS unit for use on the bridge. Got a Garmin because they were on sale just before the latest software upgrade (Garmin 45XL), and there's lots of software and discussion of these units on the Internet. Lets face it you may never lose sight of land on the Potomac but I do like to play with my toy's!
TO BOAT MAINTENANCE LOGS Be warned that unless you are planning or doing the same thing logs can make pretty dull reading!
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