CHRIS CRAFT COMMANDER FORUM ® .......A photo-intensive technical reference file and ongoing newsletter regarding the original fiberglass Chris-Craft Commander series. This is an independent not-for-profit and non-commercial web site, not affiliated with the Chris Craft Commander Club ~~ or ~~ Chris-Craft Corporation. Our mission here is to "have fun and share information" about the Commander series (and those associated fiberglass boats on the Chris-Craft family tree) for your individual personal use, and by doing so help promote the good name of Chris-Craft, and help preserve, restore, and appreciate Chris-Craft boats. The main reference feature is the ever expanding MASTER INDEX File which contains what we believe to be the world's largest collection of documentation photos and technical information on the Chris-Craft Commander line of boats, (like these original brochure scans, featuring the iconic first 38 Commander styled by Fred Hudson, and many of the great Dick Avery renditions that followed) , (a huge collection of Chris-Craft 427 tuning and specification information), and a few words about how to use the forum.

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69 38 Commander Sedan

November 14 2008 at 1:19 PM
john scouler  (no login)

Response to 1969 38 Sedan

Thanks so much for the warm welcome! I have been trading e-mails with some of the folks at the Commander Club and have found Commander owners to be quite a nice bunch! We basically lucked into the boat as it belonged to a friend of a friend of my brother who only wanted the storage owed on the boat in trade. Like I said We were unpleasantly surprised by the starboard 454, and had to free up a couple of valves on the port motor (the boat sat for a couple of years, 30 hours after a new port engine was installed) As for the starboard: After 1987 (I think) GM switched to a 2 piece rear main seal and the seal has the directional notches cut into it and the seal surface on the crank is smooth, making it both Left and Right rotational. However, like most non-inline engines the piston wrist pins are a bit off center to allow for thrust face and they have to be installed backwards (rotated 180 degrees on the rod) some guys put them in the normal way, but I'd imagine that leads to shorter engine life. By the way I am a Harley Davidson Tech by trade, and have been working on all things Internal Combustion all my life. I have been a Ford guy all my life too and was a bit bummed that the boat didn't have the 427's (although the 454's are lighter and much more maintenence free, 427 are just plain More BAD-ASS!)I also lived and worked on St. Thomas In the US Virgin Islands from 1990 to 2001( My brother's friend Knew of my history on Boats in the Caribbean and the PO heard about me through him, he thought we would make good owners, and we are now good friends which is almost the best part of the story!). Part of my time in The VI, I was partner in a small marine repair business. Of all of the boats I workeed on wildly expensive to dirt cheap, this commander hads to be in the top 5 as far as quality. The only things that came close were the top shelf sportfishing boats and some antique steel-hull motor yachts. (I was engineer on a 108 ft Burger that was built in 1957. Needless to say VERY high quality!) Anyway I am rambling about the past. Back to present day! All of the systems on the Commander (She is called Irish Lady, but in lieu of the way we got her we are changing the name to "Windfall") are tip top. The AC works great and so does the heat, Galley and head are tip top as well. I haven't tried to start the Genset yet (It is the original Kohler, and the PO said it ran great last time he started it. It still spins freely so I think it is OK. I knock on wood as I say this!) All electrical systems are great but some of the wire jobs are butt connected with Auto store wires, which is in line on the project list! All in all we really have gotten the best gift ever, and it has always been one of my Dad's dreams to have a boat, so all of the work is a lot of fun. knowing how happy he'll be on the day of her maiden voyage! I just got the engine back from the machine shop and finished assembling the bottom end a week ago. I basically built it to better-than Crusader standards (which are the highest in the business. As for switching from L-H to R-H: We found a Crusader 350 HP 454 on e bay and it was listed as R-H. The guy told is it "runs great" and it is fresh water cooled and came complete with all Fresh water gear (heat exchanger, oil coolers, raw water pump etc and was complete carb to pan. We got it for $800 and felt like thieves all the way home! (it was semi local 2 hours away. Anyway, got her home and realized it was L-H rotation AND in need of a rebuild BAD! Oh well, we still got our monies worth as it is a 4 bolt main motor and the block alone is worth the $800 we paid for everything!
If anyone ever needs info on going from L-H to R-H or vice versa, drop me a line! Anyway, Hope I wasn't too long winded, but when I start telling Irish Lady's story, I can't help it! I will send some pics as soon as I can figure out how! Thanks again!

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