We extend to you a cordial "WELCOME ABOARD !" Come on in, make yourself at home, we are a friendly group of enthusiasts, and we also appreciate the classic Chris Craft Roamer, Corsair, and Lancer boats too , as they are all on the same family tree and share much in common !
I'd like to replace the alternator on this engine and I have an original part number from the engine manual but the manual suggests that there was either a Prestolite or Motorola unit installed. There are no markings on the current alternator to determine its make or model. The engine manual says that the voltage regulator and the alternator must match up. Any ideas here.
Also, I am looking into replacing the risers/heat exchangers and wondered if the parts from a 350Q are interchangeable as there is an engine here that I could grab those parts off of.
Also I recieved the hull card for my 22' Tournament Fisherman and it lists the propeller as a 3212. Is there a look up table for this as I get that it's 12 inch but not sure what the pitch is. I'd like to check this against the prop that came off the boat for future prop tuning.
First of all, the easy question is the 3212 prop, it's a 13 x 11 SC on a 1" shaft, RH rotation. The "SC" stands for "Super Cup".
Regarding the alternator, there must be some numbers somewhere. It does not have to say Motorola or Prestolite, all you need are the numbers. If you can find them, just do a Google for those numbers and I will bet you it puts a smile on your face. It will most likely pop up with a replacement alternator number, etc.
In addition, if you can find the numbers or brand name of the voltage regulator, it might lead you to the answer of what your alternator is. Also, it might be possible that the same voltage regulator will serve either alternator choice, unless the caution you noted was there because it would not.
To my knowledge, the 307Q is externally identical to the other Q motors so everything "SHOULD" be able to bolt up from one motor to another. Hope this helps! Let us know if you need any assistance, and hey, send photos of your project. Being a Roamer owner, there is really no need to be timid about the fact that you have come over to fiberglass.
You know my 427 powered 23' Lancer is going to be a lot faster boat than yours, with that little motor
Yeah Yeah! I know you will blow my doors off but you'll have to bring the boat up here to prove it! (Huron Maybe?) Otherwise I still contend that I would take both the Electric Car race and the little boat race! Tim Toth is providing some hop up tips for the 307. (Really, do you have to put a 427 against a 307? I shouldn't even acknowledge the comment!)
I did find the lookup table for the prop here on the forum so thanks twice. I have looked this alternator over 100 times and there is nothing but the following markings "SAE J1171 Marine" I did type that into the search engine to really no avail. That is just a certification stamping. After careful comparing to other pics of alternators I believe it is a Motorola. I'll be checking the voltage regulator tonight. Also there is no shunt in this electrical system? Common?
My father-in-law is just starting to teardown his '78 23 Lancer straightr inboard. He has the 350 in it though. You still win!
I don't keep my pics in the cloud so I'll get around to sending them to you someday. Otherwise the Roamer has its own Facebook page so you could check it out there. Find it under "Kimberly Ann" Lots of pics there of all boat projects.
Al has a pair of new BIG block GM motors in this aluminum Roamer, it is an exquisite installation, so he is really not acustomed to being around something as "small" as a 307, so we all must be sensitive to this "issue" (with emphasis on "small") . If anyone from now on refers to the diminuitive 307, just don't call it SMALL.
Now that we have that settled......the big issue is alternators and voltage regulators, and here are some great tips that might help! I am considering going this route, as my voltage regulator on the Sea Skiff is an antiquated device, and it does not like getting wet with that low flywheel aft installation.
The following from Wes Stinson............(from the archives....thanks Wes!)
"I had some suspicions for some time that the alternator was not functioning properly. I was not sure I had the voltage regulator hooked up properly after the engine went back in, so I asked around and got hooked back up. I was also not sure the alternator was working because the amp gauge never moved, however the gauge could have just been bad.
So long story short after a hour or so of tinkering, I determined my alternator was shot. I was just about ready to put the boat away when another guy who was doing some dredging work for our marina suggested just switching the alternator to a delco-remy alternator. He said the delco alternators are more reliable, have an internal voltage regulator, and are cheaper to overhaul if an issue arises. I was concerned about the mounting, but it turns out everything bolts right up! Best of all, we had an brand new one sitting on the shelf so I just had to install it rather than wait a week for a rebuild.
Instead of messing with voltage regulators and what not, I simply attached the one major lead from the battery to the back of the alternator, mounted it back on the engine, and voila everything works just as expected. My amp gauge, as it turns out, is not bad at all so who knows how long the alternator has been bad. My grandpa mentioned he was not sure he's ever seen the amp gauge move, so its possible its been like this for years, but since the boat doesnt get used a whole lot, the battery would stay charged enough to run.
Anyway, a definite upgrade for those of you who have alternator issues and dont want to hassle with the prestolite alternator."
The following from Rich Duane........(from the archives.....thanks Rich!)
"Delco alternators all mount the same.
They are rated by output ie: 81 amp,100 amp,etc.
They are single wire with built in regulators.
My recomendation is to put large enough units on to have enough output when operating at lower speeds."
The alternator on the engine now is a one wire job. Thus no shunt and no separate voltage regulator. I may just replace as opposed to going back the other way with a three wire.
The other question here is how involved (other than finding the necessary parts) is it to convert this raw water cooled engine to a closed cooling system using mostly original parts? Any major differences that would preclude this?
And yes I am a big block guy Paul but this boat is for my 12yr old son. We'll put the super charger kit on it after he's had a few years smacking it into the dock!
I would think the closed cooling systems are readily available through recyclers for this very engine, but I am not sure I would do it unless the boat is going to salt water. However, that being a mute point in this discussion, we have had people like Mike Burdette (photo) convert his small block motors using Volvo Penta heat exchangers which function the same as the CC system.
On the CC system, however, beware that it may well call for a different thermostat between closed and standard cooling, and the pressure regulartor valves may be located differently. Not seeing your exact motor I would default to the diagrams for your model, showing the closed and standard systems. The PRV is basically to assure full water supply to the motor during slow speed motoring when the pump efficiency goes down, and then when the pump is running at wide open capacity it will bleed excess water (and pressure) out of the system and directly into the riser for exiting out the tailpipes. All said and done the conversion should be a pretty simple matter, and bigger is better when dealing with the heat exchangers.
Most of the 427 guys will claim their heat exchangers were not sized quite big enough as there have been many complaints of overheating. Most of the ones I have seen out lurking in marinas show signs of boiling over. Most of the ones at boat shows are better maintained. Not real sure just what the cause of the overheating is, whether it is a bad impeller, wrong thermostat, or maybe the cam inside the pump too, perhaps internal constriction, air getting into the system, whatever, but quite a few of the guys on the Great Lakes have converted to standard cooling. On the 427 for instance, the pump is the same but the tap into the pump is configured a little differently. Since I have 4 427 motors, two of each system, I know the differences well on those motors but do not know the small block systems.
For our use here in Tennessee for instance, I would consider it to be excess weight and complexity on the boat, don't need it here.
As an example, for the 427 with which I am most familiar, the operators manual indicates the desired temp range for the standard cooling (no antifreeze or heat exchangers) is 130 to 150 degrees, which is mighty cool by motor standards. This would seem too cool for proper combustion, etc., but the motor is set up to run that way. The compression, carb, plugs, etc., are all selected for good running and longevity under this condition, strange as it may seem. The Closed Cooling System is design to run from 163 to 180 degrees, which still is mighty cool by automotive standards, but the motor isn't in an auto!
Here are the standard and closed systems for the 427 as an example
Here is the closed system on a 327F small block.
Early 283 flow diagram
Here is the Q series diagram, and this is probably closest to your system, which I am guessing is a Marine Power installation, essentially rebranded Chris Craft.
Probably the best way to get the system parts and fittings right, would be to find the exact motor you have in the boat now, being recycled on ebay or somewhere close, and just buy the ancillary equipment. I see that stuff for sale all the time but the tough part is every motor has it's own idiocyncracies. It's not rocket science and I am sure as in the case of Mike Burdette, photo on top of this post, custom mods can be made to work just fine.
We just got a great question from Pedro, from Portugal about the 350 series, and I'm adding some photos of the 350FLV, which I understand was a high performance motor offered in the XK 19 and 22-foot series, perhaps others. I believe it had 300-hp.
Anyone having more info about this particular motor, please post here on this thread!
(Below): What all 427 motors should look like, the immaculately maintained power in Tim Toth's 35' Commander. Looks like a museum piece, eh? Beautiful !!
Here is the very first notification of the new 427 motor by Chris Craft, in December of 1965.
Commanders got the 427 for the 1966 model year.
Here is Keith Ferrio's beautiful rebuild, from his 1967 31' Sports Express
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jun 2, 2010 6:39 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jun 2, 2010 6:29 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Mar 20, 2010 1:04 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Feb 23, 2007 10:22 AM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Feb 22, 2007 6:44 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Feb 22, 2007 5:29 PM
The Q motor series represents some very sweet running small block Chevys. Everything from the 283 up through the 350 represent essentially the same block.
Naturally there are some internal changes over the years, but it's quite hard to tell these engines from one another simply by looking at the blocks, because they're externally the same.
Here are some comparisons with the early series of Chevy SBC motors.
185 hp at 4000 RPM
261 ft. lbs. torque at 3000 RPM
Compression ratio 8.0:1
210 hp at 4000 RPM
302 ft. lbs. torque at 2600 RPM
Compression ratio 8.0:1
200 hp at 4000 RPM
280 ft. lbs. torque at 3100 RPM
Compression ratio 8.1:1
235 hp at 4000 RPM
330 ft. lbs. torque at 3100 RPM
Compression ratio 8.8:1
The interesting thing about the 307Q, is it's an ever so slightly stroked 283 with a hint of a compression boost. The result of this, along with some improvements in the intake design, produce an additional 15 hp and 21 footpounds of torque over the highly thought of 283.
The 350Q is rated at a relaxed 235 hp and produces a healthy torque rating. These engines are built to last, and a 350 can produce 350-hp with ease, but it probably wouldn't last as long in the marine environment as the one Chris Craft specified.
What a great line of small V8 options. I have two 327 motors right now, one that is semi hot rodded in a 17' wood Chris Craft at around 300-hp, and another in my recently acquired 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff, which has 8.5:1 compression because it's an automotive block conversion. Automotive horsepower rating of this motor was 250, and it is not known what sort of power it produces in it's present form. Performance runs may help estimate this later when we see what kind of prop it will spin. They're all able to be interchanged, with some attention to the rear seals and some other details.
One important internal change that occurred with the advent of the 350 is the 4-bolt main bearing caps. The 327 series didn't have the 4-bolt mains, and it is not known at this time whether or not the contemporary 307Q also got the 4-bolt mains when this feature was added to the 350. The feature isn't really needed in our use of this engine series, but it just makes a good engine better.
Below: The first 283 small block Chevy motor used in a Chris Craft, circa 1959, one beautiful running compact V8 motor.
In case you haven't seen (and heard) it elsewhere, here is what a 327F sounds like at idle (turn up your speakers and ENJOY ! )
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jun 14, 2007 1:46 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Feb 24, 2007 6:05 AM
In 1958 a new 283 block with thicker cylinder walls was introduced. These can be bored out to 4.0" when new (less if internally corroded badly).
This means the little 283 was one tough little motor with lots of iron. No wonder they last so long.
In 1959 rear main bearing seals were changed from graphite impregnated rope seals to a neoprene seal, far better design.
The 327 was produced from 1962 to 1967, according to the book, but the charts clearly show 327 motors in 1968 and 1969. Later in the book they say the 327 of 1968 usedthe large journal forged crank in most truck and Corvette applications, so I guess they acknowledge the 327 was produced beyond 1967. A lot of pattern changes were made at the factory to produce this one. Under side of the block was relieved so a bigger crank and 4" pistons could be used. On the 283 this operation would be required on most if you were doing a 4" bore job.
On one chart it shows the 350 starting production in 1967 and in another they say 1968.
For me, I'm old enough to remember that first 57 Chevy I rode in with the 283. Yes I know the 283 came out in '55. That 57 Chevy was considered a fast car back then, my how things have changed!
I see reference to mechanical solid lifters for the first six months of 283 production, and Corvettes up to 1964, the 327 fuel injection motors, and 1970-71 Z-28 motors.
From what I understand, Chris Craft started using the 283 in 1959, and there must still be many thousands out there still in service. Because of that heavy cylinder wall thickness, they can be rebuilt many times!
I know the post was for the 1970 motors, but don't forget about the 327Q. We have a 31' Commander in our harbor with those motors, and every time the guy drives in or out, several of us just get quiet and listen with appreciation. Chris Craft did a great job with the early boats, allowing them to sound off a bit. The later boats are so quiet you sometimes dont even know if the motor is running.
I think 1968 was the end of production at Ford for the 427. It was offered in a hydraulic version that year with 390-hp, or so they said.
CC continued using the 427 motor after production stopped, because they had a stock of the motors. I'll bet that warehouse looked cool, huh?
The transition to GM 454 power was undoubtedly done due to price. At the time the transition was made, Ford had viable big block motors in production that could have made some fine power plants for CC, and Chrysler did too. Can you imagine if they went back to Lincoln power, with a 462?? That would have been way too expensivel but that motor would have been very durable. The logical choice would have appeared to be the 429 / 460 motor series from Ford, but apparently the negotiations, or perhaps a personal contact, resulted in the GM choice.
The big block Chevrolet is a fine motor, but it is no better or worse than the alternatives that were available at the time. Had 440 Chryslers or 460 Fords been used, it would have sparked a major industry parts and marine support business for those motors. CC already had a good relationship with GM at the time, because they (GM) was supplying the small block Q motors at the time. It would be interesting to know how the shopping was done, and how the decision was made.
There are plenty of 1972 entries in the Essential Guide (by Jerry Conrad) that show boats with the 427 Ford motors. Yes, I agree the motor was out of production then, but Chris Craft must have had an impressive stock of these in a warehouse somewhere. Wouldn't it be great to have been able to buy a few of those for spares!
The 41' Flush Deck of 1972 - 1977 shows the Ford 427 or the GM 454 listed during this time frame. This shows me that we know the 427 was still being offered during model year 1972. However, taking a forensic look at the Essential Guide, I see plenty of other voids, such as the 47' Commander of 1969-1976 which shows the only gas option as the Ford 427 and a GM listing for the 8V53 diesel. Either CC took a gas offering off the table, stretched their stock of 427 motors, or didn't list the GM 454. Since any three of these is possible, I guess we'll need to find a 1973 manufacturer's brochure and see what the big block gas offering is.
For now, I think 1972 is the first year of 454 use in a Chris Craft. GM and Ford were both supplying motors prior to this, and either one had the chance to "do it all". However, due to the stellar performance of the GM small block, and the CC history going back to 1959 with the small block motor, it would appear that GM had more leverage. In any case, they (GM) prevailed with the commission to supply the big blocks, and the rest is history.
Thanks for the confirmations, guys. Maybe someone will show up with a very late 1973 hull number with the transition to GM big block power, or perhaps someone will show up with an early 1974 hull number that still used the remaining few 427 motors. In any case, that appears to be an 8-year reign as the king of the hill of gas offerings from 1966-1973 inclusive. These motors were not just used in Chris Craft boats either, as there are numerous examples of other manufacturers, including Hatteras, using motors fully marinized by Chris Craft, and fully marinized and marketed by Interceptor.
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Apr 11, 2007 6:35 PM
I have FDA-360009H which is a 1974 36' Sports Fisher with a pair of the BIG DOGS! The boat has about 1200 hours total on it and though was neglected when I got her the engines are running very well with fresh carb rebuilds, oil, plugs and cap & rotors.
Jim, it now looks like 1974 was the last of the 427 breed !
September 11 2008, 6:43 PM
Thanks for the confirmation Jim, and again,
---------> NICE BOAT ! <---------
Use good oil and keep good impellers in that boat and that motor will possibly outlast you and the next owner too! They are GREAT MOTORS, very strong, but they don't like running without oil!
I have used Mobil-1 Synthetic 15W50 for years and my 427 motors really seem to like it. Plugs stay clean, startup is very slick with the full cold flow capability of an engineered oil product that actually flows better than some 5W oils when cold. In addition, I have long thought it gives better protection to emergency situations, such as blowing out an impeller and not knowing until things get hot.
Quite awhile ago I did just that. I destroyed an impeller and didn't know that it even happened. Here we were cruising along and Janet said, "do you smell something"? I glanced back and it looked like a WW-II destroyer laying down a smoke screen, as I was burning up the inside of the rubber exhaust hose at the time. I immediately shut down the motor, and thankfully, did not experience any motor damage. I attribute this in part, to having an oil on board that also helped act as a cooling agent, and provides far superior properties than the "cheap equivalent".
Now Mobil-1 has a new 15W50 on the market, and it is their "Extended Performance" variety, which I would most certainly use. Another superb oil can be found in the oil section of our Master Index Files, but I'll save you from having to look it up, here it is http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1124814627
I have not used the Amsoil marine product noted, but I have used it in my Porsche 928 V8 5-speed with very good results. I have had exceptional results using Amsoil synthetic gear lube in three Porsche transaxles too, so they do make a great product.
Back to the Ford big dogs...........with clean PCV valves, good fuel filtration and clean carbs, a good distributor cap, adjusted contact points and/or electronic Pertronix ignition, timed properly, and with valves properly set, you will have one awesome piece of marine equipment with great performance and lots of history too. They like having the valves set properly too.
This is a nice documentation photo of the 283 FLV.
Note the oil fill tube, which indicates the old style 283 and 327 4-bbl intake manifolds. Note also the thermostat housing, and that fuel filter down there behind the belt that people seem to forget about.
327F power and torque numbers, and fuel consumption
February 18 2008, 7:14 PM
The more I look at the specs for the 327F, the more and more I appreciate this small block engine. Most of you guys know I'm a dyed-in-the-wool 427 guy, but I also have two small block Chevy powered boats too.
The Torque spec for the 327F says it maxes out at 2600 RPM with 302 footpounds of torque. However, that torque curve is almost dead level FLAT from 2300 to 3200, and they did it without modern vario-cam or computerized fuel injection technology. This makes the 327F one sweet running motor. Imagine having maximum torque available at 2300 RPM, no wonder these make such great ski boat motors and heavy lifters via gear reduction for cruisers too.
The horsepower curve is a straight upturned graph, with power running from 125 to 180-hp over the same 2300 to 3200 rpm noted above. The more rpm, the more horsepower you make, all the way to 4000. The torque curve is what makes the motor so tractable, and at a low 8.0:1 compression, no wonder.
Fuel burn rates are as follows (first number is rpm, second number is gal per hour of consumption):
Here's something from June 1962, Yachting Magazine. It's THE PREMIUM V8 offering of the era, from Lincoln Mercury Division of FoMoCo. These were not cheap motors, quite the contrary, they were expensive, plank-head motors rated at 275-hp, able to almost run forever. Bearing surfaces are large, there is lots of iron, and these would be a fabulous collectable if anyone had a fresh (or good running) pair in a Chris Craft yacht of any kind, Commander, Constellation, or otherwise.
These motors were offered in automotive form at power ratings of 375 to 400-hp with three carbs. At 275, they are detuned and would (and did) easily outlast many owners!
I've heard a lot of discussion about the Y-block motors recently, due to some of my antique boating buddies working on some 312 cubic inch displacement motor restorations, and I thought I would clarify just what a Y - block Ford motor really is.
Most people associate the Y - block designation with the 1954-57 (and beyond) 232-312 series, most commonly known as the 292 in later years, but it originated with the 1952-57 Lincoln motor.
The Y-block designation is given to any motor that has the sides of the engine block casting extending down below the centerline of the crankshaft. Therefore, when looking at a frontal cross section of the motor block, the block looks more like a "Y" than a "V". Technically, the FE series, of which the 427 is a member, are all Y-block designs. The Y configuration was incorporated into motor block design for additional rigidity and strength, providing some of the strongest blocks of all time.
The small block Fords of the early 221 and 260, growing to 289, 302, and eventually to 351 cubic inches, is not a Y-block design. It is a lighter weight casting that has also proven to be very good design too. On these motors, the iron casting extends down to the vicinity of crankshaft centerline, and from there down, there is only a sheet metal oil pan, making this a lighter weight design.
The Chevrolet small block (and I believe the big block too) is similar to the small block Ford.
Here is a perfect example of a Y -block motor, this one happens to be a marine 427 owned by Charles Fouquet, in Martinique. Note the fact that the block casting extends down below the centerline of the crankshaft. Thus the "Y" block designation.
You're right, there are many very logical reasons on a piece of machinery like a motor, that holds a highly stressed shaft with lots of power output, to extend the casting down to add strength. The Y block was a good original design, and since it's so logical it's been replicated over and over. I suspect there are many engines in Japan, Korea, China, Germany, UK, Australia, South America, whether they are diesel or gas, that use the Y block casting technique. FoMoCo elected not to use the Y block when they did their 289/302/351 motor series, and those motors all have a good reputation, so there's more than one way to solve the problem.
There are a lot of other motor designs that don't use the Y block, like the one below (928 Porsche V8), which is proof the Y-block is not the only game in town that works. It is, however, a very cost effective way of adding strength where it can be used. I don't think the Porsche design is any better than the Ford, with the exception that the Germans are notorious for using more pieces and bolts on any sort of an assembly, and spending more money than they really need to. Their quality is impressive, but one can only wonder why they decided they needed to use this crazy way of holding a crankshaft onto a motor block???
I'm not up on all the engine designs being used today, which ones use Y block design and which ones done, but it's a logical choice for any engine designer to consider. Obviously there are other alternatives just like the Small Block Ford motors that have a good reputation, but were not Y-block designs. Now days we find motors using all sorts of ways to add power, electronic fuel injection and timing, variable valve settings, and the power ratings look very impressive. One wonders how those engines will fare when they are 40 years old.
Hercules flathead power, from the mid 1930's into the 1960's
December 28 2007, 6:32 PM
How’s this for a chunk of American Iron? This is a Hercules KBL flathead six with a hot cam and 131 hp, and many of us have experience with these motors, some of us still have them. I have two, one is the model K, and the other is the KLC with 120 hp, and part of my collection is a triple downdraft setup like this one. There was a KL series with 105 hp, and a KFL too. I always thought of “hot rodding” my KLC by installing the triple carbs, but never got around to it, so that’s something I’ll get into someday, perhaps, but I have them in a box. I’m sure they’ll all need to be rebuilt. In addition, I even discussed with Mr. Lunati ond day, the prospects of reprofiling the camshaft. That was nuts, but it would have been fun!
Interestingly enough, my 17’ Sportsman was offered with a Chris Craft model B, K(95), KL (105), KBL(131) triple downdraft, KLC (120) single updraft, KFL(131) dual updraft, and 283. You could basically go as fast as your wallet would allow. In the meantime, however, some of the competition, namely Century, were soon offering Ford big blocks, sigh!
My Hercules Model K (1957 17’ Sportsman) weighs 680 pounds and produced 95 horsepower. My Model KL I replaced it with a 283 setup I got out of a Chris Craft Super Sport, which actually turned out to be a 327 block with 283 ancillary equipment. With a few easy tweaks it now pushes out somewhere around 300 horsepower, with less weight than the big Hercules. I’m running the V8 setup in a lightweight 1956 Chris Craft 17’ (mahogany) hull, and I can tell you the darn thing will fly. I’m in the process of adding a deeper rudder, by the way, so that should tell you speed freaks a thing or two about the speed capability.
Commanders never had this kind of power, as the Hercules began being replaced back in 1958 long before the fiberglass boats ever became a real dream. These monsters could be obtained with as much as 175 horsepower for the larger boats, and they were used in big Constellations and runabouts alike. They were used for so many years, in fact, they became known as “the Chris Craft motor”. They produce an unmistakable sound on the water, they were used in a variety of industrial applications such as fork lifts, and they’re known for having lots of iron and lasting almost forever.
They’re big on torque, and run out of breathing capability around 3200 rpm. As a result they’re propped accordingly. My 1957 17’ Chris Craft Sportsman still has a model K, and I’ve pulled many a water skier behind the boat. When it came time to “hit it”, the big six just bellowed and dug in. You didn’t hear much change in rpm, but the skier was popped out of the water and off we went. When not being used for skiing, these boats could be fitted with greater pitch in the prop, and the boat would still have the torque to run well (but would not pull skiers as well).
A blast from the past, thanks to Bill Basler’s Brass Bell Boat Buzz, a link of which can be found on our front page of the Chris Craft Commander Forum, Inc.
Photo below, showing my 120-hp Hercules coming out.
These motors remind me of the Volvo sales pitch of 1963, when they were selling the 544 Sport (iron 4-cylinder OHV with dual carbs): “drive it like you hate it”. You could drive one of these all day long and it wouldn’t ever seem to notice. Great motors. They’ll be around as long as people can find parts, and thanks to the fact that they were built for so many years and used in so many applications, you can still find Zolner pistons and everything else still on the shelf. It’s amazing what lies hidden in warehouses all over the country!
These two photos below are the Model K (95-hp) back from being 100% rebuilt, with new Zolner pistons. It ran beautifully! This is the 1957 17' Sportsman.
(so many boats, so little time)
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Dec 31, 2007 4:39 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Dec 28, 2007 6:41 PM
Frozen solid. I remember buying it and pulling the heads off and leaving it on a cart in the garage over the summer. Had a big figgin' bar on the crankshaft. Each time I would walk by, I'd squirt some wd-40 in the cylinders, smack the pistons with a sledge hammer and 2x4, jump on the bar and go about my business. After about a month of this, I detected a little movement. A quart of wd-40 later, I had the thing spinning freely. Darned if that engine didn't turn out to be a pretty good runner. The scary thing was always the way the carb would belch out about a cup of raw gas into the bilge when you started it. Ah the glory days. Glad we survived them.
I actually have two of these Hercules motors, and the one shown hanging next to the boat is a KLC with flat face flywheel and one carb.
If it had two carbs it would be a KFL
If it had three carbs it would be a KBL
The other one I have is a 95 K
I have a 3-carb setup that I plan to drag out and sell someday.
Bought it from Gary Scherb many moons ago, never got them out of the box.
Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Oct 30, 2012 1:15 PM
Here is a Detroit Diesel 8V-53 as installed in a 1968 Chris Craft (Roamer). Today the 8V-53 seems to be somewhat rare, although the same parts from other 53 series motors will fit this one too. The 8V-series apparently built more in the 71 cubic inch cylinders than the 53. These motors were used in marine use, have been used in large motor coaches and American LaFrance fire trucks as well, and they have shown up in numerous different types of military vehicles too. They are 2-cycle diesels and should ONLY use straight 30W or 40W oil, and not the multi viscosity oils.
Here are some other documentation photos of this series.
So if you want to hear one run, check out these videos. Would seem to make a great boat motor.
534 SEAMASTER, Ford Super Duty gas truck motor marine conversion from the 1960s
March 15 2010, 9:24 PM
Several years before Janet and I bought our 427 powered 38, we looked at one on Tims Ford Lake that had a pair of 545 Ford Seamasters, and ladies and gentlemen, they were georgeous!
The 534, in case people are not familiar with this particular motor, is the "ROYALTY of the gasoline workhorse V8 world". It was used in fire engines, large busses, and lots of other heavy industrial uses. I have no idea how this motor got into a Chris Craft, but I suspect it was a custom order. We would have bought the boat, but it had been used as a dive boat in Florida, and that scared us off.
Since then I have always looked for another Seamaster installation, and so far I have never seen another one. This has to be the strongest and most durable gas motor ever installed in a Chris Craft boat, now, then, ever, with no close seconds.
534 cubic inches of pure industrial strength, it's a LOT of motor, and I suspect it was very expensive too.
Here is a SEAMASTER installation in the 1965 Commander 38, FFA-38-0022-H . I suspect this was the original power for this boat, arranged through the dealer. I have seen one of these in very good condition and the copper exhaust manifold was all polished up and the motors sounded fabulous. This setup here has obviously been used many hours and neglected, however, these motors are tanker truck strong and may well have outlasted their previous owners. One only wonders if they would start with a little coaxing.
The 534 Seamaster conversions were offered in many large gas powered cruisers, including Egg Harbor and Hatteras, just to name a few. Here is a little history on how the "Seamaster" name disappeared (the company was purchased by OSCO) !!
The SEAMASTER 534 engines are still out there in lots of boats, as I don't think they're very easily worn out. I suspect they'll last as long or longer than the wood hulls they were installed in. I think Chris Craft would install an owner specified motor in their boats if the owner required this at the time the order was placed. I know of One (1) Chris Craft Commander powered by a pair of 534 SEAMASTER's. It would be very interesting to know the circumstances as to how many of these were done, etc.
Here's the history on the OSCO connection:
The name OSCO is derived from the OSCAR SMITH COMPANY. Oscar Smith was the grandfather of Robertson F. Smith who actually started the company. History has it that Oscar loaned the seed money to Robertson, so Robertson named the company after him. The current owner, Tom Cooper, has worked for OSCO since 1965, and purchased the company in 1995.
In addition to the original marine engines, which were based on Model A Ford 4 and 8 cylinder engines, OSCO sold conversion kits, which provided the marine parts for a customer to convert his own engine obtained from a car or truck. During the 1970s a full range of conversion kits was offered, covering every commonly available American car block, and several industrial diesels.
During their developing years, OSCO was called upon to make production marine parts for many familiar marine engine companies such as Glastron, Johnson and Towers, Holman & Moody, American Diesel, Noreast Ford, Commander Marine, KAAMA, Universal Motors, ONAN, Kohler, KEM Equipment, GM Overseas Operations, and others. At the same time OSCO produced and offered for sale a marine engine line, gas and diesel, from 14 to 180 HP. OSCO Marine engines were used by Pacemaker, US Coast Guard, Wayfarer, Newporter, Pearson, Columbia, Chris Craft, in addition to thousands of individual re-power installations by boat owners.
While busy enough with the above production, OSCO also manufactured an extensive line of hydraulic powered fishing deck machinery such as crab and lobster trap haulers, net takers, capstans and almost anything fishing related that could be turned hydraulically.
In the late 1960s, OSCO purchased the SEAMASTER Marine Engine Co. and added to their existing product line a Seamaster "300" six cylinder gasoline engine, and two V8 gasoline models based on the 534 cu. In. Ford industrial engine. The most powerful Seamaster model boasted twin turbo chargers and inter-cooling way back in the early 1970s.
Due to difficulties in obtaining base engines, OSCO discontinued their engine product line in 1983 and began the production of after-market manifolds in earnest.
Switching from earlier conversion type manifolds to after-market style manifolds required virtually all-new tooling. From the mid 1980s OSCOs in-house pattern shop facility has built the required patterns, and working with only the best American foundries continues to produce large volumes of marine manifolds and risers that have become the quality standard of the industry for the broadest range of Original Equipment Engines.
In 1990, OSCO began marketing their product to the large volume marine distributors, and today is recognized as the leader in quality, 100% built in the USA, manifolds, risers and accessory parts. OSCO manifolds and parts are available throughout the boating world through distributors, local marinas, marine engine repair shops, and the Internet.
The posting about Seamasters prompted me to do some searching on my own, as I have been aware of these motors for many years. I don't know the history of relationship with Chris Craft but it does seem viable that new owners had the option of power selection if they commissioned the boat early enough for this to be done. These motors would be a great alternative to diesel, very durable, but not highly powered. I found this interesting reference to turbocharged 534 Seamasters, and although this makes sense due to the inherent strength of the motor, I have never seen or heard of a turbo setup like this in a boat. I do know these were used in a lot of Hatteras boats, along with the CC 427 too. Here are some basic facts I thought would be good to share here on the forum.
The 534 was introduced in 1958 as a viable alternative to the new turbo-diesels that were just beginning to hit the large truck and towing market.
The 534 was part of Ford's Super-Duty engine family, which shared almost no common components with any other.
This monster-block does bear a certain family resemblance to the Y-Series and FE big-blocks that were introduced with it, but everything on the Super-Duty block is at least 10 percent bigger than on either of those.
Power and Weight
Road-bound versions of the 534 were rated at 234 horsepower at 3,400 RPM, and 490 foot/pounds of torque from 1,800-2,300 RPM. The engine was surely a porker, at well over 1,000 pounds.
The Seamaster Marine version of the 534 came factory-equipped with a pair of turbochargers and inter-coolers, and made over 400 horsepower and 900 foot/pounds of torque.
SEAMASTER gold mine of information ( thanks to Mr. Allan Burt ).
February 9 2011, 1:38 PM
I love my boating hobby and although the boats themselves are a lot of work, hosting this web site is a lot of work too. However, with the work comes a lot of personal pleasure and satisfaction, and receiving all of this exclusive information about SEAMASTER from Mr. Allan Burt (who purchased SEAMASTER) is a very big event for me. The information is now out there on the world wide web, in the spirit of sharing information and having fun.
Yes, as you can see here, SEAMASTER produced a V8 and a six cylinder version, and I suspect the six was also a Ford truck motor, as they had a very fine 300 cubic inch displacement six in production at the time.
And now..........on to MORE about SEAMASTER..........in the next posting....
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on May 15, 2012 6:56 PM
Thank you Mr. Burt, for sharing this information with us here on The Forum. I had previously searched the entire internet and found precious little about these motors, and now with some time, doing a Google search for "SEAMASTER" will bring up this information for anyone. Sincerely, thank you,
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on May 15, 2012 6:57 PM
enjoyed your article. Have a 534 in my blackfin and love it. Cousin of mine bought it new.Where can i get a manual for this engine.serial # is b6534b65, 8 cyl s/m 534 ,non torbo. do they have air filters on valve covers. i get alot of oil dust up onto hatch cover and around side of air cleaner--thanks for any help
I had a chance to buy a 534 powered 38 Commander years ago but I knew nothing about the motors at the time and they intimidated me into passing on the deal. There are a lot of them still in service, however, mostly I suspect in fire halls around the country, as they were put into lots of super duty trucks. For that reason, I think you can still get internal engine parts from machine shop sources, but I do not know of anywhere to buy any of their specialty marine parts per se. There were a few hose kits available awhile back, but that is all I have ever heard of for these motors. The good news is, the ancillary equipment is probably the same Sherwood pumps etc as many other motors. The risers and exhaust logs on the boat I looked at were all copper.
I don't have a lot of information about the big block Chevrolet motors, but many were used in later model Chris Craft boats.
Here's what I do have, to start of some reference information for the Chevy guys, Jerry take notes!
For your reading enjoyment,
The Chevrolet big block is a series of large displacement V8 engines that were developed in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s. As American automobiles grew in size and weight following the Second World War the engines powering them had to keep pace. Chevrolet had introduced their popular small block V8 in 1955 but needed something larger to power their medium duty trucks and the heavier cars that were on the drawing board. The decision was made by Chevrolet to develop an all-new design for large-displacement use. This engine family had two generations, the "W" series, and the Mark IV series.
Generation 1: "W" Series
The first ever production big block V8 Chevrolet engine was the "W" series, released in 1958 for passenger car and truck use. This engine was an overhead valve design, with offset valves and unique scalloped rocker covers, giving it a distinctive appearance. The "W" series was produced from 1958 to 1965, with three displacements offered: 348 cubic inches (5.7 L), available from 1958 to 1961 in cars and through 1964 in trucks; 409 cubic inches (6.7 L), available from 1961 to 1965; and 427 cubic inches (7.0 L), available only in 1963.
As was the norm at the time, the "W" engine was of cast iron construction. The block had 4.84-inch (123 mm) bore centers, two-bolt main bearing caps, a "side oiling" lubrication system (main oil gallery located low on the driver's side of the crankcase) with full flow oil filter, and interchangeable cylinder heads. Heads used on the high performance 409 and 427 engines had larger ports and valves than those used on the 348 and the base 409 passenger car and truck engines, but externally were identical to the standard units. One minor difference between the 348 and 409/427 was the location of the engine oil dipstick: it was on the driver's side on the former and passenger's side on the latter. No satisfactory explanation was ever presented for why this seemingly useless change was made. However, it was a fairly reliable way to differentiate between the smaller and larger versions of the engine.
As with the 265 and 283 cubic inch small block engines, the "W" engine valve gear consisted of tubular steel push rods operating stud-mounted, stamped steel rocker arms. The push rods also acted as a conduit for oil flow to the valve gear. Due to the relatively low mass of the valve train, mechanical lifter versions of the "W" engine were capable of operating at speeds well beyond 6000 RPM.
Unlike many of its contemporaries, the "W" combustion chamber was in the upper part of the cylinder, not the head, the latter which only had tiny recesses for the valves. This arrangement was achieved by combining the use of a cylinder head deck that was not perpendicular to the bore with a crowned piston, a novel concept in American production engines of the day. As the piston approached top dead center, the angle of the crown combined with that of the head deck to form a wedge shaped combustion chamber with a pronounced quench area. The spark plug protruded vertically into this chamber, which tended to cause a rapidly moving flame front during combustion.
The theory behind this sort of arrangement is that maximum brake mean effective pressure is developed at relatively low engine speeds, resulting in an engine with a broad torque curve. With its relatively flat torque characteristics, the "W" engine was well-suited to propelling both trucks and the heavier cars that were in vogue in the USA at the time of the engine's development.
The "W" had a dry weight of approximately 665 pounds (302 kg), depending on intake manifold and carburetion, and was a physically massive engine compared to its small block predecessor.
Year Model Name Features Power
1958 1961 Turbo-Thrust 4 barrel 250 hp (190 kW)
1958 1961 Super Turbo-Thrust "Tri-Power" 3x2 barrel 280 hp (210 kW)
1958 1961 Special Turbo-Thrust 4 barrel 305 hp (227 kW)
1958 1960 Special Super Turbo-Thrust "Tri-Power" 3x2 barrel 315 hp (235 kW)
1959 1960 Special Turbo-Thrust 4 barrel 320 hp (240 kW)
1959 1961 Special Super Turbo-Thrust "Tri-Power" 3x2 barrel 335 hp (250 kW)
1960 1961 Special Turbo-Thrust 4 barrel 340 hp (250 kW)
1960 1961 Special Super Turbo-Thrust "Tri-Power" 3x2 barrel 350 hp (260 kW)
The first iteration of the "W" engine was the 1958 "Turbo-Thrust" 348-cubic-inch (5.7 L) originally intended for use in Chevrolet trucks, but also introduced in the larger, heavier 1958 passenger car line. Bore was 4.125 in (104.8 mm) and stroke was 3.25 in (83 mm), resulting in a substantially oversquare design. This engine was superseded by the 409 as Chevrolet's top performing engine in 1961 and went out of production for cars at the end of that year. It was produced through 1964 for use in large Chevrolet trucks.
With a four-barrel carburetor, the base Turbo-Thrust produced 250 hp (190 kW). A special "Tri-Power" triple-two-barrel version, called the "Super Turbo-Thrust" produced 280 hp (210 kW). A "Special Turbo-Thrust" upped the output to 305 hp (227 kW) with a single large four-barrel. Mechanical lifters and the three two-barrel carburetors brought the "Special Super Turbo-Thrust" up to 315 hp (235 kW). For 1959 and 1960, high-output versions of the top two engines were produced with 320 hp (240 kW) and 335 hp (250 kW) respectively. In 1961, power was again increased to 340 hp (250 kW) for the single four-barrel model, and 350 hp (260 kW) when equipped with three two-barrels.
A 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) version was Chevrolet's top regular production engine from 1961 to 1965, with a choice of single- or dual-four-barrel carburetors. Bore and stroke were both up from the 348 at 4.312 in (109.5 mm) by 3.50 in (89 mm). On December 17, 1960, the 409 engine was announced along with the Impala SS (Super Sport) model. The initial version of the engine produced 360 hp (270 kW), with a single-four-barrel Carter AFB carburetor. The same engine was upped to 380 hp (280 kW) in 1962. A 409 horsepower (305 kW) version of this engine was also available, developing 1 hp per cubic inch with a dual-four-barrel aluminum intake manifold and two Carter AFB carburetors. In the 1963 model year, output reached 425 hp (317 kW) at 6200 rpm with the 2X4 setup, 11.25:1 compression and a solid lifter camshaft. This engine was immortalized in the Beach Boys song titled "409". The engine was available through mid 1965 when it was replaced by the 396-cubic-inch 425 hp (317 kW) Mark IV big-block engine. In addition, a 340 hp (250 kW) version of the 409 engine was available from 19631965, with a single-four-barrel cast-iron intake mounting a Rochester 4GC carburetor, and a hydraulic-lifter camshaft.
A special 427 cubic inches (7.00 L) version of the 409 engine was used in the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe ordered under Chevrolet Regular Production Option (RPO) Z11. This was a special package created for drag racers, including aluminum engine and body parts and a cowl-induction air intake system, along with the 427 engine. The aluminum body parts were fabricated in Flint, MI at the facility now known as GM Flint Metal Center. Unlike the later second generation 427, it was based on the W-series 409 engine, but with a longer 3.65 in (93 mm) stroke. A high-rise two piece aluminum intake manifold and dual Carter AFB carbs fed a 13.5:1 compression ratio to produce an under-rated 430 hp (320 kW) and 435 lb·ft (590 N·m). 50 RPO Z11 cars were produced at the Flint plant. GM Documents exist that show 50 Z11 engines were built at the GM Tonawanda engine plant for auto production, and 20 partial engines were made for replacement/over the counter use. No evidence from GM has been found that show 57 cars were built.
Generation 2: Mark IV Series
Development of the second generation big-block started with the so-called Mystery Motor used in Chevrolet's 1963 Daytona 500 record-setting stock cars. This "secret" engine was a substantially modified form of the "W" engine, and was subsequently released for production use in mid-1965 as the Mark IV, referred to in sales literature as the "Turbo-Jet V8."
Where the Mark IV differed from the "W" engine was in the placement of the valves and the shape of the combustion chambers. Gone was the chamber-in-block design of the "W" (which caused the power curve to drastically sag above 6500 RPM), and in its place was a more conventional wedge chamber in the cylinder head, which was now attached to a conventional 90 degree deck. The valves continued to use the displaced arrangement of the "W" engine, but were also inclined so that they would open away from the combustion chamber and cylinder walls, a design feature made possible by Chevrolet's stud mounted rocker arms. This alteration in valve placement resulted in a significant improvement in volumetric efficiency at high RPM and a substantial increase in power output at racing speeds. Owing to the appearance of the compound angularity of the valves, the automotive press dubbed the engine the "porcupine" design.
As part of the head redesign, the spark plugs were relocated so that they entered the combustion chamber at an angle relative the cylinder centerline, rather than the straight in relationship of the "W" engine. This too helped high RPM performance. Due to the new spark plug angle, the clearance provided by the distinctive scalloped valve covers of the "W" model was no longer needed, and wide, rectangular covers were used.
In all forms (except the ZL-1 Can-Am model) the "rat motor", as it was later nicknamed (the small-block engine being a "mouse motor"), was slightly heavier than the "W" model, with a dry weight of about 685 pounds (311 kg). Aside from the new cylinder head design and the reversion to a conventional 90 degree cylinder head deck angle, the Mark IV shared many dimensional and mechanical design similarities with the "W" engine. The cylinder block, although more substantial in all respects, used the same cylinder bore centers and main bearing dimensions as the older engine (in fact, the shorter stroke 348 and 409 crankshafts could be installed without modification). Like its predecessor, the Mark IV used crowned pistons, which were castings for conventional models and impact extruded (forged), solid skirt types in high performance applications.
Also retained from the "W" design were the race-proven Moraine M400 aluminum bearings first used in the 409, as well as the highly efficient "side oiling" lubrication system, which assured maximum oil flow to the main and connecting rod bearings at all times. These features, along with the robust crankcase design, sturdy forged steel crankshaft and massive four bolt main bearing caps used in the high performance versions, resulted in what many have considered to be the most rugged and reliable large displacement automotive V8 engine design of all time.
The 366 Big block V-8 was used only in Chevrolet Medium duty trucks and in school buses. This engine was made from the 1960's until the mid 1990's. The 366 used 3 compression rings on the pistons as it was designed from the very beginning has a truck engine.
396 and 402
The 396-cubic-inch (6.5 L) V8 was introduced in the 1965 Corvette as the L78 option and in the Z16 Chevelle. It had a bore of 4.094 in and stroke of 3.76 in (96 mm) by 96 mm), and produced 425 hp (317 kW) and 415 lb·ft (563 N·m). This version of the 396 was equipped with four bolt main bearing caps and was very comfortable with being operated in the upper 6000 rpm range.
Introduced in 1970, the 402-cubic-inch (6.6 L) was a 396-cubic-inch bored out by 0.030 in (0.76 mm). Despite the fact that it was 6 cubic inches (98 cc) larger, Chevy continued marketing it under the popular "396" label in the smaller cars while at the same time labeling it "Turbo-Jet 400" in the full-size cars.
Power rating(s) by year:
1965: 375 hp (280 kW)/425 hp (317 kW)
1966: 325 hp (242 kW)/350 hp (260 kW)/360 hp (270 kW)/375 hp (280 kW)
1967: 325 hp (242 kW)/350 hp (260 kW)/375 hp (280 kW)
1968: 325 hp (242 kW)/350 hp (260 kW)/375 hp (280 kW)
1969: 265 hp (198 kW)(2bbl)/325 hp (242 kW)/350 hp (260 kW)/375 hp (280 kW)
1970: 330 hp (250 kW)/350 hp (260 kW)/375 hp (280 kW)
1971: 300 hp (220 kW)
1972: 240 hp (180 kW)
1965 Chevrolet Corvette
19651972 Chevrolet Chevelle
19671972 Chevrolet Camaro
19681970 Chevrolet Nova
19701972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
19651972 Chevrolet Biscayne, Chevrolet Bel Air, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Impala SS, Chevrolet Caprice
L36 427 in a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette
L71 427 in a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette
The highly successful and versatile 427 cubic inch (7.0 L) version of the Mark IV engine was introduced in 1966 as a production engine option for full sized Chevrolets and Corvettes. The bore was increased to 4.25 inches (108 mm), with power ratings varying widely depending on the application. There were smooth running versions with hydraulic lifters suitable for powering the family station wagon, as well as rough idling, high-revving solid lifter models that resembled racing powerplants.
Chevrolet produced the Big Block 427 until the mid 1990's. The only 427 available from 1972 to 1995 was a truck version that was used in GM medium duty trucks such as the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Top Kick until 1995. Throttle body electronic fuel injection was used on the 427 from 1988 to 1995.
Not every version of the 427 was available in every car, and ordering the highest performance versions often required that other options be added to or deleted from the car (for example, power steering wasn't available with the high performance models). This relationship between engine configuration and vehicle options often resulted in what was jokingly referred to as a "racing taxicab," the description usually applied to a minimally equipped, plain looking, two door Biscayne sedan fitted with the 425 horsepower (317 kW) version of the 427 (RPO L72), resulting in a vehicle whose performance was the polar opposite of a taxi. This lightweight, big-block Biscayne was also commonly referred to as "Bisquick."
Perhaps the ultimate 427 for street applications was the 435 horsepower (324 kW) L71 version available in 1967 to 1969 Corvettes, and in the Italian Iso Grifo. This engine was identical to the 425 hp (317 kW) L72 427 (first introduced in 1966) but was fitted with three two barrel carburetors (known as "Tri-Power") in lieu of the L72's single 4 barrel. Both engines utilized the same high lift, long duration, high overlap camshaft and large port, cast iron heads in order to maximum cylinder head flow (and, hence, engine power) at elevated engine operating speeds. Consequently, the engines offered very similar performance and resulted in a car whose performance was described by one automotive journalist as "the ultimate in sheer neck-snapping overkill." Typical magazine road tests of the day yielded sub-6 second zero to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) times and quarter miles in the mid 13 second/106 MPH range for both the L72 and L71.
RPO L89 was an L71 fitted with aluminum heads While this option produced no power advantage, it did reduce engine (and hence, vehicle) weight by roughly 75 pounds (34 kg). This resulted in superior vehicle weight distribution for improved handling, although any difference in straight line performance was essentially negligible.
The most legendary version of the 427 was undoubtedly the 1969 ZL1 engine. It was developed primarily for Can-Am racing, where it was very successful in cars like the Chaparrel 2F and McLaren M8B. The ZL1 had specifications nearly identical to the production L88 version of the 427, but featured an all-aluminum cylinder block in addition to aluminum cylinder heads, which dropped total engine weight into small block Chevy territory (approx. 575 lb/261 kg dressed). The engine was also fitted with the new open combustion chamber cylinder heads, a light weight aluminum water pump, a camshaft that was slightly "hotter" than the L88's and a specially tuned aluminum intake manifold. Like the L88, the ZL1 required 103 octane RON (minimum) fuel, used an unshrouded radiator and had poor low speed idle qualities - all of which made the two engines largely unsuitable for street use. [102 octane RON (Sunoco 260) represented the highest octane gasoline sold at common retail stations.]
As impressive as the ZL1 was in its day and despite the "larger than life legends" surrounding it, actual engine dyno tests of a certified production line stock ZL1 revealed 376 SAE net HP, with output swelling to 524 Gross HP with the help of optimal carb. and ignition tuning, open long tube racing headers and with no power sapping engine accessories or air cleaner in place. ZL1 DYNO TEST - COPO CAMARO WEBSITE A second engine dyno test conducted on a second production line stock (but recently rebuilt and partially blueprinted) ZL1 revealed nearly identical figures for the various "Gross" conditions. 2nd ZL1 DYNO TEST Magazine tests of the ZL1 were quite rare due to the rarity of the engine itself. "High Performance Cars" tested a production line stock version and recorded a 13.1 second/110 MPH quarter mile, which correlates quite well with the previously referenced 376 Net HP figure. "Super Stock and Drag Racing Magazine" recorded an 11.62 second/122.15 MPH quarter mile in a ZL1 Camaro that was professionally tuned and driven by drag racing legend Dick Harrell, although that car was equipped with open long tube S&S equal length headers, drag slicks and minor suspension modifications. The 122.15 MPH trap speed indicated very low 11 second ET potential (e.g. with larger drag slicks) and suggested something on the order of 495 "as installed" HP in that modified configuration. This large difference in power suggests that the OEM exhaust manifolds and exhaust system were very restrictive in the ZL1 application, as was also the case with the similar L88.
The race-prepped ZL1s that were utilized in Can-Am racing were capable of developing something on the order of 600 "as raced" HP as the result of complete engine blueprinting, fuel injection, more aggressive cam-shaft grinds, custom fabricated, power optimizing long tube racing headers, dry sump lubrication and various other power and durability enhancing changes. It is this figure that is often erroneously cited as the "actual" output of production line stock ZL1 passenger car engines (e.g. 1969 COPO 9560 Camaro).
The 4718 dollar cost of the ZL1 option doubled the price of the 1969 Corvette, but resulted in a car with exceptional performance for its day. Just two production Corvettes (factory option at dealer) and 69 Camaros (non-dealer option from factory - COPO 9560) were built with the ZL1.
Chevrolet capitalized on the versatility of the 427 design by producing a wide variety of high performance, "over the counter" engine components as well as ready-to-race "replacement" engines in shipping crates. Some of the components were developed to enhance the engine's reliability during high RPM operation, possibly justifying the use of the description "heavy duty." However, most of these items were racing parts originally designed for Can-Am competition that found their way on to dealers' shelves, and were meant to boost the engine's already impressive power output. As a result of this activity, the 427 quickly became dominant in drag racing.
Beginning in 1969, the highest performance 427 models were fitted with the new open (vs. closed) chamber cylinder heads, which, along with design improvements in crankshafts, connecting rods and pistons adopted from the Can-Am development program, resulted in an engine with substantially increased performance and reliability. Chevrolet gave all 427 engines except the ZL1 a torque rating of 460 lb·ft (620 N·m).
First Year, Last Year, Engine Code,Features, Compression ratio, Factory Gross PowerRating
1966 1969 L36 4-barrel 10.25:1 390 hp (290 kW)
1966 1966 L72 4-barrel + solid-lifters, more aggressive cam and high flow cylinder heads 11.00:1 425 hp (317 kW)
1967 1969 L68 L36 with 3x2-barrel carbs. 10.25:1 400 hp (300 kW)
1967 1969 L71 L72 with 3X2 barrel carbs. 11.00:1 435 hp (324 kW)
1967 1969 L89 L71 + aluminum heads; RPO L89 also applied to L78 "375 HP" 396 engine with aluminum head option. 11.00:1 435 hp (324 kW)
1967 1969 L88 Racing-spec cam, high-flow aluminum heads (casting #s varied by model year) and some upgraded, competition-grade parts 12.50:1 430 hp (320 kW)
1969 1969 ZL1 Aluminum block with open chamber "3946074" aluminum heads; cam even "hotter" than L88's; upgraded parts similar to L88's 12.00:1 430 hp (320 kW)
1970 1977(?) ZLX L88-ZL1 hybrid; iron block with aluminum heads 12.25:1 430(?) hp (321 kW)
19661969 Chevrolet Biscayne
19661969 Chevrolet Caprice
19661969 Chevrolet Impala
19661969 Chevrolet Corvette
19681969 Chevrolet Camaro (most were dealer installed, but in 1969 both the L-72 and the ZL-1 were factory options)
The big-block was expanded again for 1970 to 454 cubic inches (7.4 L) with a 4.251 in (108.0 mm) bore and 4 in (100 mm) stroke. The 1970 Chevy Corvette LS5 version of this engine produced 390 hp (291 kW) and 500 lb·ft (680 N·m), and the LS6 engine was rated at 450 hp (340 kW). It has been suggested that the LS6 was substantially underrated and actually produced well over 500 horsepower (370 kW) as delivered from the factory, although there is no empirical evidence to support this claim. Indeed, the AHRA ASA Class record holding Chevelle LS6 for the 1970 season posted a record setting trap speed of 106.76 mph (171.81 km/h) "1970 ASA LS6 454 Records", which suggests something on the order of 370 "as installed" (SAE Net) HP for a 3,900 pounds (1,800 kg) car and driver combination.
A 465 hp (347 kW) and 490 lb·ft (660 N·m) version of the 454, dubbed LS7 was also designed but never went to production. However, a handful of LS7 intake manifolds were produced and sold by a handful of Chevy dealers as performance parts. The LS7 was later offered as a crate engine from GM and advertised at 500 hp (370 kW).
Power began falling off after 1970, with the 1971 LS5 producing 365 hp (272 kW) and 465 lb·ft (630 N·m), and the LS6 option coming in at 425 hp (317 kW) and 475 lb·ft (644 N·m). Only the LS5 remained in 1972, when SAE net power ratings and the move towards emission compliance resulted in to 270 hp (200 kW) and 390 lb·ft (530 N·m). The 1973 LS4 produced 275 hp (205 kW) and 390 lb·ft (530 N·m), with 5 hp (3.7 kW) and 10 lb·ft (14 N·m) gone the following year. Hardened valve seats helped allow these engines to last much longer than the earlier versions, even without the protection previously provided by lead from fuel. 1974 was the last year of the 454 in the Corvette though the Chevelle offered it in the first 1/2 of the 1975 model year. It was also available in the full size Impala/Caprice until model year 1976.
GM continued to use the 7.4 L (454 cu in) in their truck line, introducing a new Vortec 7400 version in 1996. GM also introduced the 7.4 L 454 EFI in 1990 (known as the GEN V; the previous generation was known as the Mark IV produced between 1965-90; the GEN prefix was used since Ford Motor Company owns the Mark V naming rights since it was used on a Lincoln automobile between 1977-79), which was electronically fuel injected giving more power and torque. Instead of the regular 290 hp (220 kW), the 454 EFI version cranked out 365 hp (272 kW) and 415 lb·ft (563 N·m) of torque. The 454 EFI power ratings were very similar to the early 1970s LS5 454, which was found in early 1970s corvettes and chevelles. The 7.4 L 454 EFI was found on GM 3500 trucks throughout the early 1990s until replaced with the Vortec 7400 (GEN VI) in 1996.
19701976 Chevrolet Cars
19701974 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevy 502 V8The 502-cubic-inch (8.2 L) was offered in various fleet and service vehicles in the late 80's and early 90's. It had a bore of 4.466 with a stroke of 4.00 and was a cast iron 4-bolt main block. Later GM offered it in their Performance Parts catalog, available as multiple crate motors with horse power ratings between 338 hp (252 kW) to 502 hp (374 kW), and torque of 470 lb·ft (637 N·m) to 567 lb·ft (769 N·m) in "Base" and "Deluxe" packages. The "Ram Jet 502" (502 hp (374 kW) / 565 lb·ft (766 N·m)) crate motor was offered with fuel injection, and came as a turn key setup which includes all the wiring and electronics needed to operate in any vehicle.
Mark IV engines saw extensive application in Chevrolet and GMC medium duty trucks, as well as in Blue Bird Corporation All American and TC/2000 transit buses (the latter up until 1995, using a purpose-built, carbureted 427). In addition to the 427, a 366-cubic inch (6.0 liter) version was produced for the commercial market. Both the 366 and 427 commercial versions were built with a raised deck, four bolt main bearing cap cylinder block to accommodate an extra oil control ring on the pistons. Unfortunately, the raised deck design complicated the use of the block in racing applications, as standard intake manifolds required spacers for proper fit. Distributors with adjustable collars that allowed adjustments to the length of the distributor shaft also had to be used with 366 and 427 truck blocks.
Mark IV engines also found themselves widely used in power boats, a natural application for these robust power plants. Many of these engines were ordinary Chevrolet production models that were fitted with the necessary accessories and drive system to adapt them to marine propulsion. Mercury Marine, in particular, was a major user of the Mark IV in marine drives, and relabeled the engines with their corporate logo.
Paul and All:
What an amazing history behind those 454 engines! I can feel my chest starting to thump. My big pleasure on the Summer Palace has been just to start them up. It is an adrenaline rush to start motoring out to the sound and run the throttle forward! Thanks for the history lesson.
For cross reference purposes, you will find the complete listing of all MARINE POWER motors in the threads that follow, and anyone interested in ALL of the other motors Chris Craft used in the past (in classic fiberglass boats) you can also check out the following thread http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1172181250
Marine Power info below !
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on May 25, 2010 11:11 AM
ok i have been looking on here for quite some time now. there is a lot of good information on this site, especially this tread. however.....my 1970 commander 31 has 350ci crusader 270's in it. there is not a lot of rebuild info on these. they are the original motors for this boat. unfortunately the people we bought this boat from removed the mufflers and water check valves from the exhaust and ruined the motors. they are rebuild-able! my question is about the counter rotating motors. does the counter rotating motor have the same internals as the other? does it just spin backwards? or are all of the internals completely different? the distributors spin the same direction so i am assuming the cam gear, at least, is different. if i could get some good info on this and maybe a good company to get a rebuild kit for this would be nice. i do need new cams for both, possibly cranks too...... not sure on that one yet. thank you all in advance.
Your 270 HP 350 ci Small Block Chevy (SBC) is the same as any SBC. They cam in 265-400 ci. Crusader is the Marine Conversion Manufacturer. Chris Craft had their own engine division to make their marine conversions and also sold their marine engines to several other boat manufacturers. I believe CC Marine engine were around till mid 70's, so if yours are truly Crusaders they may not be original, although someone could put crusader stickers on a CC K engine and it would be hard to tell the difference. The F and G engines used alot of unique parts. The CC Q engines were flywheel forward, the transmission was driven from the harmonic balancer. The F, G, K are all flywheel aft engines. Any rebuild article on a SBC is the same for any SBC. To change a standard (LH,CW) rotation engine to a reverse (RH,CCW) rotation engine you need to change the Cam Shaft (LH Ground Cam), distributor, crank shaft oil seals, water pump and starter. If you are doing a complete rebuild the pistons should also be turned, there is a notch that I believe faces flywheel end on LH, the notch should face forward on a RH engine although if you are not rebuilding you can run them with pistons as installed, it has to do with the thrust.