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Thread: 19.5 Cuddy

  1. #1

    19.5 Cuddy

    I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I'm going to have to let go of my boat. It's been a great learning process - I know exactly what to do for the next one - but it's time. I'm hoping to find a good home with someone who will do it justice.

    The boat:
    1978 hardtop cuddy (foam stringer)
    fully replaced cavity foam
    worn but decent original upholstery throught out
    original side curtains
    original bulkhead vinyl - pretty trashed but functional
    good gelcoat overall
    no major blemishes, though it's been in the water almost a year without bottom paint (see explanation below)

    The motor:
    1978 Mercruiser 470
    big heat exchanger
    alternator setup
    new riser
    runs strong
    all rubber and wiring in great shape
    probable blown headgasket (see below)

    The trailer:
    6000lb single axle Calkins
    Kodiak disc brakes
    Newer actuator
    New tires/wheels
    includes new axle, assorted rollers, to restore to proper function.

    The story:
    I've been working on this boat for 5 years now. I bought it from the second owner. Over the time I've had it, I have put literally hundreds of hours into it. I removed and replaced all of the foam/sole/fiberglass. I replaced the heat exchanger with the big one, swapped in an alternator. I replaced basically every gasket on the motor (other than the headgasket...). Rebuilt the fuel pump. Replaced the whole gimbal assembly. The batteries are a couple years old but they've always been properly maintained.

    About a year ago, after all of the major motor work, I put it in the water with the intention of leaving it in for a few weeks to make a water mark so the bottom paint wouldn't look stupid. On the way, the axle on the trailer broke. Not all the way but enough that it couldn't drive anymore. I ordered the necessary parts but discovered that several of the bolts on the trailer are rusted solid. I left it partially disassembled in my driveway.

    We ran the boat a lot last summer. All the way into the begining of October. PO, Vashon, Dyes Inlet, Liberty Bay, Bainbridge, Kingston, Edmonds, ... Probably close to 50 hours. No problems.

    Tuesday, having resigned myself to have CJ marine in Des Moines do the bottom paint for me, I went down to start her up and get a little gas. I ran it about 10 minutes, but the temp kept creeping up. I shut it down about 190, so things wouldn't get crazy. It dieseled once on shutdown. First time for that. I let it sit 10 minutes or so and started it back up. Upon startup, I got some stuff that looks to be a coolant/water combination floating on the surface. Shut it down immediately. Amazingy, it actually started very easily and ran smoothly, so there doesn't seem to be any damage...other than the obvious leaking headgasket.

    I'm left with a boat in the water, with a blown headgasket, and which sorely needs to be cleaned and a immobile trailer that's rust-welded together. Oh, and 2 kids under 6, a house, a cabin that needs some roof work, a 6.5 diesel that needs maintenance, and so on... I think you can see my perdicament. I would hold on to it but, by the time i'm ready to tackle it, we'll be ready to up-size and the boat will have been neglected for at least another year.

    Posting photos on here is a huge pain but there's one as my avatar. If you're interested, pm me your email and I'll send you some photos. I have tons and it will be WAY easier than uploading. Don't hesitate, even if you're only kind of interested.
    Last edited by NWVintage; 06-01-2017 at 03:03 PM.
    1978 19.5' Hardtop Cuddy, Merc 470, 15hp 2-cycle Merc O/B - "Raindancer"
    1972 17' Rundabout, 1965 85hp Merc Tower of Power, 1964 3.5hp long shaft - "Bzzzzzz"

  2. #2
    Administrator Binford's Avatar
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    You might just have a breach in your heat exchanger, or possibly in the separation plate at the riser, that is allowing coolant to escape into the raw water (and, quite likely, salt water to enter the coolant).

    Pull the "radiator" cap and check the condition of the coolant. Likewise, pull the dipstick and check for signs of water in the oil. You might not have any problem with the head gasket at all.

    And as for picture posting, simply follow the steps clearly outlined by nova7163 in his Picture Posting 101 thread.

    If you have the pictures on your computer, then you should have no problem getting them posted here following those steps.

    Good luck!
    -- Tim Taylor

    1979 Glasply 21-foot I/O Overnighter w/ 5.0L Volvo-Penta duoprop (Cardinal)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy w/ a fresh Mercruiser 470 (Chopstick)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy, soon to be with kf7gth (Chopstick II)
    1982 Glasply 16-foot runabout w/ 50hp Mercury OB (JV Junior)
    1986 Glasply 8-1/2 foot dinghy (presently unpowered & unnamed) SOLD!
    1978 Glasply 19-1/2 foot runabout w/ Mercruiser 470 (Beer Goggles)


    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

  3. #3
    Do a compression check before you resign yourself to taking a loss to a suspected blown head gasket. I would keep the boat and ditch the 6.5 diesel. They're more troublesome than any 470.
    They civilize left, they civilize right, 'til nothing is left and nothing is right. (Ben Rumson)

  4. #4
    Thanks for the notes guys! Today, having a more rest and a cooler head, I decided to check a couple more things as you've suggested above. Thanks for the notes!
    1978 19.5' Hardtop Cuddy, Merc 470, 15hp 2-cycle Merc O/B - "Raindancer"
    1972 17' Rundabout, 1965 85hp Merc Tower of Power, 1964 3.5hp long shaft - "Bzzzzzz"

  5. #5
    Administrator Binford's Avatar
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    Best to fix the boat up if you want to sell it for anything close to what you want for it. Nothing will close someone's wallet faster than an old boat with a sickly 470!
    -- Tim Taylor

    1979 Glasply 21-foot I/O Overnighter w/ 5.0L Volvo-Penta duoprop (Cardinal)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy w/ a fresh Mercruiser 470 (Chopstick)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy, soon to be with kf7gth (Chopstick II)
    1982 Glasply 16-foot runabout w/ 50hp Mercury OB (JV Junior)
    1986 Glasply 8-1/2 foot dinghy (presently unpowered & unnamed) SOLD!
    1978 Glasply 19-1/2 foot runabout w/ Mercruiser 470 (Beer Goggles)


    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Binford View Post
    Best to fix the boat up if you want to sell it for anything close to what you want for it. Nothing will close someone's wallet faster than an old boat with a sickly 470!
    Ha ha. Yeah, I know...

    Is there any way to reclassify this thread? It just turned into a motor-related thread...

    Good news!! It's not the head gasket. ~148psi (!!!) across all cylinders with nice looking plugs when they were pulled! I pulled the riser and thermostat to take a look at those too. All looked good. Ordered parts.

    I'll go back to the marina in the next few days to drain the coolant and pull the heat exchanger for a pressure test. Does anyone have a decent way to check these puppies for holes with going to a radiator shop? Is standard home water pressure enough/not too much? Plug one end and apply the garden hose? I tried to have my "new" 4-inch exhcanger checked before I installed it but couldn't find anywhere to do it...? I'm in Seattle primarily but anywhere in Kitsap, north to Bellingham or east to Wenatchee or Ellensburg could be reasonably convenient.

    I also solved my trailer issue! At least in the short-term. While ordering parts and BS-ing, I ended up with a free trailer! I'll have to switch out my tongue - "new" one is free because of bent tongue - but at least I can get the boat out of the water! It's not great (obviously) but I can get the boat home.
    1978 19.5' Hardtop Cuddy, Merc 470, 15hp 2-cycle Merc O/B - "Raindancer"
    1972 17' Rundabout, 1965 85hp Merc Tower of Power, 1964 3.5hp long shaft - "Bzzzzzz"

  7. #7
    Sometimes low pressure will work sometimes it wont. depends on the size of the leak. Heat also has a way of changing the equation. once i was involved in a major overhaul of an enterprise diesel (6000 HP) had a leaky head, pulled it off the engine put a couple hundred pounds of pressure on it, no leak, as soon as it heated up it would puke like an SOB. Ive always been happy with seattle radiator for cleaning and testing cat coolers and large heat exchangers. good luck

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick1967 View Post
    Sometimes low pressure will work sometimes it wont. depends on the size of the leak. Heat also has a way of changing the equation. once i was involved in a major overhaul of an enterprise diesel (6000 HP) had a leaky head, pulled it off the engine put a couple hundred pounds of pressure on it, no leak, as soon as it heated up it would puke like an SOB. Ive always been happy with seattle radiator for cleaning and testing cat coolers and large heat exchangers. good luck
    Thanks! I'll give them a try.

  9. #9
    So, is there anyone who actively moderates for the forum these days? This thread needs to be reclassified...

    Went down to Seattle Radiator yesterday which was a truly great experience - if you ever have heat exchanger or radiator issues, check these guys out. They pressure tested my heat exchanger for free. I opted to put off service because I put it in the boat like 10 months ago and everything was clear when I put it in, but they quoted my $120-150 for a full service (rod it out, clean everything, gaskets, paint). Price depends on cost of gaskets. I came away for $0, having ruled out this as the issue.

    I'm starting to think that there may just have been an air bubble somehow or a very prematurely failed thermostat...

    Things that didn't cause the problem:
    Heat exchanger
    exhaust riser
    blown head gasket

    I guess I'll check the seawater side when I get it out of the water. I know for sure that it was pumping water (checked that) but not certain how much.

    Any other thoughts?
    Last edited by NWVintage; 06-06-2017 at 11:10 AM.
    1978 19.5' Hardtop Cuddy, Merc 470, 15hp 2-cycle Merc O/B - "Raindancer"
    1972 17' Rundabout, 1965 85hp Merc Tower of Power, 1964 3.5hp long shaft - "Bzzzzzz"

  10. #10
    Administrator Binford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWVintage View Post
    So, is there anyone who actively moderates for the forum these days? This thread needs to be reclassified...

    Thread moved as requested!
    -- Tim Taylor

    1979 Glasply 21-foot I/O Overnighter w/ 5.0L Volvo-Penta duoprop (Cardinal)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy w/ a fresh Mercruiser 470 (Chopstick)
    1980 Glasply 19-1/2 foot hardtop cuddy, soon to be with kf7gth (Chopstick II)
    1982 Glasply 16-foot runabout w/ 50hp Mercury OB (JV Junior)
    1986 Glasply 8-1/2 foot dinghy (presently unpowered & unnamed) SOLD!
    1978 Glasply 19-1/2 foot runabout w/ Mercruiser 470 (Beer Goggles)


    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

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