Old Boats New Power
I have a 1980 outboard boat, that is out of production. I want to repower it, but
there’s no capacity plate on it. How can I figure out how much power I can add?
Greg Griff in
Ft. Myers, FL
TOM NEALE: I can’t find any official information on power limitations for this
1980 boat. If you Google it, you’ll see several boats of your make and vintage with
motors of various horsepower. However, that’s hardly a reliable answer. Consider not
only what the horsepower was when they built it but the state of the boat now. For
example, if there’s any impairment to the boat, particularly in the transom, this would
significantly affect its motor capacity, perhaps to the extent that it shouldn’t be used,
particularly with deterioration or rot in any of the underlying wood. I’d be very careful
here and very conservative. You should check with a reliable outboard dealer for a
I’ve just discovered that the steel or iron
fuel tanks in my 1976 Pearson ketch are
leaking. Naturally, they’re in the furniture
and under the deck athwartships at the
engine-room stations. They’re cylindrical,
about 27 inches long, 24 inches in
diameter, and hold 40 gallons each.
Should I remove the tanks and replace
with new tanks, or can I use fiberglass
and mold a new tank in the same space?
What material would you use?
Frederick C. Meyer
Hampton Bays, NY
TOM NEALE: Many boaters have had
this problem. Some have even resorted to
cutting a large hole in the side of the boat
to pull out the old tanks. Many prefer
fiberglass diesel tanks, and many of these
have done fine for more than 40 years.
I like and prefer that material, although
you wouldn’t want to use it for a fuel tank
in these days of ethanol, and who knows
what the government is going to do to
diesel in the future. And fiberglass has
its potential drawbacks. You would need
to support it, baffle it, use the correct
type of material, and take many other
precautions that I suspect are beyond
what you’re willing to do.
If it were my boat, I’d “unglue” or “
dis-attach” the furniture and install new tanks
made specifically for diesel by a reputable
company. I’d also hire a good yard to do
it because this just isn’t typically a do-it-yourself type of job. And I’d replace both
tanks while I was going through the pain.
This would probably save you money in
the long run.
Thanks for the battery article by Ed
Sherman (“Boat Battery Care,”
June 2015). Good advice! I recently
experienced a first in my long boating
career. We ran 12 miles off Cape May in
my Luhrs 29 Open to fish the artificial
reefs. Going out was fine. We turned ILLU
Practical Boater ASK THE EXPERTS
Edited by Tom Neale