Custom Boice 1970 "Rogue River Jet boat" Your input please
Hello Everyone, Eric here. I am a new subscriber, from Eugene, OR. I just picked up a 1970 Boice 18' Rogue River Jet Boat. It is Fiberglass over wood construction, custom built. Ford 289 motor with a 2 barrel carb. I believe its 1963 motor because it has a generator on it. The motor is mated to a Berkeley 12Y A-B pump. I took it out for the first time yesterday and would like to have some input from you guys. This set up seems surprisingly slow to get up on plane and top speed at 4,000 indicated rpm feels like 40 at best. It runs strong and sounds amazing. I was hoping for more pucker factor out of a v8 Jet drive combo... What should I do to wake this thing up? Bolt on a 4 barrel and electronic ignition, and be happy with that? Modify the current 289 with 351 heads and performance intake? Pull the old motor and put in a 350 or 351? I would like to keep it low cost, but definitely willing to pay up if necessary. We still had a blast with it and it is great to be out on the water again. Thank you ahead of time for your input!
I haven't come across the river forum yet, good suggestion. I will check it out, I am looking for some river running craziness with this boat. "It will never be a fast boat" got me a good laugh! I got that feeling the first couple minutes on the throttle. Basic bolt-ons and a rudder ditching may be the plan.
Your 12JA is a very early Berkeley jet, originally built with a size "B" impeller. There was the 12JA(2 piece bowl), which was followed by the 12JB (2piece bowl), 12JC (one piece bowl) and the 12JG (two piece bowl) Each new pump had changes that made it more efficient than the previous model (in general). (there were also the 12JE and 12JF that were insert style pumps)
Assuming the jet is original, you have the earliest model which doesn't benefit from later improvements. I am not totally sure about compatibility with the 12JA, but I think that you could install newer more efficient impeller and bowl from a later series pump and gain some efficiency and performance.
Another aspect to consider is the condition of your old pump - if it has not been rebuilt recently the wear ring clearance could be excessive, and/or the impeller blades could be damaged. An overhaul bringing it back to original spec could help the performance a lot, depending on the current condition.
Again, with a 2 barrel, 289 Ford it will never be a "Fast" boat, but it can be improved on some. Most are people running 454 and bigger engines in their jets.
Great info Doug, Thank you. That is good to know. I am looking closer and the pump and comparing pictures of later models. Fair amount of difference, no trim adjustment and beastly rudder. The retro look and equipment is growing on me. I have decided to keep it original and improve a little here and there as I go. I have pictures of the boat 40+ years ago and a folder of information and hand draw diagrams with receipts dated back to 1969. The trailer cost $315.00 brand new! It is still running the original tires today.