Hard and Expensive Lesson Learned
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Hard and Expensive Lesson Learned

  1. #1
    Senior Member SS44JOHNNY's Avatar
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    Default Hard and Expensive Lesson Learned

    I bought this 1976 Spectra 20 from a guy up in Reno NV last year. In my excitement of finally buying a nice boat I hauled ass back to Vegas. My girlfriend and I took it to the river for the first run and it ran flawless. We took it out for a few more short trips out on Lake Mead, and then one weekend we decided to venture up lake further to the narrows. On our way back to Lake Mead marina we were almost back when the engine had a catastrophic failure. It sounded really bad when it went so I didn't try to start it again. We were towed back in. My brother pulled the motor and we found some pretty severe damage.

    It killed the block and 2 Pistons. The lesson I learned is always check everything out on a new purchase before you hit the lake. A few stupid things I should have known to check coulda prevented having to spend $$$$ on a new engine.

    When we started poking around we found the carb was too small for a 460 Ford, a 600cfm Holley with 73 in the primary and 65 in the secondary. Plus the timing was advanced about 38 degrees. If I woulda checked the jets, seeing the boat was being run at elevation, as well as put a simple timing light on it I probably would be out on the lake now. I feel pretty stupid, but at least now the new 466 BBF will be much stronger and more powerful. Gonna post some pics as my dad and myself rebuild the motor and get the it back in the "Thirst Quencher". I love this boat, can't wait to get my cruiser back out on the lake.

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  3. #2
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    Sorry to hear about your misfortune, but it is all fixable and no one was hurt. (Other than pocket book and pride)
    It may not be nice to say, but I'm glad it was you and not me, but it is a good lesson for most of us to think about.
    Thanks for sharing.

    You've got a great looking boat regardless, and it's all fresh.

  4. #3
    tintingsandiego krusn56's Avatar
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    Nice boat... I bought a used 460 to replace a 455. It ran for years but seemed to be getting tired. I had another 460 in my garage from a boat sale flip an had that one built to a 466. My spectra 18 hits 70 now.

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  6. #4
    Or Seth, either one Budweiser's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the problems. Glad you're back in business.

    Make sure to properly winterize. I only mention it because it looks like a possible cause. The scratches in the bore near the crack indicate the area could have been pushed in by frozen water. Guessing the crack opened up when the engine heated up and water intrusion broke the piston, however the piston top color doesn't solidly support it.

    None the less, the point is not what caused it at this point. But, to not have any more expensive lessons.

    Good luck and enjoy it. Nice boat
    Last edited by Budweiser; 05-31-2016 at 10:04 PM.

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    Senior Member namba860's Avatar
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    I guess I now know why the seller of that boat would not do a lake test on it when I tried to buy it.

  8. #6
    Senior Member SS44JOHNNY's Avatar
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    Not on seller at all, on me. He was straight up honest, started it, compression check, etc....

    I just didn't take in to account it was ran at elevation or bother to check the timing, etc.. I just wanted to get to the lake and I paid the price.

  9. #7
    Senior Member tigertooth's Avatar
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    Hypertectic piston with not enough ring gap. Gap went closed, tore the ring land off the top of the piston, resulting pressure cracked the block. Senn it at least a dozen times. Hypertecs in boats dont work unless everything is perfect...

  10. #8
    Senior Member SS44JOHNNY's Avatar
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    My dad said the same thing when he saw the piston.
    Bought a set of SRP forged Pistons for the new engine.
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  11. #9
    Senior Member tigertooth's Avatar
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    Still gotta set the ring gap on the loose side for intended use since its lake use.

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    Not that advice isn't always welcome, but I think JOHNNY has tried to explain a problem he had and even taken responsibility for what may have caused the damage.
    Not one time has he blamed anyone for what happened, except himself.
    I've taken this post as someone standing up and basically saying, OOPS, I may have made a mistake by not checking a few things. So, I'm going to share my experience so others don't do the same.
    I think it's cool, it doesn't happen often. Usually, it's always the other guy that caused my problem.
    Two thumbs up

  13. #11
    LP-25.com Infomaniac's Avatar
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    Rings butted together. You couldn't have checked that without taking the rings off the pistons
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  14. #12
    Senior Member tigertooth's Avatar
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    Hey jims place. I didt say that Johnny didnt take the blame for it. I was,just pointi g out why it happened. Just my 02 from experience. Not here to start trouble. Just dont like it when the op asks a question and then gets bad advice

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigertooth View Post
    Hey jims place. I didt say that Johnny didnt take the blame for it. I was,just pointi g out why it happened. Just my 02 from experience. Not here to start trouble. Just dont like it when the op asks a question and then gets bad advice
    OK, sorry if I offended. And, yes if there was bad advice it needs to be corrected

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