Click for Bering Click for Cape Scott Click for Cheoy Lee Click for Elling Click for Pacific Mariner

1989 Crusader 454 problems. Need help.

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by notfriedman, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    Sorry about the looooong explanation but I need some serious advice. My boat is at a local shipyard and they’re telling me I’m due for a repower on my boat. This is the last thing I was expecting before I took it there. I bought the one year ago. It was in the great lakes (freshwater) and both engines had less than 1000 hours. The boat hadn’t been used in 7 years and was on the hard. The first time I started the boat there was antifreeze that came out of the exhaust so I’m pretty sure it was properly winterized. Also, when I purchased the boat the compression test for both engines was around 140 lbs. After purchasing I brought the boat to the Carolinas.

    Earlier in the summer my 1989 Crusader 454 (starboard side) started to overheat only over 2200 RPMS. Everything below 2200 RPM the engine was fine. After this started to occur, I used the engine for another 15 hours or so. During that time period I never went over 2200 RPM because of the overheating issue.

    I took the boat to a local marine mechanic and they started chasing the overheating problem. First they replaced the manifolds and risers. Every time the boat was started you could see rust in come out of the exhaust so I figured it wasn’t a bad idea. That didn’t fix the overheating problem so they pressurized the heat exchanger to learn that it wouldn’t hold pressure. So the heat exchanger went off to a shop and they fixed a couple of pin holes. After the heat exchanger could hold enough pressure they reinstalled it and the engine still overheated. Next, a couple of hoses and the impellor were replaced. Another sea trial was performed to find out it still overheated. After that didn’t fix it they replaced the cooling pump. Still overheating. Next they told me that they sea trialed the boat and the cooling system will stay pressurized until it hit 2200 RPM and then it would start to lose pressure. They also said they did a compression test on both engines and they are around 40 lbs each.

    So now their recommendation is to repower the boat because there is most likely a crack in the block and there is coolant leaking into the heads. Ugh! I had noticed steam coming from the exhaust just around or before the overheating problem.

    I’m not sure what the answer is. Could it be something else? Should I take it to a second mechanic and get a second opinion on what the problem could be and possible solutions. I don’t want to pay for a repower. Who does!?!? I don’t know if this boatyard is the best to deal with considering it look them replacing almost the entire cooling system up to this point and now recommend a repower.
  2. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Messages:
    752
    Location:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    Get a second opinion.... Unless you have utmost confidence in this yard.
  3. Jimbo1959

    Jimbo1959 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Stockton, CA
    You mentioned "when I purchased the boat the compression test for both engines was around 140 lbs. After purchasing I brought the boat to the Carolinas."

    How could the compression on both engines now be at 40 psi? I'm assuming you are having problems with only one engine. I would get a second opion before telling them to go ahead. BTW what about exhaust back pressure?
  4. Jimbo1959

    Jimbo1959 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Stockton, CA
    You also mentioned that anti-freeze came out the exhaust when 1st started. Not a good thing. If properly winterized they would have drained the raw water side and left anti-freeze in the fresh water side.
  5. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    Jax FL
    YEP!!!
    I was just about to ask about this myself.
    ,rc
  6. dsharp

    dsharp Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    lake jackson, tx
    What rpm would the engines turn before the engine started overheating? The impeller should have been the first thing to check if it was overheating. I would have someone else look at it. There is really no need to go through all of the parts changing. I would buy a pair of new bobtails before I spent money on a pair of 20 year old gas engines.
  7. sunchaserv

    sunchaserv New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Carefree, AZ
    1000 hours and 7 years of sitting on hard for 23 year old engines would certainly label them as nearing the end of their life in my book. I have run these engines and can tell you the 454 block is pretty tough though - how did they determine the block was cracked? You may be able to pick up "new" engines cheaper than fixing these if indeed they are toast. A long block with MPI may cost you less than 8K each if you do the install.
  8. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    367
    Location:
    Connecticut and Downeast Maine
    With regards to the compression test numbers each engine should produce 8 compression test results. One for each cylinder. Your data is incomplete.

    Secondly, you are faulting your boatyard for recommending a repower when you brought them a problem child? From your narrative it sounds like you were in the loop and informed every step of the way.

    They took steps like replacing hoses and impellers ... was this not done when you bought a boat that was sitting for 7 years?

    If your Crusaders are 1989 they are most likely carbureted with standard points and condenser ignitions ... If it were my boat I would repower to a model with fuel injection and electronic ignition. (Having done this on a Blackfin 27 I will mention you should also plan on re-propping because there will be a significant performance increase)
  9. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    634
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    is the bottom and running gear clean?
  10. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    Thanks so much for helping me so far. It’s been great to hear everyone’s opinion since I have not been in this situation.

    I stopped in yesterday to talk to them and ask a few questions that you recommended. The compression test results they wrote down for both engines were from the low 50’s to high 60’s per cylinder. Even though the starboard engine is the only one overheating, they tested both to compare the results from on to the other. One year ago the compression test results were all in the 130’s to 140’s range per cylinder and at that time, a year ago, the boat had not been run in years, so I was told. Does anyone else know why and how or if it’s possible for the compression to drop almost 100 psi over the last year?

    The engines were running fine with the exception of the starboard overheating. Would they run that well if the compression was only in the 50’s to 60’s range?

    I checked the oil and there is no coolant that is leaking into the oil. There is a lot of vapor coming from the starboard exhaust. I have identified that there is not a pressure leak in the coolant cap. I also don’t know if there is a cracked head since they have not pulled that part of the motor apart yet. Also, all of the plugs looked okay.

    Their recommendation is to buy a remanufactured block because the cost of labor to machine the head which may or may not fix the issue would be almost as much as buying a remanufactured long block.

    The estimate is $7,500 to pull ONE block and reinstall a remanufactured long block. They recommended doing the same to the other engine because of the low compression results. The notes from the estimate included:

    Remove engine. Remove heat exchanger, exhaust risers, coupler, transmission cooler, alternator and carburetor before lifting engine. Transfer parts from old engine to long block. Install and align engine.. Spark plugs, coil, wires, dist cap and rotor, oil etc Hose, clamps, coolant etc. ASSUMPTION: Engine and trans mounts are re-usable. NOTE: Suggest getting the starter and alternators reworked. NOTE: May want to replace the oil/trans cooler.

    I asked if it was a bad head gasket and he said its a bad head or possibly a cracked block and they’re not sure.


    Any thoughts that would help?
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    6,154
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Is the overheating engine losing coolant? A blocked raw water riser, will create an overheat condition and you mentioned one of the risers was hot. A bad riser also, can and will leak saltwater into the head and cylinders and create the issue you are seeing. However, I would get a second opinion. To pay another mechanic to compression test 1 engine shouldn't take but an hour or two......even for both depending on access.

    7 years sitting on the hard can be very bad for engines as well as 1000 hours is nearing the end of their lifespan.
  12. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    Jax FL
    A few years ago my trusty old pressure gage started reading consistently low. I started to blame the motor but the other side read low again. (Sound familiar?) I borrowed a cheap gage from Auto Zone on their tool loaner deal and ya know what??? My gage was hosed.

    Risers are raw water cooled. Fresh, salt, rain water,,, they will rust. Sand, dirt, dust, rust, corrosion, carbon, spiders, old water pump impellers will clog them. Like zincs, they are sacrificial. I would not replace an engine with out replacing at least the risers also. I assume your exhaust logs are fresh water cooled.

    The old Georgia back yard test, start pulling raw water hoses off and watch the water flow at a tall idle. Start at the pump. What is pumped in, must flow thru and out. That last hose at the riser you may feel hot and swollen under pressure and not have to pull the exhaust hose off.

    Always get another opinion.

    On the other hand, yesterday, today or tomorrow, there is no great money deal in boat$.
  13. blacksheep

    blacksheep New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Suwannee,fla
    HI: I have a pair of 454 crusaders which are 1988 models and the Port engine is doing exactly as you say the starboard engine is acting .Mine starts to over heat at around 2200RPM's as well.These engines were take outs from a boat in Marblehead,ohio which I got about 4 years ago. Been working on a 38 Chris Craft for almost all that time and finally got to run it a few weeks ago.
    Then I noticed the over heat problem on my port engine.
    I plan on replacing the impellers as I never did that before installing the engines.She runs great below 2200rpm'sPlease post what you find adn I will do the same. I haven't had a lot of time this season to do any boating as working 6 to 7 days a week on rental houseI am in southern Tennessee on the Tennessee river so I can work on it any time this winter.
    I do all my work on any thing I own due to not having funds to pay the high cost of mechanics,etc.Good luck and please let me know what you find.I recommend pull the heads and take them to a machine shop as it isn't that expensive to check them out. May be stuck rings???Good luck,Bill
  14. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    I dont know why it would be at 40 and that's why I think something is fishy. Yes, there is only a problem with one engine. I'm not familiar with exhaust back pressure. What are your thoughts?
  15. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    The boat starboard engine would start to overheat around 2200 RPM. The port doesnt overheat.
  16. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    They have no idea if it is cracked which is fishy to me. You would think they could determine this.

    For a remanufactured block and transfering old part to the reman block it will costs around 7k for the whole job.
  17. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    The compression test indicated psi from the 50's to the 60's. I fault the mechanic for using a dart throwing approach to chasing the issue without a methodical diagnosis approach. The conversations they had with me was that "x" will fix the problem and then guess what... it didnt. Eventually I realized I wasnt getting expert advice. When I bought the boat, I replaced impellers and hoses along with other items.

    I have considered the fuel injectors and electronic ignition. How much did it improve you power and fuel efficiency? Also, how do you know what props to go with to increase performance?

    Thanks a lot for the help.
  18. notfriedman

    notfriedman New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charleston SC
    Hopefully we can figure this out!
  19. dsharp

    dsharp Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    lake jackson, tx
    Did they replace the manifolds or the risers. Blocks and heads seldom crack. A stopped up riser will cause the problems you've described. You should be able to keep your hand on the riser while it's running ( 160 degrees) By the time you pay the labor to clean up and change the marine parts onto a reman engine you could by a new engine or close to it. I would get on the phone and see what a pair of bobtails would cost. The way you're going would be my last choice. The marine parts rust out as much as wear out.
  20. Brooke's Buddy

    Brooke's Buddy New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    City Island
    If you have the "U" shaped engine oil/transmission fluid cooler it might be a good test to bypass it.Has the cooler been checked??

Share This Page