Discussion in 'Chris Craft Roamer Yacht' started by homer1958, Jan 15, 2011.
I posted on this back before xmas if anyone had any info
Shes got a ways to go to match the Homer Roamer but the guy has skills in the mechanical for sure.
I really like his repower set up. What do think about the price?
Here is what Homer Thinks....
Hi Bolsaldo... It depends how you rationalize it.... and I do mean rationalize!
It's aluminum hull is critical and that is not to say bad things about steel.. but Steel is Steel. It's stronger and heavier not as fast. (2 mph slower) but it rusts so it really depends on the condition, most "steelies" need extensive plating repairs. The steel may actually handle a rough sea better, not sure but I believe.. also eats more fuel and needs more power. The difference in weight is exactly 4,000 lbs... 16,000 for a stripped 37 aluminum, 20,000 for a stripped steel.
Most aluminum Roamer hulls are forever. They used the highest grade marine aluminum with the higher bauxite content.. no different than what Burger used, just not as thick a plate...but its not 65 feet either. The grade is the
5086 plate .19 bottom .16 sides. The steel 11 gauge bottom, 12 gauge sides.
The ideal gas motors for this boat at 427'S OR 460 Fords.
It will take the boat to 33-36 respectively. I have also run the 454 330's in the 38. They are a bit faster (35mph) and higher revving, but the Fords have more torque and approximate diesel power more closely. Fords are also harder to find parts for and parts are more costly. However, no doubt the 427 is a cult engine.. great motors, I would know. The Paragon tranny's are pigs though... could anchor a cruise ship in a typhoon... and throw out those loud iron Sherman tank mufflers.
Properly propped and transmission, the 37 with Cummins 370 will bring her to 35.5 - possibly 37.5 miles per hour. Again depends on props too. Depend on gas going to a very high cost in the future.. Diesel is likely going to be almost a must.
The cost of perfectly restoring a Roamer can be as high as Three Bigboys... and that is doing a lot yourself/ converting to diesel. This is what a showroom job could run at the end of the rainbow.
The 37 with the 327's is not under-powered, but not well powered either. This boat likes a minimum of twin 300's up to twin 400's... even Yanmar 440's would be fine if you want to hit 40.... and she will do it.
A lot of people are after the baby Roamers... I mean, try and find a good 37, 38 or 41... The 1969 and 1970 38' in aluminum probably the most valuable pound for pound. The 41 has a 15' beam, the 37/38 is 12'10." The 37 and 38 are large cruisers. The 41 begins the yacht size IMHO.
I just checked, could not find any but this one 37 looked like a little gem. There was another one too a 38' 1969 called the Patricia.. not sure where she is now?
If it is in great up to date shape.. you bet it is.. because if you are fussy, you will dump every bit of that and more getting her there. Hard to believe but you will unless you are an expert at everything, have the time and money. Also Chris wiring needs to be redone, they used an old Square D box and house wire back then.
Now, some folks think it's going to be not to expensive or they are going to do it on the cheap, "Not Gonna Happen" unless you just want the equivalent to an old car, blowing oil with another thick coat of rolled on house paint.
The 38 was made to extend the top for the Regal model. The 38 is negligibly sleeker if you examine the sedan top... it has an extra foot. There were 7 38's made in Aluminum and 12 in steel in 1969. I think slightly more in 1968 and slightly less in 1970. All details can be answered by contacting Jim Wick at Chris Parts as he was there when the boat was built in Holland Michigan. A new 38 was 40 bills in 1969.
The strongest part of the boat is the hull... the cabinet work is production and the glass top ok but not super thick, but enough. I took the 38 apart.. right to the raw hull, examined every weld and not one fracture or stress-mark or anything wrong anywhere. She was in rough seas at times too. I remember crossing Lake Ontario with 12 footers.. no problem. But, she is a planing hull so she is fine up to 21 mph in 3.5 short bay foot chop and any faster she will have a slight pound where the bow cabinets are. But still, you are going 21 so it's pretty fast all in all. The hull sweetspot cruise is 23 with gas, 27 with diesel.. but she will keeps going faster stress free and planes out well.. but the wind gets to be a bit much after that.
Anyway... prices on these have gone way up.. so you either buy a trashed-out one and throw another coat of paint on her or you go all out and do it right. If she is near mint at $105, well.. see if they will negotiate a bit... make an offer.... ''No" hurts, but does not bleed. The guy knows what he has. They were hand made, take one apart and you will realize a new one like her today would be around 550-650 probably... that's what two builders told me anyway.... In sum, they would not be cost effective to make.. way too many parts and too much skilled labor would be required... it's no mold.
Also, prices are lower in depressed markets like Rochester, New York, Buffalo or The 1000 Islands, Michgan /Ohio... frankly it's a buyers crap-shoot too.
Always call Jim Wick at Chris Parts.. nobody other than Dick Avery probably knows more. Jim says the Roamer is better in a following sea than a Commander. I don't know.. both are great machines.. but Roamers are considerably faster, take less fuel and drink more beer.
Those who bought them up to maybe 2004-2005 stole them... after that prices went considerably higher. I mean used GTO's were cheap in the 70's... try to buy one now... same stick.
Roamers last forever, are rare and there are only relatively few. One thing for sure.. if you do it well, crowds will approach in mass inquiring dockside.. something about her looks that drives people hot... maybe like the 427 Cobras do.
It's an era gone by and folks who grew up in the 60's and 70's want it back so this is how they often identify... Same heat as 60' cars.
Same as the Donzi classics, The 37' and 38' Roamer were designed in 1964 by Dick Avery who Chris craft stole away from Ford motor. Did you know the Roamer trim tabs operate with Lincoln Continental power seat motors! Yup, so if one dies, go to your local junkyard and get a new motor. Roamers are chalk full of little 60's "Fordstuffs" Dick Avery brought over in his trunk .
We have all had about enough of what is going on these days... and at least we lived in a nicer more wholesome day prior, at least it seemed like it was more "Leave it to Beaver" to me.
Owning a nice Roamer will bring you back to these times we all knew as the 60's and 70's and do it for less. And your restored Roamer will blow right by a new Sea Ray.
Also, glass boats of her size and style are not going to fair well in a game of sea chicken.... or should we say Duck? But in the end, the Roamer... a graceful Swan
Is she worth it? Well... how do you rationalize it is the answer? If you want a good one.. she's not going out cheap unless she's in granny's attic and granny does not know what she has?
Hope this helps.. send me a private message if you wish to chat via phone.
One more thing.. the 37 has 1 3/8 shafts.. NOT ENOUGH.. you will need to go to 1.75 Aquamet 22 at least if you go diesel and that also means new struts, shaft tunnel ect. Roamer was stupid in some ways too.. you will need to throw-out the steel rudders and replace with custom made stainless.. the list goes on and on.
We may actually be going up there to see this one. I will post back as soon as I know anything. It's a long drive to go up there at this time of year.
A friend of mine got an itch for a Roamer, and he wants to scratch it. I would be going as his mechanic/voice of reason
We shall see what happens.
OOOps!! Try and grab that Roamer if she surveys good....
Homer flapped his festering gob about that 37 without refreshing his memoirs on her specs....
GREAT MOTORS.... Here is why.... they get way better gas mileage than 454's or 427's... The motors are lighter too. I have owned this motor.. as far as I am concerned the 350 Chevy block is the best all around motor ever... efficient, fast, light. Plus 120 HOURS.. means New.
The older 350 Mercruisers put out about 270 horses.. the MPI I think puts out 300 or 320. That's a great package all in all.
The boat should do 34 mph on the money if she is right on and gas won't be too bad.
Good match... not quiet as much torque, but with the extra power and light weight and better gas mileage.. Homer likes this package a lot.
If anything.. check the shafts.. the 1 3/8 Chris Craft std. shafts can easily whip (they were soft)... you will know it if you have vibration. I it is a problem... Aquamet 22 shafts will do the trick. You woudl need 1.5 shafts minimum if she had big blocks. But, you should be in good shape here.
I like this Roamer... she is not going to last long.. No Way, No how.
Good Luck to the winner!
Engines, bronze propellers 20x14, SS propeller.. slight concern here... but she is 4 blade which overcomes some of it.. so good.
OK... this is a 260 hp... it is probably a 28 mph boat. Engines are fine but slightly not overly-powered.. I was thinking it was the 300-320 MPI.
For example, the 1969 38 w/ 427 came with 3 blade 22 by 25 props with 1.5 inch shafts and came with 2.5 gear ratio.
Torque was very very good.. but that's Ford 427 truck block too.
In this package, you will not have great torque if you are running her in big waves, she may stall a bit getting over crests... but on the other hand.. she won't eat a hole in your wallet to run her either.
Good engines, better than the 327 for this application as they have more torque, but remember the 427 has 435 plus ft lbs of torque with a top speed of 33 or 34.
I do believe this machine will be affected by heavy wieght and/ or rough seas.. so if its in mild water great... but she will lug with weight and in big swells...
Know this in advance.... Homer had 19 by 19's in a 2 to 1 gear and she lugged a bit but she did 35 with twin 330's. Still had some challeges getting over big waves and/or with a lot of weight.. not bad.. but was not as good as the 427 w/ 2.5 paragons and 22 by 25 wheels.
I am sorry I flapped my gob without reading al the specs...
Point is.. looks like a nice bot, slightly lean on the power but that's ok gas it so high now....
Also, if you look at her sitting in the water, she sits a bit higher in the rear vs a big block.. you can see this by looking at many 38 photos in the water.
Hope this helps some.
What about the trannies
My alum 37 is finally now on the west coast. I did all the hauling myself from Wisconsin with one minor stretch by a transporter resulting in an exprience I dont wish to repeat. I should have done the whole thing myself in hindsight as well as learned a few other lessons along the way.
Anyway I spoke with this guy at length the other day, very cordial over the phone and will talk all night long about the work he has done on it mostly himself.
The work I am most interested in is the repower set up.
I have in my Roamer 350's from a previous repower probably in the 230-250 hp range. I am commited to sticking with the SBC but will up the HP rating to come close to the figures for the origional 427's you love so much. A desiel conv is just too much for me.
The trannies on this repower are velvet drives, 5000's which let you maintian the automotive rotation on both engines and rate up to 500HP. I priced them out at about $4K a pop. He also uppded the prop shaft size but I cant recall the new diam. I am considering the same set up for my repower as this is the closest I have seen to my line of thinking
A diesel conversion is major... not recommended as it will cost a fortune. It is the ultimate of course, but have to stop someplace.
One thing I know for sure. I know this from personal experience with three differenet power set ups in the 38 aluminum...
1) 427 Ford/ 2.5 reduction/ = 33mph w/ three blade 22
by 25 must have minimum of 1.5 inch shaft
(Great package!)= 4000 rpm
2) 330 Chevy 454 block 2.0 reduction w/ 3 blade 19 by 19
super cup. Top speed 35mph. Agile, picks up fine.. big
problem in swells and getting over wave humps.
Wheels too small for sure proper rpm 4400
3) 350 block beefed to 325 horses with 2.5 reduction 22
by 23/24 four blade is likely spot on. Gas mileage better,
torque less than big block.. make up for it with 4
blade.. but under no circumstances have less than 2.5
gear ratio. This boat should do 33-34. Recommend 1.5
inch shaft as a minimum.. you can maybe keep 1/3/8
but use aquamet 22 and I think you are still a bit on
the light side... 22/23 cruise
4) Current set-up... 2 370 Yanmar turbos, 2 inch aquamet
22, 2.45 reduction 23 by 31 4 blade SS Katapaults
thrusts her to 36.5 mph, temendous pick-up, mid range
and superior torque.. boat not affected at all by load.
Best all around cruise point 27 mph. 3450 RPM
These are actual performance tests you can rely on. Stay
away for 2.0 gears on this boat with gas engines... too
weak.. you will get the speed, but stinks with weight and
larger swells. Slow speed handling not so good either..
need the larger wheels. 2.5 gears a must!
I remain faithfully,
Good looking boat, but why on earth would anybody plumb exhaust so that the pulses from opposing banks on a V engine bash into each other head-on? That's gotta be sucking HP, especially on the top end. Too bad, really, what with all of the space behind the engines. They could have easily fabbed up a Y rather than going with a T configuration.
Oh well...not my boat.
Question is... what is the status of your 46? No posts for a long time?
That's a different thread on a different forum. ;-)
It's great seeing people take a interest in keeping and restoring any classic not just Chirs Crafts. Most of us have admired and wanted these boats since we were kids. The difference between our generation and the new generation is that we kept busy and we wanted things. I remember seeing these boats on the Tenn River and was just in awe of the beauty and speed. I mentioned to Homer that Sea-Ray's world headquaters is here in Knoxville and both the ex-president and ex-vice president of Sea-Ray has both asked to ride in my beloved 41' Regal Romer. I really got to hand it to my fellow Roamer friends who live up north who put there Roamers in winter storage for 6-7 months. How do you that? We just had a terrible winter down here and it drove me crazy not visiting my baby every other day. Today the tempts are going to be in the 60's and Copy Cat is calling me. One thing I need to ask though, I am going to update my rudders. The Starboard rudder is fine but the Port rudder sticks and it's driving me crazy. Any suggestions? She hasn't been out of the water in 3 years so I plan on having her pulled and painted. That will be a good time to address the rudder problem. Thanks in advance
Yes, Copy Cat,
I do... Contact Kenny Wells at East Cost welding. 252-216-7963. Tell him Brian with the Roamer sent you.
He is working on my 38 now.
He is the welder for many of the sportfish manufacturers in Nagshead NC.
He’s got what you need.
Your rudders are made of steel, the posts likely are rusted down and banging around../. go stainless.. make two new ones.
I re-made mine as well.
Just check to see you have good rudder tunnels.
Kenny can whip them up for you.
He is making me a new aluminum one piece hatch now with drainage tunnels and access hatch.
He works in the former Buddy Davis plant (Buddy passed-on last week)
Good luck and let me know if you need anything else.... I’ve been to hell and back restoring my dads 38.
There are many great trades people in this area so tell me what you need and we can hook you up.
Also, they have very good joiners too.
If you need anything woodwise, contact Danny Martin.. he ran the Buddy Plant and is well connected as you can get.
Danny is at 252-202-1169
Roamer Rudder have grease fittings on them.
All ya gott do is get some outdrive Lithim based grease and pack them. However, old Roamer post are steel and the circumference rusts away leaving them loose and banging.
I got sick of it... pulled the old tubes, welded in new ones and built a whole new Sea Star hydro system.
These rudders are bad.. they need to be pulled and stainless ones made .. it is one of the stupid thing Chris did on the aluminum hulls.
Alternatively, Jim Reed...
If you look at where any stainless sits on the galvanic series, you'll see that all of the common marine grades are pretty far from aluminum compared to plain steel. And I'm saying that having already spend the Benjamins having a set of SS rudders and delrin bushings made for my 46.
Now, in my case the rudders (plain steel), logs (aluminum alloy), and stuffing boxes (bronze) had turned into a solid block of unimetal oxide. A 12 ton ram couldn't get the rudders to move, so I had to cut the whole shebang out of the boat and start over. But in retrospect, there are only two things I would have done different from Chris Craft:
1) install the grease nipples in easily accessible locations. On the backside of the log, between the heavy framing in that area and the transom is not conducive to good maintenance; and
2) use a spud-type stuffing box that's separated from the aluminum by a short lenght of stuffing box hose. Threading a piece of bronze onto an aluminum log in a submerged environment is not a best practice.
So, unless your rudders are rattling around loose in the logs with leaks you can't stop even with new packing, I'd just take 'em out and give them and the log a good cleaning. I suspect the rudder's freezing up because the space around it has filled up with aluminum oxide. Do whatever you have to to make it easy to apply a shot or two of grease every year. Then reinstall with new packing and grease.
Just my $0.02
Thank you so much for the replies. I have greased the heck out of the port rudder and it's O.K. for 5-6 months then gets hard again. I disconnected the drag link from between the rudders and the starboard moves great. But, that 'ol port rudder needs work. I have follows the links and I think Stainless Steal would work great
If you don't remove or at least drop the port rudder down and scrub out the white powder (AlO3) that's filling the space between the rudder shaft and log, it's not surprising that adding more grease only helped temporarily. Just keep in mind that stainless will tend to turn your logs into white powder faster than plain steel. They will be shiny and expensive, though. lol
A year after my repower I tackled the rudder issue on our 41 Regal and kinda met you in the middle of your fixes. First we trued the shafting to a set dimension, roughly.050" under what we started out with, then we line bored the rudder tube by about 0.90". we press fit a delron thin wall tube that had grease lines that matched up to the grease fittings on the existing tubes. I cannot remember if we epoxied the tube in place or not but think I might have done that as well. Once set back in place all of the chatter in the shafting was gone. But setting up a portable mill to line bore the tube was something i left for a machinist friend who supplied the tooling as well. He didn't make a mistake which I sometimes do on the first try.
As for the steel blades, ours were shot blasted then barrier coated and awlgrip faired then coal tar and bottom coats. I have to replace the bottom coat every year and have seen us eat intothe fairing a tad in some small spots. Since our season is so short I can live with that, but to do it again i would have opted to replace with stainless blades for sure. With the delron providing a isolation barrier I think that move was worth the effort.
Most of the action I see on the blades is from the prop action I believe.
Just dreaming of those 60 degree days that Jim still has!
Still dying to see you post many new photos of Sundowner on the site.. gotta see that Palmer Johnson fairing job and more!
Also still wondering what your tip speed is with the 420 Cummins.. my guess is it is 33-34. is that about right?
As far as Rudder jobs.. its not that big a deal.. well I went overboard and went Sea Star and major bar system... I agree with you. Cut out the old pipe, weld in new pipe and make stainless rudders of the old ones, pack it good and be done with it.
Steel Rudders with Bronze sleeves do not belong on Aluminum. The steel posts wither away and start to bang.. Rudders should be firm as pipe and not bank or jiggle.. all the old Roamer have this issue that I have seen.
Other great idea is to put in a set of PSS Shaft Stavers which will again reduce vibration.. add good 4 blade props and your Roamer will be smooth as silk if your shafts are true and well aligned. I tested the boat without shaft savers and the difference in smoothness was about 25% but you need to cut the shaft shorter by an inch.
I also have dripless PSS on boat the stuffing box and rudder pipes.. keeps bilge dry. Any water getting in the bilge comes from the engine air intakes on the gas model and a bit from the anchor fitting on the fore deck.
If you want a fast floating Sherman Tank hull... get an old Roamer... beginning and end of story.
AHHH, Just had my roamer fix. Visited my beloved Roamer this afternoon. We had a nice warm day of 65 degrees and crawled around the bilge to check out my rudders. I think the answer to my problem is to pull her out of the water, remove the rudder and go from there. Just sitting on the aft deck makes me "recharge my batteries." A young couple walked past my boat on there way to meet a boat broker who was going to show them a Sea Ray. The cute girl stopped next to my boat, pointed to the Roamer and said to her husband, "now this is a real boat!!" Made me feel good. Great Day!!!