Engines and stuff

I’ve been pondering this blog post for a while. I love the look on people’s faces when they learn my boat came with no engine. It is something like the look of shock and laughter all mixed up. The engine is obviously a major piece of a ski boat.

The 1993 Ski Nautique came with an engine from Pleasurecraft Marine (PCM). For those who need to know, the engine is a marine-ized Ford 351W. Good old American V-8 muscle. The transmission is a reverse-rotation 1.23:1 Borg-Warner unit. It is a long story, but Ski Nautiques turn the propeller the opposite way. Just take that as fact for now. As far as transmissions go ski boat transmissions are fairly simple things: One speed forward, one speed in reverse.

You can actually purchase brand-new engines and transmissions. They go for about $8,500. I don’t have $8,500 to spend on a new engine / transmission, so I’m waiting for the right deal to come along.

The closest I have come to actually purchasing an engine came in the mid-fall of this year. On a web site run by and made for people like me with old Nautiques, I saw that a guy in Mississippi had his 1993 Ski Nautique burned in a storage-shed fire. The boat was toast. Literally. I’ll put up some pictures because they are quite amazing. Note the wakeboards, in particular. The engine cover amazingly protected the engine and transmission from the fire. I negotiated with the owner but moved too slow (the sticking point was the distance, and a trailer that I didn’t need) and he sold it to a local boat shop.

I continued to work with the boat shop to see if I could still buy the engine from the shop. We even talked price a little bit. I learned that the shop did a compression test and that there were problems. I pondered this, but still thought it was something I could work through. Then, I called the guy a week or so later and learned that the compression problem was because two of the pistons were burned through, the rods were stretched and the piston walls scored quite bad. In other words, the engine was toast.

So, in the end I was really glad that I did not buy this engine and ship it up to the northwest only to discover it was basically scrap metal. I am writing all of this to show anybody interested how I hope to come across an engine and transmission. Somewhere there is a mid-90’s Nautique with an engine that has my name on it. I’ve got time and patience on my side.

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