Paul
Paul

April 23rd, 2007, 2:51 am #51

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






I attempted to pull the strut bearing out with a large threaded rod but it just wouldn't budge. I had to resort to the ole hack saw trick. I would NEVER (EVER) use a sawsall on a strut bearing.

Even in the hands of a surgeon, a sawsall could eat so much soft bronze away so fast, you could be in trouble. Some things are just better done by hand. Yes, I have a sawsall but I used a hack saw for the start, and I finished the job holding the blade with my hands. I just could not get the feel of what I was cutting or how deep I was cutting, by holding onto the saw handle. I put a piece of carpet down and got a nice comfortable pillow, and just took my time sawing gently. As a result, I got two nice cuts into the bearing shell at 180-degrees from one another, one on top and one on the bottom side. One side of the bearing shell was cut all the way though, and the other side was cut down to a paper thin piece of metal that still held the shell together. I was careful not to cut into the bronze strut itself. A light tap with a screwdriver blade and out it came. It was a 1-1/4" x 4" holding a 1" shaft, in case anyone wants to know.

Here’s what the strut looked like as I was cutting. Yes, it took time, but not all that much time. Once I got that pillow it was a piece of cake.


Here’s the bearing as it came out. Note the paper thin piece of metal still holding the shell together. I used a hack saw blade by hand for the final cutting, and that adjustable clamp wrench was used to hold the end of the blade.


The bearing shell on this particular installation was so thin, I couldn’t get a grip on it to pull it out using the threaded rod technique. Cutting seemed to be the only way.

Regards, Paul
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Tom Slayton
Tom Slayton

April 23rd, 2007, 11:29 am #52

Well I know how thick the 1966 vintage Cortland-built Chris Craft Sea Skiff fiberglass hull is on the bottom. I installed a high speed flush mounted depth sounder transducer today, and the darn hull is a full 1/2" thick. I'll post a photo of the plug I took out; green gel coat on the bottom, gray bilge paint on the top.



I’ll bet there aren’t too many new boats this size being built today that have this amount of high quality polyester and fiberglass on the bottom. Chris Craft went out of their way to be sure they used high quality resins, and THIS sure drives the point home. It is the same material used on the Commanders (as clearly stated in Chris Craft literature of the period).

Regards, Paul
I didn't see the "B"-word mentioned. Thats a pretty strong looking sample for a 20-foot boat. Some of the new boats make you feel like you are about to step through the hull. I'd like to see them 40 years later.

Tom
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Paul
Paul

April 23rd, 2007, 1:53 pm #53

Believe it or not, after 25 years on Lake George, and another 16 generally un-accounted for on the Mohawk River, Lake Ontario, where-ever, I see some little dead muscles attached to the bottom and a little moss but not one blister. None. Zero. Not even a hint of a blister anywhere, and this hull isn't even painted. It's just a thin layer of gelcoat. That is a huge credit to the quality of resin Chris Craft was using in 1966 (and of course, all through the early years of Commander production too).

By Comparison the Sea Ray Pachanga I sold a couple years ago for an associate (Thank God the Pachanga is Gone thread) had 100 blister for every 4 feet of hull. The entire bottom of the hull looked like tiny little bubbles. The buyer called an expert on his cell phone when he saw them, and the guy told him "it's a Sea Ray, they all have this problem, don't worry about it". In order to fix it, he would have had to heavily sand the entire bottom, probably do an epoxy bonding of some sort, and resand, paint, etc. The quality of the early Chris Craft boats at the onset of their fiberglass production, is still impressive today.

Regards,
Paul
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Joined: July 15th, 2005, 8:09 pm

April 23rd, 2007, 4:28 pm #54

I attempted to pull the strut bearing out with a large threaded rod but it just wouldn't budge. I had to resort to the ole hack saw trick. I would NEVER (EVER) use a sawsall on a strut bearing.

Even in the hands of a surgeon, a sawsall could eat so much soft bronze away so fast, you could be in trouble. Some things are just better done by hand. Yes, I have a sawsall but I used a hack saw for the start, and I finished the job holding the blade with my hands. I just could not get the feel of what I was cutting or how deep I was cutting, by holding onto the saw handle. I put a piece of carpet down and got a nice comfortable pillow, and just took my time sawing gently. As a result, I got two nice cuts into the bearing shell at 180-degrees from one another, one on top and one on the bottom side. One side of the bearing shell was cut all the way though, and the other side was cut down to a paper thin piece of metal that still held the shell together. I was careful not to cut into the bronze strut itself. A light tap with a screwdriver blade and out it came. It was a 1-1/4" x 4" holding a 1" shaft, in case anyone wants to know.

Here’s what the strut looked like as I was cutting. Yes, it took time, but not all that much time. Once I got that pillow it was a piece of cake.


Here’s the bearing as it came out. Note the paper thin piece of metal still holding the shell together. I used a hack saw blade by hand for the final cutting, and that adjustable clamp wrench was used to hold the end of the blade.


The bearing shell on this particular installation was so thin, I couldn’t get a grip on it to pull it out using the threaded rod technique. Cutting seemed to be the only way.

Regards, Paul
I actually had a device that looks almost identical to this one Mike built, but mine wouldn't work. I think it is because the brass shell on my cutlass bearing is so thin, I really couldn't get a good grip on it. Yes, I even tried a torch like Mike indicated in his interesting thread about bearing removal

http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1164898528

Here's what Mike built, his worked better !


I had to use the hack saw method as a last resort. Actually, if I see another thin shell bearing like this, I may just go directly to the hack saw.

Regards, Paul
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Paul
Paul

April 29th, 2007, 12:12 am #55

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






Well today was fun. At 6:00AM I got out to clean up the car, it was quite dirty inside and out. I had a new windshield installed on Tuesday (thanks to a squirrel last fall dropping a walnut high from a tree). After a total vacuum and wipe down inside, using a little Plexus, I washed, waxed, and dressed the outside for a Porsche club rendezvous Janet and I were hosting at the local Yacht Club. Hopefully someone will send me some photos of that. I ate like a horse, visited with friends, saw some awesome machinery both old and new (mine is 22 year old 928, which I work on and love to drive). I came back to work on the boat.

I’m pleased to announce the motor is back where it is supposed to be! Here are some photos, and yes, it’s sitting nicely on that heavily reinforced hull structure and engine stringers. I put a 90 mil layer of EPDM down below the stringer on the front end before I bolted it in tight, thinking this would help settle things in a bit and also take a little shock out of the system if I hit the big one or decided to jump a wake like Ghost Rider, ha! (I seriously doubt that). It was two folds of a 45 mil EPDM roof membrane, which is some very good stuff to have around the shop.

The transmission is scheduled to move back into the boat tomorrow, fresh from Michigan. The new manifolds and risers will go on too. All this stuff is heavy as all get out. Mark, if you’re reading this, don’t worry about the lifting, I’m using a hoist for everything except the risers, and I think I can handle those okay.

I’ll re-install the water pump, go to NAPA and match up all new hoses, and will reinstall the alternator. Once I get the motor and tranny in, I’ll do an alignment with the shaft, and this time I’ll do it a bit different. Rather than read the clearance between the hub and transmission flange, I’m going to be looking at the bearing clearance real close too. Visually it will be adjusted to be a perfect visual all around the bearing with no eccentricity. On a small boat I think this can be done, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Below: The motor back where it is supposed to be, notice it has no water pump (removed for impellers and for clearance to install the new fuel pump), and it has no risers (removed due to observation of freeze cracks along the bottom and rust tracks).





Regards, Paul
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Joined: January 4th, 2006, 10:39 pm

April 29th, 2007, 10:06 pm #56

Paul, I've been able to follow the restoration of this boat vicariously through the forum, and it's been a great education. I would love to do one like it sometime, and by seeing all of the work you've done here, I pretty much know what to expect. The old fiberglass boats are well built, and they are a great platform for a rebuild. Thanks for all the pictures, theyre great.

It's good to see you making progress. More power to you, I am looking forward to seeing photos of this boat on the water!

Howard
1967 38 Commander Express
Huntsville, AL
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Paul
Paul

April 30th, 2007, 2:44 am #57

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.


Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes"

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done".

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul



After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!


Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !










Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.






This transmission may not look all that big, or all that heavy, but it's so heavy I can not lift it unless I get it onto my knees, and then stand up with my back against a wall. I did it once, that was enough. Once I got it up, it was tough to put down.

No more lifting by hand on this thing!

Here I am moving it from the basement work shop out to the boat on a hand dolly. The original transmission was bad, made a lot of noise in forward, so I got this one from a guy in Michigan. Hope it gives me many years of trouble free service.


A closer look, the transmission is wired onto the truck so it won't get loose. The white surface is primer that was sprayed all over the unit.


Regards, Paul




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Paul
Paul

April 30th, 2007, 2:53 am #58

In order to make the transmission mate up with the motor nicely, I raised the aft section of the motor. Here you can see the motor being held up with one winch, and the transmission being lowered nicely into position with the other winch. The drive sleve is lubed up with grease. This was an easy job, things just worked great. I made up a gasket based on the shape of a section of the old one.


Here you can see the transmission installed on the motor bell housing now, and the motor and transmission are being held up on the aft end. The aft motor mounts are in the air.


Here you can see the motor mounts sitting down on the frame. I'll tighten things up now, and will do some alugnment on the shaft. Everything is going to be downhill from here!


Regards, Paul






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Paul
Paul

April 30th, 2007, 3:08 am #59

Paul, I've been able to follow the restoration of this boat vicariously through the forum, and it's been a great education. I would love to do one like it sometime, and by seeing all of the work you've done here, I pretty much know what to expect. The old fiberglass boats are well built, and they are a great platform for a rebuild. Thanks for all the pictures, theyre great.

It's good to see you making progress. More power to you, I am looking forward to seeing photos of this boat on the water!

Howard
1967 38 Commander Express
Huntsville, AL
I love working on boats and cars, and I projects like this are fun, don't really last all that long, and they're rewarding after they're done. One of my weaknesses it to start another project before the one I'm working on is done, and I'm committed to NOT do that with this Skiff project.

When this one is over, I have a long list of things that will take me years to finish! At least Janet knows where I'll be, lol.

Regards, thanks for your note,

Paul
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Roy
Roy

April 30th, 2007, 1:58 pm #60

In order to make the transmission mate up with the motor nicely, I raised the aft section of the motor. Here you can see the motor being held up with one winch, and the transmission being lowered nicely into position with the other winch. The drive sleve is lubed up with grease. This was an easy job, things just worked great. I made up a gasket based on the shape of a section of the old one.


Here you can see the transmission installed on the motor bell housing now, and the motor and transmission are being held up on the aft end. The aft motor mounts are in the air.


Here you can see the motor mounts sitting down on the frame. I'll tighten things up now, and will do some alugnment on the shaft. Everything is going to be downhill from here!


Regards, Paul





THat tranny looks sharp, but the rest of the drivetrain needs some work !

Roy
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