We have a 1969 Chris Commander, 35’ with the original 427’, V8 Ford Block engines (1090 Miles each)

and have come to the point of having to rebuild, repower, or sell the boat.   We have owned the boat for 21 years and have kept it at Spring Point Marina in South Portland, ME for that time.  The previous owner, my father in law, owned the boat about 10 years.   I am looking for advice and or suggestions on the best direction to go.   The boat is in great shape for its’ 49+ years and we still enjoy it.   

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What’s wrong with the engines that they need to be rebuilt/replaced? That will be a big key in deciding. How long do you plan to keep the boat? Is it worth serveral thousand dollars to you to keep this boat? 

Persinally I’m a fan of modernization, using equipment that’s easily serviced and parts are readily available for. 

 The life expectancy can vary with maint. or lack there of. An engine that has been overheated will fail prematurely. An engine that has had water intrusion into combustion chambers can also fail before its time. If you not sure have a compression test done, and other systems such as cooling and charging. Fuel delivery is an issue with the fuels we have today on old equipment not made for today's fuels. A 1969 CC will need a lot of updating alone. My 70 has tanks full of bad fuel from lack of use. The marina says take it home we don't want it here.

If you plan to keep her for several more years, a repower makes a lot more sense. If only a few, then depending on how extensive the work is, a rebuild would also work.  I hear the 427 rebuild isn’t like your standard BBC though, so you’ll want to find someone who experienced with them. 

Daniel - the first warning is what Bruno said. The 427 cannot be rebuilt by any hack. Second, I just went through the exact same scenario with my ‘68 35. Would be happy to discuss with you. Shoot me a message and we chat.

I want to hear exactly WHY they need to be rebuilt/replaced.  1090 hours is not really the spec for a tired FE unless they have been neglected. I can't count the number of times I've saved a few from being scrapped because the local shops "didn't want to work on them" So their story was "You need to repower because these olf things are going to give you trouble.

Talk to Matt ^^^ and Give me a call if you want a second opinion.  704-287-3914.

After Saturday Please. (Were getting ready for Florence)

Don’t forget “Ford didn’t make boat engines” as an excuse to repower too, right Lee? Bwahahaha!!


According to our mechanic, the walls of the heads are very thin mainly due to corrosion. (21 years in salt water).   There is a concern  that getting the rusty bolts out will lead to some major problems. 


Lee H. Dahlen said:

I want to hear exactly WHY they need to be rebuilt/replaced.  1090 hours is not really the spec for a tired FE unless they have been neglected. I can't count the number of times I've saved a few from being scrapped because the local shops "didn't want to work on them" So their story was "You need to repower because these olf things are going to give you trouble.

Talk to Matt ^^^ and Give me a call if you want a second opinion.  704-287-3914.

After Saturday Please. (Were getting ready for Florence)

 Many thanks for the replies, pictures and suggestions.   Its helped in conversations with our mechanic/marina and decision making.  I appreciate it .

Daniel - if your mechanic is telling you a rebuild is required because of thin cylinder walls and rusty bolts, I’d get a new mechanic. That makes no sense.

What is actually occurring that’s a problem? Not running? Not idling? No high end? At only 1000 hours, don’t let this guy talk you into a rebuild without first addressing the symptoms. Sounds like you’re getting sold a rebuild or repower bill by someone who may not know what he’s doing.

Yes, I agree, get a new mechanic!

If they’re getting to thin due to rust there’s no rebuilding what you have, that would be a repower. If you’re not having any problems though I wouldn’t proactively replace the engines. What the worst that can happen, you blow an engine and have to replace it anyways? 

Yep! You could run them like you stole them and in the meantime save some money for new ones. The new small blocks would power your boat very nicely. You’d need new trannys & of course labor isn’t cheap. I keep thinking it all depends on how long you want to keep her. 

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