If anyone's doing a tear out I'll be happy to try to swing a deal. Would love to be able get past 10 mph.

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What about 853 naturals.  If this was an original option, should this be considered the best route?

That's what I was thinking when I started this thread, lol

2 853N on Jacksonville craigslist.  One of us dreamers needs to pull the trigger. 


The answer is not so straight forward as it appears. There are a couple of things you need to be aware of to prevent making some mistakes that are difficult and expensive to work around.

The 8V53s that were used in the 47 Commanders used a normal Detroit heat exchanger however the the 8V53s used in the 41 and 42 Commanders had a custom heat exchanger that was made from welded aluminum vs the cast aluminum of the standard Detroit heat exchanger. The need for this has to do with the overall engine height when installed in the smaller hulls.

The other issue is that the engines in the Jacksonville Craig's list add do no have the custom Chris Craft exhaust risers. They are utilizing a custom fabricated exhaust header with a water jacket for cooling. The difficulty with this is that when these engines are installed in the smaller Chris Craft hulls at the required angle, the height of the exhaust discharge at the header and mixer is at or very close to the waterline height and getting sea water into the engine via the rear two cylinders becomes a real issue. Unless you use risers at least as tall as the Chris Craft risers, you are going to suffer from water in the cylinders.

A side issue that effects both the main issues I mentioned has to do with the transmissions. The smaller Commanders utilized a rather short prop shaft in comparison to the 47 requiring that the engine be installed at a significant angle. If you were to use a later style of transmission that has the correct down angle instead of being a straight through design like the Twin Disc 506, then you can mount the engine much closer to being flat. Depending on the specific hull and install, this might resolve the heat exchanger issue and help with the exhaust discharge height.

None of this is difficult but it is not as simple as just a drop in swap. Don't want to discourage you but just warn you of the potential money pits.

Pat Stone said:

2 853N on Jacksonville craigslist.  One of us dreamers needs to pull the trigger. 


Those 853 are both right hand rotation according to the ad.

Twin disc for the transmissions?

It seems like from a weight perspective, the Yanmars or Cummins would be the best fit.

Then the issue seems to be having more money in the engines than the boat is worth.

Great discussion. I remember reading one of the smarter-than-me guys on this forum saying something like  "You'll never get the repower money back so make sure you love the boat or resign yourself to that fact."

Hello Gents:

I thought in chiming in because I have been aboard an 8V53 powered 1969 38’ Commander Sedan.  The installation was extremely TIGHT between the engines and between the forward and aft engine room bulkheads.  It was the tightest installation I have ever seen.  Remember “BAMBI” in Australia?  She was repowered with the Italian made diesels and when these engines are sold here they are rebranded as Cummins 6B’s.  Byron is spot on as to his suggestion.  Having repowered his 42’ with these engines and been on board whole cruising, I can only imagine what they would do for the 38’.  This package would definitely be an eye opener!!

Jim Rivas

I sold a 1966 38-commander bridge with factory fit 8v53-----258hp, a great running boat. My customer cruised it from Portland to Alaska and back. I was amazed how quickly the boat jumps up on plane with no tabs. A very tight fit in the bilge!      Bob

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The 4th Annual Chris-Craft Commander Club Photo Contest had more than 50 entries and selecting the winners was not an easy task. 

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Chris-Craft Commander connoisseurs congregate at Mentor Lagoons Marina



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