Won't do this myself but would like to speak with someone who might be able to do it. Of course, I would need an estimate--not a quote. I may soon have two from 1984 with about 2100 hours that are still running. Should they be done now or wait until they quit with a serious problem? What life should I expect from these engines in a 38 Commander kept under 2500 rpm 95% of the time? At the same time I would likely do the original 1969 6.5kW Kohler generator that still sounds good, but all original. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Live near Detroit.  

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Before you go to that expense, take oil samples before you change oil and have it analyzed.  That will give you a pretty good idea of the condition inside.  I’ve done oil sample analysis on older engines and it works. Running them at lower RPM definitely extends their life.

Thanks Joe. In my experience several samples should be taken to establish a trend and I may do that. Will also check smoke, blowby, sound, starting, etc. First probably do a tune up. Is there a particular lab knowledgeable about these engines to do a good interpretation?

Google oil sample kits to find.  I’ve been using NAPA. Kits are sold on Amazon too.

Maurice Marwood said:

Thanks Joe. In my experience several samples should be taken to establish a trend and I may do that. Will also check smoke, blowby, sound, starting, etc. First probably do a tune up. Is there a particular lab knowledgeable about these engines to do a good interpretation?

Everything the previous posters have said, but I would put strong emphasis on how engines were used during previous life.....they've seen about 60 hrs per year...in a go-fast or family cruiser?...salt or fresh water?...FWC or RWC?....how stored off season, wet or ashore?......well kept, original appearence....or paint burned off exh maniolds, rusty intake etc?.....no rattle can makeover lol!

If you can determine they've had a good life thus far, then I'd do a compression test.....you have 16cyls for a good comparison.....if good, pull valve covers....nice and clean or sludgy?

If still looking good, I'd consider placing in service PROVIDED replacement of following:

new exhaust manifolds

new sea water pumps.....or at least rebuild with new impeller body kits

belts,hoses as needed and thermostats

any rusty pulleys

transmission drive dampers......cheap and easy to do now

Using your proposed operating limits with correct propping....maybe 500 hrs?

Good luck! ....454's are great workhorses! 

Thanks, Reed. Good advice.

I can add the following

- new 1994, 80/hrs/yr

-Fresh water only,

-heated winter storage

-Maintained by boat yard and owner with "loving care".

-survey in 2016 indicated "no leaks, no abuse, clean and free of grease".

-engine stringers found to be sound according to 6-24 on GRP-33 moisture meter (whatever that means)


I just pulled my 454's this fall. I tore them down to short blocks and had the machine shop clean, bore, new bearings and had the heads cleaned up. 4500 each for me.

Thanks, Jeff, That's great. Did you change the exhaust manifolds? What condition were they in? Were they original? Were the rings and cylinders worn badly, Guess they were if you rebored and used oversized pistons? How many original hours on the engines?  

I'm looking at a 1966 38 Commander with 430 engines--do you think they would be similar? I'm told for an engine that old I should change the exhaust manifolds because they can crack and leak water into the engine.

They are crusader motors. To be honest they were running good I was able to get 4400 rpms if I pinned them. My concern was that they were 1983 motors and I really didn't know there history and I just dont want to worry if and when I set out. I just want to start fresh with them and the motors are super easy to access on this hull. For the exhaust i replaced the 4 elbows and one ucooler. They are fwc.
They decided to bore them because there was a light pitting on the cylinder walls from sitting. There wasn't really any ridges on top of the cylinders but there wasn't any cross hatch Mark's still left either lol
It's been an expensive off season ha
Thanks Jeff. It all helps.

Maurice, I have a 1965 with the 430 and the motors are comming out. Parts are impossible to find. I have Crusader 454 going in this spring. I actually have 4 now. $4500 sounds about right. I also live in windsor and have done all the work myself except for the machining.

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