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Time to get the "Continental" in the water.


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I figured it was time to make the trailer safe. I decided to inspect the brakes before hitting the road. Damn good thing I did. I put the trailer up on jack stands and removed the tires. It looks like the tires have a date code from the '80s. They've got to go.

I rotated the wheel and found that it it offered a degree of resistance. It felt like the brakes were dragging but there was no accompanying noise. As I removed the drum the star adjuster and lower spring fell onto the floor. Upon closer examination I found that someone had ovefilled the grease chamber and a bunch oozed past the seals and was flung about the brake shoes. The other side was also covered with grease but all the parts were in place.

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I then removed the surge brake actuator. A layer of corrosion surrounded the master cylinder cap. This should have been an indicator of what was going on inside.

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It was a total mess. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, picking up moisture as it ages. This looked to be mostly water as rust was caked up everywhere. I checked into a rebuild kit (including a new MC) and the parts added up to what a new unit costs, so I ordered a new one. The same holds true with the brake assemblies. They come as an assembled unit. All you need to do is disconnect the steel brake line, remove 5 nuts and bolts and swap the entire brake platform.

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For about $500 I will have an entirely new braking system, bearings and tires.

Glad I didn't just top off the brake fluid and give it a run. I don't know how the guy made it from London, Ontario to Detroit with inoperative brakes.

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Trailer brake parts should be here by Friday. Removal of the brake assembly was accomplished by removing 1 brake line and 5 bolts. All mating surfaces are unblemished. I ordered new bearings and seats so everything will be new.

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My Tuesday night helpers power washed the white rubber matting and installed the front bench seat, completing the cockpit area. What's amazing is the condition of the black alligator vinyl. It was standard for the black fabric to be used on the dashboards but rarely was it used as trim or seating. However, I'll be grateful for it if I still get it in the water this year.

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Unfortunately, it wouldn't start. It made me insane. I had just replaced the cap, rotor and points set and it still wouldn't spark. I swapped coils to a known good one, and still nothing. I took the coil wire loose and confirmed that the points were breaking as designed. As I went to reattach the points wire to the original coil I noted a second wire on the same post. I took it loose and it fired right up. I discovered that in tightening connections on the gauges under the dash I shorted the tachometer lead under the dash. That told the coil that the points were in a constant closed condition and wouldn't fire the coil. Argggg!!!!

The boat is almost complete. I just have to install the rubber floor mats and the new rubber hoses I ordered. Since I discovered that this is a 1985 engine I decided to trust none of it's rubber. If the new stuff lasts me another 23 years I'll be happy. There appears to be nothing wrong with the alternator or the water pump belts so I'll keep them on board as spares.

My friend Shawn sent me this picture of a classic trailer. He suggested that I abandon the wagon wheel look for a plain steel wheel. I thing it needs Moons.

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Couldn't go this far without replacing all the rubber. Two belts and five hoses were under $100. The original belts looked perfect so I'll stash them on-board.

The engine work is complete.

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On to the brakes. The replacement parts arrived.

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I wire wheeled the metal on the axle flanges and primed the metal back plate and hub.

Can someone explain how these brakes work? I've never seen this type of pivoted shoe before.

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Had new races and seals installed on drums. Had them turned even though they appeared perfect.

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The trailer tongue was a mess. Wire brushing barely budges it so I glass-beaded the grunge. Coated it with POR-15.

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Since I'd like to show this with our Mark II I'm going to paint the trailer the same color blue, give the fenders a '50s treatment and use Mark II hub caps and matching 3 1/8" wide whitewalls. Anyone got any beat up Mark II hub caps lying around?

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I spent the last couple of days finalizing repairs and checking systems. I filled the bilge with water to initiate the soaking process. The bottom of the boat consists of wood slats that are about 6" wide and run diagonally to the length of the boat, attached to the framework of the bottom of the boat. Over that layer is a canvas material. Over that are the bottom is laid in various width planks that accommodate the curvature of the bottom. There are gaps between the boards that allow for expansion of the wood when it gets wet. The canvas layer in-between the planking wicks water to all areas of the bottom, swelling the wood in a controlled manner.

I initially found a waterfall under the boat when I turned on the hose. It leaked so badly that the sump pump never kicked on with the hose running full blast. After about a half hour it started to hold some water. Each subsequent filling produced less and less water dripping from the hull. By today it nearly filled the bilge with very little dripping.

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With a good 6" of water in the bilge I loosened the raw water intake hose and stuck it into the standing water and fired up the motor. I felt little or no suction and no water was coming from the exhaust. I shut it down and disassembled the pump. I quickly discovered that there was not much left to the impeller. Many of the vanes were gone and big chunks were missing. The rest of the pump appeared fine. The bearings seemed fine and the bore of the pump was smooth. The odd part is that there is no sign of the rubber chunks that came off of the impeller. There's also no trace of rubber in the transmission cooler's tiny tubes. Where did it go?

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I called around and found that this was a common pump. Unfortunately, the closest part was an hour away. Fortunately, I have employees that have little to do on Friday afternoons so I sent one on a road trip. I took some great advice and bought a spare. I was really glad that I didn't take it out that way.

The Fall colors are at their peak in Michigan and Sunday is supposed to be sunny and 65°. I don't think I could ask for a more perfect day to launch it. Since I'm a first-time boater I've decided to take a couple of knowledgeable friends with me to enjoy the afternoon and teach me the proper way of doing things. I did learn something today. I sat behind the wheel for the first time and learned that the cockpit was not designed for someone 6'5" and 280 lbs, but what is?

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And I did.

I was able to find the correct part. Installed the new impeller after coating the inside of the bore and the wear surfaces of the impeller with marine grease.

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Shawn showed up early and we finished bleeding the brakes and hit the road on time.

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We got to the boat landing about noon. A friend, Skip, lives on this lake and he came out to help us launch. I got in the boat as they backed me down the ramp. As soon as the stern hit the water I heard the sound of water rushing into the boat. Freaked me out. Turns out it was only the exhaust system filling up with water.

As I floated away from the dock I fired it up and pulled up to the dock after Shawn put the trailer away. Skip grabbed the worn cinch belt used to tie down the stern for shipment and said he'd have it repaired by the time were were done on his lake. I shot across the lake. I've never piloted a speedboat before. It was thrilling to be in control after the boat planed out. It handled remarkable well. I made my way across the lake to skip's house where Shawn took over and pulled up to Skip's dock.

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He took the boat out as Skip and I followed on his pontoon. He was able to take it much faster than I had. Skip said he was probably traveling 35 mph. Shawn ducked down for this picture.

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I zipped around the lake before about an hour before I got bored and decided to pack it in. My face hurt from grinning.

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If you watch the links below in hi-def they will give you an impression of my day.

When we were done we stopped by Mob Steel to look at the shell of a '68 Lincoln that would suit my needs nicely. Their transport was quite cool.

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I discovered that the gas gauge doesn't work. It's a sending unit from a six volt system hooked up to a 12-volt system. There's a variable resistor in the circuit that seems to be an add-on. Any suggestions? The ammeter also doesn't work, but that's about it. If it's nice next weekend I may take it out again.

If not I'll be lifting the boat off the trailer and set it on jacks while I make the trailer presentable.

Thanks for all your feedback.

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