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The Lemons car is taking up a lot of my free time so progress on the boat has been slow. 

I have made a start for the close cooling conversion. I'm mocking it up on the old engine. The new one is still wrapped up to keep it clean.

No one makes a full cooling kit for a SBF, only half kits which use raw water, or in my case salt water, to cool the manifolds. I want to cool the manifolds with coolant so they will last more than 4-5 years before rusting out. Here is a link if you are interested in the difference between a half kit and a full kit. https://www.perfprotech.com/blog/articles/fresh-water-cooling-full-system

I happen to have a full kit for a SBC from another boat, unfortunately the thermostat housing doesn't fit. Coolant flows through the thermostat and to the manifolds to cool them. I also need that bypass port on the intake to work to keep some coolant flowing through the manifolds at all times.

 This evening I started making an adapter so I can use the SBC thermostat housing on a SBF. I started with a 1.25 x 5 x 5 block of aluminum. I rough cut it with a circular saw and cleaned it up with the grinder. Then I chucked it up in the 4 jaw chuck in my lathe to cut the hole for the thermostat.

Rough cut and boring the hole.

Boring. My boring bar is as old as my lathe. 1947. Some tools last forever. 

Facing to thin it down so the housing won't interfere with the accessory belts. 

Faced down to .900 and turning a register for the thermostat.

Boring done. 

All the turning operations are done. The adapter will bolt to the intake, the thermostat housing will bolt to the adapter. Hopefully it works like I think it will. 

That was it for yesterday afternoon. This afternoon I'll get the mounting holes and bypass hole located and drilled. 

More to come. 


Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/11/20 8:57 a.m.

I miss working with machining tools.  I need to get my lathe running.

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/16/21 5:18 p.m.

Almost a year later and we are back on the boat. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't touched this in the last several months. As frequently happens, I got sidetracked on other projects. 

That fancy machined part I made in the last update won't work. I was mocking up the cooling system on the old block and unfortunately, the adapter pushes the thermostat housing out far enough to hit the timing cover and water pump. The parts are on the way for version 2.0. I'll post up some pictures when I get started building it. Hopefully toward the end of the week.

We did dig the boat out from under the oak tree and clean the accumulation of leave and debris out of it. It also had a much-needed visit from the pressure washer. 


More to come. Hopefully in the next few days instead of the next few months. 


ClemSparks UltimaDork
5/16/21 8:45 p.m.

Looking good!  The nice thing about this hobby is that there's not much harm if they have to wait a little while for us to get excited about them again (especially the ones like this...made of materials that don't become unstable and crumble from exposure to the AIR...stupid rust).  I look forward to seeing the progress (at whatever rate it happens).

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/23/21 3:42 p.m.

Still waiting on the parts to get the cooling system finished up. 

While I haven't been working on this much, I have been collecting parts. Today I installed a Nav/depth system. 

This is a Simrad Cruise 9. It's one of their cheap systems but it will do everything I want it to. 

Routing the wiring through the bilge wasn't very interesting or fun but it is done. The head unit is mounted on the dash. 


This unit will give me GPS navigation and charts as well as depth. Hopefully, it will keep me from driving this thing up on a bank. 



Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/30/21 9:21 p.m.

I am finally making some progress on this thing. Saturday morning was spent cleaning the bilge. There was 36 years of grime under the engine. A bucket of degreaser and a scrub brush took care of most of it. No pictures of that yet. Just imagine most of it being white instead of gray. 

This morning I finally got the engine off the pallet and onto the engine stand. I could get used to working on new stuff. So clean and shiny. It looks like the engine shop did a pretty good job on it. 


My business partner gave me an Elderbrock Performer 289 intake that someone in the distant past had painted maroon. It got scuffed and repainted something close to what the engine color is. The carb mount was painted and had some kind of filler under the paint. I figured sealing that in with paint would be better than the filler soaking up fuel so that surface got a coat of paint as well. 


I also built the manifold for the thermostat housing. My original plan was to make an adapter for a Chevy thermostat housing I had. That ended up hitting the timing cover, so I built a manifold that would let me use an aftermarket thermostat housing. The water leaves the block through the thermostat housing, the manifold splits that and sends it to the exhaust manifolds to cool them. From there it will return to the heat exchanger. These will be joined with two hoses. 


That also got a coat of paint to help with corrosion. 


I also got the oil pan cleaned up and painted. It wasn't in bad shape but oil pans are usually the first thing to rust out in the engine bay. I figured I'd throw a good coat of paint on there to help keep it alive. 


Next up was the timing cover and pulley set. Those are sitting in the blast cabinet now. Marine timing covers are cast iron and the timing cover has some pretty serious rust in the water pump passages. It's bad enough I'm concerned about the water pump sealing to the cover properly. The PO had used what looks to be most of a tube of RTV to keep it from leaking. I have blasted most of the rust out of them and it's not leaving a lot of mating surface. A new marine timing cover with the provisions to mount the raw water pump is $300+. I'd rather not have to buy one if I can help it. I'm considering rebuilding the passage with JB weld. The other option is to build up the mating surface with weld and machine it back flat. I'll be studying on that tomorrow.



More to come. 


Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/25/21 4:39 p.m.

Apparently, I haven't done a very good job of keeping this up to date. 

Over the last month or two, I've managed to get the engine together and ready to install. 

Most of the old parts were blasted and repainted. 


The old valve covers were fairly rusted on the inside so I decided to replace them with a nice aluminum set. 


Unfortunately, they were just enough bigger to not clear the exhaust manifolds so they ended up on the shelf for a future project and a new set of steel valve covers were installed.

I got it built and pretty much ready to install. And there it sat for a few weeks, once again waiting on plumbing parts and time.


I spent some of that time getting bilge straightened up. The PO had all the hoses and lines in the bilge laying in the bottom. I pulled them into a neater bundle and fastened them to the stringers with rubber cushioned SS straps. For some reason, I didn't take any after pictures. 


As the plumbing fitting came in I starte straightening out the mess that was the raw water system. The PO had the raw water system plumbed in brass plumbing fittings. That's a pretty big no-no for saltwater use. Brass just doesn't hold up well. Since this boat is likely to spend a fair amount of time at the dock, I scrapped his setup and installed an actual bronze seacock. You haven't spend money on plumbing until you start buying bronze plumbing fittings. All told, to plumb the engine and the raw water system, it ended up being almost $400 in fittings. At least I won't have to worry about it sinking at the dock. 


It also took 3 days to pull the drive coupler off the prop shaft. Heat, cool, tighten the puller, let it sit for a couple of hours. Then repeat. I was sitting on the porch when I heard it pop loose.

I needed to remove it to change the shaft seal. The original was an old fashion leaky rope seal. I did away with the old rope seal and installed a ceramic dripless seal. They work like the ceramic seal in a water pump. They are a good bit more expensive than the rope seals, but I really don't like water in the bilge. 

Old and nasty next to new and shiny. 


Once installed, the ceramic nose on the coupler runs on the stainless ring clamped to the shaft. The rubber bellows act as a spring to keep them pressed together. Where the rope shafts leak to stay cool and lubricated, the dripless couplings are plumbed to the raw water system to keep them cool and they don't leak. 


Yesterday was the day. We finally got the engine set back where it belongs. I will say, if you ever have to replace an inboard boat engine, the gantry and electric hoist is the bomb. Setting the engine took about 20 minutes. 




Today was spent getting the wiring and controls sorted, the shaft aligned and bolted up, manifolds installed, and most of the assorted plumbing hooked up. It is 90% ready for the first start. Since a fair amount of that time was spent standing on my head, I took zero pictures. I'll shoot some of the current situation tomorrow. 

Still to do, is figure out where to mount the raw water strainer and engine flush valve. Where to mount the plate that holds the start solenoid, coil resister, and fuse that used to mount to the battery tray, as well as figure out where to mount the batteries. Since the batteries used to sit where the heat exchanger is now located they will be moving somewhere else. 

The plan is to do the first start next Saturday or Sunday. 

I will try to do a better job of keeping this up to date from now on. I will probably fail. 

More to come. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/25/21 6:48 p.m.

Always loved Shamrocks. Good thing I didn't own this one, I'd be in way over my head for both skill and persistence. 

Eagerly awaiting the next update. 

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/21 9:08 a.m.

Apparently all of Saturday and half of Sunday we were sharing the boat with these guys. We were in and out of the boat all day. There were 5-6 of the little bastards on the nest when I nuked it. I'm really surprised no one got stung. Sorry for the crappy image. 


metty Reader
1/27/22 8:50 a.m.

any updates on this? looking at a 20' shamrock up here in NC, he is asking $4k for it which seems like a deal

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/27/22 2:25 p.m.

It is exactly where it was last time I updated this. Work, race cars and camping pushed it to the back burner and then cold weather rolled in. As soon as the weather breaks, I will be back on it to get it ready for spring. 


ClemSparks UltimaDork
1/27/22 8:09 p.m.

I look forward to seeing it (reading about it) when you get back to it.  I'm in the middle of the winter funk now.  It's not my happy time of year.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/28/22 1:27 a.m.
Toyman! said:

It is exactly where it was last time I updated this. Work, race cars and camping pushed it to the back burner and then cold weather rolled in. As soon as the weather breaks, I will be back on it to get it ready for spring. 


That's often been the problem with my boats. They end up sitting.

I can only afford one hobby. I changed my focus to autocross and having scheduled events and the fact that it's a fraction of the work means I get out a lot more. I'm not proud of my failure, though. I'm going to try to get back on the water again soon. 

I've owned this since the 70s, and I've caught a lot of fish out of it. 

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/28/22 9:06 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, My priorities have changed and I'm going to be pretty much out of the TT, Lemons, and autocross business this year. Any car work will probably be on the XJ and there isn't going to be much of that. 

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/20/22 3:43 p.m.

Progress was the word of the day.

The raw water side of the plumbing is done. Strainer and flush valve installed and plumbed from the seacock to the raw water pump. I just need to pick up some SS bolts to mount the strainer. 

During the next week I will get the batteries installed somewhere.

More to come. Sooner rather than later.


Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/2/22 5:57 p.m.

Today was battery day. Two new 8' long cables were made to relocate the batteries to a bilge box in front of the engine. New battery boxes were ordered. 

Next, I moved to the dash. I am replacing the gauges due to several of them being questionable. That meant climbing under the dash to study the wiring. My original plan was to get the engine running before rewiring but the dash was a mess. There was a fair amount of corrosion, half of the wires between the engine and the dash were THHN building wire instead of marine wire, and the fuse panel was a joke. All of the connections were crimped with no heat-shrink. Failure wasn't only an option, it was almost guaranteed. So I spent the time to strip every piece of wire out of the entire boat.


The old gauges have been removed and new ones installed in the face plate. I didn't have a white hour meter so I ordered one today along with enough wire to rewire the entire boat. The hour meter will fill the extra hole. 


More to come. Probably tomorrow. 

1SlowVW HalfDork
4/2/22 7:04 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

That sucks about the condition of the wiring but it will be so nice to know it's all new and done correctly.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/2/22 8:06 p.m.

Rewiring the boat was certainly a necessity. Definitely something that has to be done right, especially in an inboard boat.  

My grandfather only ever asked me for two promises. Don't shoot the 1917 Colt .45 ACP revolver that he left me, and don't buy an inboard boat. 

ClemSparks UltimaDork
4/3/22 9:36 a.m.

I'm always excited to see this thread at the top again!  

Looks fun!

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/3/22 11:53 a.m.

In reply to 1SlowVW:

Yeah, I've pretty much decided to get the mechanics and electrical right before it hits the water. It shouldn't take more than a day to get the wiring done. Not having to worry about it failing will be worth it.


In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Inboards are only as dangerous as the people that operate them. In the last 30 years of operating them, I've managed to blow myself up exactly zero times. The bilge blower system will also be all new and properly installed. 

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/4/22 9:57 a.m.

Well, life got in the way and I didn't get much done today. 

I did get the hose between the heat exchanger and the shaft seal installed.

I also got started installing a purge cap in a high spot of the cooling system. The heat exchanger is going to be about 1/2" lower than the high point in the system, unfortunately. The fitting is installed in the cooling manifold, but my torch box has vanished so the soldering didn't happen. I think I lent it to someone months ago and can't remember who. 

The wiring supplies should be showing up this week so...

More to come. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/4/22 10:11 a.m.
Toyman! said:

In reply to 1SlowVW:

Yeah, I've pretty much decided to get the mechanics and electrical right before it hits the water. It shouldn't take more than a day to get the wiring done. Not having to worry about it failing will be worth it.


In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Inboards are only as dangerous as the people that operate them. In the last 30 years of operating them, I've managed to blow myself up exactly zero times. The bilge blower system will also be all new and properly installed. 

Yes, I still would consider owning one of these. His comment was based on the fact that competence and boat ownership are often mutually exclusive. The wiring in your boat is a perfect example. 


Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/4/22 10:38 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:  ...competence and boat ownership are often mutually exclusive...

Definitely some truth to that statement.  This one will still have some questionable repairs that will need to be addressed even after I complete the engine, plumbing, and electrical upgrades. 


914Driver MegaDork
4/4/22 3:56 p.m.

That engine's too pretty to hide in some slimy bilge.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/8/22 6:02 p.m.

Not much happened this week due to the constant barrage of rain and thunderstorms all week but all the wiring is here. I'm out of town tomorrow but I'll hopefully have the majority of the wiring done Sunday. 

I did get some interesting parts in. Single inboard boats are notoriously difficult to get off a dock without scratching the hull. While they turn well in forward, they almost don't turn in reverse at all, other than some prop walk. Using spring lines and such it can be done but there is another way...

So I started researching bow thrusters and such. Basically an electric motor with a prop that is used to push the boat sideways. While there are some small ones that would fit, bow thrusters are insanely expensive so that was out. Then I considered stern thrusters. Also insanely expensive. Me being me, I considered a DIY solution using trolling motors and such but that would be too easy and the props on them are surprisingly large.

Enter these parts. The prop is a 6" diameter 316 stainless steel wheel made to stir chemicals. The gearbox is a 1:1 gear I found surplus for reasonably cheap. The double output will let me run 2 props if I need additional thrust.



The gearbox claims it's sealed. It is going to mount on the transom with the input shaft through the transom. Mounted here it will be in the water at low speeds, but out of the water at planing speeds and it will be protected from damage up under the swim platform. 


Also on the way is a 1900 RPM high torque 12v motor for a salt spreader, but it won't be here until tomorrow. This guy.

DB Electrical 430-22013 Salt Spreader Compatible with/Replacement for  Western Products All Models AII, Fisher All Models AII 3012200182,  3D-1220182H, 801220182H, 054-94-1242-0434, 65061, 10761N : Automotive -  Amazon.com

The motor will be well sealed and mounted in the bilge. I may end up 3D printing a waterproof case for it. I will be doing a lot of testing before I start drilling holes below the waterline. 

Forward and reverse will be handled by a joystick on the dash controlling a reversible winch contactor mounted near the motor. The wiring for this will be installed while I'm rewiring the boat. 

More to come. 


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