View Full Version : Rescued 255b Chris Craft Catalina need help with engineTrans

R. Blank
04-16-2003, 07:56 PM
" I have just aquired a 25.4 CC catalinaboat was submerged and pumped out a few years ago, hull is in good shape, but engine and trans are not.
Engine needs to be replaced, tranny may be good, but I dont know what to look for at this point.

I was thinking of getting a motor from a running vehicle(car or truck) at the junk yard, but dont know if this is really feasable.
I have seen some disscussion on different rotation types of motors and such and dont know what I have.

The name plate information on the Engine and transmission are as follows

Marine Power Corp
Model 350K
Engine # 183014
Firing Order 12756348
( Valve covers and intake manifold are missing, I can see the GM mark stamped on block)

Paragon Gears
(numers here are sketchy, plate is very corroded)
P21P 6D 7760 Z7717P

Anyone have any ideas what I have here?
Can I use a car or truck motor?, Do I have a strange rotation motor, or normal rotation?

Are the trannys pretty durable, or if its been flooded with the tranny exposed to elements, am I in a bad way?

Thanks in advance

Rob "

04-16-2003, 09:22 PM
" Ron, if trans. was not pickled or at least drained and refilled with oil it is probaly shot. Automotive engines will work but you would need to marinize it to be safe. A low cost way to get boating this season would be to buy a running take out from someone thats repowering. It's the time of year to find bargins look in the classifieds. "

04-16-2003, 11:26 PM
" Rob, An automotive conversion may be the incorrect rotation for your set up. I have a 1977 Catalina with the 305K motor. It is a small block Chevy but if you remove the timing cover you will discover that it has two gears one on the crank and one on the cam which causes the motor to turn counter clock-wise id viewed from the front of the motor. It is a right-hand engine. There are many marine engine manufacturers out there. Check out Pro Power on the net. They have a 350 Right hand motor that would drop in. I checked your Tranny numbers it is actually a P21R. Direct drive (1 to 1 ratio). It uses regular Dextron automatic tranny fluid. There is a drain plug on the bottom but it is very difficult to get at. I use a suction pump chucked to an electric drill to pull the fluid out via the dip-stick tube. Tranny fluid also circulates from the unit to an oil cooler. It is the small cylinder shaped unit with two water hoses and two oil lines connected to it. Another tidbit is the propeller, the original was a 13" X 11" right hand nibral. If you need any more info just post it. I have the manual for the motor and tranny. Hope you fix up the old girl and enjoy it. I love mine!
Joe "

R. Blank
04-17-2003, 05:37 PM
" Hey Thanks Joe and Dennis,

Joe , I will check for the two gears and see if thats what I have for the engine, also really glad you figured out that tranny #, thats great.
Hopefully I can rebuild that, I found a place localy (Ft Lauderdale) that looks like they sell parts for the paragon tranny (marinegears.com)
If you are correct, looks like I will have to get the marine engine as you mentioned.

At least I know where I stand with that.

Another question, are those square things in the exhaust line mufflers, and check valvs combined into one?, they are about the size of a shoe box sliced in half, and say Chris craft on them.

Also, do you have a carb fed motor or fuel injected on you CC? Thinking I will go with EFI.

Thanks again guys

Rob "

04-17-2003, 08:39 PM
"I'm also a Catalina 251 owner, 1980 vintage. The CC cruisers of late-70's and early-80's seem be developing a devoted following. They were well built boats, very seaworthy and still nice looking. The line was discontinued due mostly to the generous beam, making them too wide for trailering in most States. But this also makes them roomy and stable.

The only real downside to this boat is the lack of access to the front of engine. If you're going to rebuild the boat, you may have to replace the plywood bulkhead between the engine room and cabin. If so, consider doing some mods to gain access to this area, but be sure to brace the bulkhead for structural strength.

I'd vote for staying with a carb'd engine. The benefits of FI are marginal, especially in a boat like this. FI will increase your costs and installation hassles considerably.

Other than mufflers, I don't know of any other "boxes" in my exhaust hoses. Glad to hear another Catalina will be saved! Let us know how it goes.


04-17-2003, 08:45 PM
" Rob, Don't hassle with pulling the timing cover. It takes a team of small monkeys with the dexterity of a surgeon to work on the front of the motor. I checked your firing order and it is the same as mine, so, it is indeed a right hand motor. As to the exhaust question, there are no check valves that I know of in the line. The boxes are most likely the mufflers. Back-flow protection is provided by the exhaust risers. They are those camel-back looking castings on the rear of the exhaust manifolds. If they are old, I would replace them with after-market units so you do not wind up with water in the oil (or worse) of the new engine. I replaced my exhaust hoses and mufflers. I installed a pair of neoprene mufflers. They sound a bit throaty, but hey, its an old Chris Craft, Its supposed to sound throaty! If you have any doubt as to the condition of the exhaust system, replace it. The fumes can be deadly and if a hose lets go near or below the waterline it will sink you in short order. Be sure to use quality hose clamps and double clamp all joints. My motor is carb fed with a Rochester quadrajet. By the way, here are the specs on your motor: 350K, 250HP @ 4400RPM, Torque 330 ft [email protected] 3000RPM, plug gap .035, point gap .018 single point dist. .020 dual point dist. Keep me posted on your progress. Joe "

04-19-2003, 09:42 PM
" Rob, Just a couple of more thoughts on your Catalina. Pay particular attention to the raw water intake and hose leading to the sea water pump. Make sure the seacock opens and closes ok. Also make sure the hose from the seacock to the pump is in good condition and the clamps as well. Also check the old water intake for the old direct discharge toilet. It should be visible from the engine compartment on the port side. Don't mean to sound like a nervous Nelly but I have seen little things like this become big problems later. Keep me posted.
Joe "

07-15-2003, 10:08 AM
" Help, please. I have a 25' Chris Craft cruiser fiberglass, built here in Chattanooga, Tn in 1975. Engine is a reverse rotation (CCW when viewed from the front of the engine), 307 Chevy engine. Block frooze and busted last winter. I am replacing with a rebuilt, reverse rotation 350 engine.

Does anyone have information on setting the timing once my long block arrives?

Feel free to respond to my e-mail shown.

Murf "

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12-27-2009, 08:24 PM
"i have a 1980 chris-craft catalena 251 she is equiped with a 13 inch prop with a 10 pitch, she doesnt want to get up on plane well,almost but not quite. my question is , there seems to be enough room i think to fit a 14 inch prop, how much clearance do i need from prop to hull.should i try to find a steeper pitch prop?? has any one ort there had the same problem and what is the fix?? thanks robert"