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Engine info 351 Ford Commander

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Mikkel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Engine info 351 Ford Commander
    Posted: September-08-2008 at 7:09pm
Hi guys,

I have just signed up to your forum today, as it seems this is where I might find some help and good advise :-)
I recently bought and old american water skiing boat with a lovely V8 in it. The previous owner didn't know too much about it, but after looking up pictures on the web, I believe it to be similar to (if it is not) a ski nautique. How can I tell exactly what model and year my boat is? I can't find any identification number on the hull (I might not have looked in the right place)

The engine is a Ford Commander 351, but this is close to all I know about it. Does anyone here have some info/history on the commander engines? I especially would like to know where I can find parts, as the engine hasn't been too well taken care of in the last couple of years from the looks of it. I already know skidim, which looks to be a great site, only they don't seem to have a lot of spare parts for Commander engines. Are there any other marine engines which are similar to the commander, from which I can use parts?

I especially need a tune-up kit for the distributor, as the rotor is broken and has been glued and taped together again (!!!) but I don't know if it's a Mallory or a Prestolite. There's no label or anything left on the distributor anymore, so how can I tell? Since I most likely have to order spare parts in from the US, I sure would like getting the right ones the first time around.

I have loads of other questions, but I'll try to look through the forum some more in search of answers before I ask them :-)

Any info and/or comments will be very much apreciated.

BR. Mikkel

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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-08-2008 at 7:43pm
Hey Mikkel, welcome aboard!

I own a 1980 SN with a Commander 351, since the engine is a Ford 351w you can get the same parts as a contemporary PCM 351. Mine has a Prestolite clip down distributor, perhaps you can post a picture of your engine so we can help you out.

To know what model and year your boat is you should check the transom for a code number marked in the gelcoat, post it and someone will know about it.

Regards
Luciano from Argentina.

PS: One time some forum member said he owned a Commander manual but it never showed on the reference section, I'd be very thankful if someone has it and E-mails it to me.
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Mikkel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-08-2008 at 8:06pm
Here are a couple of picture of the engine:





As you can clearly tell from the pictures the engine is in less than mint condition at present. However I plan to give it an overhaul this winter, if I can find the time needed. My primary goal is to make it start good - I have experienced a few of the same problems as I have seen described on the forum, with starting issues when hot.

I also can't run it at more than 2500rpm continously, then it gets too hot. When running at 2500rpm the temperature is stabile at around 90C (about 190F) and running it faster makes the temp clib above 100C (210F). I think the heatexhanger might be full of salt crystals, or maybe the impeller is not very good anymore.

Here's a picture of the entire boat as well, maybe someone will recognize it.



The hull has also seen better days, but with a bit of TLC and some elbow grease I think it is definetely salvagable :-)

BR. Mikkel
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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-08-2008 at 8:31pm
Well, first of all let me tell you you have a really sweet boat there, and your engine looks pretty good to me too!!!!

It seems as if your distributor is a Prestolite, but cant see if it's the clip down (2 clips holding the cap) or the Screw down (2 screws holding), that will be easy for you to figure once you check it.

I feel you are where I was when I got my boat, if shipping and customs is an issue for you to get parts as it is for me I recommend you order some things in advance "just in case".

Get a tune up kit for you distributor, check plugs, coil and cables as well, change if needed.

I think you're running a bit too hot, closed water cooling is supposed to be at 160F, so you should consider getting a new thermostat too. Get a new impeller and check the heat-exchanger for any blockage.

Also, consider getting the Carb rebuild kit, "just in case" a carb rebuild is needed in the near future, yours look shinny though!.

Those are my recomendations, perhaps someone more technical or experienced jumps in and gives you better.



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jbear View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-08-2008 at 11:04pm
Welcome Mikkel...this place is getting an international flavor.

I agree with my friend Luciano...you engine looks pretty good to me. Not sure what make and model you have there but I am pretty sure it is not a Correct Craft. There is a guy on here...BKH....that will chime in soon and he is an expert at identifing some of these boats. But not to worry...we love questions and pictures on here so you are welcome to fire away.

What type of skiing do you do? Lake or salt water?

john
"Loud pipes save lives"



AdamT sez "I'm Canadian and a beaver lover myself"...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horkn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-09-2008 at 3:25am
I love the Remus stickers on the exhaust manifolds:)

Yeah, I know those are not really Remus, but I still like the stickers.

That sure does not appear to be a CC, but it is ski boat. It must be pretty rare to see a big ol' american V8 powered ski boat in Denmark.
78 martinique- refloored, reinforced, stringers re glassed, re engineered interior
GT40P heads Edelbrock Performer intake acme 4 blade
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v64/horkn/fish/nautique.jpg
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Mikkel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-09-2008 at 4:55am
Yeah, I like the stickers as well, even though I know they don't belong there ;-)
It's true, you don't see a lot of these boats here. Most people want to see the engine when they come by, and on a clear day I'm sure to get a lot of envious looks from the old guys at the marina when the engine fires up with a mighty roar, as the previous owner discarded the silencers :-) All in all I'd say it's extremely good value for the money I paid for it.

The pictures of the engine doesn't show all the details. There is quite a bit of rust by the manifolds, several rusty bolts, and I plan to change most of the wiring, as the insulation is damaged on several of them. Also many wires are unnecessarily long and have funny routing. They look to have been replaced by someone not so electrically minded.

Luchog - I forgot to put in yesterday that the distributor is a clamp top, and has a spring loaded advance.
I already bought a new coil for it, a Blaster 2 with a ballast resistor, which should provide sufficient power to make a good spark. The existing bosch can only make a spark about 4-5mm long, which I don't think is enough to ensure accurate firing.
It's my plan to buy sufficient parts to do a normal maintainance of the engine, refurbishing the carb and egnition as the first point. Also changing filters and changing fluids. Are there any suggestions to things I might need other than a carb rebuild kit, a tune up for the dist. and new coil/wires/plugs?

Jbear - There's only saltwater available in my area, a small fjord which is very suitable for the purpose of skiing as there are often only small waves. I am just beginning to practise a single ski, and I think I'll get the hang of it with a little more practise, allthough my first attempts cost me several bruises. I'm still only at the point of dropping one ski on the go, but next season I'll want to learn to start on one ski.

Thank you very much for the warm welcome, I'm sure I'll enjoy this forum a lot in the cold wintertimes :-)

BR. Mikkel


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jbear View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-09-2008 at 10:48pm
Originally posted by Mikkel Mikkel wrote:


Thank you very much for the warm welcome, I'm sure I'll enjoy this forum a lot in the cold wintertimes :-)
BR. Mikkel


We're glad you found us. It is pretty cool to feel as tho we have friends all over the world and can talk to them.

So...how cold does it get?

john
"Loud pipes save lives"



AdamT sez "I'm Canadian and a beaver lover myself"...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eric lavine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-10-2008 at 8:11am
I do like the enclosed engine compartment, welcom Mikkel,
"the things you own will start to own you"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ultrarunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-10-2008 at 5:16pm
Originally posted by Luchog Luchog wrote:

PS: One time some forum member said he owned a Commander manual but it never showed on the reference section, I'd be very thankful if someone has it and E-mails it to me.


Hey, that's me. I had offered to send out my commander manuals to someone that would scan and post them but never heard back. These are the original Commander manuals that came with my boat...a 1980 American Skier. I'm still willing to do that. Let me know...

Ultra.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-10-2008 at 6:34pm
Hi ultrarunner,

I sure would like a copy of that manual :-)

John, our winter is a bit curious. It usually doesn't get too cold, more of a rainy and windy winter we have here, which is almost worse I think. We go get the occasional snow, usually about 1-3 weeks in total, but not often in succession. I like the snow best when I can do alpine skiing in it, and since we don't have any mountains here, I can't really say that I usually miss it too much ;-)

/Mikkel
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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-10-2008 at 7:30pm
Ultra, the issue here is that Mikkel is in Denmark and I'm in Argentina!!!

We need someone closer to you willing to do this, some volunteer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ultrarunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-11-2008 at 9:10am
I do have a scanner here at home...we just moved and I haven't unpacked it yet, but I'll dig it out and see if it will do what we need. I scan scan to a PDF and then simply post it....I'll give it a try...

Ultra
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ultrarunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-11-2008 at 2:14pm
Originally posted by Mikkel Mikkel wrote:

Hi ultrarunner,

I sure would like a copy of that manual :-)
/Mikkel


Ok Mikkel, here is the deal:

I'll burn a copy of my manual, scan it, then email it to you. That should get you started.

I sent a note to Keith asking if he'd be willing to do the same if I sent him all my original commander manuals, but in the mean time, I'll fire you a copy.

There is an old-timer down in Miami, his name is Bob. And Bob bought most all the old parts from Commander Marine years ago. I have bought a few things from him in the last couple of years for my motor. Nice thing about his stuff is that it's all OEM new old-stock, still in the boxes.

I just talked to Bob to see if he and any of the old manuals, and he does not, just parts. If you find you need something once you get going I can get you in touch with Bob. He doesn't particularly care to ship outside the US, but it's a simple matter to get a part and send it to you.

Send me your email address and I'll email you the manual after I get it scanned.

Ultra
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Mikkel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-11-2008 at 2:52pm
Sure thing, that sounds great :-)

Probably a genuine newbie problem, but how do you access the private messaging system? I've been looking just about everywhere on the site now, but I can't seem to find any info on how it works... and the help section is not very helpful at all on that subject it seems.

Please, someone? :-)
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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-11-2008 at 8:42pm
Ultra: could You send a copy of the file to me too?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ultrarunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2008 at 2:15pm
hey guys, I'll finish making the copy today, scan it to a PDF and send it to Keith for him to put in the reference section. Will that work?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2008 at 2:21pm
yes
it's only original once
bend the trend
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2008 at 2:44pm
yes, thank you very much!!

one item off the bucket list!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2008 at 3:25pm
Yes, that would be great :-)

Thank you very much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-13-2008 at 4:50am
Another question for you,

At full throttle it does about 3300rpm at the moment, so I'm wondering if the propeller is the correct size and pitch. I brought my gps along for a ride one day, and with 5 people in the boat it would do around 60km/h (which is about 37mph or 32 knots) This doesn't seem much for a long boat with such a large engine... I would think it should be able to do 40+ knots (46 mph) at a higher rpm with full throttle, is this way off?

/Mikkel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-13-2008 at 8:53pm
What size is your propeller (diamenter x pitch) it should be casted in the prop.

3300rpm is low, a stock 351 should do between 4400-4800 with a 13x13. Mine does 4800 with a 13x12 and 40mph.

Anyway these are not very fast boats, the guys here enjoy playing with their engines for making them go faster but they are originaly meant to pull.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ultrarunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-14-2008 at 10:35am
Hey guys, I'm out on a trip and didn't get the rest of the Commander service and parts manuals copied. I'll try to finish it up on Tuesday when I get back, and send them both to Keith so they can be uploaded into the reference section.

Thanks for your patience.

Ultra--
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any updates?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-29-2008 at 12:24pm
Hi, sorry for the long time in reply, but I have been quite busy lately.

I have just taken the boat out of the water, and put it in a winter stand. I removed the propellor as one of the first things, as I was quite worn, and looks to have been soldered more than once before. It says 13 14 in the cast, and another four digit no which I can't remember. I guess that means that the pitch is 14", which might explain the low revs.

As I have decided to invest in a new prop, which should I get then? I am thinking 13x12,5 to get the revs up, or should I go with a 13x13? Also which is better, a 3-blade or a 4-blade?

On the last trip this year, about a 55minute very bumpy ride to move the boat near my parents house, where it will be staying in the winter, the engine started acting up. It wouldn't run smooth at low revs. and when I reached the harbour and let it idle on the way in, it sounded like it ran on very few cylinders, and eventually died on me. I had it restartet later, but it didn't fire well on all cylinders. It turned out that my carb was leaking a lot of gas into the manifold, which would explain the bad idling. I tried fiddling a bit with the carb, and when I drained a bit of gas, the engine ran smooth until the carb overflowed again, so it definitely needs a rebuild.
I also changed the ignition coil to a high performance type with external ballast resistor, which seemed to make a lot of difference. When the carb didn't act up, the engine ran much smooter than before.

Br. Mikkel

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-29-2008 at 11:38pm
Ultra: Could you post this "Bob of Miami" e-mail or phone contact? Might be a few guys on here interested in parts.

john
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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-30-2008 at 3:02pm
Jbear, I think this is what you mean.

Commander parts
Miami called Troubleshooters, Inc.

They can be reached at 305-688-6681


Mikkel, I believe you should check all the tuneup for the engine before getting the propeller, this way you will have solid data to base your selection.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-30-2008 at 4:17pm
Luchog, do you mean to have the engine running good again, before changing the propeller?

By the way, I am thinking of putting an electronic conversion kit in the distributor in stead of an ordinary rebuild kit. I have found a kit by Mallory called #MAL9-26903. I can see in a different thread that you have the same kit in your distributor - is it any good? and is it really that simple to fit as it looks?
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Luchog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luchog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-30-2008 at 9:19pm
Mikkel, yes, I meant to put the engine to a good running condition, electrical and fuel systems first, then you'll be on solid ground about what your engine condition really is. I feel the rpms your doing now are more related to the engine condition than to the propeller.

I still have points in my distributor, they are working good but they need some hand in them from time to time, that why I want to convert to EI.
The mallory E-spark convertion seems to be the best one, if not that, the Prestolite unit. The Pertronix unit, though the cheapest, is not on my list since many people on this forums reported problems with it. I prefer to play it safe. I dont know if the Mallory comes with a distributor cap. You'll need one when doing the dist.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-30-2008 at 9:43pm
Thanks Luciano for the number. Will call to see if they have a web site. I have a pair of Commander manifolds that I am interested in trying to get on my boat. They look so much better than the PCMs.

john
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