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  1. #1
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    502

    Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    Rejoining the ranks of 550 ownership...

    550SXs.01.jpg

    I've been watching these two on CL for a few months now and the owner finally dropped the price to my target range. Turns out it was the same guy I bought my X2 from years ago and they are in pretty much the same state. The mechanicals are all OK, but the hulls are filthy and the bilges are terrible. The plan is to keep one (with the gas filler) and sell the other (frenched nose) and the non-matching trailer.

    The keeper is a '92 reed engine boat that has what looks to be a single 44mm carb, and a PJS exhaust mani and pipe. Stock water box and stock rear exhaust. Engine looks factory sealed so I am thinking she is due for a rebuilt crank and new low end seals. When I'm in there I may hone the cylinders, clean the pistons, and install new rings. Maybe send the flywheel off for lightening and probably install dual cooling. This boat is for friends to ride, possibly my nephew and niece (in a few years), so I don't want to over build it.

    Debating whether I should do the same to the second boat before I sell it on to the next owner. It is a '91 and also reed motored with a full Westcoast exhaust system and aftermarket Coffman's waterbox. You never get out of them what you put into them, but I don't want to hand over a boat that has impending problems to a new owner. Whoever installed the frenched nose did not effect a very good repair on the lower hull and bond rail. It looks like edges of small fiberglass patches are coming up and the bond rail under the stainless bumper is all jacked up. Might have to sand it down a bit and put a layer or two over the entire lower nose section and build the bond rail back up. The P.O. could not get it to run on the BN carb but included a 44mm SBN that I'll put on it.

    Extra goodies included a stock breadbox exhaust system, a few extra carbs, including the stocker with the rev limiter, a trio of starters (condition unknown) and a spare electrical box with fuel rev limiter. The OEM decals are a bit beat up and the add on decals are all heat gun fodder. One has a broken handle pole bracket while the other is missing a dash cover. One has a crack in the hood while the other has the little six hole rear breather partially broken out. Both have bilge pumps with bad switches, and trigger throttles that are a bit sketchy. Hulls and drives seem OK but someone added bolt-on skegs to one of the ride plates. Both will need lanyard kill fascias swapped onto the stock switch assemblies. Both will need batteries.

    Once I unload the 2nd 550 I will be down to a more reasonable 4 boats, with the ability of transporting only 3 of them to the water at a time. The 550 and my Blaster being the easiest to interchange on the trailer.

    IMG_1296-0.JPGIMG_1296-1.JPGIMG_1296-9.JPGIMG_1296-10.JPG

    The 'For Sale' thread for the second boat can be found here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.p...73#post4389673

  2. #2
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    I've started the clean up process on the ski that will be sold. I've removed everything from the bilge and took it outside for a good scrubbing, twice with auto cleaner and finishing with straight Simple Green. It came out OK, but I did find a minor crack under the water box.


    IMG_20161219_140713_822.jpg IMG_20161219_140754_108.jpg IMG_20161219_140804_442.jpg IMG_20161219_140733_368.jpg

    Due to a sales interest I took the Westcoast exhaust off and mocked up the stock breadbox system. I am missing the small bracket that attaches the box section to the head, but I think they should be easy to source. To return it closer to stock I will also be mounting a 44mm BN carb, complete with functioning choke (I tightened and re-crushed the screws).

    IMG_20161219_143204_168.jpg IMG_20161219_143117_623.jpg

    Finally, the flywheel cover has the common problem of lime corrosion. I gave up on trying to get it off due to the two top bolts being packed with corrosion. It was bad enough to break a section off of the cover. I have seen this on several JS models over the years, and it is prompting me to put generic zinc anodes on all of my motors.

    IMG_20161219_143108_366.jpg

  3. #3
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    The "For Sale" boat getting put back together. All parts have been cleaned and reinstalled, just waiting on some gaskets to get the engine back together. The bilge is actually a bit cleaner than the pics show; I'm very happy about how it is turning out.

    IMG_20170105_230449_193.jpg IMG_20170105_230554_276.jpg IMG_20170105_230610_054.jpg

    Swapping around some parts for the new owner. The view through the ports show both engines to be healthy.

    IMG_20170105_230635_607.jpg

  4. #4
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    The "For Sale" boat finished. Engine runs good, but the hull will need some attention by the new owner. I decided to put a 1/2 pipe system on my keeper, so I cleaned up and repainted the Westcoast pipe and manifold and reinstalled it. The previous owner removed the blade for the choke but left the shaft in place. I have two blades to pass on to the new owner if he wants to risk using them.

    IMG_20170112_160544_304.jpg IMG_20170112_160555_693.jpg IMG_20170112_160618_240.jpg
    Last edited by Bob Gruen; 01-12-2017 at 09:39 PM.

  5. #5
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Cooling Upgrade

    I am not a fan of dual 3/8" cooling as I think it is far riskier and even more difficult than doing the 1/2" upgrade. I have yet to screw up or have any failures with the following method:

    Pump Mod:
    The best part of a 1/2" upgrade is that you drill out the boss for the original fitting to the 1/2" size. This means there is a lot of meat for the fitting to screw into as opposed to the 2nd 3/8" fitting that goes into thin metal.

    IMG_20170115_211629_163.jpg

    If you really want to run a second 3/8" hard line in your hull, just mount a 1/2" to 3/8" reducing T in the pump cavity.

    IMG_20170115_213053_968.jpg

    Running a 1/2" line is really pretty easy. Get 1/2" seamless stainless steel tube with .049 wall thickness. It will end up about 30" long for a 550, but I would get a few inches longer for trimming and such.

    Use a Dremel or file to carve cutting teeth in one end.
    IMG_20170121_162757359_HDR.jpg

    Lay out a tape guide from the pump cavity to the middle of the concave section of the chine where the firewall is. Mark and drill out the pump cavity with a 1/2" bit.

    IMG_20170121_164425659.jpg IMG_20170121_164053025.jpg

    Chuck the stainless tube into the drill and drill out the foam and through the transom. You should stop a couple of times and clear the tube of foam as you drill. Describing the angle is a bit tricky, but the goal is about 2" below the drive bearing on the transom. It should go through the foam like butter, if you hit any resistance before the transom stop and reevaluate your angle. It is a good idea to hook a hose up to the original 3/8" hard line and pressure test it if you plan on using it as a bypass like I do.

    IMG_20170121_165057040.jpg IMG_20170121_173343762.jpg

    Once you are through the best thing to do is to mark up your positioning in the cavity and put a slight bend in the tube to make it roughly parallel with the pump and angled down. Then trim it to length. You can use various sealing adhesives to bond it in place (I like Shoe Goo), but make sure you work a fair amount of it into the hull to get a good seal by working the tube back and fourth when applying the adhesive. It is also a good idea to rough up the tube with some heavy grit sand paper. Because the stainless does not have any kind of barb molded into it be sure to use two high quality, wide, stainless hose clamps on each end. (Not pictured.)

    IMG_20170121_172830419.jpg

    On an all aluminum motor you would run the cooling into the exhaust manifold. (There is a school of thought to run it into the head of an iron block, but that is posted elsewhere.) A few aftermarket exhaust manifolds are drilled for 1/2" fitting, but most are not. Adding a second 3/8" fitting is usually the easiest solution here, made possible by the 1/2" to 3/8" reducing T mentioned earlier. They are available off of ebay under "beer making supplies".

    IMG_20170121_155836965.jpg

    Finally, you have to add a second fitting to the head to let the water leave the engine as fast as it can get in. You don't have to remove the head for this, but I would suggest having a powerful shop vacuum running while you are drilling it is a good idea. Instead of buying a third through hull / bypass fitting I will simply run this to the original 3/8" tube and dump it into the pump cavity. Also saves from having to plug it up.

    IMG_20170115_211640_987.jpg

    The only other cooling issue I am looking into is specific to the Coffman's Climax pipe. It seems to trap a certain amount of water the way the cooling fitting is positioned, and I am leaning toward relocating the small factory bypass fitting to the Climax pipe.
    Last edited by Bob Gruen; 01-21-2017 at 08:04 PM.

  6. #6
    PWCToday Guru veedubs's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    Atlanta Georgia
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    I'm in the Atlanta area. Where do you ride? We've got a good group both at Allatoona as well as Lanier. I like 550's. Got a '95 in the collection.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Hull Truing

    After reading a post by Jeff Jacobs, and because my 550 is all apart anyway, I decided to take the time to true the hull. I grabbed a protractor and matched it to the hull chines, so they are right around a 6" diameter. Lowes had a 6" x 2' drain connector (like a garage floor drain), that fit the bill. Got some high grade 60 grit sand paper and some contact cement and made my primary sanding tool.

    IMG_20170131_181427427.jpg

    Because my rear hull extensions were off by 1/16" i sanded down the rear of the hull and spanned the low spot with a layer of fiberglass bi-ax. I'm sure everyone's main question will be "How uneven is it?" The pic below shows early in the sanding process where the high spots were in my hull. Running your hand down the "before" and "after" is pretty profound.

    IMG_20170203_151712877_HDR.jpg

    Finally, the chines tighten up as they go rearward which means a lot of material would have to be removed to reach the center low spot.

    IMG_20170203_151737495_HDR.jpg

    Instead of removing that much material I opted to wrap some sand paper around a spray paint can and sand that section freehand. It came out good.

    To finish the hull I have to complete my driveshaft fill, fill in some smaller imperfections with marine tex, and paint the nose and underside of the hull. I know that J.J. is adamant about not painting the bottom of the trued hull, but I'm not too keen on having that much naked SMC in the water. Instead I'm going to paint it with appliance epoxy and scuff it with a Scotch-Brite pad. If the hull performs well I may do my X2 next winter.


    P.S.: VeeDubs, I was going to Mary Alice Park last year, but I understand that there is a group a bit further north where DNR is less of an issue.
    Last edited by Bob Gruen; 02-04-2017 at 02:58 PM.

  8. #8
    PWCToday Guru veedubs's Avatar
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    Atlanta Georgia
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    Nice man! Looking good.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    Finished the bottom side hull work this weekend, and sold the 2nd 550sx too.

    In addition to dabbing some Marine Tex into the notches in the hull and the voids in my fiberglass repairs, I also did a drive shaft fill. I just cut up a bunch of fiberglass at 3/4" (ish) square and used a splintered toungue depressor to push the fiberflass down into the cracks and voids. After it all dried I used a wire wheel to remove the bulk of the excess and shape a nice curve into it and finally finished it off with a foam sanding block with some 60 grit wrapped around it.

    DriveShaftFill.WIP.jpg DriveshaftFill.Done.jpg

    The Rideplate was not in line with the hull chines, so I ground and filed the front mounting tabs and the leading edge of the rideplate to sit lower in the front. I also ground the outer edges of the tabs a bit and will swap the mounting bolts for Phillips screws. I will then smooth out the tabs / screw heads, and reliefs with silicone. This stock plate is a lot different than my '78's stock plate. The earlier plates tabs were a lot thinner, they barely protruded and skimming over them with silocone was easy. Also, the earlier plate had a oval hole right below the turn nozzle pivot pin, where the 92 has no hole at all. I also think the newer plate is made out of heavier, better quality aluminum. Obviously this rideplate also has aftermarket fins screwed on. Not sure if I'll leave them on, take them off, or possibly move them.

    Rideplate.Original.jpg Rideplate.Angled.jpg Rideplate.WIP.jpg

    Finally, I prepped and painted the bottom of the hull with rattle can appliance epoxy. I tested out some clear bedliner I bought at the auto parts store, but the resulting surface is nothing like the Rust-Oleum bedliner's sharkskin texture. The chine area is totally smooth from the truing sanding, but I left the center of the hull alone so the scratches are still present. I may drag a Scotch Brite pad from bow to stern to break the glaze of the fresh paint.

    Hull.Painted.1.jpg Hull.Painted.2.jpg

    Bob

    P.S., I am still looking for the following parts:

    Bread Box Exhaust Bracket (lift hoop style preferred):
    P1000301.jpg

    Stock Water Bypass (pisser), with 90 degree elbow and hose:
    IMG_20170217_162508264.jpg
    Last edited by Bob Gruen; 02-26-2017 at 11:20 PM.

  10. #10
    PWCToday Guru scottw090's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
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    Huntsville AL
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    387

    Re: Rebuild: 2 550SXs

    Bob, that trueing process looks like it will pay off for you! I wish i had done the same on my hull before paint. I may have the pisser you need on, I can check on Tuesday.

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