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Old 03-03-2015, 16:14   #1
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Car engine in sailboat?

I am thinking about putting a 2003 Dodge/Chrysler, V6, 180hp, gasoline car engine (w/4 speed tranny and front wheel drive) in a 40'-50' ft. motor sailor, (pilothouse/ketch style sailboat). I am a beginner to sailing but I know about car engines, so please be gentle if you want to tell me how foolish this idea is. I know marine engines need special water cooling systems. What else will I have to specially adapt? Can this feasibly be done and what complications will I run in to? Also, any input/advice on buying a sailboat described above will be appreciated.
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Old 03-03-2015, 16:33   #2
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Personally I would NEVER put a gasoline engine in an enclosed sailboat hull since gasoline vapors are explosive.
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Old 03-03-2015, 16:36   #3
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Ditto to that..

Look at a proper marine engine.. Beta or Nanni are some affordable options.
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Old 03-03-2015, 16:52   #4
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

BOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:21   #5
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

As long as you retain the 4 speed tranny and front wheel drive it makes sense.
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:33   #6
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

people do this,but generally only on the 1st of April.....................
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:34   #7
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

I meant, that it's a FWD engine, so it makes a difference how it's mounted. Thank you for the sarcasm.
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:38   #8
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

I might just do it to prove all you naysayers wrong. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I might invent something new and become a millionaire.
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:47   #9
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

1st your ignition system will not be safe in a marine environment. 2nd your alternator wll not be safe in a marine environment. 3rd your starter will not be safe in a marine environment. 4th dont ask 8,000 random strangers in a forum for advice. You will not be able to tell good from bad unless you already know the answers.

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Old 03-03-2015, 18:02   #10
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Mods please move this to the joke forum I think it was posted here by accident.......

Now to answer the question on the slimmest of chances that it is actually a real question.

No!

Even if you could get it mounted and working which will need lots of custom fabrication. Like previously mentioned the starter does not have spark preventers and the ignition system wont like salt water. Most importantly the engine isnt designed to withstand the torque needed at the rpms needed to propel a boat without grenading. Even chevy 350s which are almost identical to mercruiser 5.7L wont work because they arent built to take that kind of beating. Same overall design, made by the same company, but definitely not boat worthy.
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Old 03-03-2015, 18:06   #11
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Thanks to all for constructive criticism. I have now abandoned the idea.
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Old 03-03-2015, 18:08   #12
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by raymus7a8 View Post
I meant, that it's a FWD engine, so it makes a difference how it's mounted. Thank you for the sarcasm.
We don't know you and we certainly don't know your engineering capabilities. No sleight to you but you joined last week and have made 5 posts. We have no idea if you can do this or not.

Engineering wise it can be done. Is it practical? Will it hold up in a marine environment? There are lots of marinized shore engines. Go study up on some of the differences.

You come in with an idea and the conversation pretty much starts out way ahead of you - not your fault - because a lot of this has come around here before. If dropping car engines into sailboats was easy and practical I am sure we would have heard about it on CF.

Many of these "bright ideas" end up as abortions.

But, hey? Some old dude just crossed that Atlantic in a garden shed so anything is possible. Just don't look for an overenthusiastic cheering squad.
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Old 03-03-2015, 18:14   #13
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

There's always a man for the job - look for the creator of the Flyin' Hawaiian and you may find a willing consultant.
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Old 03-03-2015, 18:22   #14
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

Well, it's not a completely insane idea. It has been done and used to be quite normal. I grew up around boats with old Morris minor engines in them, complete with original four speed transmission and all. Of course they were total crap. Gearbox ratios were all wrong. You either ran them in a lower gear in forward or accepted a really hopeless reverse. Then too there was the number that burned the boat to the waterline after ejecting the occupants in a great ball of fire.

There were some Chrysler V8s that were popular here in oz before the price of petrol became an issue. I told they worked very well.

So it is not a crazy idea per se but an idea that has had its day. Of course if the engine being considered was a modern car diesel it would be a very different and interesting question I reckon.

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Old 03-03-2015, 18:29   #15
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Re: Car engine in sailboat?

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post

There were some Chrysler V8s that were popular here in oz before the price of petrol became an issue. I told they worked very well.
When I was a kid growing up on Pittwater I specifically remember some guy putting a P&W radial (R985?) on a pickle fork boat. I remember the engine was on a tripod type mount. The power transmission escapes me but when fire it up day came many lookie loos came out including us kids.

Fired up great, all appeared fine. Throttled up and immediately turned turtle. Apparently that's a lot of rotating mass and torque - LOL...
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