Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,882 Mega Baller
Hi all
Thought I might start a discussion about re-power of older ski boats.
There has been a lot of chatter across the forums about hanging on to older ski boats and running them til they need new engines. This ideology is not uncommon in the outboard world and many outboard owners actually change out their engine every few years.
On the inboard side though this Re-power ideology has really not taken off until now where perfectly good beautiful ski boats are skiability wise obsolete due mostly to speed control. Lets be real as Zero Off is a far different pull for most skiers and most competitive skiers that utilize PP in practice are at a disadvantage to those that own and practice behind ZO boats.
Also over the years the manufacture emphasis has been bigger more expensive ski boats. Bigger is not always better. nearly 75% of all tournament slalom skiers go through 22 and 28 off and these new bigger heavier ski boats dig a bigger hole in the water that reflects at those line lengths.
Many tournament boat owners of older units are now starting to really think about re-power and its financial benefits over purchasing a newer ski boat. Pros and cons of this are wide spread but as always seems to boil down to cost and accessibility of the project, whether it be sell the old and purchase the new or how accessible to someone to do the re-power work.

For those of you starting to consider the Re-power option here are some knowns:
1. PCM has done a marvelous job with adapter parts to install a E-control engine where and GT or Carb motor was.
2. The above statement does not always transfer to all boat manufacture and when doing a Re-power creativity and workmanship/ fabrication will be the norm.
3. Now the Big one!! How long the 5.7 will be available for re-power is unknown. At this time PCM will no longer sell what are called a "Base" engine (long block) and will only sell Excalibur 343 in complete configuration. how long this will last is unknown. Maybe 1 year maybe 2 years but the fact still remains the 5.7 is obsolete and soon will be gone.
4. In the very near future non Cat engines for re-power will be unavailable so if one waits to long refer to statement #2.

There are still very many more questions and thoughts on this subject but the fact still remains that the inboard industry is moving fast and our sport is shrinking. obsolescence is the norm where perfectly good hulls and equipment will be very hard to repair or economically replace.
Food for thought!

Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.



  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,253 Mega Baller
    edited July 2019
    ^^ - Good topic post. Re-power is the way to go for many with good hulls, remaining skiing enthusiasts, and also those prefering a ZO pull. Trading up may still be an economical option for some, just depends on the market for the used boat being sold. For those boats >10 years; re-power may be smart. Also suspect this is more viable for Nautique boats in general, but maybe even aging ProStars in the future.

    I personally would not re-power with a 5.7 due to the obsolescence you described.

    Non-CAT options will likely fade making CAT options in older boats require creative expertise by those such as @Jody_Seal

    6.0 is a great option, hopefully will be available for years to come.

    One concern being that PCM, as a subsidiary of Correct Craft, could be influenced to limit plug-n-play engine upgrades if the new boat market was felt to be adversely impacted (seems unlikely though). Maybe other manufacturers would step up? If re-powering necessitates too much creativity it will lose cost-effective appeal.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,900 Mega Baller
    Alternative thought. There are still tons of long blocks available and each SG+ZBox iteration is better than the last and closer to ZO pull. If those guys keep revving their software and there's enough of a market for them to continue to do so, maybe full repower isn't necessarily required for a certain subset of the market.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • SethroSethro Posts: 358 Crazy Baller
    Would a re-powered "old" boat still be a training disadvantage for the competitive skier? How much difference is there in the pull/wakes/etc. even though the speed and reaction to the skier is now the same.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 944 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Jody_Seal Thanks for the post.

    It begs the immediate question: if the excalibur is already becoming obsolete itself, what kind of future, if any, might exist in regards to placing the newer engines in the older boats? Does the catalytic converter just make it darn near impossible? Or might this become a reasonable solution?
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,611 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I totally agree with @BrennanKMN. It seems like a good option for the person who plans on running until it dies, but not for resale.
    Scott Calderwood
  • DanoDano Posts: 220 Baller
    @Jody_Seal i'm not up to speed on the subject. but if an older boat already is running a 5.7 is it not possible to swap just the E controls onto it? Much the same as converting a carbed engine to EFI?. May be cheaper than swapping complete engine?

  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,882 Mega Baller
    Yes provided the 5.7 is a "vortec" sbc. There are enough aftermarket parts that will coexist and with the right formula it can and will remain accessible for a long while to convert even a vortec carby motor to dbw and zo.
    6.0 not cat engines will be available for a number of years but like the GT40 engine the excalibur and other dbw renditions of the 5.7 sbc from the other marnizers will soon be unavailable.

    To the guy that posted that pp is getting closer to zo I would have to disagree. There is no way electronicly that a servo motor attached to a string will react as fast as a dbw controlled throttle body, the lag and mechanical delay is why.
    As much as I prefer the PP feel over the zo the realization that zo is what is utilized and the norm in the sport as well as the future has become apparent to the vast majority of competitive skiers.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,134 Mega Baller
    From what I see Econtrols patents have dates of 2004-2005 with expirations mostly by 2025. (and have somewhat been assigned to PNC bank?

    PP has continued to provide updates and in my opinion is likely thinking about what comes next.

    Who gets to sell integrated speed controls for electronic motor controllers and or hybrid power plants? (not just for the 3 event crowd but think of the wake barges who also buy ZO and PP units)

    Perhaps as the power plant availability shifts or patents change someone would look at a ZO controlled TBI unit that could be bolted into an existing carbed boat.
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 510 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I have not felt any disadvantages to practicing behind my 2009 Nautique 197. My scores are virtually identical [email protected], behind my boat in practice, a CC 200, MasterCraft ProStar or Malibu in tournaments. Having challenges behind the new Nautique, but would be no better if I practiced behind a new MC or Malibu.

  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,722
    Comment was made this season that the pull from my 196 6.0 was more like the new ski nautique than the 200 so there is some food for thought.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' 2021 MC As soon as it lands Water Ski Equipment - KD Platinum

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    I repowered my 79 American Skier. It skis great!

    But modern boats do offer some creature comforts that are very nice. Even my 11 MC is much more comfortable. New boats are even cooler. I'm not sure you get what you pay for but new boats sure are nice.

    Absolutely repower and upgrade your boat. The utility of your boat is so enhanced that it makes sense even if it costs a bit. It will build adaptability into your slalom skill set and might even improve your tournament scores.

    Tricks are best behind the current year boat. Older wakes and tables might be far superior to the current offerings but you will only get current boats in tournament. Old boats for training just add another adverse variable to your tournament performance. On the other hand, the wakes are so good on the old American Skier (and the 11MC) that I become used to making the hard tricks and can rock the harder run even with some adversity (new boat wakes are an adverse condition in comparison). So repower the old trick boat too! Just get some rides behind the current boats to figure out rope length and settings.

    Upgrade your old boat - it's worth it in utility even if the resale isn't there (did you buy the boat to sell it?). But buy the new boat if you can - the value is there too.

  • bojansbojans Posts: 339 Solid Baller
    Is it, with reasonable effort, possible to put a cat engine in a non cat boat?
  • thagerthager Posts: 5,566 Mega Baller
    Problem will be getting it to fit under the cover.
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    I put a cat engine in a 99 Malibu Rlx. It fit under the engine cover. The engine was an Indmar conversion out of a 2012 Sanger V-drive. I had to flip the exhaust manifolds around. The engine came with an E-control ECM. I'm very happy with the results.
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,253 Mega Baller
    edited July 2019
    Just flipped the risers?
    ZO upgrade since E-control ECM?

    There was another post some time back with a SN196 (blue) CAT EXCAL re-power, Tim White? Maybe the engine cover lifted a bit?

    Can be done and economical if one finds an inboard specialist that knows what they're doing.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    edited July 2019
    @Gloersen the cat exhaust are one piece so I had to take them off at the heads and swap them to the opposite sides. I hooked up everything ran a communication cable up to the ZO head. Used a single puck. The ZO head I got off Ski-it-again used. I called ZO and told them what I had and they sent me a program to upload. The only issue I wasn't sure of was the throttle, but the potentiometer I used was for an old Nautique and it worked out.
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,253 Mega Baller
    really cool, clever and resourceful!
  • LarsLars Posts: 234 Solid Baller
    @Jody_Seal assuming a sbc in the old boat, what is required to convert then? For example, I have the 2004 indmar MCX. Of course versions of that engine after 2008 had ZO, but what does it take to get one like mine there?
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    @Lars, my friends 08 Mastercraft has ZO. The two basic requirements for ZO are 1). E-control ECM and 2) Drive by wire (really throttle by wire). You'd need a DBW throttle body and potentiometer throttle control. You need an E-control computer to control engine. You might need a different distributor. New wiring harness or modify existing harness. The E-control computer has to have the proper calibration to match up with the motor and everything associated with it. There was a boat mechanic on here a few years ago that said he had figured out what he need to convert the mastercraft to ZO. not sure what years though. I think he was from the west coast. You might be able to use the PCM stuff Jody was talking about. Not sure what all is available for that.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    I bought a brand new GM long block, 5.7 vortec, 4 bolt main for my pickup a few months ago for about $1900. I think they are making them in Mexico.
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,522 Mega Baller
    Can you buy a GM long block and then transfer the marine parts ZO parts etc. to the new engine?
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • Lieutenant DanLieutenant Dan Posts: 217 Baller
    @Jody_Seal I second @Lars question above. I’ve got a 2001 Malibu Sunsetter LXI with the 5.7l Vortec sbc based Indmar Monsoon II with just over 1000 hours. I don’t ever want another boat as this one is still in great shape and meets my needs. What would it take to “upgrade” this power plant to ZO?
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,900 Mega Baller
    @Lieutenant Dan probably a lot. I don't think there are E-Controls ECM images that will work for non-cat MEFI engines that don't use a crank position sensor. Your Monsoon already has that sensor with no wires connected to it, which is good, but it doesn't have cats and the associated monitoring and cooling capabilities.

    I'm sure the experts on here will know better than I but from what I'm reading, it looks like:
    1. Cats
    2. Updated tstat housing and cooling routing for the cats
    3. O2 sensors, temp sensors for the cats
    4. A TBW throttle body
    5. Potentiometer
    6. Custom potentiometer mount like @gregy used
    7. Lots and lots of custom wiring probably
    8. Any other missing sensors
    I'm sure there's more.

    Probably easier to find a second-hand engine with all that stuff included than converting yours over.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • DanEDanE Posts: 935 Crazy Baller
    @UWSkier Plenty of non cat 343s out there w/ ZO.
  • Greg BanishGreg Banish Posts: 123 Baller
    Once again, I'm throwing it out there... 2.3L turbo.

    It works great in the Mustang and Ranger, proven reliability, less weight (300# lighter!), should be compatible with an upgrade to ZO, more fuel efficient, probably quieter, potential to make an even smaller engine box but it will easily fit anywhere a 5.7 used to reside.

    If you can get over the "OMG doesn't have 8 spark plugs" and just realize that 300+HP gets the job done (especially with less weight), these become a serious contender. All it takes a a different prop pitch trade make up the ~15ft-lb difference in torque and you easily have another 1000RPM at the engine to give, so who cares once you're on plane?
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,900 Mega Baller
    @DanE interesting. Wonder if that ECM image would work on an Indmar-marinized engine.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
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