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Phoenix 29- gas repower options 5.7ís

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Phoenix 29- gas repower options 5.7ís

Old 12-22-2019, 07:33 PM
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Default Phoenix 29- gas repower options 5.7ís

I am lookimg at adding a Phoenix 29 to my fleet. Before everyone tells me how great outboards are...I know, I have 2 center consoles that are powered by outboards. But this boat will fill a specific purpose, mainly, having a salon, full head/shower, A/C, galley, etc. Had a Tiara with all that and miss it, but wife wants a salon, so she and friends can cruise down tje ICW in tjere, and the Phoenix 29 offers that, while I can still easily drive and dock myself. For me, I can keep a half dozen rods inside at all times and be able to just jump on board and fish. This will be kept away from home and used as our condo on a weekend or two a month.

All that being said, I want reliability, and the Crusader 5.7ís are original from 1990 with 1900 hours. Seem to have been maintained, but in a few days, you are talking about 30 year old engines. Looking around, I know there are not nearly the options as outboards, but what are my best options? Stick with Crusader Captainís Choice, and if so are the 6.0ís going to fit? Remanufcatured 5.7ís to ensure fit? Mercruiser 383ís? I just am not sure where to go with this, so any gearheads out there, please give me any and all your advice, thanks.
Old 12-23-2019, 04:25 AM
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A friend of mine had a 29 Phoenix years ago and had the Crusaders reworked by a really good local engine shop that specializes in marine and race car engines (same shop reworked my 454s 5 years ago). The installed a "mild" camshaft from Comp Cams. HP went from the stock 260hp tp almost 300hp and the the boat ran great. If you consider going this route the camshaft must be spec'd just right to prevent exhaust "reversion". Where are you located? Is one of you're engines counter rotating? Upgrading to HEI ignition from the stock Prestolite would also be a good idea. I installed DUI distributors in my 454s. 383s would be great for that boat as well. I assume the engines are FWC.
Old 12-23-2019, 04:59 AM
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I am in So Fla. I would be going with new engines, so all you mentioned would be done as long as it doesnt void the warranty. Unless I find a good set of remanufactured engines. Definitely fuel injected and definitely FWC. Most important for me is the reliability, then fuel consumption, followed by performance (this would be the slowest of my boats no matter what I put in them).
Old 12-23-2019, 05:12 AM
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I had a 29 Phoenix and it was one of the best boats I ever had. Lots of boat for the size and money.i repowered mine with Volvo TAMD41 diesels. 220 hp per side. Cruised at 27 knots, 30 on the pins. If I was doing it again, I’d probably go with Yanmars in the 200-250 hp range. Parts on the Volvo’s were just too high. I stayed with diesel because I was fishing 55 to 80 miles offshore several times a month, and was getting fuel for less than $1.00 per gallon delivered to the house (late 80’s- mid 90’s).
if you are sticking with gas, I’d recommend mercruisers with at least 250 hp. As I recall, mine had 75 gallon saddle tanks, and I put a 50 gallon tank in the lazarette and fed both engines from it. I installed pumps and filters to fill it from the saddles. Keeping it full always left me with enough to get home, no matter where I found myself. That boat really raises fish!
Old 12-23-2019, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by hottoddie View Post
A friend of mine had a 29 Phoenix years ago and had the Crusaders reworked by a really good local engine shop that specializes in marine and race car engines (same shop reworked my 454s 5 years ago). The installed a "mild" camshaft from Comp Cams. HP went from the stock 260hp tp almost 300hp and the the boat ran great. If you consider going this route the camshaft must be spec'd just right to prevent exhaust "reversion". Where are you located? Is one of you're engines counter rotating? Upgrading to HEI ignition from the stock Prestolite would also be a good idea. I installed DUI distributors in my 454s. 383s would be great for that boat as well. I assume the engines are FWC.
This! Basically keep it "plug and play" for simplicity. A quality rebuild will last as long as the original engines. More power may require new or repitched/cupped props.
Old 12-23-2019, 08:59 AM
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Are you seeing any signs of engine wear? I'd run them and keep tabs on oil consumption, oil pressure and running temps, compression test results etc. Do an oil analysis if you want to really check thoroughly, If it comes back OK on the oil analysis with no other concerning symptoms I'd just run them! If they were FWC engines and propped properly not overheated then they may still have 1000 more hrs in them.
One of the biggest factors in inboard engine life is the addition of FWC or closed cooling. It is superior because these engines were designed from the beginning to have pressurized cooling systems not open cooling which is a cheaper but inferior way of cooling an engine. Reason being due to the lack of pressure in the cooling system you can have localized overheating (boiling) in parts of the cyl heads that get the hottest (behind the exhaust valves) even though the engine is not overheating at the gauges. You can see evidence of this if you take apart an older raw water cooled engine like mine. Also in salt water the cooling passages in the heads will get eroded and eventually this leads to leaks around the head gasket and water in the oil.
If they were FWC from when they were installed engine life is more like 3,000 hrs all other things being equal.

On mine since the block was still good I installed re-man heads a couple of years ago and am still running the 32 year old short block!

Last edited by LouC; 12-23-2019 at 09:06 AM.
Old 12-23-2019, 09:38 AM
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I bought a set of reman 5.7s from a company in south florida 3 years ago, rapido marine. they were dirt cheap, like less than $3000 for the pair, They ran great. Sold the boat last year and the guy that bought it is still running them around.

I debated rebuilding the ones i had but just the machine shop work and parts bill was more than they charged for the whole engine. They have their own machine shop and tons of cores so they can offer prices like that. And they did everything they said they would, new bearings, pistons, lifters and rockers, reman heads and crank and rods. I checked all their work before assembling!


Old 12-23-2019, 12:20 PM
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Thanks for all the replies guys! I was going to try and squeeze a trip to Ft Pierce today to see the boat but looks like that will be Saturday. Any other comments please pass along!

The boat is a 1990, I will see if FWC or not, and will have a compression check and oil analysis done. Anyone have a guy local to Ft Pierce they could recommend?
Old 12-23-2019, 12:48 PM
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I'm swapping a boat to outboards and will have a set of 5.7 efi with 300 hrs on them and I'll sell everything with them. It will be late March I'm thinking so keep my # if interested 5739793691
Old 12-23-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Castawaychris View Post
I'm swapping a boat to outboards and will have a set of 5.7 efi with 300 hrs on them and I'll sell everything with them. It will be late March I'm thinking so keep my # if interested 5739793691
Thank you! That may work out very well for both of us. Are they FWC?
Old 12-23-2019, 01:23 PM
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I had a 2000 29SFX powered by Cummings 4BT's fantastic boat but hated the engines, very loud and vibrated a lot.

I do believe that Phoenix used Mercruser Horizon engines in late '90's. I'm thinking that this set up had a problem in that the engines could ingest sea water back through the exhaust during engine shut down.

Make sure the fuel tanks are in good shape, replacing might require cutting up the deck?

Frank Pedra was the owner/CEO when they closed down, I believe he is still active with boat sales in FL?
Old 12-23-2019, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoke n Mirrors View Post
Thank you! That may work out very well for both of us. Are they FWC?
yes
Old 12-23-2019, 03:13 PM
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For those who have had this boat, how is the accessibility to the engines & components, batteries, bilge pumps/strainers/seacocks, etc? Eletcrical? I had a Tiara 29 with 454ís and I cursed myself EVERY time I had to access ANYTHING (it had 454ís in a hatch that tilted up about 15Ē with ZERO room around the elbows. It was horrible).
Old 12-23-2019, 07:09 PM
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Access to the outboard side of the motors was tight even with inline 6 cyl diesels, I imagine it’s even tighter with V8 gas engine. I actually got stuck on the outboard starboard side of mine while changing a raw water pump. Check the fuel tanks carefully. I developed a leak in one of mine and had to cut the cockpit deck out to remove and replace both tanks. Access to batteries and pumps was no problem. The only other problem I had was that the front of the stringers broke loose from the forward engine room bulkhead after we put the more powerful engine in. Just had to glas them back in and reinforce, but we were running the boat hard almost all the time, no matter what the sea conditions. It was a tank!
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Smoke n Mirrors View Post
For those who have had this boat, how is the accessibility to the engines & components, batteries, bilge pumps/strainers/seacocks, etc? Eletcrical? I had a Tiara 29 with 454ís and I cursed myself EVERY time I had to access ANYTHING (it had 454ís in a hatch that tilted up about 15Ē with ZERO room around the elbows. It was horrible).
engine access is excellent, there is a large hatch over each engine, then another piece can be removed to give you great access (at least for my Cummings) gassers might be a different story.

One of my engines was removed for warranty work, removal only took just over an hour and a fork lift with an extension arm easily lifted the engine from the bilge.
Old 12-24-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Katrina View Post
engine access is excellent, there is a large hatch over each engine, then another piece can be removed to give you great access (at least for my Cummings) gassers might be a different story.

One of my engines was removed for warranty work, removal only took just over an hour and a fork lift with an extension arm easily lifted the engine from the bilge.
That is good to hear. I really love having what I think is the largest small sportfish available, and one I would likely keep for quite a while. In researching this boat, I see Saltwater Sportsman name it to their top 50 sport foshing boats of all time, so getting this positive feedback from owners is extremely helpful.

The access is important as I get older. I am no mechanic but can do the routine maintenance, as long as I can reach it. But even if I get a mechanic, I have had several walk away from my old Tiara after seeing the lack of access. Hoping this one is in the condition descried and pics seem to show.
Old 12-24-2019, 08:14 AM
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IMO the new Crusader engines are not as superior as they were in the past. One thing which changed is the raw water pump which used to be solid, cast stainless steel but is now cast iron and is a horrible design. Who uses cast iron on the raw water side? With that age engine I wouldn't recommend new blocks unless you replace all the other ancillary items as well, alternator, pumps, coolers, etc. If you are going to go to that length you might as well do a repower. Best would be to get a couple low hour take-outs which are full fresh water cooled systems (ideally Crusader).
I did a repower on my Shamrock last year which had a 2006 Crusader EFI in it. Put in a new GM marine crate engine from Russell Marine, it was a good deal. In the end I replaced everything except the fuel system, and even then I put in a new HP fuel pump. All said and done it was still 2/3 the price of a bobtail and not sure it was worth it, probably should have put in a complete new one.

Going with a couple Yanmar 6 cyl would be great if you could find a decent pair, but you would need to look at the shaft to see if it could take the additional torque. That upgrade would likely bring up the resale value a fair bit but last I looked a decent pair was going for $30K+. If you are really going to run the boat I would opt for that.
Old 12-24-2019, 08:49 AM
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The Crusader 5.7 & 6.0 are both GM small blocks, so either will fit in any boat that previously had a 5.0, 5.7, 6.0 or 6.2 (obviously, they would also fit any boat that had a 7.4, 8.1 or 8.2).
I think that boat would perform really well with a Crusader 6.0 EFI @ 375 hp.
Whatever you do, if replacing 30 year old motors, you want a full repower - the old accessories are just as likely to leave you stranded as an engine failure. I would probably also rebuild or replace the gears.
Old 12-24-2019, 09:54 AM
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I ran remanded Jasper smallblocks in a Crusader format and they were seamless. They were carbed engines (marinized Holley) and I wouldnít have any issues running them again.
Old 12-24-2019, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by LI32 View Post
The Crusader 5.7 & 6.0 are both GM small blocks, so either will fit in any boat that previously had a 5.0, 5.7, 6.0 or 6.2 (obviously, they would also fit any boat that had a 7.4, 8.1 or 8.2).
I think that boat would perform really well with a Crusader 6.0 EFI @ 375 hp.
Whatever you do, if replacing 30 year old motors, you want a full repower - the old accessories are just as likely to leave you stranded as an engine failure. I would probably also rebuild or replace the gears.
The problem with digital motors is adapting fuel systems, gauges, controls and exhausts. The digital stuff often makes hp at higher rpms, so props still have to be repitched. I'm not sure if the bell housings are interchangable, and a digital motor cannot be counter-rotated. Physically, I agree there should be no serious issue in upgrading, and the accessories should be fresh.

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