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Everything posted by ChappyMike

  1. ChappyMike

    New to PNW

    Hello All! Been an active member of this site for a few years now, but sadly never scrolled down past "Boat Talk" to see the boards based on location! We relocated to Portland last year from California and have a 280 Signature on the Columbia. After finally ironing out a few issues once we got the boat in the water, we finally had a good ending to our boating season. Hauling out in about a month for a winter storage, but will be back on the Columbia in April. We got talking to a fellow PNW boater this weekend and he suggested trailering out boat to Bellevue and heading to the San Juan Islands for a week or so. I've spent the past 48 hours consumed in researching the islands and it is officially a MUST for us next summer. Does anyone have recommendations? Any one planning a trip next summer and want to buddy up? What's the water/weather/tides/current like in July/August? Thanks in advance and already counting down to next summer...
  2. ChappyMike

    Twin Engines, Different Sounds

    My 2003 Signature 280 has twin MerCruiser 5.0 EFI motors, both with right around 485 hours on each. Ever since the day we took delivery of the boat, I felt like the engines both sound completely different. While OUT OF THE WATER, the port engine sounds like it runs 200-300 RPM lower than the starboard engine, but you don't notice it in the water unless you look closely at the gauge. While IN the water, the port engine sounds like it has a much louder "exhaust sound" to it. From the INSIDE of the boat, the port engine sounds like it has a "whine" or "wearing" sound to it. I was told it could be a pulley or the alternator bearings. With the engine hatch closed, the starboard engine is virtually silent. The port "whine" is noticeable as soon as you fire it up. Boat is out of the water now and in storage for the winter, so I'm able to access everything a little easier. I have videos, both inside and outside of the boat - I'll try to get those posted. Any ideas of where to start?
  3. ChappyMike

    Twin Engines, Different Sounds

    Here are some videos: Port Engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzcEVLPOeZI Starboard Engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b_3ffEX4lg Port Drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ4C9fBnoAU Starboard Drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgOH3_P81M0
  4. ChappyMike

    Waste Tank Level Indicator and Access Cap removal

    I think he might be referring to the one on top of the actual aluminum holding tank that indicated the waste level. If I remember right, it's 6-8" in diameter with short "teeth" around the outside, and a few wires connected to it. On my last Signature, we had to replace the holding tank and I didn't even bother putting the indicator in the new one. Our current Sig has the original tank but the indicator doesn't work. I'd be interested to know if anyone has successfully been able to remove it and if so, what the fix is.
  5. ChappyMike

    New to PNW

    Thanks again for the info! We will probably go up in July or August - we don't mind the crowds and I'm comfortable anchoring if need be. I'll be looking up possible reservation spots for the weekend and then hope to get mooring balls during the week. We're taking the winter to better prep the boat with VHF, GPS/Radar, all maintenance, and a few updates. Can't get here soon enough!
  6. ChappyMike

    New to PNW

    Thanks for the info! Sorry, I meant launching in Bellingham, not Bellevue. I'm hoping to avoid some of the current-prone areas like you talked about. We plan on getting a good chart book, as well as installing a chart plotter with bottom mapping (gives me a reason to upgrade!). What's the weather like during June, July, August? We don't mind some crowds or staying on the hook, but just looking for temps and typical winds. From what I've seen on Youtube videos and in photos, the place always looks so calm!
  7. ChappyMike

    How to Anchor and Sleep Safely

    +1 on anchoring early. When we did 9 nights on Lake Powell, we anchored for 8 of them, and 5 of them had monsoon storms. We were always anchored by 4:00 (just in time for happy hour!) and had at least 4 more hours of daylight. Give yourself plenty of clearance for swing. If you're not dealing with a heavy current or tides and you're in a protective cove, you could be in for a great nights sleep (once the worrying stops!). We always switch our batteries to HOUSE (#2) as soon as we stop for any length of time. This ensures you keep your starting batteries isolated and charged. I would try to avoid turning the batteries to off in case there is an emergency in the middle of the night and you need lights/power in a hurry. You don't want to be tripping over things to get the batteries back on.
  8. ChappyMike

    Catalina Trip Planning

    We used to do this trip quite a few times a year. We've since moved to the Pacific Northwest and Catalina trips are ALWAYS missed. Here's a few words of advice: 1) Check weather ahead of time. Sometimes, Catalina looks like a stones throw away because it's so clear. Sometimes, the fog rolls in and things get scary. We've made the crossing in extremely dense fog (200 foot visibility) and I will never do it again (we do NOT have radar). It CAN be done if you go slow, but it doesn't make for a fun crossing. 2) Check for Santa Ana winds. If the Santa Ana's are blowing, DON'T GOT. Just do some Google searches of Avalon Harbor and Santa Ana winds. The winds blow directly into the harbor and after blowing for 25 miles across the open ocean, the harbor gets nasty. 3) The easiest way to get to/from the shore is on a dingy, but they DO offer a shore boat service. I believe it's $4-5 each person, each way, so it adds up quickly. If you're regularly going to go to the island, I'd invest in a dingy. You can call the shore boat on Channel 9 and they will pick you up within 5 minutes. 4) Not sure if you're staying overnight on your boat, but if so, they do offer on shore shower/bathroom facilities. 5) Memorial Day to Labor Day is the hardest time to get a mooring in Avalon Harbor. Two Harbors (for a 24' boat) usually has vacancy year-round. 6) Try the Buffalo Milk drinks! They were created on the island and worth a taste. There is a TON of shopping, eating and drinking that can be done in Avalon. It's a very lively city and although it's less that 30 miles from Los Angeles, you feel like you're in another world. Two Harbors (opposite end of the island) is much more quiet, with only one restaurant/bar and a small shop. There's lots of hiking trails and the water is crystal clear. Let me know if you have any more questions!
  9. Here's a little backstory... 2003 Mercruiser 5.0 EFI with Bravo 3...approximately 480 hours. Boat is new-to-us as of April, freshwater only, and we've only had it out three times. Boat ran fine during 30-40 minute sea trail. Brought it home and launched on our home river. Posted on here a few months ago after our first outing about the port motor on my 280 Signature running fine but then not starting. IAC had gone out on the starboard motor and was replaced before I bought it. Posted on here and on the Facebook page and the general consensus was to replace the port IAC as well (when one goes, the other isn't long behind, right?) Replaced with an aftermarket one (not OEM). Boat ran fine on the next trip. Fourth of July weekend, we did a little cruise on the boat and I noticed the RPMs on the port engine were dropping about 500-800 RPM while cruising. It would be a quick hiccup, then back normal for 10 seconds, then hiccup again for 1 second, then back. Didn't really feel it while cruising along (it was a short 5-10 minute cruise) and figured maybe it's a funky gauge issue. Dropped anchor, enjoyed the fireworks for a few hours, then low and behold, port engine wouldn't start again. Starboard fired right up, so we motored in on one and about a 1/4 mile from the marine, the port one finally lit up and ran. Idled back to the dock, shut down. Next day, engine fired up as normal at the dock, RPMs were fine, like nothing was wrong. Didn't take it out to test, but let it run for about 10 minutes at the dock. No issues. TODAY'S TRIP. Starboard fired right up. Port didn't want to stay lit. Would crank and crank and finally catch, rev once or twice, then die out. Did this a few times and after about 6 or 7 tries, I was able to keep it on for about 5 minutes before RPMs fluttered and it died. Tried starting again and no luck. Decided not to waste the day at the dock so we motored right out of the marina on one engine and dropped anchor in a cove around the corner from our inlet (at least we were floating, right?). On the way out I was able to get the port one started again but the RPMs were fluttering again and this time I could feel it. Cruising at about 1500 RPM (both engines on), I could physically feel the boat slow when the RPM would flutter. Shut it off, dropped anchor, and enjoyed the day. Went to leave after a few hours and both fired up just fine. Idled back in and after 5 minutes (about half way back) it started fluttering again. I just kept is at idle, and as we pulled in, the port one fluttered and died again. Any ideas what this could be? Could it be the aftermarket IAC is no good? I've already got a OEM MerCruiser one on the way to try out next. Anything else to look for? Boat was serviced right before purchasing and ran fine during my sea trial. Compression tested and all ok. Starboard engine purring great. When the starboard was running problem free during sea trial and our first outing, it sounded great too. Now I'm too nervous to go farther than a few miles just in case we have to get back on one engine. Any thoughts or help would be great! Thanks in advance!
  10. ChappyMike

    MerCruiser 5.0 Stalling / Not Starting

    ANOTHER update...Problem was NOT solved! Took the boat out again a few weeks ago and had the same issue, got up on plane then the starboard engine kept cutting out. Sounded fine when running, then RPMs would drop to 600 then go back to 3500, then drop again. Eventually, they would keep fluttering and die out. Jumped down in the engine room and looks like there is a timing sensor on the lower part of the motor/crankshaft that runs up the front of the motor and ties into a main engine wiring harness. Well, the wires, which are wrapped in the plastic loom, were rubbing on a pulley. It must have been rubbing for a while because it wore through the plastic loom and was rubbing on the wires directly, going THROUGH the protective coating on the wire and causing them to short. This short, being a sensor wire, was throwing off timing to the engine and causing it to cut out/stall. Lots of poking around through this whole process but glad that it was a relatively simply fixed. I've got the wires taped up, the loom taped up, and everything zip-tied out of the way. Been running perfectly since. Thanks for all your help along the way!
  11. ChappyMike

    230 SSI Recommendations

    I can't remember exact fuel economy, but I know I was impressed with it. Yes, it has a self bailing cockpit, so it'll drain when it rains. We loved it because it was very easy to hose out. The engine hatch is also very big on this boat, so you have access to almost everything without having to be come a contortionist. In my opinion, it handled bigger water very well. We were being chased by a thunderstorm one afternoon and had nine people on board. We were easily holding almost 50 mph in some decent size chop as the storm was on our tail. Other times in chop we've just plowed through no problem.
  12. ChappyMike

    230 SSI Recommendations

    We went from an 18' Sea Ray to a 2000 230 SSi and it was the best decision we ever made. The layout of the 230 is amazing. The cockpit feels roomy and deep, the boat is stable and doesn't rock, and there's plenty of seating. We had a 5.7 Volvo set up (single prop) and the boat performed flawlessly. The large fuel tank was perfect for us and meant we didn't have to go back to the fuel dock each day. Our 18' only had a 30 gallon tank...we barely lasted one full day!
  13. When we purchased our 280 Signature earlier this year, we knew the A/C needed to be replaced. Luckily we live in the Pacific Northwest, so the amount of times we actually NEEDED the A/C could be counted on one hand. As one of my winter projects, however, I'd like to give into replacing the unit. The boat currently has the factory A/C from 2003...the brand is Marine Airrrrr and it's ducted and plumbed from the factory. I've been trying to find a direct replacement but can't find any model/serial info on the unit itself. Does anyone happen to know what model is typically in these boats? Also, anyone have experience changing this out? Is there another brand that is a good "plug and play" replacement? I'm trying to avoid swapping out ductwork, plumbing, and any electrical. Thanks!
  14. ChappyMike

    A/C on Boat Needs to be Replaced - Suggestions?

    Came across this just now...looks like this might be what I'll need. https://www.defender.com/product3.jsp?name=marine-air-envirocomfort-air-conditioning-with-reverse-cycle-heat-retrofit-kit&path=-1|2061076|2061077|2061083&id=1848284
  15. ChappyMike

    A/C on Boat Needs to be Replaced - Suggestions?

    Yeah mine is much bigger/clunkier looking than the one above. I couldn't find a tag or model number on it, but didn't dig as deep as I probably should. I believe the 280's came with either a 9k or 12k BTU unit. The thermostat on the boat is the older one than pictured above. I'd love a newer one if it covered the hole from the old one. My main concern is making sure the water intake pump (located back in the engine compartment) will work with the main unit. I'm hoping I don't have to switch that, as the one I have is working just fine.
  16. ChappyMike

    MerCruiser 5.0 Stalling / Not Starting

    Here's a photo of the inline filter. The one West Marine sold me (after giving them my engine serial #) was different and had screw-on fittings at the end. If these are not OEM and not needed, I may remove as you said. One less thing to go wrong. Thanks!
  17. ChappyMike

    MerCruiser 5.0 Stalling / Not Starting

    PROBLEM SOLVED. Checked distributor cap and all dry. Even looked relatively new, along with newer wires. Reassembled and still couldn't get it to start/stay lit. Checked all plugs, fuses, and connections and all good. Decided to switch to fuel system and started with the easiest thing first. New fuel filter. BINGO. Fired right up, stayed lit. We put about 3 hours of run time on it yesterday and it performed like a champ. Fired up each time. RPMs rick solid. Cost me a whopping $12. My other question is - does anyone know the part number or where to buy the in-line filter? Looks like each engine has one and it's a simple canister maybe 4-5" tall and about 2" across. Hose goes in with a hose clamp and hose comes out with a hose clamp. Couldn't find any info on it and the one West Marine tried to sell me didn't look right. Figured I should replace these as well so I know all fuel filters are new at the same time. Thanks!
  18. ChappyMike

    Lake Powell Boating Conditions

    SO JEALOUS. We spent 9 days on our Signature on Powell in 2015. Best vacation ever. We did 400 miles of boating during those 9 days and spent each night in a different cove. So much to see and explore and the beauty of the place IS magical. Have fun!
  19. ChappyMike

    MerCruiser 5.0 Stalling / Not Starting

    Great thanks for the heads up. I'll start by looking at the distributor cap/rotor and seeing whats going on there. Are these pretty generic parts? For a 2003 5.0 MPI, any idea what the part number would be or are they universal? Same goes with ignition module - are these somewhat uniform? What would symptoms of a bad module be? Should I rule out the fuel filter or could this be suspect too? Thanks for your help!
  20. ChappyMike

    A/C air handling Sig290/2008

    Yes that is correct. Mid-cabin berth, main part of cabin, and up front (usually on port side).
  21. Hi all - anyone happen to know the size shock/strut for the engine hatch on a 280/290 Signature? We won't be at the boat for a few days, but was hoping I could pick these up before hand if anyone knows the size. Thanks in advance!
  22. ChappyMike

    2006 330 Signature Engine Mount Cracks

    My previous 280 Signature had similar cracks like that. They were a little higher up, so bilge water couldn't get in. Had it tested and it was dry. After having it sit in the AZ heat for a few weeks, I sealed up and forgot. Never had an issue.
  23. ChappyMike

    Getting back into a Chaparral -- need some guidance

    We bought both of our 280 Signatures "sight" unseen. Both times we had about 50 photos and some videos sent to us, and the second time around had it inspected. The first time we saw the boat (in both cases) in person was the pick-up day. Haven't had any major problems, just do your due diligence beforehand. The second time around, the dealer we worked with asked me after the deal, "Do you think we described the boat well and gave you an honest opinion in the photos and over the phone?" It's a weird question to ask, but they did. They didn't hide what was wrong and told me right up front. I told him, "Look, I'm taking a $$$ risk here and all I'm asking is for you to be honest. We should be like that from the start" and he was. I appreciated it. As for the risers/manifolds, I agree with soldier, it's about $600 in parts and a couple hours. If you do it yourself, make sure you get ALL the old gasket off and +1 on using OEM gaskets. I used aftermarket parts and OEM gasket and was right around $600. Not a lot of work to it...hardest part is getting around in the engine compartment and getting bolts lined up with their holes while not dropping the new gasket on the manifolds. As for preventative maintenance, I would just start from scratch unless the dealer provides proof that they already did the work. First time around with the shotty dealer, they claimed they did a LOT of things but I pulled oil filters off that had the date written from two years prior. My fault, maybe, for not seeing receipts or proof. If it's a good deal and you're happy with it, go for it. Our 280 Sig that we have now cost us about 4700 in mileage from Portland, OR to Austin, TX, but we've been happy with it ever since we walked up to it on the dealer's lot the day we picked it up.
  24. ChappyMike

    IAC Part Number for Mercruiser?

    Hi Everyone - we had the IAC go out on one of our engines over the weekend. Does anyone know the part number? It's a 2003 MerCruiser 5.0 MPI. Also, I've read conflicting reviews about the OEM part and an automotive equivalent. Thoughts? Thanks!
  25. ChappyMike

    New Trailer Tires - Recommendations Needed

    +1 on the Goodyear Endurance. Had them on my last trailer and have them on my current. Never an issue with the triple axle and the flexing of the sidewalls when making tight turns. Done a 2600 mile one way trip back from Texas on them without an issue.