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    Discovery Bay, CA

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  1. I’m hearing a whole lot of sour grapes on this thread. I’d say don’t knock it until you try it. Our cruiser has a hydraulic swim step. Yes it’s a cruiser but here in the Delta we spend a lot of time at anchor, swimming and floating. I can tell you that the ladies LOVE sitting on that step just a little bit in the water. Plus it holds our dinghy. And once, one of my older friends was recovering from a knee replacement and he got in the water, and the coolness of the water and the newness of his knee replacement locked his knee up and he couldn’t climb the swim ladder. Swim step to the rescue, I lowered it down, he floated over and sat on it, and I lifted him out of the water. To be fair though, it is an active system that is living in the water. That means maintenance. Ours was pushing 20 years old, the hydraulic cylinders were starting to experience blow-by and the braided stainless lines were starting to leak. Rebuilding the system was about 8 grand (this is one of the first hydraulic lifts, the TNT which is a terrible design which drove the cost up). I was tempted to rip it all out and put the swim step back on it as a fixed step. When I said that I thought the Admiral was going to rip my head off, or at the very least, kill me in my sleep. She made it quite clear that even if we had to spend 30 grand to put a whole new system on, she was not going to live without that hydraulic step. So, some people really, really love them.
  2. Actually, I would prefer one of the docks on the walkway IF there are no obstructions for your bow to pivot against that walkway (power poles, dock boxes, pumpouts, pilings, etc) and IF there is room from your slip to the opposing slip for the entire length of your boat. Coming in with the prevailing winds is no problem, you pivot parallel, and that walkway and Mr. Prevailing Wind become your auto-docking friends. You just back into the slip, nothing gets out of control. When leaving, the correct way to get away from a dock that the wind is blowing you against is to pivot away on your bow, not try to pull forward and then turn as any wind will cause you to smack that stern every time. The challenge in this situation is because you cannot back away at an angle, you will have to rotate on your bow a full 90 degrees so you'll need to make sure your bow can extend over that walkway without hitting anything. Othewise, stick with your slip...and if you have thrusters you can do anything you want. :-)
  3. Grilling on the dock is not allowed at any marinas around our area. It's a no-no at literally every marina. I see people ignore the rules and not get hassled, but it is in pretty much every marina's rulebook around here. It's an insurance thing.
  4. Did you check Cecil Marine pricing? Their pricing is pretty competitive. I will never, ever spend another dollar with Michigan Motorz. I believe somewhere on one of these threads about replacing steering actuators, I told my story about getting screwed by Michigan Motorz on a steering actuator that had bad seals from the get-go (I suspect old stock sitting on a shelf) that they would not make good on. I got hosed out of about $600 bucks and they humored me for a little bit with emails and then stopped communicating altogether. Proceed at your own risk but they'll never get another (wasted) dollar from me.
  5. You've probably got it licked now, will be interesting to hear if it's solved for good. Regarding IAC's on this motor, mine went right around 300 hours (classic). I replaced it. A few hours later it broke. I mean BROKE, as in the boat starting acting all weird and when I pulled the arrester the pintle was literally disengaged from the body and was only still sitting in place because there wasn't enough room for it to fall out. Plus, with the replacement IAC it idled okay but it was never really "right", it was a bit quirky. I bought an OEM ACDelco part and it is like night and day. Boat starts and idles exactly as it should. The one that broke was some cheapie off Ebay. So, if you've been replacing them with non-OEM IAC's, I would strongly suggest to buy the OEM ones. ACDelco part #217-435 I believe you've ruled out the IAC but just some input from my experience...
  6. We have several different boats of all different sizes, layouts, and intended purposes (which is why we have more than one, as you know every boat is a trade-off). To me, you start with the size and layout that accomplishes what you want to do with the boat. Then you decide how fast and/or how much holeshot you need (watersports vs no watersports, getting on plane with your "normal" load of people and gear, etc.). Those two things alone will probably tell you (a) if the boat you WANT is even offered with the drivetrain you NEED and (b) if you should or must go with twins vs. single. Then you factor in the "desirables" such as do you want twin engine maneuverability and power vs. additional maintenance, do you want twin engine security, etc. For us, it has really come down to "If it is 8'6" beam, it's gonna be a single but definitely a big block" and "if it's wider than 8'6" beam, it's going to be twins". Those two simple rules work for us but won't necessarily work for anyone else, it's very personal and situational. Also, we love our diesels on our big boat but when they break, man oh man get out your checkbook. But you simply cannot beat the safety of diesels. Finally, regarding your "8-12 knot" question, you'd be looking at a fairly large boat. Our 44' express cruiser will sip gas at its happy hull speed of about 8.5 knots. Fuel consumption goes way up once over hull speed, and it's nowhere near linear. To get 12 knots from 8.5, we go from about 6 gph total to about 16 gph. It's a lot more fuel for a little more speed as you start to push water, as it is with any boat. The hull speed equation is pretty darn close... 1.3 X the square root of the boat's length at the waterline.
  7. Awesome thanks. I ended up calling SEM and they sent me a color chip card. Haven't taken it to the boat yet to compare but I'll take your word for it.
  8. I agree with the WOT consumption but not the 3000rpm number. It won’t drink that much. I find the website below to be reasonably accurate and yes I know that there are a million factors but as you said, when propped for recommended RPM at WOT then you’re at a “typical” marine prop loading and these figures should be reasonable. It says about 7.5gph per engine. www.boat-fuel-economy.com
  9. Can anyone answer this question? I have a 2006 Signature 276 and the colors appear to be the same as the colors in the pictures in this thread. However, I'm still confused, the Chaparral Beige/Platinum M25143 sure appears to be grey, not white. Anyone know?
  10. Sorry double post, can't figure out how to delete this one.
  11. Just to clarify, the F6's are on my Crownline 270 BR, which is almost 2K pounds lighter than my Sig 276. The Sig 276 has F5's on it, I don't think it would turn max 4600 RPM with F6's on it.
  12. One last thing (and my wife does this all the time, can't figure out how to train her LOL), if you use toilet paper you need to make sure the paper is IN the water in the bowl. If part of the paper is touching the bowl and not in the water, when you flush the paper, or some of it, will stay behind, stuck to the bowl. More often than not, a part of the paper will go through the drain with part stuck to the bowl, so when you release the pedal you have now left a little piece of toilet paper between the drain seal and the bowl. So, the system will very slowly leak down, and the pump will start pumping again. If you hear your pump pumping without any associated flush, go check your toilet. If the water is all gone and/or you hear a hissing/sucking sound, then that is what has happened. Adding some water and then stepping on and releasing the pedal 3 or 4 times quickly, will usually clear the toilet paper and re-establish the seal. Sometimes my wife can make this happen without any toilet paper sticking to the bowl, I think she flushes so quickly sometimes that she lets up on the pedal too fast and traps a little pice of paper (or possibly other undesirables) in the seal.
  13. I'll give answers, kind of in the order of your account above, according to my experiences: Sometimes when the vacuflush unit has been sitting for a while, the pump mechanism can "stick". Has only happened to me once, but it has happened. That may be why it finally started working for you. Regular use helps it keep working reliably. When you turn the vacu flush pump on, you should hear it pumping until it builds vacuum, which should take around 30 to 50 strokes depending on how far it is from the toilet. When not in use, turn it off when away from the boat. It is normal for the system to very slowly leak down, and the pump will kick in to rebuild vacuum, so if you're away from the boat the system may run when you really don't need it to. Mine actually does not leak down really at all, but Vacuflush themselves say this is normal, which is why many boats have an on/off switch near the head. Mine have switches that say "sleep" on them, but I never have to use them. I turn the breakers off when I'm away from the boat for extended periods. As far as the opening size, I'm surprised...most Vacuflush's have hoses that are 1.5" in diamater, and if your body is producing anything wider than that you might want to see a doctor LOL! The beauty of a Vacuflush is for liquid waste, it will use very little water. For solid waste, it is important to add extra water to the bowl (lift up on the foot pedal) to make sure the waste and paper all have plenty of water to soften them and make sure the flush action is complete. It amazes me how much "stuff" can be flushed without a clog. That being said, be careful with how much paper you use, and only use quick dissolving RV paper. If you do get a clog, add water to the bowl, shut the system off, and then put a plunger over the hole, depress and hold the foot pedal, and then firmly PUSH the plunger...do not pull back, that will create suction which could turn the duckbills in the system inside out. Release the foot pedal and then gently pull the plunger off. Turn the pump back on, if the system does not work properly, try the process again. 99% of the time this will clear a clog. I do not care for electric macerator toilets, I've had them before, they use a lot more water and fill up your holding tank faster, and I had occasions where guests would flush but they would stop the flushing (stop holding the button) in the "middle" of the process where the macerator was working hard to grind up the bad stuff, and when you tried to flush again the macerator had a hard time getting started because it was full of stuff which created more stress for the motor to get started. Perhaps on mine the motor was getting old, but regardless, it always made me nervous. I used to tell guest to flush until they heard the macerator "bog down" (working through the "stuff") and then free up again (indicating the "stuff" had passed). But of course that can use a lot of water. Finally, go on Amazon and buy a box of "Double Doodie" bags and hide them away on the boat. The old saying is "It's not IF you'll have a problem with the head, it's WHEN", so having those bags around, althought the ladies might find it a little less than desirable, can salvage an otherwise perfect boating outing. You can put the bag right over the toilet bowl and let the ladies do their thing and then you as the valiant savior can come in and deal with the less pleasant part of the process.
  14. Well, I can't claim to be an expert on this, and it still confuses me, but I'll tell you my story. Bought an IAC valve for my VP 8.1 GI (the older model that uses the plunger style IAC like your picture). When going through 5mph zones if I bumped up to about 800 or 900rpm, my rpm's would "surge" about 150 rpm, kinda sounded like an offshore boat with a big cam, kinda cool in a way but I knew it wasn't right. Bought a new (cheap) IAC off Ebay. Didn't completely solve the problem but it made me feel better...only about 25 hours later, I'm pulling up to a fuel dock and all of a sudden boat jumps to 1500rpm. I try to pull it back into neutral real quick and that's when I learned that VP's don't really like to "find neutral" at that high rpm, you have to pull real hard and then it just jams into reverse, so there I was, slamming back and forth from forward/reverse/forward over and over for a few seconds til I finally said screw it and shut it off, coasting (lightly thank gosh) into the dock. No damage done except for my underwear. Fire it back up after getting fuel and all of a sudden it's idling ok, so I throw it into gear and scoot on home, thankful to get there without problem. I immediately pop the spark arrester and, lo and behold, there's my "new" IAC valve with the pintle and shaft completely separated from the body, and the spring just dangling on the shaft. Okay, first lesson, don't buy no-name Ebay crap. It was one of the black ones with the brass colored plunger/pintle thingy. No bueno. Start doing some searching online. Found a NOS OMC IAC so I thought to myself, "hey self, this is OEM, let's try this one". Bought it, put it in, boat runs like a champ now, better than it did since I bought it (used). No more hunting/surging, just a solid idle and the engine behaves exactly as it should. Second lesson, I'll buy OEM from now on. The thing is, this part with the OMC label on it is actually an ACDelco part, with the original ACDelco part numbers. The OMC part number is 3857696 and the ACDelco part number is 217-435. The confusing part is that when you search online, most replacement IAC's say they replace 3843750, 3843751, and 3857696, leading one to believe that they are all the same IAC valve for all the VP Chevy applications. Here's another weird thing...the web pics of the ACDelco part sure look like a THREE pin connector (I confess, I didn't realize this when I installed it so I didn't look closely to verify). In any event, that is the confusion on my end, but I can tell you that the ACDelco/OEM OMC part works perfectly and it's the best my boat has ever idled. You can still get the ACDelco part easily by searching 217-435 on the web. This forum won't let me post my pics because they are too big, if you want to see all the pics of what I just described above, shoot me a note and I can email them to you. That's my story, I still don't fully understand it but I'm just happy my boat works the way it should. Sorry for the super long post, just trying to help.
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