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'76 Formula 233 project:__De-powered

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  • '76 Formula 233 project:__De-powered

    My original plan was to spend the next year or two paying off bills and working on my 17 and then find a nice 228 to pick up. Well, that didn't really work out as planned...

    Since selling my Grady in January, I have been itching to get back on the water. Yes, it was nice to just hop on a 32' Luhrs and spend the day with Mom and Dad, but that's just not the same as having your own rig. So, as I'm driving around on the Navy base where I work a few weeks ago, I noticed a familiar hull sticking out from behind a Sea Ray on the base "used car/boat/motorhome lot". I headed over to check it out. Just as I had suspected, it was a Formula 233. 1976 to be specific. Power was twin 140 Mercruisers. Trailer was a old tandem axle EZ-Loader that is actually in pretty good shape. She was a bit rough, but not bad for a 34 year old boat. Only problem was the price. $4500...quite a bit more than the check I got for the leave I had built up at the company I recently left. So, back to work I went.

    A few weeks later, I stopped for another look. This time, the $4500 was crossed out and "OBO" was written next to it. That got my wheels turning. Called the guy a few days later and told him I had $1500 to spend for a running boat...and that I knew it was a long shot. He kindly rejected, told me he wanted at least $3000, and then we ended up talking for about an hour. Super nice guy. The conversation ended with the typical, "You have my number if you change your mind".

    So, I kept thinking and thinking and hoping he would call me. Then it dawned on me that I just assumed he had caller ID...and didn't actually leave my number. Durr... So, I called him back and asked to take a closer look to see if it was really worth trying to convince the bank to give me more. He met me that day and agreed to my $1500 before I even said a word about price. Cool. []

    We arranged to do a short sea trial a week or so later, but never made it to that point. Water in the gas. Engines wouldn't start. Exactly how much water was in there, we didn't know.

    Long story deal. $800 as is and I brought it home yesterday. []

    Now she has her fair share of issues, but for given what I paid, I'm not complaining. Transom core, the forward-most bulkhead and possibly some of the stringers have rot. Tank and lines are original. Motors have pretty even (although a bit low - I'm suspicious of my guauge) compression. Drives looks good. Floors are super solid, except for over the tank. No brakes on the trailer. 4 dry rotted tires. Needs a good bit of TLC and general maintenance. I wasn't looking for a pristine rig, so no big deal.

    Plan is to get it up and running quickly because I promised my wife a working boat. She will just be an inshore cruiser/fisher for now. But once the 17 is done, there's no telling what will happen... []
    Brian[br]St. Leonard, MD

  • #2
    Started on the fuel system tonight. I figured step one was to get a good size sample of what was in there. So, I proceeded to pump out two gallons.

    It was coming out real nasty at first, but by the time I got to the end of the first gallon, things had cleared up a lot. After a bit of settling...

    The previous owner told me he added a bunch of Stabil the last time he put gas in the boat. We concluded that was at least 2 years ago, possibly 3. It's definitely not the worst looking/smelling gas I've ever seen, but I'm not sure if it any good. At this point, I'm leaning towards draining about 20 gallons, treating with that Pri-G stuff, topping off with fresh gas and just trying to burn it...

    If I could find a cheap and easy way to get rid of 50 gallons, I would most likely change my tune...
    Brian[br]St. Leonard, MD


    • #3
      Nice. I assume you plan to keep the velour cabin.[]
      88 Mako 171, 115 E-TEC, [br]85 Mako 285, Twin 250 Yamahas [br]Annapolis, MD[br][IMG]


      • #4
        Nice... Reminds me a lot of the 1976 Wellcraft Nova I had... Look forward to seeing the rehab.
        Miami, FL[br]1994 Intrepid 23 WA -[br]Mako 224 Rebuild - - Sold[br] - Mercury V6 FAQ


        • #5
          Nice classic looking boat and you certainly can't beat the price!
          Current - 1987 Pursuit 2600, Twin 200 Evinrudes; 1997 Hydraskiff, 175 Evinrude[br]Former - 1983 Mako 254[br]Mobile, AL


          • #6
            You've got $800 worth of guages at the helm!!
            46ft Chesapeake Deadrise - Sold[br]35 Duffy - Sold - Finest Boat Ever Owned[br]261B Mako - Sold[br]25 Parker[br]now in Bradenton, FL[br]Native Son of MD\'s ES


            • #7
              Over 80% off the list...not too shabby. That hull is almost as legendary as the Bert 31. I think albemarle still makes it with a modified deck line. Ought to be interresting if the motors fire with the gas cleaned up. What are the plans to get the engines ready? Keep up with pic's as this "project" developes.

              Weir Mako 21[br]1985 21B[br]Project 21B [br][br]Project 25 Contender [br] [br][br]


              • #8
                remove 100% of the fuel, do not try to mix and burn- it will never mix
                Lindenhurst, New York[br]Please email me if you are seeking advice so that I can answer when I have the free time to devote to your question. Thank you.[br]


                • #9

                  Originally posted by weir mako 21

                  What are the plans to get the engines ready?

                  "Right away" items for the initial start-up:

                  1. All new fuel lines (with the possible exception of the forward vent - not sure I can get to it)

                  2. New water separators

                  3. Change engine oil and filters

                  4. Change outdrive gear lube

                  Near term items (once I make sure the engines are really worth putting some money into):

                  5. Clean/rebuild carbs if necessary

                  6. T-stats (inspect and/or replace)

                  7. Replace belts

                  8. Replace hoses

                  9. Replace spark plugs

                  10. Replace caps/rotors/ignition wires

                  11. Inspect/replace drive seals/bellows - need to learn about those.

                  12. Replace outdrive water pumps

                  13. Remove and replace the prop that's stuck on the stbd. outdrive []

                  I'm sure there is probably more to be done, but given that these are my first I/Os, I'm kind of in the dark. So, if you guys have any suggestions, I'm all ears.
                  Brian[br]St. Leonard, MD


                  • #10
                    Cant beat the price. Make sure you check the tank real good for leaks. I still have a vivid memory of helping a friend remove his foamed in tank on his 233 formula and finding that the bottom 4 inches of the foam was fully saturated with fuel.

                    Oakley, California


                    • #11
                      nice ride... I had 2 24' albemarles, so I am very familiar with that hull. One of the best riding deep v's under 25' ever made. Today there are alot of aftermarket resources for old mecruiser drive replacement, that would almost make "plug and play" replacement as cheap as sticking alot of bandaids and replacing bellows,ujoints,seals,etc. on those tired soldiers. do a search for "ducktail sterndrive" or "sterndrive engineering", great resource for either replacement or any part imaginable for mercruiser drives...good luck!!
                      Stress Factor[br]Isle of Hope, Georgia[br]\'76 Mako 20\' Yamaha 200hp[br][br]


                      • #12
                        Nice classic boat. That hull has some nice lines and one heck of a deep-v. Good luck with her.
                        Don\'t Panic[br]1975 Mako 20 2009 Suzuki DF140[br]Winslow NJ [br][br] [br]


                        • #13
                          Great find Brian! I am just seeing this thread. Hopfully you can get her running soon, the summer is flying by. I dig the cabin decor! I agree with Rob, just get all the old fuel out of there. Good luck![]
                          David, New Kent, Va

                          Project Thread:


                          • #14
                            I'd run all that fuel thru a Filter Funnel and put it in your vehicles and burn it Brian.


                            • #15
                              Awesome boat, i had a 1977 Formula 21ft that i 100% restored with the original 318, boat was great in rough water and running heavy she did 60mph
                              Castaddict[br]2005 171 Mako / 2005 90HP Saltwater Mercury[br][br]