Hamilton, John
1970 Uniflite 27 Express Cruiser


I wanted to give you an update on my boat project. After a lot of work and a fair bit of trial and error I have the performance I always wanted. My boat is a 1970 Uniflite 27 Express Cruiser. This is a very heavy duty hull made by the same company that built the Navy PBR for the Vietnam war. They used Chrysler inboard marine engines in all their boats, except for the larger diesel models which had Detroits. My model was produced with single small blocks, single big blocks and twin small blocks, all with inboard transmissions. My boat came with a single 318 which a previous owner upgraded to a single 360. These boats were, and still are, known for durability and a comfortable ride in a heavy sea, rather than high performance.

 When my engine wore out I wanted to upgrade a bit but I didn't want to go to a different block. I called Hughes engines and explained in detail what I was trying to do. I told Dave Hughes I wanted to maximize torque between 2500 and 4000 rpm, with a cruising speed of 3000-3500 rpm and maximum durability. We settled on a Hughes 410 crank kit for my 360 block and Dave ground the HER 2228 AL cam with a 106 degree LSA to maximize my torque curve and bring the torque peak down to 2500 rpm, right where I told him I wanted it. I used Edelbrock heads, Hughes 1.6 ratio roller rockers, an Edelbrock performer rpm air gap intake and a Demon marine carb. The ignition is an MSD 6M2 marine ignition triggered by a Mallory YLM 579 AV marine distributor. Exhaust system consists of welded 304 stainless fresh water cooled headers (from Australia) and salt water cooled dual fiberglass pipes and mufflers. Compression ratio with the aluminum heads is about 10.5 to 1. I'm NOT a mechanic and Dave and his crew were outstanding with their patience and support as I completed this project. Since I live on an island in Alaska I'm a bit more isolated than the average customer and I couldn't ask for better service. I finished the project and had the engine back in the boat and running in time for hunting and fishing this summer. We had a great season and the boat's performance easily exceeded my goals. Top speed is up 25%, cruising speed is up about 20% and fuel economy is up 25%. Operating cost, at current fuel prices, is down fifty cents per mile despite the higher cost of 92 octane gas. I added 36% larger fuel tanks while I was at it so my range is up 70%, which is a very big deal when fuel docks are few and far between. So far we've put a dozen or so salmon, about three dozen halibut, some red snapper and some crab, clams and shrimp/prawns in the freezer with the boat. I still have a couple months left in the season to fill my six deer tags. Enclosed are some pictures of the boat before and after the project, as well as some pictures of why we have a boat in the first place. Dave's crew is welcome to come up and go fishing or bear hunting any time!
 Next project is my Ramcharger.
John H.   Alaska
  Big difference in before and after! Great job John.
          Putting the new engine to work.
            How do you like Alaska? That Mopar engine likes it.
   Come on John, you're just showing off now. Yes, we all want to live in Alaska.

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