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Rebirth of a 1972 18' Sea Ray 190 I/O

Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

2018.  This Spring at first startup the engine was leaking water.  After a carefull examination the block was cracked, and the area around some of the head bolts, and the head bolts themselves, had rusted out after 46 years.  So engine needs to be replaced.  Choices are:

Complete new engine.  Different size and make?

Remanufactured engine:  same engine just all new parts:

Long Block and use parts from old engine.

Convert to Outboard:  Requires major changes to the transom, and buying an outboard.

Replace in kind.  Find a running Mercruiser 165 that the owner wants to sell. This was the least expensive but arguably the most difficult.  There are lots of GM 250s available as truck engines, but then they have to be marinized, raising the cost to that of a rebuilt engine.  There are some available that have been taken out of their existing boat for whatever reason, but usually because there is something wrong.  After about 6 months of searching I found one that the boat owner was swapping out for twin outboards. But it was in good running condition. Then I hired a marine repair service to install it.  Handed them the boat in October.  The total cost will be around $3K but that is still far less than the other choices which all come in at $5-$6K.  Plus for that price they are overhauling the sterndrive too.  It was due for an overhaul. Also this engine has a closed cooling system with a heat exchanger which is good if I decide to run it in saltwater. 

2019.  April. Finally got the boat back with the engine installed and running.  total cost just north of $4.3k, but that was because I had them service the stern drive, and do some other service on the boat. 

 Mercruiser 165   Mercruiser 165

Engine runs well, needed some adjustment of idle speed and carburetor but otherwise, starts easily and runs without stumbles or backfires. 

Other Upgrades/Repairs:

The vinyl trim is getting really bad with rips and tears, bleached out by the sun and just old and falling apart.  The first item was two trim pieces that run along either side of the cockpit.  My first inclination was to strip off the vinyl and replace it.  But when I took some of it off I realized the wood underneath was teak.  It had turned grey in areas where it was exposed.

I cleaned the wood thoroughly with OxyClean: Many websites that tell you how to do this recommend SpicNSpan but I could not find any at local stores. It took two scrubbings but Oxyclean did a great job. Just make sure you thoroughly rinse the wood with lots of clean clear water because Oxyclean leaves a residue.  I then sealed the wood with SEMCO Teak Sealant.  The wood soaked up the sealant like a sponge. It easily took four applications.  On the first two applications you could actually watch the sealant disappering into the wood.  The left hand picture is the before, the middle and right picture are the after.

trim pieces
Mercruiser 165 Mercruiser 165


The glove box has not had a lid since I acquired the boat. I found one on ebay that was exactly the right dimensions.  I put some wood grain vinyl on it to match the other trim.  Looks good.glove box lid


 Installed an electronic distributor. No more adjusting timing.

Installed new starter Solenoid. These engines have two solenoids. One is a slave or booster solenoid that only serves to increase the voltage going to the solenoid on the starter.  The solenoid on the starter was working only intermittently, Sometimes did, sometimes didn't.  So I replaced it. 

Next item is new lounge seats.  The seats I put in during the restoration are shot. The sun and heat has faded and destroyed the seams and stitching.  They are literally falling apart.  The first photo (left side) directly above, shows what they looked like new.  

Installed a Bimini top.  1972 Sea Ray SRV 190 with Bimini






February 2020: Purchased new 9.9 HP High Thrust outboard with electric start.  No more pulling the starter cord. It was professionally installed.  The O/B also has an alternator to charge the battery. 

June 2020. While underway at about 15  mph the drive lost all lubrication and burned up the gears and destroyed itself.  It is not repairable. Needs a new or remanufactured drive.  Fortunately the outboard got us back to the marina.

July 2020.  Boat hit at the dock by another boat. Very little damage to the hull. Small crack in the deck mold, near the vent louvers. Nothing to be concerned about.  The leftside of the windshield popped out of it's tracks.  Otherwise it just required a lot of cleaning up.  Outboard was not hit. The dock absorbed most of the impact. It knocked the bimin top down but did not damage it.  The stern light mast had to be replaced.

August 2021 Removed boat to storage.  It has been in storage since. Haven't had an opportunity to re-install the windshield.


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