Coverting Chris Craft Floor Shifter for Hydraulic Transmission?

Discussion in 'Inboards' started by Colonel Monk, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Colonel Monk
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA

    Colonel Monk Junior Member

    Converting Chris Craft Floor Shifter for Hydraulic Transmission?

    Hi There:

    New to the forum -- here's an introduction, ship to BOLD below for the question... You'll know me here as Col. Monk.

    Our family has two wood boats, a 1949 Chris Craft Utility 18' 6" and a "one-off" 1950 Suttoncraft Utility 19'.

    We have had the Chris Craft since 1973, and it was used actively until 1988. Hasn't been in the water since. 2 years ago my Dad started to restore it. Project is going along well, it now has a new west system bottom (1 layer plywood/1 layer plank), new decks/transom, many new frames, and about 10 coats of varnish. He's been working with a local boat restoration outfit for tools, materials, and advice in N. MI. When I was home on vacation last week we put in a new motor -- 283 Flagship Marine and rewired the whole boat for 12V power. It's even got a bilge pump, blower, and FUSES now! ;^) So, we're at the point of details and finish work.

    Our philosophy was that we're trying to make it a more usable boat than it was: more power for easy cruising, 12V for reliability, new school bottom so it won't sink anymore, etc. We want it to look like a show boat, but it will be used and we don't care that the value has dropped a wee bit due to mods.

    NEXT UP: The new transmission is hydraulic, so the existing floor shifter for the old manual transmission will either need to be replaced or modified to work with the new.

    We discussed this with the guy at the boat shop, and he said that though other people have gone the modified old shifter route it can be tricky to come up with a scheme for adding detents. The old lever is about 18" long and brass, so if you breathed on it the trans could slip into gear from neutral! Not very safe. If we could make this work it would be nice, but not necessary.

    Anyone converted the old floor shifter to hydraulic trans? How?

    Regards,

    Col. Monk

    PS the other route we are investigating is using the Morse ST lever for shifting - looks easy and sorta has classic looks. Suggestions?
     
  2. Jango
    Joined: Aug 2005
    Posts: 519
    Likes: 7, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 63
    Location: Mid Atlantic

    Jango Senior Enthusiast

    In order to use the Stock shifting Lever, you will probably need to fabricate some sort of "Detent" mechanism to limit lever travel. Next attach a cable system between the Lever and the transmission, similar to the cable systems used for both steering and throttle on most outboards.
    I use a similar cable between my Velvet Drive and a Push - Pull Knob in my Dash. It works great.
     
  3. Colonel Monk
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA

    Colonel Monk Junior Member

    Thanks for the replay Jango.

    I have a basic idea of what to do, just looking for details or advice from someone who has done it.

    Primarily the details of a detent mechanism design...

    Thanks!
     
  4. BMcF
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 978
    Likes: 49, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 361
    Location: Maryland

    BMcF Senior Member

    I did almost exactly the same upgrades when I restored my '53 18' Sportsman many years ago...283 power and a velvet drive (and the West bottom upgrade too). I kept the original floor shifter and also the throttle in the center of the wheel. My detent for the shifter mechanism was simple..I 'borrowed' a shift rail from an old 4x4 truck transfer case, bored a piece of 1"x2" solid stock lengthwise to match and cross-drilled and tapped the three detent ball/spring locations to match the throw I needed to attach the shift cable (3" total IIRC). The block was simply bolted down under the deck with a bracket and one end of the rod connected to the old shifter via a 'chain link'..the other end directly to the shift cable. The amount of detent force was 'adustable' by spring selection and the amount of preload that you put on the set screw that held the spring against the detent ball.

    Nowadays I would probably make the shift rail out of stainless rod directly and cut the detent grooves in that..and I would use somethign other than steel for the block the rod goes in. but I was poor and working out of a garage back then. Now I'm still poor..but have a machine shop. :D

    no pics..that was long ago...
     
  5. Colonel Monk
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA

    Colonel Monk Junior Member

    Thanks very much for the description. I think I get it:

    Inner Rod tapped and drilled for a detent ball, spring, and set screw.

    Outer sleeve with 3 holes (chamfered, or not?) at 1.5" intervals (which incidentally is the throw of our new tranny) that allow the ball to click in at the 3 positions.

    That should be pretty easy to do -- we might give it a shot, though Dad was leaning towards using one of those Morse ST shifters. I think it would be cool to keep the original shifter...

    Monk
     
  6. BMcF
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 978
    Likes: 49, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 361
    Location: Maryland

    BMcF Senior Member

    I mispoke..there was only one detent ball/spring in the block and three detent 'notches' on the shift rail, spaced 1.5" apart. Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that up..sorry for the confusion.
     
  7. Colonel Monk
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA

    Colonel Monk Junior Member

    Thanks

    I figured that out when I worked it out on paper.

    Still, pretty simple. Thanks alot for the help, I will be posting a picture of my concept soon.

    CM
     
  8. L Judd
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Chesterfield, MI

    L Judd New Member

    old thread about converting chris craft floor shifter for Hydraulic Transmission

    I've read this old thread. Does anyone have a sketch of the parts application that has been proposed or any other successful installation?
     

  9. Colonel Monk
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Santa Cruz, CA

    Colonel Monk Junior Member

    Mission Accomplished

    Hi there

    I had almost forgotten about this thread, but indeed I did develop a workable detent for my dad's chris craft.

    Here's a pic of the design that I did in SolidWorks.

    shifter_detent_assy.jpg

    I ended up having the old lever slotted for the new application, and we used the old brass prop shaft as material for the detent rod. You'll note that there is a secondary lever between the detent mechanism and attachment to the shift cable. This was required to change the direction of the floor shifter - without it, the trans would go in reverse when you push the lever forward. This served a dual purpose as it also relocates the connection to the port side of the boat for a straighter cable run.

    The dark red parts are the motor stringers, and also the support framework that would need to be added to mount all the shift parts.

    I have a friend who has a CNC mill in his garage, and he made most of the parts for me. The lever and clevis were done by gov't job from bronze.

    I can and will post some pics of the installation in a week or so - the broze parts weren't complete in time for a show my dad was trying to make, so they improvised. I'll be installing the last two parts sometime this week.

    Hope it helps,

    CM
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. Sculpture767
    Replies:
    26
    Views:
    8,410
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.