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Surfing with a Carburetor


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Well, we finally got our ballast, pump, board and rope together, and did some surfing this weekend! Clap.gif

Setup was as follows-

1996 Sunsetter LX (direct drive) 265hp Carb

800# Launch Pad behind the motor, in place of the rear seat.

800# Launch Pad on the Port side of the motor (only left about 8" of space by the spotter's chair!)

VAB- anywhere from 4-7 bodies portside depending on how many willing participants there were

O'Brien Alias 5.0

We were running about 10.5-11mph (best we can tell with a couple of old airguides)

The rubrail was consistently in the water at idle, and while underway the wash was curling over the portside rear corner, even splashing a bit of water in the boat when we hit a wake from another boat. Whistling.gif As long as we slow gently, and make about a 45 degree rotation to port as the wave comes in, it won't come over the back. With a little reverse, you can then avoid the roller from coming over the side, and all is well.

Push was respectable, everyone who got on their toes was able to get pushed, and a few people, varying from 140-210# were able to toss the rope. My 2 brothers, who probably had the most rope time, were able to ride indefinitely by the end of the weekend. Me, on the other hand... well, I'm packing a bit more beef around than the rest of the riders... at 275, I was able to get a good push, even got all the way to the platform once, but never long enough to make it worth tossing the rope. It'll come.

The only problem we had was that our trusty slalom boat was pitching a fit about being loaded down for wakemaking. This boat has run like a CHAMP for 13 years. We did an ignition tune-up on it a few years ago as a preventative measure, but it has never had any trouble starting, idling, accelerating. We wondered when we bought it if we should have popped for the (then cutting edge) EFI, but haven't ever given it a second thought... until we surfed.

When you come to idle, the idle is rough, and low. Running flat and level, it idles at 600rpm- rock solid. Listed to port? 400-450rpm, surging and sputtering a bit, and occasionally stalling. It's even smoking a bit- looks like rich smoke. If it stalled, all it needed was a little throttle opening and it would fire back up, but not without a respectable puff of angry, I-would-rather-be-pulling-a-slalom-skier smoke. We weren't killing hordes of mosquitoes or anything, but there was a definite puff of black smoke. We got really good at the (almost) hot pickup, never dropping fully to idle around the surfer, which would normally be WAY to fast, but with all the ballast is actually a pretty manageable speed... made for less down time, too.

Ideas? Solutions? All-in-all, we logged 23 hours of runtime on the boat this weekend... no rain, hardly any wind. It was a GREAT WEEKEND, and there will be more surfing to come!

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That's odd because our Skier is a carby too and we are running almost the same weight set-up and location with the rubrail wet. It still runs like a champ while we surf with no effect on idle or running. We have the 5.7 Merc comp ski with a Rochester Quadrajet. Do you have the same carb?

It sounds like the list is affecting the level of fuel in the bowl. Wonder if the float is getting messed up with the boat listing to the port side. Have you tried listing to the starboard? Does it act the same?

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Don't they make carb kits for 4-byers that help you get around the angle problem? I'm assuming that's what it is, the floats are way off level because of the attitude of the boat.

EDIT: Just saw martin's post. What about trying some carb cleaner? It may just be a sticky float.

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Ours is the 350 Magnum Ski 265HP. It has the Carter/AFB carb that most would recognize as an Edelbrock. A quadrajet IS the solution for off-camber off-roaders, so it doesn't surprise me that your quadrajet works well in this situation. I hadn't thought of trying to source aftermarket guts for the carb... I might try to contact Edelbrock.

I've only got one goofy surfer in the crew... guess it's not a stretch that it would be my wife. Anyone who's "regular" would know better than to hitch their wagon to me!! Didn't spend too much time surfing starboard- I don't remember that it was acting up, but it was just me (driving) and about 600# starboard, with the full 800 in the back.

Edited by EZSnow
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It wouldn't hurt to give Edelbrock a call and see what they say. You could always throw a Quadrajet on there if you get serious about surfing. Might not be too bad of a fix. I have had those carbs on my vehicles and the boat now. They have always been good runners for me and perform really well.

It is hard to believe that that list would be enough to cause the float to sit that far off. I guess it is possible the float is getting stuck, but if that were the issue I would think you would see signs of it under normal use (not surfing).

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The Quadrajet is a spreadbore carb, while the Carter/AFB/Edelbrock is a square-bore. You can put a square-bore carb on a spread-bore intake without too much trouble, but to put a spread-bore on out boat, we would need a different intake to do it right.

Searching around Edelbrock's site, I found a spring-loaded needle and seat set, that might do the trick. I also talked to the service manager at our (fantastic) dealer, and he suggested that we might be boiling the fuel, and to try running the blower to keep the engine compartment cooler... Dontknow.gif worth a shot, I suppose- before we go tearing into things.

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  • 4 weeks later...

running the blower constantly while surfing seems to have solved the stumbling issue. it still idles at about 425 listed, and 600 level, but it doesn't stall as long as we keep the blower going... go figure!

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Not sure if this would work, but doesn't the Edelbrock have two fuel mixture screws on the front. Adjust them when boat is listed to get 600 rpm and turn them back to original setting when your not surfing ,so you don't run to rich.

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you can't open the motor box when the boat is weighted, as there is an 800# sac leaning against it Whistling.gif it'd be pretty simple to just bump the idle a bit before the boat is loaded, but I spent too much time getting it where I want it. it's working ok with the blower running, so problem solved for now.

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If blower is making it better then you are probably not getting enough fresh air for the motor at those speeds.

spread vs square bore... Not sure why someone posted you need a new intake. Most of the adapters I sold and used in my autoparts days could be used to adap either direction just by which way the adapter faced (up or down).

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I was thinking you wanted to surf with a carb in hand. What was I thinking. :unsure:

Perhaps he's thinking to surf behind a Caravelle I/O and is planning to use the hand held carb as a defense against those bad boy counter rotating props.

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If blower is making it better then you are probably not getting enough fresh air for the motor at those speeds.

spread vs square bore... Not sure why someone posted you need a new intake. Most of the adapters I sold and used in my autoparts days could be used to adap either direction just by which way the adapter faced (up or down).

You could most certainly get an adapter that would physically mate a spreadbore carb on a squarebore intake. That doesn't make it a great solution. I'm sure it would work, but if you want to take advantage of the large secondaries on a spreadbore like a Q-Jet, It'd probably be better to do it with a proper intake.

I guess what I was saying was that if I were to install a spreadbore, I wouldn't do it w/o a spreadbore intake.

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