1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Turbocators!

In order to splash the boat in 2016, I need to make the exterior waterproof and get the engines operational. After making an expensive mistake(/valuable lesson) on a set of exhaust risers, I decided to make a custom set myself. I ordered all of the stainless tubing and the exhaust flanges, which have already arrived, but I’m still waiting for my new TIG welding machine to get here. I could have gotten a TIG gun, a pedal, and just used my Miller Trailblazer 280, but the Onan two-cylinder air-cooled engine in that beast is noisy. It’s fine for working in the yard, where there’s not enough power to weld thick aluminum. But I’ll be welding these risers on a bench in my garage, so a welding machine powered by a 220v wall outlet will be nice and quiet. I figure any excuse to buy a new welder is a good one. 🙂

While I’m waiting for the new machine to show up, I also ordered Isspro Turbocator gauges from Seaboard Marine. The Turbocator gauges indicate boost and exhaust temp, both of which are very useful in determining if a turbo-diesel boat is propped right. There isn’t room in the Roamer instrument panel to add more gauges, but I’ve got an idea that might be kind of cool.

Isspro Turbocator with 3" stainless bezel

Isspro Turbocator with 3″ stainless bezel

Shortly after the Turbocators were delivered, I learned about Westach boost and EGT combo gauges that also come in the 3″ bezel size.

I think the Westach gauges look more era-appropriate

That Westach gauge is more attractive than the Isspro ones I bought, I think, but there’s no going back now. The 3″ diameter is crucial for the plan I’m kicking around.

Original Chris Craft gauges from ebay

Original Chris Craft gauges on my Roamer, rechromed, installed, and coated with wax

A 3″ bezel gauge will fit inside the chromed bezels used on Chris Craft gauges.

Ratty gauges bought on ebay might look good with Turbocators installed

Ratty gauges bought on ebay might look good with Turbocators installed

Or maybe bigger-diameter tachometer bezels would be the way to go

Or maybe bigger-diameter tachometer bezels would be the way to go

I’m leaning toward retrofitting the Turbocators to the smaller Chris Craft gauge bezels and housings. Then I’ll use foam to model a housing for both that would fit between and take styling cues from the two original tachometer pods on the boat. I’d fiberglass the exterior of the foam model and paint the Turbocator pod to match the tachometers.

Something kinda like this, but twinned together

Well, that’s the plan. I’ve got all the parts now, I just need to get busy with the foam and fiberglass. But since this isn’t exactly mission critical, I’m going to keep pondering how to pull it off while I keep working on other things.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Cleaning Up Cummins Parts

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Turbocators!

  1. needlestick1 says:

    If there is room in the tach bezel for the turbocator gauge, you could maybe keep the Chris-Craft label on the bottom of the old tach.
    That could look cool. Of course another big instrument might block vision. Not sure.

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