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Thread: McCrea hydros

  1. #1
    Team Member
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    Nov 2008
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    Default McCrea hydros

    Hi, another new Brit on your excellent site, along with my fellow Classic Motor Boat Association member Healey 75!

    I have restored a 1956 3 point kneeler hydro 'Thunderbolt III' which was raced in the UK and won the X-Class title in '57 with a souped up Evinrude Storm motor. I know she is a McCrea design from Canada, and built to plans here in the UK, but that's it. Do any of you guys have information on McCrea (not McCrae, I checked the spelling!) or know of anyone running a similar boat? We also have a smaller A Class hydro to identical design in our club.

    I do not have the original race motor, but intend to use my 1960 Merc 300 as a user-friendly motor - any ideas how I ring the throttle cable to a fly-away hand grip? I guess I'll have to disconnect the distributor and connect directly to the carburetor.
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  2. #2

    Default Nice!

    Chris - Nice restore. Welcome to BRF also. There was some postings regarding your hull, but most were concerning more infomation on this Canadian built speed demon. Ed Hatch posted one at this link ---

    As far as your throttle hook-up is concerned there has been topic on doing it with the stock linkage here on BRF at one time. Perhaps someone can help you out here on BRF with that thread location.

    Keep us updated on your test runs.

  3. #3
    Team Member
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    Dec 2004
    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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    Default Throttle hookup for your Merc 300

    There are two sources of the throttle hookup you need for your 4 Cyl Merc. Check Ebay item number: 270297360692. This is sold by Mike Downing, a reliable Ebay seller.

    There also is a fellow by the name of Ken Hall who has stainless reproductions of the parts you need, excellent quality from Ken, I bought 3 sets from him some time ago.

    If you go to my webpage, and click on the Mark 55H parts list you'll find the picture on page 13A to be self explanatory. Look on page 3A and find the part identified as #2, if your motor doesn't have this part you'll need one since it fits in the inner hole on the part identified as # 20 on page 13A and swings the magneto.

    Go to or or

    to find a good quality deadman throttle.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Annapolis, MD USA
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    Or do as I have done and cut the front end of the cable and anchor it in the racing throttle. Don't forget you will need more of the inner wire than the jacket.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.

  5. #5
    Team Member BRIAN HENDRICK's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Merrickville, ON,& Sebring,FL
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    McCrea was well known in the NE and eastern Canada in the late '40s, early 50s. His plan catalog included a full line of boats from small rowing skiffs to inboard and o/b racers. The catalog I had in the mid 50s had two three point hydros,[and older mono planes] one being a B/C alky boat which looks to be the one in the above pic, and this below one in the 10-56 Boat Sport with Konig driving.
    We built the stock AB 3pt in the mid 50s, and it ran well with KG4/7s ,but was overpowered by a M20H.
    It had a aircraft fabric deck.
    Many of the hulls in the popular inboard class called COD [Canadian One Design] were built from his plans.
    Few today recall McCrea, and i have not seen a catalog of his in years. I had always meant to research him more
    if I ever got to North Hatley, on the Quebec/Vermont border. Nice to see one of his hulls alive and well.
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  6. #6
    John (Taylor) Gabrowski

    Default Throttle etc. hookup is a real easy one.

    I use a Merc 400 on my restored 1970 Chaparral 13.5 foot class F hydro with a bucket seat just to motor around on lazy summer weekends.

    I had electric start and choke going too. I bought and took apart a used standard Merc throttle/electrical key and choke control box and on a aluminum plate remounted the key ignition and choke button to below my steering wheel. I use the standard Merc engine plugin as stock electrical system even though the motor uses magneto ignition. Located a 12 volt lead acid utility starting battery to the floor in a box behind the slide in bucket seat (removable on tracks so it can go back to a kneeler boat with ease).

    The 2 Bowden wires from the original Merc control were cut off and shortened one for the dead mans throttle and the other for the forward reverse shifter linkage. In my case I locked the engine out of reverse but gave it forward and neutral, but it could start in both (neutral or forward) in any case.

    I used the original engine linkage and made a metal bracket to hold the action to the outside of the cowl no different from stock use. This allowed the use of the engine unaltered from inside the cowls as it would be for ski/fishing use of the motor. The throttle action is slower and stiffer but its still a deadmans throttle unit. I also attached a tethered to jacket electonic kill switch to kill the engine if you get dumped but on an F hydro with a Merc 400 on the back giving me low 50 mile per hour speeds for that boat dumping it was not a concern at half the power and speeds you could hang on it.

    Cost of the conversion was about $25.00 for the used control module with its 16 foot cables and some of my time to easily configure it. There is no reason for the job to be an expensive one and mine really worked well.

    *If your not going to use electric start and choke then omit all the electronics except the tethered to life jacket electronic dump out kill switch. Think safety first. With that the price just dropped too.

    I used the standard Merc H type chromed steering bar and racing cable steering.

    I posted some pictures of this boat fully rigged and on its trailer somewhere on this BRF website too

    Hope I have been a help.
    Last edited by John (Taylor) Gabrowski; 11-07-2008 at 01:26 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    John (Taylor) Gabrowski

    Default Forgot the propeller.

    I forgot to mention that in choosing a prop get the biggest one in diameter and pitch you can find for your Merc 300 (30 cubic inch 4 banger) (Merc 30H-1s were the racing versions of your ski-fishing engine) because of the gearing and power to weight rations involved with your engine and boat. I also ended up shimming up the engine slightly to ensure the cavitation plate was a minimum of 1.5 inches above the bottom of the boat, with the principle of keeping the water under the cavitation plate and not over it through any force otherwise your not going to get your avaible speed right. Also do not raise the engine too high as you could cripple its water cooling pickup and fry the engine.

    I can't think of anything else off hand other than it became an enjoyable weekend cruiser with a 50+miles per hour bang to it but my engine is a Merc 44 cubic inch and yours is a 30 cuber so the performance won't be the same though quite satisfying for the effort.

  8. #8
    John (Taylor) Gabrowski

    Default Puddelduck there are others there from UK on here.

    Puddleduck: There are other UK enthusiasts on here too like Rod Champkin aka Twister and so on. I know UK s a big country with a load of people but finding out who is around you to help out with their racing knowledge could be a help to you so look them up. They hang around on BRF and could be a source of getting together over there in UK making the scene both exciting and sociable.

    Hands across the waters to you from Canada! and it just snowed about an inch here! Arghhhhhhhh!!!
    Last edited by John (Taylor) Gabrowski; 11-07-2008 at 05:25 PM. Reason: additions, deletions and spelling

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Napa, California
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    Default Merc 300 ?

    If I am not mistaken, the merc300 was a 40 cube motor , same as a mark 55 , but rated at 35 horses .It seems to me that a merc300 is also the same as my mark35A.
    Last edited by Roy Hodges; 11-07-2008 at 10:31 PM. Reason: more facts

  10. #10
    John (Taylor) Gabrowski

    Default Merc 300 is a 30 cuber.


    The Merc 300 is the same update casting as the 30H-1 racing block with 30 cubic inches.

    It is the same newer block design as the Merc 55H-1 was with the smaller bore.

    This newer style of block design went from 4 individual intake inspection ports to the 2 paired combined type.

    The Merc 350 is the 40 cubic inch engine which still used the Tillotson AJ and some later ones had Tillotson "KB" carbs with the newer updated Mark 55 block we call a Mark 55H-1 block but for it in racing they had the bigger KA7A carbs for racing along with the H tower and gearcase.

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