Friday, February 5, 2021

2022 Nissan Pathfinder


Earlier in the week, Nissan announced a new Pathfinder coming for 2022 (sales starting this summer). While most of the press release went on to describe what you would expect in a new CUV launch, bigger touch screens, roomier, seats better electronic safety measures, something else caught my attention.

According to the release it would be capable of towing 6,000 lbs, which is damn impressive for a FWD based 3-row crossover, I assume this is being helped by the new Transmission. This may be about the highest towing I have ever seen on a FWD chassis but I would need to do more research on it (all the other ones I can think of stop around 5k).   

Now my favorite nugget, the press release also said it would be capable of hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood. If that’s with the door closed that would be damn impressive. Right now if you want to do that (with the door closed) your looking at a Suburban or a van (and maybe an Expedition). If it is true that would shrink the line between a minivan and CUV even more. Which makes a lot of sense in some ways.  Hopefully, someone can confirm in the next few days if it’s with the door closed.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Albin 24 ---- For sale CL find

 A little while back I wrote a short intro to the Albin 24 getaway. LINK HERE  Well now I found one for sale here in the North East. The ad states it has the 318 thou it has a knock. Otherwise looks to be in decent shape in the pictures. 

Find the listing here on Craigslist

Topic of the Day BCS two wheel tractors

BCS 201 tiller

I have a bit of an obsession with multi use items. Sometimes they aren’t very practical but I love a tool or anything else that can do a variety of jobs well. My Leatherman Wave being a good example. Would you use it to rebuild an engine? Nope. Is it incredibly useful to have on your hip doing projects around the house? Yep. Which leads me to todays topic, Two Wheeled tractors and in particular BCS.

While browsing Craigs List today, I came across, a BCS rototiller. LINK I have known about BCS tractors for about a decade now and look for them from time to time but they are often well out of budget. This one was cheap so I dug a bit more and determined it was really mostly a rototiller version and not a true two wheel tractor (single rear PTO no reverse and limited controls). I’m pretty sure it’s 201 model but have emailed to confirm.

So what is a 2 wheel tractor and how is it different then a regular rototiller? 2 Wheel tractors are pretty much what they sound like. They are a piece of farm/land equipment designed mostly to till up soil but also do other garden tool functions. They were popular with small scale farmers in the US back before and even extending past WW2. They have maintained that popularity in other countries and still have somewhat of a cult following in the US among small scale organic and other farmers. In the US the biggest home grown names were Bradley and Gravely, Gravely lasted by far the longest into the early 2000’s.

Initially these tractors pulled implements like mold board plows and harrows to till and modify the land for farming. As time went on power takes offs (PTO’s) were added for other implements like rototillers, snow blowers snow plows grading plows, mowers all kinds of things really. In the US gravely went for a front PTO system which worked well for most but not all implements and ended up becoming a favorite of landscapers, property owners and municipalities. BCS and other European and Asian makers stayed focused on farmers and developed rear and switchable PTO’s (front and rear).

To go back to the unit I found online today, it was essentially a simplified version of a 2 wheel tractor with a number of features removed to make it a rototiller only (essentially). BCS did make an incredibly similar   machine called the 205 that featured the switchable front and rear PTO as well as reversing gears and the ability to carry other implements. In the case of the 205 (and other 200 series BCS tractors) these implements are limited to a rototiller, snowblower, sickle bar mower and a rotary mower. I haven’t researched this fully yet but I get the impression the 200 series was aimed at homeowners more then farmers. The limiting factors are the 5hp engine and the PTO which has a different design then other similar tractors (BCS Grillo etc).

If it had been a 205 I would have been very tempted to get it. Even with the limited implements on offer it would cover my homeowner needs well, and let me shrink my collection of outdoor tools. Despite my desire I’m not sure it would be all that much more efficient then what I have now thou, considering how cheap things like push mowers and snowblowers have become. But it would mean having cool overbuilt equipment and savings on storage space.

More reading here

BCS 201 and 205 manual

BCS tractor specs

BCS history and info at Earth tools

BCS America website

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Interesting boat Albin 24 Getaway

1990's Albin's why do I like you so much. There just something about the classic but up to date styling, with a good dose of practicality that's just hard to ignore. 

The 24 is an oddball in some respects with a relatively few examples (48) made for a 24 footer. It's basically a scaled down version of the 31-34 foot command bridge models Albin built over the years. Having the raised helm area nets you more cabin in the larger boat.  Here it gets the engine under foot instead of in a box in the cockpit, as would normally be the case on a 24 foot boat with a straight shaft inboard.In actuality the straight shaft is one of the more unusual parts of this boat. While the arrangement was common in the pre stern drive era, it was very uncommon by the early 90's. The only other production cabin boat under 26' with an inboard of the time period I can think of is Shamrock (I'm sure there are others but I'm not going to spend all day finding them). 

In the cabin you had a large U booth style dinette along with an enclosed head, and small galley. None of which is that strange, but then you get to the cockpit mounted fridge and the sailboat style pilot berth alongside the engine and were back to a very original design. The cockpit is clear at the aft end for fishing with a raised helm seat and fore act bench on the port side, which actually makes the cockpit look a bit like later midcabin sterndrive boats. 

For power there was a 235hp Chrysler Marine gas engine (one of the last production boats to use a Chrysler Marine inboard as they were discontinued around 93), a 180hp Mercruiser diesel (that might be tricky parts wise), and a 170hp Yanmar. And again a nice straight shaft to a 18" bronze prop. 

Why do I find this boat so interesting? Mainly the raised bridge concept and the straight shaft inboard arrangement. My unnatural hate for stern-drives means an almost automatic interest in boats like this one. 

Key Info
Length                24'2"
Beam                  8'6"
Draft                   2' 10"
Displacements    5200 lbs
Bride clearance   6'9"
Designer             Terrence Compton
 Years built         Believed to be 1991-1993


Friday, February 1, 2019

Interesting boat Carver 325

Sometimes you just find a boat and you have to look into it more.
I happened to be looking thru motor yacht listings one day and came across a Carver 325. The reason it  to me was the swim platform arrangement. Instead of a near vertical transom there was a series of steps in the platform allowing a non climb transition to the area above the aft cabin. Other then that change and some tweaks to the bridge this is the same basic 32' motor yacht Carver offered for a couple decades.
But I like it might be my favorite small motor yacht. The arrangement below with a enormous v shaped dinette really makes it feel like a bigger boat and the berth arrangement in the back while a bit odd is versatile.
Almost all of these are gas powered but diesel was an option.

For a detailed write up the owner of used to own one and has mods and lots of info on his page

For some specs here is the factory info

Friday, January 18, 2019

Donzi Blackhawk on E-bay

Interesting E-bay find. Donzi only made 40 of these back in the day. In collaboration with Mercruiser they had a twin prop surface piercing outdrive quite the toy. Unfortunately they became tough to fix later and many ended like this with a regular Bravo. These were around $55,000 new if I recall so trading around 12k seems a deal before the 2008 collapse I remember seeing them stil getting in the mid to high 20's.
See it here on EBay

Monday, December 10, 2018

OMC Quiet Rider

If you go walking thru a boat show today you will see a number of new boats with outboards hidden behind covers. The Searay 370  is one of the best known example of this. With Twin Mercury outboards hidden under fiberglass cowlings forward of the transom, it looks like a sleek express cruiser with a secret.

Of course this idea isn’t new. People have been trying to hide outboards basically since outboards were invented.  You will notice a small addition to the Mercury in the Searay above, a fresh air vent to keep the engine well fed with clean air. I have seen this in a few homemade wooden boats and a handful of modified sailboats thou of course without the nicely molded OEM cowl.
Why you might ask do people want to hide their shiny expensive outboard. Well for one lots of people don’t like the look of them hanging off the rear of the boat. They also tend to handle differently then inboard boats due to both their prop design and extreme aft placement. By moving them forward you can use them better for pivoting while docking etc. They also tend to quiet the outboard down.
Why not just install a stern drive? Several reasons. One for most of the past few decades stern drives used automotive engine blocks as their bases. While this works well in certain marine applications it does not normally perform as well as an engine designed for the specific task (note we now are seeing new marine specific sterndrive engine blocks again). The design also requires some packaging tradeoffs such as the large amount of space forward of the transom and the fact that you have introduced complexity with two ninety degree drive shaft changes as well as a CV joint and transom sealing issues.
On to the title. In 1991 OMC came up with the OMC quiet rider with 90hp, 115hp and 150 hp power heads. While at first the concept looks much like the conventional outboard slapped in a well, OMC actually seems to have spent quite  bit of time and energy developing it. You can tell by the name quiet rider that the main idea was sound proofing. This was based on a 2 stroke V4 OMC (V6 for the 150) power head which, while a very rugged engine, are not the quietest power plants around. To hush things down a fiberglass enclosure was added over the engine but they also sealed the cowl much more tightly now that air was coming thru a ducted hose rather then inlets in the cowl. the result was greatly reduced noise level in the boat. Noise levels behind the boat were similar to the regular out board as the opening rear of the transom was maintained to keep the boat an outboard in the eyes of the USCG etc as well as allowing for exhaust to exit.
The cowl was not only designed to fit better it also was more form fitting to allow for the smallest possible enclosure while still allowing for the motor to fully tilt. The designers also moved the pivot point of the out board lower then normal to accomplish the low cowl height. The motor now pivots on two brackets on either side of the transom notch rather then on the steering tube assembly which is bolted to the transom as with most outboards.
These pivot brackets were bolted into stringers that were located on either side of the transom notch. On the other side of the pivot bracket were two aluminum tubes on which the actual outboard was hung. With the force now directed into the stringers the outboard had a much more secure mounting and the engineers could better isolate the NVH then they could on a boat with a standard transom.

The Quiet rider was never sold to other boat companies outside of the OMC brands. In the early 90’s OMC owned several in house brands. The first brand to introduce the Quiet Rider was Sunbird on their Eurosport line. I believe only a 19′ (190) and later 21′ (210) models wre made. There was also a 19′ Chris craft version (another brand owned by OMC) but I have never seen one in person. I seem to remember seeing a version of a Sunbrid Neptune walk around with a Quiet Rider, but no information on this seems forth coming on the web. In the end the Quiet Rider was cancelled in 1995 due to slow sales and some issues with certain models stalling and running poorly thanks to exhaust build up in the transom notch. Some see this as an OMC deadly sin, I look at it more as a engineering company trying to solve a problem in a unique way.
These boats are still around, in the past 3 years I have seen at least 3 Sunbirds with the Quiet rider system come up for sale here in Connecticut. Pricing is all over the map but must were advertised in the $2,500 range. Hopefully a few will survive as most parts are shared with other motors, but eventually there will be fewer and fewer as corrosion claims the custom aluminum bits that support the motor. Just another chapter in american boating history.

Mid-size pickup bed and payload comparison

Mid-size trucks, they were a thing in the 90’s thru about 2010 when the segment collapsed (lack of new product didn’t help). Well now they...