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TOPIC: 1985 Contessa top speed

1985 Contessa top speed 14 Aug 2017 02:00 #1

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I recently bought a 1985 contessa 2850 with a vp260 engine and a vp290SP drive. I have only been able to consistently get about 20mph even on a flat day. The highest i got was 23mph. All on gps. The engine doesnt get over 3000 rpms at all when driving. In neutral it will rev to about 4500-5000 rpm. It seems to be planing off ok but only on a flat day on the water. I have tried messing with the tilt and trim and really hasnt made much of a difference but i feel like the engine should be getting more rpms at wot. I dont think its a linkage adjustment because in neutral it will scream around 4500. Does anyone have any suggestions or is this just the best it will get?

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1985 Contessa top speed 14 Aug 2017 02:20 #2

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Things to check:

Cylinder pressures
Ignition advance .... both Progressive and TA
Fuel delivery system
Hull bottom for marine growth
Condition of propeller

Make sure that the boat is not stern heavy!


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Rick E. Portland, Oregon
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Twin 270 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
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1985 Contessa top speed 14 Aug 2017 02:45 #3

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Hull is freshly painted. Prop is in good shape though not sure if it could be the correct one but it seems fine looking at it. It is 30 years old and im not the original owner so who knows if it is correct. Im not familar with what should be on there or how to size them. The engine starts and runs perfect only the issue with rpms at WOT im gear. It has a new fuel tank and fuel filter. In neutral it gets right up to 4500rpms. It definitely is a heavy boat and may be a bit underpowered but i still think i should be able to get more rpms at WOT. But i could be mistaken.

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1985 Contessa top speed 14 Aug 2017 03:43 #4

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are you able to answer these questions :

....What are your cylinder pressures?
....What is your ignition advance doing ...... Progressive and TA?
....Did this boat reach WOT RPM during your sea trial?
....Which prop was used during your sea trial?


By the way....... it's RPM (no S needed)!

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Rick E. Portland, Oregon
2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
Twin 270 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set
Last Edit: by 2850Bounty.

1985 Contessa top speed 14 Aug 2017 05:31 #5

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32 is quite possible, and a tad bit more on a good running 350. Just because it will rev to 4500 in neutral doesn't mean much. I would echo Bounty's questions, What prop do you have? An OEM "elephant ear", 16 diam. x 13 to 16 pitch is usually the correct range choice, for single prop, 350.

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1986 Bayliner Contessa 2850
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Last Edit: by SKUA 28 Contessa.

1985 Contessa top speed 28 Aug 2017 00:26 #6

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Can anyone tell me what this litte box is that is next to the coil? Also it has a stock volvo penta distributor probably original. Im wondering if the mechanical advance isnt working. I have no means of testing it to see. It does have a pertronix electronic ignition though which looks to be a conversion from the points.

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1985 Contessa top speed 28 Aug 2017 04:36 #7

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Ballast resistor for the ignition system, usually used with points, not electronic ignition systems. Won't hurt anything unless it goes bad, then no start. With electronic conversions, It's eliminated, But I never did a pertronix conversion kit. Their reputation amongst auto enthusiasts isn't very good.

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1986 Bayliner Contessa 2850
On the hard undergoing, a full on refit and repower, with Chevrolet 454
Making real progress now
baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/forum/g...to-leak?limitstart=0

1985 Contessa top speed 29 Aug 2017 03:48 #8

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From the looks of the distributor cap, it looks like an old Prestolite distributor. It could have points or it may have been converted.

If you want to check and see if the progressive advance is working, continue strobing your timing marks as you increase RPM.
If it is working, you should see a smooth and steady increase in advance up to approximately 28° at 3,200 RPM.


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Rick E. Portland, Oregon
2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
Twin 270 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set
Last Edit: by 2850Bounty.
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