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Chris Craft
 BoatUS Boat Groups/Manufacturer Forums>>Chris Craft
Subject Topic: 1982 Catalina Express 281 Post ReplyPost New Topic
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"Seaman Recruit"

Joined: October 13 2012
Posts: 1
Posted: October 13 2012 at 13:03 | IP Logged Quote Shworden

Purchased a 1982 Catalina Express 281 a few months ago. Have had a few problms with it, but overall it is great. 

Need to know if anyone knows where I can get a maintenace manual on this boat. Chris Craft website does not have info on boats before 2001.  Newport News Martime has documents on almost all boats, but no manitnance manual on mine.

Present problems ... 1. Have, what I think, is a freshwater tank leak that is seeping underneath the Dinette area.  2. Have swithces on the console not labled and don't know exactly what they do 3. Have a hot water heater braker on the AC panel yet I was told thiere is no hoat water heater and am wondering why I would have a breaker siwitch for it and I have no idea where to look to check it out 4. Oil pressure guage on consle on starboard engine shows really high oil pressure with WOT, but starboard reads normal 5. Electrical connector in Engine compartment is disconnect and I have no idea what it goes to and where it should be connected. Since it is yellow and the boats horn does not work, perhaps that is it, but again don't know where to connect it. 5. And lots of other things I need to take care of.

Owners manual is useless as it covers a range of models. Rrecently had the engines tuned up. Price of parts $500+ Price of labor $1200.  Really want to prevent the labor charges and do it my self, but need some documentation to let me know where things, such as valves, and connections and accessoriess are located.

Any help would be appreciated.


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Joined: January 02 2007
Posts: 845
Posted: November 08 2012 at 20:19 | IP Logged Quote diveryates

Hi Steve,

1) Tank in dinette area: 1st, if you can see it- check the outlet at the tank that goes to the boats's fresh water pump- clean, dry area. Let set a spell and see if moisture reappears around that fixture. Suggest pumping the tank dry, dry the bilge as much as possible and see if seepage reappears. If it doesn't at least you know it's the tank. Having a telescoping handled mirror and a small, powerful flashlight will always come in handy.

2) 281's  are twin engine boats. Mine is a 280- a single. the best way to talk  console apples to apples is to photograph the console in question and post it. Here's mine:

Is this anything like what you have?  CC factory did a good job of console labeling- has the console been modified?

3) CC installed the hotwater bresaker at the factory and the Heater was, I think an option. Spotting the heater shouldn't be hard if you have one- usually 5 gallon, square SS if a marine heater or  standard cylendrical like from home Depot if a home model. Having twin engines displaces water tank, water heater etc... I think from the engine room.  Perhaps someplace close to where the water tank is? Ask the prevous owner?

4) Oil pressure: Guages/senders identicle? Check all connections. Swap existing senders.

5) Follow the wire. Use a ohm meter to trace. On my schematic, a 16 guage yellow wire goes to the neutral safety switch at the transmision. 

Will try and help as much as I can. I know the 280s pretty well.


Roy & Laurie, S.F. Bay Area
'83 280, hardtop, single 305
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