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Formula/Thunderbird
 BoatUS Boat Groups/Manufacturer Forums>>Formula/Thunderbird
Subject Topic: Formula/Thunderbird Introductory Post Post ReplyPost New Topic
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MarkT
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: December 29 2002
Posts: 4
Posted: August 03 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote MarkT

Here's our Formula 2002 31PC. We've had it two years next month and love it. My biggest disappointment is that we've only put 145hours on her so far.

With her twin 6.2L MPI's with Bravo III's she will do 45 knots and cruises at 30knots all day long (actually for 6 hours or so before she needs to be refueled). Since she has Bravo III's we keep her on a lift. I will post a picture on her hydrohoist soon.

MarkT



Edited by MarkT on 03 August 2004 at 11:05pm


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The SALLY P. a 2002 Formula 31PC
MarkT
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Beef
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 02 2004
Posts: 3
Posted: August 05 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Beef

Double E,

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'll give your calendar idea a shot. I know that setting goals is an important part of such a large project.

I'm in Washington State. My in-laws are in Virginia though.

Here are a few pics of my boat (well, hull anyway) as it was last year:

Bow
Interior
Starboard
Stern

Hmm... for some reason the [IMG] tags were mangling the URL, so I just put the pictures up as links.

Since these pics were taken, I've pulled the engine and out drive and removed all electrical and hydraulic lines. I've also cut the rest of the flooring out and cleaned up the interior quite a bit. Still lots of work to do!

Looking forward to pics of your interior.

-Beef
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 05 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

Wow!  You have some determination. Here's a decent one of the interior but let m eknow if there are others you need.

I'll shrink this one down in a couple of days so it's not so obnoxious....

For some interior shots (before I get back to my photos) be sure to look here: http://www.formulaboats.com/content/vintage.aspx?type=0

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 05 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

Doesn't look any different than the '84 my brother has, lol, 20 years newer than that 64!  He's getting into having to do the entire deck, AND stringers!

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Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:40
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Beef
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 02 2004
Posts: 3
Posted: August 06 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Beef

Hehe... lot's of determination or lack of brains. Not sure which yet. I downloaded the brochures and took a look at them. Great pics of interiors there. I think that I'm going to modernize mine a little though.

74Formula, did you rebuild the Fintage, or have you just done cosmetic work on it? It's a beautiful boat!
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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 06 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

Beef wrote:

74Formula, did you rebuild the Fintage, or have you just done cosmetic work on it? It's a beautiful boat!

No, I bought her almost the way she sits!  Paid $3,000 for her with the original ('73) EZ Loader, from the original owner in Michigan!  She has the original 1974 Michigan License Plates below the side windshields both sides.

The only cosmetics I did:

I D-A'ed the hull with 1200 grit paper, as she was painted in the early 80's the same color as the original gelcoat.  Horrible paintjob (flat and orange-peel, just didn't shine), but there was plenty of paint to work with.  My friend is a professional antique restorer, so he set me up with what to do.  After D-Aing the paint, he compounded, buffed, and glazed the paint.  Took me a few afternoons of elbow-grease sanding, and him about 1 hour to buff out.  Paint is now flat as glass, NO Exaggeration!  Shines like you wouldn't believe, and now only needs 1 coat of wax a year (gelcoat oxidizes horribly compared to paint).

In 2003 I stripped the entire outdrive and bracket down to bare aluminum with a sandblaster and 3M stripper wheels fora drill.  A few afternoons work.  Then my buddy refinished it with new acid-etch and Mercury Phantom Black paint.  Looks like new now also, lol.

That's it.  All I did inside was put new seats in the front.  Had the original "plywood-framed with yellow vinyl" seats, LOL.

The floor is rock solid....the top deck is rock solid, the hull is impeccable, not even one stress crack above the water-line.  Of course there are a few on the bottom, there always are, but only slight superficial ones.  Bottom was painted in the early 80's with gloss-white automotive paint.

She was used always in Upper Lake Huron, and trailered, so you wouldn't believe her condition if you saw her in person, even the original drivetrain LOOKS new, as well as runs new!

Had 629 original hours when I bought her, now has ~1100.

I use her for everything from bay cruising with the wife, to Tuna & Shark fishing ~50 +/- miles offshore.  She does absolutely everything I want/need to do .

LOVE FORMULAS!



__________________


Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:40
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64Formula
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 09 2004
Posts: 8
Posted: August 09 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 64Formula

I have a 1964 Formula 23 and have never seen one like it. It has the driving console on the left hand side instead of the right. Does anyone out there have any idea why mine seems to be the only on out there left hand drive? I has the normal volvo penta 120B motors and everything else seems to be normal and definitely looks like it is all factory. The only things I have changed are the drive linkage cables.
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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 10 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

All of the early 60's F233s had left-hand drive, to my knowledge.  The first 1962 model was that way, used for racing, as can be seen in many early photos.  Formula seems to have carried that layout until about '65/'66, from what I have seen in my research so far.  They then changed either all or some to the current right-hand drive layouts.

Maybe they made the early race-boats left-hand drive to emulate a race car, LOL.

Have any pics of your '64?  Would love to see it!

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64Formula
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 09 2004
Posts: 8
Posted: August 10 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 64Formula

 I have to go out and pick it up from my Mech later this weekand I will post some pics then. Can you send me some links to where you found info on the older models? From what I have found Don Aronow built one 26' in 1962 for the Miami Nassau race and again in 63 he built a 27' for the same race then started building Formula. The only place I have found much is http://baldknobmarina.com let me know if you have any other online or offline not, any info would appreciated. I would really love to find the original specs for the 1964 models.

Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 13:23
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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 10 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

64, the formula website has some history, but I don't remember where else I have found it....I have done numerous internet searches, and just read/absorbed the info.  I never saved most of the sites, as They were likely "snippets" of info. about them.

However, I happen to have an original magazine ad from January 1964! 

It is your boat, with a CRAPLOAD of specs listed for it!  Shows a picture of one involved in an offshore race, and is really an advertisement for the "consumer" edition.  Shows 3 drawings of the boat......side elevation, half-front cross-section, and top-down view.  And it is left-hand drive.  Power as shown in sketch is twin-I/O (110HP Volvo Pentas).

LARGE list of "Standard Equipment", "Specifications", and "Details".

I can photocopy this and mail it to you if interested?

I would scan it and email it, but the there is so much information, the text is way too small to scan without making the file probably well over 100 MB by having to pump the quality WAY up, LOL .

Wanna see the F233 in action today? 

http://www.centralmarine.com.au/

Edencraft bought the original mold, and is producing the F233 in Australia!  Check them out!



__________________


Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 15:26


__________________
1974 Formula F-233-C
Mercruiser Ford 302/TR Outdrive
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64Formula
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 09 2004
Posts: 8
Posted: August 10 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 64Formula

If you could I would be unbielevably grateful if you could caopy and send that brochure my direction, the formula website goes back to 1972 but no farther. I have used it for reference because it is as close as I can get but WOW I am excited to see a copy of your brochure,

     Please Send to: Stuart Clark

                                Apt 157 University Blvd South

                                 Mobile Alabama 36609

I will be posting the progress I am making in my restoration as I go. Thanks again for the Brochure.

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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 10 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

I also have a brochure of the 1964 Formula with the left handed side steering wheel. it explains everything about that model year.it shows it racing. .........Also i would like to share with everybody that i am about two weeks from installing a screw type supercharger on my 454 Formula. I WILL BE GOING WITH A WHIPPLE. i will be at about 650+ hp i will let you guys know how it rides then. unless you see me on the news getting rescued by coast gaurd !!Wink hope my drive takes it!Wink going nuclear!Nuke
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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 11 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

64, I'll get that copied and in the mail tomorrow for ya! 

Glad to help a fellow Formula 233 owner!

F233TBRD454.....you are SICK SICK SICK! 

I want to be on the maiden voyage!

What do you have for a drive on her now?




Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:54
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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 11 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

HEllO FINTAGE I HAVE A TRS DRIVE ON IT . IT SHOULD HOLD UP FINE TO THE HORSE POWER. WHAT CAN I SAY The Devil made me do it!Evil Smile those 233"S sure ride really nice at high speed!!  sick is right!Wacko!! Nuke

 

           23"3 FEET OF THUNDER CHASING THE WIND.

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 12 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

Yeh, the TRS was made for that type of application.  They are heavy duty like my TR.  However, I have a much lower gear ratio than the TRS's.

I agree that the 233s like high speed!  Yee-ha!  Unfortunately mine only goes 37MPH top speed, lol, but it certainly is capable of MUCH more, as they were deisgned for offshore racing!

I open her up once in a while, though not for too long, because I don't like when I can actually watch the gas gauge move hahahaha!

I get very good mileage as long as I stay 2500 to 3000 RPMs, LOL.




Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:55
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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 12 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

LMAO lol lol lol  well Fintage i have a big 120 lbs brand new fuel tank. and i love to feed the beast. ocassionaly i am leaving the Marina and they can see the through hull exhaust and the very very loud rumble of thunder. to give you an idea it sounds like i had two engines ocassionaly i will get a invitation from A 30 FT scarrab sport with two 250"s or a ocassional go fast sterndrive boat like  another Formula 233 call me out to play.  So i have to answer. and that is when the  takes over! its great to see the guys in the big boats with the multiple engines get taken by a little 233 formula with one engine. But most of the time i am just fishing and scuba diving or spear fishing.......But she can go  in a second........i am really expecting alot when i put the super charger on in about a weeks time. i will let you know how it goes
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exuma16
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 14 2004
Posts: 1
Posted: August 14 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote exuma16

Hello to all,

I have a 1974 23 formula. I am the second owner. The original power was a ford based 302. Just before I bought the boat the original owner re-powered her with a v-6 OMC I promptly blew the motor. I re-powered with a used chevy 305 very economical with fair power. I have since re-powered twice again, changed drives and props several times. I would like to hear from any one that has re-powered. I am interested in engine and drive choices honest cruise speeds, top end speed,fuel consumption. I have owned this boat for 12 and I just can't part with it.

Thanks

Mike

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trim85
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 07 2004
Posts: 10
Posted: August 14 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote trim85

exuma16, I've had a '79 233 for 19 years and repowered twice.  The first time I went with another big block Chevy, a new 454 from Mariner.  But 11 years later the valve seats were gone because the Mariner didn't come with the hardened seats required for unleaded fuel.  (We used to have leaded gas on the water around here until the late 80s.)

The second time I had a machine shop rebuild it - higher compression heads with hardened seats and a performance cam.  I also changed the exhaust manifolds over to center rise and experimented with different props but honestly, I can't tell much difference in speed.  Until F233TBRD454 posted his speed report above, I was convinced that this was a 50 mph hull and it didn't matter what kind of power you put behind it.  That's about all I ever got out of it with TRS drive and 21" Mirage prop.

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 17 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

exuma, post some pics please!    Love to see another '74!

As for power...I am on the original 302 (225HP) still, and runs like a top.....but like any boater, I always dream about new power, lol.  Not gonna do it anytime soon, but I have thought about everything from a small 230HP Yanmar 4-Cylinder diesel to a 454.

I even think about swapping a 351W (255-275HP, depending where you get 'em) in, since everything bolts up the same as the 302, lol.  Assuming that if my motor went, that my TRII setup was all in good condition (right now it's all mint shape).



Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:55
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DOGGYDOO
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Joined: June 30 2004
Posts: 24
Posted: August 18 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote DOGGYDOO

Considering  purchase of  a 1980  255  liberator with twin 5.7 gm alphadrives. Anyone with experience with this model , any advice? Also i guess i will be selling my  1971 20 formula  to make room. Dave
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

How cool!  I do wonder what interesting combinations of power & options were available through the years.  That was an eyeopener to what was possible.

Nice to know they were built to handle the weight, torque and have that potential for speed.

I wonder if it also has the small sink, ice box, salon seats and water tank in it.

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Cuda
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Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

Dang, I'm hurt that I wasn't called out on the first post.
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

Hey Cuda! 

Welcome over....  Sorry I left you out!  You're certainly good company to have in here.  If you don't mind...let the others know I've been busy making a second home for us in here.

I haven't gotten the green light on OSO's membership costs (so I can't post anywhere but in general forums) but did already have one for BoatUS, so it was a no-brainer that I begin this and ask you guys over once it was going well.

(Old Floating Bird)

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Cuda
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Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

I'm into all things Formula. I'm on my third, and I still have my first.  As a matter of fact, I saw one like the one I sold (242 with twins) today at a boat place.  I stopped to see if it was for sale.  I still miss my 242.
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Cuda
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Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

Let's try this one.

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Cuda
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Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

Here is my first Formula, a 1981 20 SC.  I still have it.  I have so much money sunk in it, I can't afford to sell it.

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Cuda
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Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

So I decided to keep it and transform it into a 206 SR1 to match my 302 SR1.  I've started on the paint in this picture.

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Cuda
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: August 19 2004
Posts: 117
Posted: August 19 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote Cuda

I had removed the bow rail earlier, and here I've removed the rub rail.  I want to shoot the black paint this weekend, but I may have to work instead.

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

Cuda, you appear to have a sickness....


Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:56
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

Thanks Cuda!  When you removed the rub rail, what was holding the deck to the hull? 

I've heard that removing a section of it for a survey is routine for a good indicator of the watertightness and other conditions.  Was it through bolted and epoxied to be tight or were there gaps? 

I've not taken off any on mine and don't think there's any problems ...but if it ain't broke, I'm usually dumb enough to take it apart and break it anyway....

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

I may actually take all mine off next year or so, and change it to a rubber rub-rail.  Though the original aluminum one is durable as hell, it also can be nerve-wracking being rafted to someone and having a boat fly by.  You have to rush and hold the boats apart so an "accident" doesn't happen.  Aluminum rubrails can be very detrimental to other's boat finishes lol

__________________


Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:57
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

Thanks for the voice of exp.  I have not yet had occasion to tie up to another but if/when, that's going to be key information that would have been too late to learn on my own...
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mattzeiler
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Joined: August 20 2004
Posts: 1
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote mattzeiler

I have a 1979 Formula Thunderbird 302 which I greatly enjoy.  I just purchased it recently and was wondering why it shifts from side to side quickly, and almost out of control when I let back on the throttle too quickly or loosen my grip on the steering wheel?  Could it be because of the props?  They are only three blade props and look too small for the boat.  What kind of props should this boat be running? (It has about 400 HP per engine after upgrades)
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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

Interesting problem...

Cuda,

Is that what's known as chine walking ...or is that sort of thing only found when it's up on plane as opposed to decelerating as Matt describes?

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74Formula233
"Seaman"




Joined: April 01 2004
Posts: 73
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 74Formula233

Matt,

It sounds like it is your steering.  You should have very little to no play between your drive and your wheel up front.  Very dangerous condition to have, if indeed it is your steering!  Needs prompt attention to see if the following is the problem:

I just went thru this very early in the season, and it turned out to be a worn out Gimbal Ring.  The steering shaft (being hardened steel) had worn out the splines in the softer aluminum Gimbal Ring on my TR, and the cross-bolt was almost all that was holding it from turning completely around.  When I tore it apart, the Gimbal Ring splines were smoothed off shiny!  Even though the steering shaft splines were fine.

I rebuilt it using some "donor" parts off a Bonito that had the same unit, and the parts were in very nice condition.  After rebuilding it, I decided to change the steering helm/cable, since it, too was 30 years old, and the $120 for the whole kit was a drop in the bucket/piece of cake after doing the Gimbal Ring job!

Once done, adjusted to factory specs, etc....I now can only move the outdrive about 1/4" literally before I get reaction at the wheel.  Very responsive.

ALSO, don't discount your helm being worn or some other connections, however, I have seen many original helms that are no worse than new ones after many years of service!  In my case, everything else was fine, it was simply the Ring, which was the worst case (damn it LOL).




Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 20 2013 at 17:57
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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

 Hello Folks! Well the whipple is on the 454. tommorow i am hitting the water. wish it was a little flatter out there but i will have to do with what i got. we dyno tested the the motor with the super charger on. It packed a whopping 725 horse power!!!!.today i am chaging my prop to a chopper. tommorow i go full .... WISH ME LUCK!

 

23"3 FEET OF THUNDER CHASING THE WIND!!!!!!!

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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

There's something unnatural (& slightly evil) about the HP being 150% to the inches of displacement.

I wish this site could deliver sound bytes!

Don't break nothin'!!!

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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

Well if i Break something it will probably be the misconception that 23"3 foot formula hulls are 50 mph hulls Because i am pushing 67 mph and thats without the supercharger. and i am sorry its not 725hp  its 625 hp TYpo but its still whopping!!!!tommorow is d-day i was at 400 to 450 without it. my heads have been port and polished i a have a roller Cam MSD Ignition and i am bored out nasty.oh wait hold on...........i amcrazy!and i have a torque master 200lbs starter because i have broken every stater available because my compression is so high!...if i had the funds i would put a monster Merlin 600+ cubic inch Engine in there.

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233 Double E
"Deckhand"




Joined: May 05 2004
Posts: 116
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote 233 Double E

How the heck are you getting enough air to the motor? 

Those little side vents on mine seem barely enough to feed the little 350ci on mine...

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F233TBRD454
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: July 10 2004
Posts: 13
Posted: August 20 2004 at 00:00 | IP Logged Quote F233TBRD454

Well i actually modified that big box that covers the engine i installed one big vent in the front and two on the sides. i did that even before i had the super charger. the engine in side that box in my opinion is seriously starved of air! try what i did and you will see that when you are cruising and you let go of the throttlle down you can actually hear the suction pop of the engine releasing the air it sounds cool it sounds just like a super charger.people would ride on my boat and ask me hey do you have a super charger? and i would answer not yet! but those little side vents you have dont cut it trust me!! Feed her AIR!!! the difference will be like night and day!plus she will stay nice and cool and in my opinion chevy engines run better when kept cool!!!
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