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Thread: Question for Wooldridge Alaskan 17 Owners...

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    Default Question for Wooldridge Alaskan 17 Owners...

    I bought a 2007 Wooldridge Alaskan last fall and absolutely love it. I have noticed this spring however that it does not perform like I recall (maybe it was a long winter of dreaming). It has the Yamaha 115/80 four stroke and will fall off step if I drop below 4400-4500 RPMs. I seem to remember running on step at ~4000 RPM last fall while moose hunting and I believe the load in the boat is about the same. I replaced one large guy with 3 small kids...

    I have checked and the spacing on the impeller/sleeve is within range, is there any other maintenance points on a jet that could cause me to be loosing performance or have I not lost performance and I am dreaming about how it performed last fall?

    If anyone has the same setup and would be willing to provide some data on their performance to I'd be appreciative.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Do you have more weight in it? Sand or water trapped under the floor? More tools and equipment? Inspect the jet outlet for rocks.

    Go see Mike at Performance Marine on Potter. He will really school you up on your impeller and how to set it.

    I will check my tach this weekend if I go and see what RPM I come off of step.

    Mike

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    I may have had a bit more weight in it, but counting up what I recall having last fall and this weekend (on the way out) adds up to be about the same... I was going to go run it empty (just me) and see if it was a weight issue I was experiencing.

    I have talked to Mike and he schooled me well... He is a great resource, I think the impeller is set up as it should be.

    I have not pulled the floor boards, but I cannot imagine too much sand in the floor yet (it is only at 30 hours use). I have added a chainsaw winch since last fall, but that is only ~40 lbs, I may have gained 5 lbs over the winter, but all in all I think we were at about the same weight (at test time). Same fuel level in the tank too.

    Speaking of weight and fuel, I did go way up the Yentna recently and brought 45 Gallons of extra fuel and on the way in had to run pretty hard to stay on step (which I expected). When you run heavy where do you put the bulk of your weight. I found with it in the front I plowed a lot of water getting on step.

    Sorry I have lots of questions learning the limits and capabilities of my new boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    I may have had a bit more weight in it, but counting up what I recall having last fall and this weekend (on the way out) adds up to be about the same... I was going to go run it empty (just me) and see if it was a weight issue I was experiencing.

    I have talked to Mike and he schooled me well... He is a great resource, I think the impeller is set up as it should be.

    I have not pulled the floor boards, but I cannot imagine too much sand in the floor yet (it is only at 30 hours use). I have added a chainsaw winch since last fall, but that is only ~40 lbs, I may have gained 5 lbs over the winter, but all in all I think we were at about the same weight (at test time). Same fuel level in the tank too.

    Speaking of weight and fuel, I did go way up the Yentna recently and brought 45 Gallons of extra fuel and on the way in had to run pretty hard to stay on step (which I expected). When you run heavy where do you put the bulk of your weight. I found with it in the front I plowed a lot of water getting on step.

    Sorry I have lots of questions learning the limits and capabilities of my new boat.
    Shum,

    Rest assured you will have many years of enjoyable running of this boat, you probably just need to make a few adjustments on weight distribution. It will haul much more weight and take you more places than you might think

    My 1994 17' AK (narrow bottom) had a Yamaha 115 2 stroke. With just the wife and I we could hold on step at right around 4100 - this was with the stock 3 blade aluminum impeller. Upgraded to the 4 blade stainless and it made a tremendous difference in both hole shot and load hauling capability. If don't have this configuration I would highly recommend upgrading. If you're running in silt/fine gravel/etc might also consider getting a urethane lined sleeve too - ask your impeller guru for his take on this.

    ENSURE you don't have any goodies in the jet bowl - even the smallest rock wedged in the outlet can make a noticeable difference; a chunk of stringy spruce root pinballing around between the top of the intake grates and the bottom of the impeller has stumped me a time or two as well, it introduces enough disturbance to clean water flow that you'll have problems with a significant load. Also check to make sure your reverse gate is locked forward when travelling - you can test this in the driveway with motor off by putting the controls in "forward", and go back and pull on the front lip of the gate to make sure it stays put and doesn't drift backwards - if it does this is a simple/minor adjustment to make, the procedure to follow should be in manual that's specific to your jet unit.

    Load distribution of dense items (fuel, water, tools, coolers packed solid from dipnetting , etc) should be placed as forward/close to the second row of seats as possible - this will keep the boat leveled properly for the most efficient planing/getting on step. Too much weight forward = plowing, too much weight aft = squatting. My boat had pedestal seats that popped out in a jiffy if I really needed to load it up. Fill in the holes with the lighter gear (drybags, dogs, etc) ensuring you have even left to right weight distribution, factoring in driver weight. With my older, narrower hull this was important as I'm not a little guy. If it was a big load I'd put a dog or two up in the bow as needed - (A) self motorized, (B) waterproof, (C) self retrieving in case of an emergent parking event.

    If you have a big load you want to start off with motor trimmed all the way down (hard against the transom mount), and once you get on step tap the trim 2-3 times as needed to fine tune - sometimes it's best to keep it trimmed down until you lose a little fuel weight during a long run and then fiddle with it. If you have it trimmed too high it's tough to find the sweet spot.

    Some of the loads/trips I've hauled with mine:

    1. 2 (big) adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 1 moose, 3 steel tree stands, week worth of full nomadic camp (house/bed/chow/drink/chairs/etc);

    2. 4 adults, 2x15 gallon fuel blivets, 2 "coffin coolers" (giant mondo Igloos) with 90 whole sockeye onboard, dipnets, chow/drink cooler - all hustled down then back up the Wood Canyon on the Copper to fish down at the Haley drift;

    3. 2 (big) adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 16' trampoline with steel frame and all hardware, generator, big pile of carpenter tools, 2 weed whackers, 4x5 gallon jugs of gas, 2x5 gallon jugs of water, coolers with chow/drink for a week.

    These few simple mechanical checks/inspections along with tinkering with your load distribution should do the trick -

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    Thanks for the reply, I do enjoy running this boat, I have no complaints, just questions... I agree I need to figure out the proper distribution for hauling a load.

    I do have the 4 blade (came with the boat) so I have never run a 3 blade. I'll look up the urethane sleeve option. How often (rough hours) does one need to adjust shims? I have adjusted once and have about 30 hours on the pump, I realize adjust when needed, but any rules of thumb out there?

    I found out quick about goodies in the grate. Amazing how the tiniest stone can cause problems... 6 hooligans in the grate can do wonders to decrease performance too I looked the pump over and didn't see anything anywhere in the pump.

    Our dog loves being up front... I have yet to launch him out, I'm sure as soon as I do he will change his mind about the ideal boating seat selection, he does not like to swim...

    You talk about trimming the motor? I was told you don't trim a jet so it never crossed my mind to even try that. I'll play with that next time, thanks for mentioning that. I guess that is what happens when you just believe all you hear.

    Thanks for the tips... Now to try to get some work done with boating and fishing on my mind

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    I never trim on a river. It is too tight and the need to pay attention is great. On long runs up the Yentna etc.... you can gain a bit of speed by trimming. It does not take much.

    On lakes..... just a tad nose up on my boat is pretty good. When it gets rough. I trim the nose up and push through. My teeth don't get rattled as bad either.

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    Agreed on the trimming while in tight quarters on the river - unless you're lightly loaded, a trimmed boat may cause a little settling in the turns. I've had to milk every last ounce of fuel on several trips (typically long hauls) to maximize range (not that it always worked out so well.....), so I'd trim to get that extra .1+ mph if conditions allowed.

    Shim interval depends greatly on water conditions and how much sand/gravel/etc you ingest. Stainless impeller + urethane sleeve = most durable configuration. Urethane sleeve allows goodies to "bump around" as opposed to grinding a groove in the stock aluminum sleeve. Works great until you get a mondo sharp rock that then takes a massive chunk out of the urethane... so I've heard I ran over 70 hours in 100% silty river (Tanana and Copper) last summer and still haven't had to shim - running 4 blade stainless and stock aluminum sleeve. 1x or 2x a summer quick inspection and a sharpening/tuning should be all you need unless you really suck up a bunch of gravel.

    One thing to definitely keep an eye on is the condition of the nylon bushings on your reverse gate hinge pins... I noted one time that one of them had work out/blown off, and I thought "no biggie, just a little plastic thing I'll fix later this summer..." - what you'll get is then silt blowing thru the space where the bushing was, wallowing out the metal around the pin mount, which is a real bear to repair (haven't seen/heard of a success story yet). Can chew up and start grooving the stainless hinge pin itself as well. Even calling and talking directly to Dick Stallman in CA who mfg's the jet unit said "have fun with that". Boat Shop response was "get a new jet bowl". Bummer for me. Watch the components on the reverse system closely for wear and replace stuff as soon as it looks iffy. I always have spare components in the tool box just in case.

    Hoolies in the jet? Nice. I actually keep a box with the biggest/nicest looking rocks I've picked up over the years - good to scare new passengers with

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    I'll keep an eye on those bushings, I'd be the guy that said "it just a bushing" and let it go... Thanks for the warning.

    I had no idea the hoolies were there, the kids had a blast chasing the live ones while I picked the blended ones out. It was supposed to be a quick pee break that ended up with us not being able to get back on step. I have never seen them so thick, I coulda caught a cooler full of them in 2 minutes had I known what to do with them once I caught them. My 2 year old was catching them by hand...
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    My boat catches hooligan too.


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    Default Bushings and pins after 75 hours of run time in silt

    Here's what you want to avoid --

    Inspect them regularly and replace (whole set about $10) the moment you see wear, otherwise it can get expensive quickly. Sometimes the pins are a bit tight from silt packing, a light tap with the ball-peen hammer will break them loose, and a gentle tug with the vise grips will extract them. I use a Sharpie marker to put a tick on the end of the new pin so it makes lining up with the set bolt a bit easier. You can do all this easily w/o having to actually remove the gate control assembly, whole process is maybe 10 minutes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    My boat catches hooligan too.

    What is your right foot standing on?

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    I have a swim step on the back of my boat.

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    How did you decide what level to put the step at? That looks like a reasonable modification dollars wise.

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    Wooldridge did it at the factory. One of my many sore spots with Marita.

    It really helps with clearing the jet in open water. It also makes it wasy to get into the boat when it is against the bank/dock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    I bought a 2007 Wooldridge Alaskan last fall and absolutely love it. I have noticed this spring however that it does not perform like I recall (maybe it was a long winter of dreaming). It has the Yamaha 115/80 four stroke and will fall off step if I drop below 4400-4500 RPMs. I seem to remember running on step at ~4000 RPM last fall while moose hunting and I believe the load in the boat is about the same. I replaced one large guy with 3 small kids...

    I have checked and the spacing on the impeller/sleeve is within range, is there any other maintenance points on a jet that could cause me to be loosing performance or have I not lost performance and I am dreaming about how it performed last fall?

    If anyone has the same setup and would be willing to provide some data on their performance to I'd be appreciative.
    I had a 04 AK II w/ 115/80 Yamaha 4S, what a great boat, it had the narrower bottom than the new ones, presuming your boat has the 60" bottom?
    They could still be ordered w/ the 53" bottom after 05.............

    Anyway, looking back at my notes w/ 2 people, full fuel and light overnight camp the boat required 4400-4600 to stay on step.

    I would suspect wide the wider bottom you should be able to stay on step at 4200, 4000? I dont know?
    What is your max RPM? If you are turning clsoe to or much over 5300 than your clearances between impeller and sleeve may need to be adjusted.

    This is where a log book can come in handy, I try to keep some kinda record on most outings.

    Hope this helps, my boat was always faster in the fall too............
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    I have the same boat with a Suzuki 115 and when I had it out today it did not seem to be preforming as well as it should have. It took alittle longer to get on step and did not seem to run as fast on the river as last year. The impeler needs to be tuned up a bit and there was more weight in the boat than normal. When I had the person with me check the speed on GPS it was running about normal for the RPM's. Having not realy been out since last winter and running a streatch of river on the Tanana that I do not normaly run made the boat seem slow. But when it was all said and done it ran like always. Time away makes us forget what our boats can really do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukonPike View Post
    I have the same boat with a Suzuki 115 and when I had it out today it did not seem to be preforming as well as it should have. It took alittle longer to get on step and did not seem to run as fast on the river as last year. The impeler needs to be tuned up a bit and there was more weight in the boat than normal. When I had the person with me check the speed on GPS it was running about normal for the RPM's. Having not realy been out since last winter and running a streatch of river on the Tanana that I do not normaly run made the boat seem slow. But when it was all said and done it ran like always. Time away makes us forget what our boats can really do.
    5200 RPM should be 32 MPH with 4 bodies on board GPS, 4 blade impeller. This is on flat water - no current.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    What is your max RPM? If you are turning clsoe to or much over 5300 than your clearances between impeller and sleeve may need to be adjusted.
    I top out at 5400, it may be time for me to move a shim...

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    5200 RPM should be 32 MPH with 4 bodies on board GPS, 4 blade impeller. This is on flat water - no current.
    Mike
    I don't run much on lakes, when I do it is a lake like finger lake and I'm not sure I've ever seen it flat I'll check out next time I'm out, thanks for the data point.

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