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We inherited a very cool and obnoxiously large boat. It has a 460 ford engine which should mean power… when accelerating it hisses like a cat and the boat shakes bad. It does not go very fast and I do not have any clue what to do or where to start. I am hoping one of you amazing boat people can help an oblivious woman trying to enjoy this boat.
 

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HI, check the timing, look for vacuum leaks , run a cveompression test. Sound like the bad valves, timing way off (maybe chain is bad) Might even have some bent push rods.. with the HIgh RPM's boats are run at its not unusual for the to get bent.. Just went thru this with another poster on his 460 powered boat..

good luck take care be safe
tim
 

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if I had any clue what those things are lol!!!! You’re awesome and I’m thankful for your response. I will google the things you’ve mentioned and look into it!
It sounds like you need to ask some friends for a recommendation on a good local mechanic that you can trust to get the boat running properly without robbing you blind.
 

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if I had any clue what those things are lol!!!! You’re awesome and I’m thankful for your response. I will google the things you’ve mentioned and look into it!
Hi, I just joined too, and I have a Ford 460 in a boat. I want to caution you about starting and running the engine in a boat, and also doing the tests that were recommended before. When working on a boat engine, the engine bay needs to be vented well by using the blower on your boat. This is VERY important when removing spark plugs, wires, and other ignition components. There will be some open spark, and if there are fuel vapors it could flash-fire. Have an extinguisher nearby too.

Based on your test so far, I would start with a compression test. These engines have weak valve actuator components, and can bend things that are important. The ignition is fairly robust, but it can cause issues with high voltage leakage from the wires, also a fire hazard. Test this by starting the boat in the darkest night, and look for glowing, or very soft sparks flowing from the ignition wire loom at the distributor down to the spark plugs. A common failing of aged wires. It must be very dark when testing.
 
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