Engine Installation 1950 Chris Craft on location - Belize!
270866-2628  Paul@Woodiesrestorations.com
We noticed a lag bolt that was shipped with the engine had screw threads that were full of rust and suspected the wood would not hold the threads of the new Stainless Steel lag bolts securely. We were right and had to plug a total of 5 of the lag bolt holes and then re-drill the plugs with pilot holes for the new lag bolts.  In case you some day have to do this on your own boat the procedure is to drill out the old holes with a drill bit of known and matching diameter to the plugs (dowels ) to be installed. We then wet the dowel and apply Gorilla glue. The water is used to assist in the cure of the glue. You wouldn't believe it if you didn't read the instructions... now ... who does that? Last we cut off the dowel flush with a flexible flush cut saw. 
The next thing we notice was that the water fitting on the through hull was plastic. We also found we could turn this fitting by hand,  I don't like plastic because I can not gauge when it is likely or not to fail as I can with bronze. We couldn't allow this to be a "show stopper" so initially we tried to tighten it. When we couldn't get a tight fit on it we decided to attempt to purchase a new bronze fitting from a marine suppler in Belize City with the help of the resort where we are installing this engine. So we pulled the fitting off of the through hull and found that there was some type of obstruction on the INSIDE of the strainer. Since we had brought needle nose pliers (in an 84 pound bag) we were able to pull it out - still don't know what it is but it won't damage the water pump upstream of it nor will it reduce cooling water flow.   
While waiting on the part to come from Belize City we installed the new cut water on the boat. When asked how long we might expect an engine to last with Fresh Water Cooling (which we installed) I never thought to compare the corrosion of the engine without fresh water cooling to that of the 304 stainless cutwater we replaced (see 318 engine page).  The original 304 stainless lasted only approximately 2 years in the salt / brackish water and 304 is superior in corrosion resistance than cast iron. We used 316 Stainless steel which has the best salt water corrosion resistance of anything other than some possibly some  $VERY EXOTIC $ other metals. 
Well the part wasn't going to get here until the last flight of the day... by the way air travel is apparently the way to go here. There is so much water and so many swamps plus the roads aren't that great so air is used A LOT it seems. Anhyway,  we needed to make the best use of our time and get the engine installed. we will be able to reach under the engine and install the new part... but it would have been easier if... Well... it is what it is.

We have our hook ups of exhaust, fuel, sea water, and oil pressure gage hoses tomorrow morning... before it gets so brutally hot...We will also be installing the throttle and transmission linkages, battery, battery cables, coil, start solenoid and such. By the end of the day we should be launching the boat and running it again - this time at its home...... 
Update April 20th, 2009
The engine is installed and running well. We are running it in a lagoon with brackish water in Belize.
New Toll Free Phone Number   866-921-2628

My only option would be to find one of these IN San Francisco that she could pick up on Monday. That will be a REAL challenge but it is a REMOTE possibility. In the meantime I could produce a small video to help the mechanic find / troubleshoot the problem. 

Changing the distributor creates another set of problems for the mechanic and that is the problem of ignition timing.... so if we can find the problem with what you have that would be best. Distributors are also VERY expensive....Of course the boat aint worth nothing to nobody without a running engine! :-)

I will go in to the shop and look up the distributor we purchased for the engine when we rebuit it back in 2008 or 2009 and see if I can find one on the west coast. I will also look for more parts to send down.  

Can you give me a little more description of the problem? Is it burning out the points?

 Or is it burning up the contacts in the distributor cap? 

Distributor Cap (8 Cylinder)

 Or burning up the contact on the rotor?  

Burnt Points
If it is burning the points - there is a part called a condenser that is to prevent that. 
 Sometimes people change the points and forget the condenser is to protect the points from damage. Did he put in a new condenser? 
Nos Delco Remy #1928111 Ignition Condenser 1950-1955 Oldsmobile,Cadillac V8

OR is what you call the "rota" in your e-mail what we call the ignition coil?

If it is the coil that is getting hot and burning up:
 perhaps the wire that goes from the - or minus side of the coil to the Tach gauge you guys were having trouble with is grounding out somewhere in the boat.. (perhaps it is grounding at the tach - a faulty tach?) and causing the coil to burn up 
Perhaps the coil has been replaced and one with the wrong internal resistance used in its place. There are two types of coils out there and the LOOK EXACTLY alike. One has an internal resistor. The other requires the use of an external resistor. - which you haveHot-Spark 1.4 Ohm External Ballast Resistor for Ignition Coils 
If the resistor has by removed or bypassed it will cause the coil to overheat. 
In fact... the coil works off of magnetic principles. When iron gets HOT it looses its magnatism. Coils use magnatism to produce a spark. When the iron in the coil gets too hot it will loose its magnatism and stop creating a spark. When it cools the coil will once again begin creating a spark and the engine will start back up and run till the coil gets hot again and the engine will suddenly die. After a few times doing this the coil will "burn up" and no longer work at all.  
Is this what is happening? If so there is yet another reason besides the resistor being bypasses that will cause this. In FACT we had problems with this when we rebuilt and installed the engine. We solved it... but perhaps it is a problem again. 

Starter Solenoid - note the second small terminal on the solenoid. One terminal goes to the coil that closes the large contacts that send power to the starter.  The other small terminal is connected to a set of SMALL contacts that also close and send 12 volts to the coil to provide a hotter spark when starting the engine. Once the starter button is released these contacts open and the ignition system operates on the power from the key switch which goes through a resistor block to drop the voltage to the coil to 5 to 6 volts.
Here is what the resistor looks like. It is a piece of porcelain - it cuts the voltage to the coil to about 5 or 6 volts DC
Work from Belize 2014
Put shim under strat to give it the right angle.
The old shaft packing was the only thing that did not turn to dust when it was taken out. New packing was installed.
Bottom failing. 
The top of the oil stick broke off, needs new oil dip stick.
There is a trap missing on the heat ex changer that needed to be replaced.

The new shaft hub. The set screws are wired in for safety.
​Test run of the boat.
Found leak in the bottom of the boat but made a temporary repair.