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i am rebuilding a Pachanga 20ft (1987) and have a merc 454. teh boat came with a Alpha leg and i do not know if the power will burn the alpha --- the bravo 1 will but the wieght begins to be an issue,

So will an alpha handle the 454 - 370 hp or do i go for the wieght and increase the power of the engine to throw it onto plan.

i have an option of the 330 hp 350 mag enigne to save weight - but the leg question is still there.

thoughts or experiences highly appreciated.
 

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The Bravo 1 is the obvious choice there. That extra weight wont hurt nothing. It will be faster with a bravo1 also. Too many guys have toasted alpha after alpha before finally buying a bravo1.
 

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The Alpha's arn't known for handling BB's with lots of torque very well, so your better off getting a Bravo 1.
As far as an Alpha behind the SB Mag, It's faster, not slower than a B1..

So as far as durability, the B1 is what you want..
 

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I have a 1987 Formula 223LS with the 454/alpha combo, which is much larger boat. I replaced the motor with a 454/425 hp and have no issues with the drive. I do have the 1.32 gears. Just dont hammer it out of the whole and keep it in the water and you`lll be fine. The alpha is faster than the bravo also, alot less drive to drag threw the water.
 

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I have killed some alphas,
-wrecked one upper gear
-wrecked one lower gear
- twisted of the driveshaft in mittel of upper and lower gear and wreked
-and twisted off splines in a new couppler with my hi-output SB

I have rebuild alpha in my boat now, driven this for two seasens now whitout problems ,i just take it slow out of water ( all alpha crashes i have had is in hard starts )
 

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In 1987 the big block was used with an Alpha drive. If you are running a magnum 454 that is less than 400hp the alpha will live but will require a drive shower if you stay at full speed for extended periods of time. If the alpha is pushed hard it will have a shorter life span. The weight and size of boat that you are talking about is less than my 4800lb boat that had this combo.


If you want to rip it hard then the B1 is definately the way to go. I don't think the weight difference of alpha and B1 would be a go or no-go kind of decission. Aluminum heads and or exhaust changes could take the same weitht off the engine to compensate and keep the power.


decisions decisions decisions :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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I would not be afraid to run the Alpha on that combo. Just wouldn't abuse the drive.

As for your option of the 330hp 350...... In my opinion that is what I would go with.
 

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formula223 said:
I have a 1987 Formula 223LS with the 454/alpha combo, which is much larger boat. I replaced the motor with a 454/425 hp and have no issues with the drive. I do have the 1.32 gears. Just dont hammer it out of the whole and keep it in the water and you`lll be fine. The alpha is faster than the bravo also, alot less drive to drag threw the water.
very well stated! sounds very familiar :winker:
 

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Pretty much what everyone else said. Alpha's dont handle much more than 330 hp well, expecially if the boat is heavy. Your boat is pretty light so you could be ok for a while just watch how hard you get on it out of the hole. If your pulling skiers alot you will toast the alpha pretty quick or launching the boat out of the water.
 

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Go with the Bravo. Its dependablity with your setup surpasses the Alpha. Its night and day.
Mercruiser knows they made a mistake with putting the alpha behind big blocks years ago. It was the weak link in the system.
 

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so what I'm reading is if you drive the boat like a sally and want to drive like your on eggshells the alpha will be just fine. But if you want to enjoy the boat at all you should get a bravo...seems like a no brainer to me.
 

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24 year old Alpha here,600hours with a 350 and another 200 with a 454 and now Im going to a 502..
By the sig pic below you can tell I dont drive like a Sally..
with the 454 I ran 4 Poker runs last year alone.
Hell , I blew up the 454 and the drive is still going strong.
I also dont beat the crap out of the boat 24/7 mostly because I dont have money pouring out of my pockets to fix things that would break by constantly abusing my vehicles.
So my view is , if you hammer your boat WOT everytime you get on it and abuse it then by all means go to a Bravo, and even then I know plenty of knuckleheads that have toasted Bravos with stock 454s.
If you drive like a human being the Alpha will last just as long behind a stock 454 as behind a high power 350.


Chaparral 21XLC Merc 502/Alpha
 

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I'm also running a Alpha behind a big block and have never had any issues.
I come out of the hole like a human and when the boat comes out of the water I'm off the throttle.
2 yrs of pulling tubes, cruising, occasional wide open bursts that last maybe ten minutes or so, and alot of crossing the sound to check out Long Island.
I agree a Bravo is a stronger unit but my Alpha has been fine, I just dont beat it,
Two things kill an Alpha, 1 Hard holeshots
2 Not backing off the throttle when catching air.
 

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when I bought my 222 stinger back in 2000 it had a 330hp/454 with an Alpha - if the boat is light - no big deal...

I did switch to a bravo, but I also installed a whipple charged 620hp/454 too.
 

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UP_ROKTOY said:
so what I'm reading is if you drive the boat like a sally and want to drive like your on eggshells the alpha will be just fine. But if you want to enjoy the boat at all you should get a bravo...seems like a no brainer to me.
Spoken like a true performance boater! :cheers:

Go Bravo is you can. The weight diff with a BBC/A1 and BBC/B1 is only approx. 100 lbs.

Knock on wood, I have over 700 hrs. on my Bravo with more flight time than TWA! :D
 

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Quote;(with more flight time than TWA! )
ROFLMAO that made my day, and got coffee on my keyboard
 
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