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Old 12-16-2003, 11:17 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 647

I am trying hard not to remember Blackhawk. It didn't last long because it was a total disaster. My father was suckered into trying those things out on a boat. More importantly, it was very far from being a surface drive at all. In my opinion, same as Bravo just not as good. Didn't they try to make a 2-speed gearbox with that too? That went down the toilet pretty fast too. At that time, Fabio Buzzi already had designed a proper 2-speed trannie for ZF and it was in testing stages...
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:41 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Chat TN
My Boats: Magnum Starfire, Phantom svl
Posts: 733

Maybe I should have elaborated, it was Mercruiser's Attempt at a surface piercing drive. About the two speed tranny, I never heard of one with a tranny gearbox but maybe someone else on here might know something about it. I know a few people on here have those special edition Donzie 22 classic with the blackhawk drive, maybe they can tell us about them?
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Old 12-17-2003, 02:42 PM
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Location: Beautiful Lake St. Clair,MI
My Boats: Sunsation Rocket
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Mercury Marine is in business to make money. If they thought they could pay for the R&D to put a surface drive on the market, and it would sell enough units, they would. Remember, only a minute percentage of people that buy boats with outdrives know about Arneson or Kaamas. When it comes to the real numbers, not that many people are interested. Mercury sells to the masses. The Blackhawk was a very cautious approach. Most of the drive was existing tooling and equipment, not much of an investment. If there were tens of thousands of people buying Arnesons, you would see a surface drive coming out of Wisconsin faster than you could imagine.

I have not driven a boat with Arnesons, but I did use my uncles Formula with Kaamas. I thought they were very user friendly, even at low speeds. You have to pay attention, is that so bad? The boat was a riot. Faster than an equal boat with TRS's, they were absolutely trouble free, and the roostertail was awesome. If I could make the decision between the Arneson and the Bravo without it breaking the bank, I would give the surface drive a try.
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Old 12-20-2003, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SO CAL
Posts: 8

I'm a newcomer to this site. My experience comes from working for Kaama in the mid 80s.

Back then, their surface piercing market was a small inch. Buying a new Scarab or Formula was like buying a Mustang today, Do you want to spend $XX.XX on a SVT Cobra or cough up even more cash and kick down for a Saleen version or the same car. The Saleen sounds cool but the Cobra will be plenty fast enough for me.

Kaama power systems were an expensive option to an expensive boat. Surface piercing was obviously a faster, (theroetlcy) more reliable drive. But as mentioned above Merc had the name, warranty, money, and clout behind them to dominate the market.

FYI: The KAAMA racing team was racing and winning championships using Mercs long before the development of their outdrive. Mercury owned the market.

I have not seriously kept up with the industry for a while. Its nice to see that SP drives are still cool and "different" 20 years later.
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Old 12-21-2003, 02:47 AM
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Location: nantucket ma/naples fla
My Boats: 81 wellcraft nova 26 S/B arneson 6
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I 'm re-building a 26ft Wellcraft ('81) that was one of ten (I was told by W/CFT) built that year. The Mtr was a 350 /260hp pleasurecraft ,a Velvet drive 1.5 V-crive and a Magnesium #6 Arneson . The boat had 20gal. water system shag head liner frig,porta potty etc. I filled up a small dumpster with all the crap I striped out. The mtr. hatches weighed close to 100lbs. Teak floor panels,teak trim, teak hatch ,on &on. I dont know how this set-up had any performance at all. I'm hoping that 800 to 1000lbs. lighter and close to 350hp to start that I'll have a good starting point.Anyone have an idea where I'll be starting off?? THe rig weighed 4000lbs with the new mtr. ('03/350 roller,vortec ,air gap ,demon, MSD,port work stainless exhaust. The rest ,seats wires gauges fuel is going to be 1000lbs. min. What was ment by "the hull designed for surface drive" ?? I looked thru some POWERBOAT MAGS from the early 80's and they were winning BOAT of the year on a regular basis. So a 24 degree non step ,non pad hull would seem to be similar to a number of todays hulls. Thanks in advance for any info out there Andrewmasonsr
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Old 12-21-2003, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Atlanta,GA
My Boats: 30' Shadow Cat
Posts: 406

Hey Kaamapart,
I have Kaamas on my cat and love them.However I am having a problem.I am changing the ratio and am having a problem.I got onr done without any incident.The other one I cannot get seperated.It looks as if it hanging up.Any suggestions.You can call me at 678-522-4873 or drop me an email at [email protected] or respond on the board.
Thanks Mark
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Old 12-22-2003, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SO CAL
Posts: 8

As you can see from the one you did already separated, It's pretty much a straight slide on. I would suggest taking a plastic dead blow hammer to loosen the back casing. Be careful of the fins though. It could be just that the studs are lining up close enough. I personally did not assemble or repair the drives. As mentioned able, Craig Archer Marine (former KAAMA rigger) is the best place to get some info. There is also Chris Brown Performance Marine(Former KAAMA Mechanic) in Costa Mesa, CA as well. It's been a while and I don't have either phone number.

Good Luck
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