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Scott N

1989 Sunsetter Rehab

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Scott N

1/30/2013: Updated link to pics. All pics combined into one Web album.
https://picasaweb.google.com/115611970306715909734/1989SunsetterRebuild02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMygpoDa0IXD9QE&feat=directlink

***

New forum member here. Have been reading this site on and off for a few months now. Lots of good stuff on this site. Hoping I can make some contributions here and there.

I just picked up an 89 Sunsetter today. My first boat and not an accident that it's a classic.

This will be a rehab project that will use local shops for some of the big stuff. My wife and I will attempt the tear down and cosmetic rebuild stuff. Initial focus will be getting the floor out and checking stringers. The floor has a few soft spots and visible (minor) rot, so a new floor will be inevitable. Fingers crossed on the stringers...

The trailer (V/M) has some rust so the plan here will be to get it sandblasted and re-painted. I'll do the new wiring myself. Carpet and upholstery will get re-done. Once the floor is back in, and before the carpet and seats go in, I am thinking I want to attempt a wet sand/buff of every inch of gelcoat. The gelcoat is not in good shape but I'm pretty optmistic that it can be brought back to life. Later stages will see things like wiring updates/fixes, new gauges, and general cosmetic repairs. I am already thinking of a few unique finishing touches, like replacing the plastic step guards on the side rails and back (near the gas filler) with oiled teak. I'll also be poking around here to see what others have done for cool/unique finishing touches. Any suggestions in this department?

I expect the process to take a few months from start to finish. Just in time for summer. :)

Edited by Scott N

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Sliderfiii

New forum member here. Have been reading this site on and off for a few months now. Lots of good stuff on this site. Hoping I can make some contributions here and there.

I just picked up an 89 Sunsetter today. My first boat and not an accident that it's a classic. Link to photos.

This will be a rehab project that will use local shops for some of the big stuff. My wife and I will attempt the tear down and cosmetic rebuild stuff. Initial focus will be getting the floor out and checking stringers. The floor has a few soft spots and visible (minor) rot, so a new floor will be inevitable. Fingers crossed on the stringers...

The trailer (V/M) has some rust so the plan here will be to get it sandblasted and re-painted. I'll do the new wiring myself. Carpet and upholstery will get re-done. Once the floor is back in, and before the carpet and seats go in, I am thinking I want to attempt a wet sand/buff of every inch of gelcoat. The gelcoat is not in good shape but I'm pretty optmistic that it can be brought back to life. Later stages will see things like wiring updates/fixes, new gauges, and general cosmetic repairs. I am already thinking of a few unique finishing touches, like replacing the plastic step guards on the side rails and back (near the gas filler) with oiled teak. I'll also be poking around here to see what others have done for cool/unique finishing touches. Any suggestions in this department?

I expect the process to take a few months from start to finish. Just in time for summer. :)

nice project boat...pretty reasonable shape considering it's age....are the hours original?....if so 800 isn't to shabby

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the13element

Oh man that boat looks sharp already. I love these older ski boats I have restored a few of my own in the last few yrs and when its done its such a gratifying feeling. If you need any specific advice just ask. One thing I would recommend based on previous bad experience before you get started on anything to do with the boat is do the bearings on the trailer its cheap and easy and can spare you the expense of having to replace and axle especially if your trailer has rust already. Check out this vid http://www.youtube.com/user/etrailertv?v=rGDb83odXhU&feature=pyv&ad=5662747116&kw=replacing%20trailer%20bearings

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Levi900RR

Good looking boat man, cant wait to see your bring it back to life!

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Scott N
I would recommend based on previous bad experience before you get started on anything to do with the boat is do the bearings on the trailer

Definitely. Thank you for the info and the link.

are the hours original?

Seller said they are orig hours. The boat originally belonged to the sellers father-in-law. The father-in-law ordered it brand new in 88 and supposedly paid something like $18k!

Next steps...

-Stripping the interior down tonight.

-Delivering to fiberglass shop tomorrow morning where it gets hoisted off the trailer and parked while the floor comes out and stringers checked.

-Trailer going to sandblaster Monday morning.

-Trailer going to body shop Monday night. Primer on Tuesday or Wednesday, paint sometime week after t-giving.

I'm trying to do all the trailer work while boat is getting its floor/stringer overhaul. Should make the trailer job fast and easy. The shops I am using are local so I will try to get in-progress pics to share here.

Thanks for the replies. I am sure I will have questions for everyone as I get into this a little deeper.

Edited by Scott N

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Scott N

Good looking boat man, cant wait to see your bring it back to life!

By the way, Levi. I noticed that your profile says you are in Colchester. I am a UVM alum, class of 2000. Go Catamounts.

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Calimali2

When you get ready to redo the upholstery, I would definitely consider going with Chee at Malibu. I'm pretty sure it ends up being more expensive than using a local upholstery shop, but you get skins that were intended to go with that boat as he has the layouts for them still.

I reupholstered my 90 Sunsetter using a local guy and in my opinion it turned out nice, but only a 7/10 I'd say. Whereas other people on this board have redone theirs using the skins that Chee will get you and they look to be a 9/10 or better. You can specifically check out Martinarcher's boat to see the quality and look that you'll get.

Regardless of what way you go, it sounds like you are jumping in full bore and the boat will turn out great! I love these older boats and I think when you are done, you will have a great boat for years to come!

Good luck!

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Scott N

When you get ready to redo the upholstery, I would definitely consider going with Chee at Malibu.

Thank you for the tip. I have been lurking around this board for a few months and have seen Chee's name pop up a few times. Sounds like Chee is the man to talk to when it's time.

You can specifically check out Martinarcher's boat to see the quality and look that you'll get.

Yeah, I was looking at martinarcher's boat gallery earlier today. I really like a lot of the finishing touches on that boat, especially the LED lighting and dash. Really good eye candy there. And the upholstery looks top notch.

...it sounds like you are jumping in full bore and the boat will turn out great!

I hope so! I have a 1-yr old son and hope that this boat can last long enough to be passed along in the family while creating some great memories along the way. They say you only get 16 summers with your kids because parents lose their cool factor around summer #17. :lol:

Edited by Scott N

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Levi900RR

By the way, Levi. I noticed that your profile says you are in Colchester. I am a UVM alum, class of 2000. Go Catamounts.

No way dude... Cool.

I got my skins from Chee too. Here are some shots of the work.

My Interior thread.

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Scott N

1/30/2013: Updated link to pics. All pics combined into one Web album.
https://picasaweb.google.com/115611970306715909734/1989SunsetterRebuild02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMygpoDa0IXD9QE&feat=directlink

***

Finished the dismantle. Didn't require any special skills. Just a lot of unscrewing, unbolting, cutting, etc. My main tools were: power drill with phillips bit, various hand screwdrivers, channel-lock pliers, razor blade, extension cord.

Definitely have rot on the left stringer in the back (see pics). Most of the wood on the seat framing is in okay condition except the right bow seat had rot at the backrest area. I was not impressed with the OE materials used to build the seat frames, it seems like the plywood should have been thicker.

Start time 7 PM 11/18.
Stop time 1 AM 11/19.
Includes cleanup.

Edited by Scott N

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Slayer

Great project! Looks like some decent work ahead of you. Bummer about the stringer. When you're done you'll have an awesome boat. There are some great threads on here to review. Looking forward to seeing this project come together. Welcome to the crew. :welcome:

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Baileyak228

New forum member here. Have been reading this site on and off for a few months now. Lots of good stuff on this site. Hoping I can make some contributions here and there.

I just picked up an 89 Sunsetter today. My first boat and not an accident that it's a classic. Link to photos - day 1.

This will be a rehab project that will use local shops for some of the big stuff. My wife and I will attempt the tear down and cosmetic rebuild stuff. Initial focus will be getting the floor out and checking stringers. The floor has a few soft spots and visible (minor) rot, so a new floor will be inevitable. Fingers crossed on the stringers...

The trailer (V/M) has some rust so the plan here will be to get it sandblasted and re-painted. I'll do the new wiring myself. Carpet and upholstery will get re-done. Once the floor is back in, and before the carpet and seats go in, I am thinking I want to attempt a wet sand/buff of every inch of gelcoat. The gelcoat is not in good shape but I'm pretty optmistic that it can be brought back to life. Later stages will see things like wiring updates/fixes, new gauges, and general cosmetic repairs. I am already thinking of a few unique finishing touches, like replacing the plastic step guards on the side rails and back (near the gas filler) with oiled teak. I'll also be poking around here to see what others have done for cool/unique finishing touches. Any suggestions in this department?

I expect the process to take a few months from start to finish. Just in time for summer. :)

this is a cool post man keep those pictures coming i plan on

doing this to my boat very soon

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Scott N

1/30/2013: Updated link to pics. All pics combined into one Web album.
https://picasaweb.google.com/115611970306715909734/1989SunsetterRebuild02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMygpoDa0IXD9QE&feat=directlink

***

Dropped the boat off this morning at the shop. Leaving it on the trailer for now. Fiberglass guy wants the hull to be 'true' while he works on it and he says best way to get that is leaving it on the trailer. We pulled the carpet while I was there and we agreed that the floor is coming up as far up as the cockpit area. We talked about replacing 100% of the stringer/floor up to the tip of the bow but he said that going past the cockpit involves a lot more work ($$$) because he would need to stabalize the hull if he pulls the support walls under the driver and passenger sides (the walls that enclose the walkway up to the bow).

Motor and gas tank come out Monday and then floor comes up. We'll go from there...

Edited by Scott N

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maliblu

New forum member here. Have been reading this site on and off for a few months now. Lots of good stuff on this site. Hoping I can make some contributions here and there.

I just picked up an 89 Sunsetter today. My first boat and not an accident that it's a classic. Link to photos - day 1.

This will be a rehab project that will use local shops for some of the big stuff. My wife and I will attempt the tear down and cosmetic rebuild stuff. Initial focus will be getting the floor out and checking stringers. The floor has a few soft spots and visible (minor) rot, so a new floor will be inevitable. Fingers crossed on the stringers...

The trailer (V/M) has some rust so the plan here will be to get it sandblasted and re-painted. I'll do the new wiring myself. Carpet and upholstery will get re-done. Once the floor is back in, and before the carpet and seats go in, I am thinking I want to attempt a wet sand/buff of every inch of gelcoat. The gelcoat is not in good shape but I'm pretty optmistic that it can be brought back to life. Later stages will see things like wiring updates/fixes, new gauges, and general cosmetic repairs. I am already thinking of a few unique finishing touches, like replacing the plastic step guards on the side rails and back (near the gas filler) with oiled teak. I'll also be poking around here to see what others have done for cool/unique finishing touches. Any suggestions in this department?

I expect the process to take a few months from start to finish. Just in time for summer. :)

I am also an '89 Sunsetter owner I am looking forward to following your project, I agree they are a classic and I too plan on keeping mine for a long time.

Edited by maliblu

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Levi900RR

Your boat is going to be so sweet. Keep the pics coming. With the floors out you could really get crafty and add some under floor ballast. That would keep you from slinging bags around on the floor. If I had my floor out I would run some 6 or 8 inch PVC the entire length of the boat then use expanding foam around it for flotation. The only drawback to owning an old BU is having to deal with the ballast bags clogging up the interior.

You could always beef up the transom so you could add a custom wedge later... :whistle:

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Scott N

Levi, these are great ideas. Here's some initial thoughts/questions about the ideas. Interested in what folks think.

With the floors out you could really get crafty and add some under floor ballast.

I know ballast is really popular. I'd say that, personally, I am only mildly interested in ballast sacks. I am primarily and almost exclusively into slalom (I might get on a wakeboard once every 5 years). That said, I am curious about what sort of short term/long term maintenance might be required on a ballast setup? If ballast sacks were under floor I assume the floor would need to be built with ballast access in mind.

If I had my floor out I would run some 6 or 8 inch PVC the entire length of the boat then use expanding foam around it for flotation.

Are you thinking of capped pvc tubes just for the sake of additional floatation? That's an interesting idea. When I read this I also had another thought: I could put an uncapped pvc tube under the floor on either side of the boat so that the tube comes up under the dashboard areas (out of sight) on the driver and passenger sides. I could then use the tubes as a conduit for wiring of stereo, lights, etc.

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Levi900RR

Are you thinking of capped pvc tubes just for the sake of additional floatation?

I would use the PVC for ballast. There was a thread on here where we figured out how much 6" PVC you would need to get 1000 lbs of water under the floor, I think it was 4 - 8 foot sections.

I do like you idea of running some sort of conduit for wiring etc... Put some pull strings in it while your are at it!

The Ski... I mean the Sky's the limit with these old boats.

:rockon:

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Scott N

Quick update...

1) Motor is out, floor is up.

2) Foam was retaining a lot of water. Foam had pushed up and floor was slightly crowned in the back. Wife had noticed this when we bought the boat but we didn't know the cause for the crowning. Now we know. Shop is saying shave the old foam and let it dry out...but I think I want to replace it and start fresh. Anybody use the AeroMarine foam and have any good or bad feedback? I think the 2 gallon kit is sufficient.

3) Possibility of osmotic blisters on bottom of hull. Suspect these are from vegetation that was never cleaned from the bottom. Repairable.

4) Stringers in so so shape. Epoxy repairs were discussed. My gut tells me to re-do the wood and not go the epoxy route (I was raised under the philosophy of 'do-it-right-the-first-time-so-you-won't-need-to-do-it-twice'). I know this question of which way to go on the stringer overhaul has been discussed before on this board. I have read a few of the threads that weigh the pros/cons of epoxy vs full wood replacement. It's an easy decision to go with the wood, right up to the point of writing the check. Then the decision gets slightly harder and all options are considered...

I have yet to see any of this. Just heard it over the phone today. Headed to shop tomorrow after work (with camera) to take a look and make some decisions on next step$.

On a separate note, I have tried sending PMs to martinarcher and rugger but I get an error saying that they cannot accept messages (I'm paraphrasing). I dug around to find these online pics of the restoration work that rugger did but I still have some questions.

https://picasaweb.google.com/103899927922715396516?fgl=true&pli=1

The questions I have at this point are pretty straightforward.

1) Did rugger rehab the windshield frame or was it already in good shape? If you look at my resto pics, you will see that my windshield frame needs serious tlc.

2) When the seats were rebuilt was the wood doug fir, mahogany, etc? How was the wood sealed (epoxy or...)? Were any height adjustments made to the frames and if so what were they? In the 'after' pics, it looks like the bow seats are slightly lower/deeper than OE.

3) How does the updated observer seat operate? I like the single seat cushion (versus the OE split cushion). I am curious as to what was changed on the framing, if anything, to support the new single-cushion design?

4) Also regarding the observer seat, how does the hinge work for the backrest/trunk area? Does it still swing down (hinge on bottom like OE), or does it now swing up (hinge on top)? If it swings up, was a hydraulic arm mounted and installed to support when in the up position, and how was it mounted?

Edited by Scott N

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old skool malibu

Hey Scott,

You boat should turn out pretty sweet. I am sure Matt or Rugger will chime in shortly. Here are some picks of my ol 89. I managed to avoid doing the floor or stringers although I think they were suspect around the motor mounts. We did end up putting in a reinforcing brace to avoid any stringer work.

Work on my boat and trailer included the following

- ballast system

- tower

- stereo

- paint

- new vinyl

- led's

- new motor

- rebuilt tranny

- new gauges

- lots of trailer work

- Rankin tarp

- Perfect Pass

- Depth Finder

- Exhaust

- Shower

- Heater

- and a host of other parts!

Here is the picks

Edited by old skool malibu

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Scott N
Here are some picks of my ol 89.

Gorgeous. There's something timeless about these classics. They look so awesome. :thumbup:

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martinarcher

Quick update...

1) Motor is out, floor is up.

2) Foam was retaining a lot of water. Foam had pushed up and floor was slightly crowned in the back. Wife had noticed this when we bought the boat but we didn't know the cause for the crowning. Now we know. Shop is saying shave the old foam and let it dry out...but I think I want to replace it and start fresh. Anybody use the AeroMarine foam and have any good or bad feedback? I think the 2 gallon kit is sufficient.

3) Possibility of osmotic blisters on bottom of hull. Suspect these are from vegetation that was never cleaned from the bottom. Repairable.

4) Stringers in so so shape. Epoxy repairs were discussed. My gut tells me to re-do the wood and not go the epoxy route (I was raised under the philosophy of 'do-it-right-the-first-time-so-you-won't-need-to-do-it-twice'). I know this question of which way to go on the stringer overhaul has been discussed before on this board. I have read a few of the threads that weigh the pros/cons of epoxy vs full wood replacement. It's an easy decision to go with the wood, right up to the point of writing the check. Then the decision gets slightly harder and all options are considered...

I have yet to see any of this. Just heard it over the phone today. Headed to shop tomorrow after work (with camera) to take a look and make some decisions on next step$.

On a separate note, I have tried sending PMs to martinarcher and rugger but I get an error saying that they cannot accept messages (I'm paraphrasing). I dug around to find these online pics of the restoration work that rugger did but I still have some questions.

https://picasaweb.go...?fgl=true&pli=1

The questions I have at this point are pretty straightforward.

1) Did rugger rehab the windshield frame or was it already in good shape? If you look at my resto pics, you will see that my windshield frame needs serious tlc.

I believe the windshield was in good shape on my Sunsetter. The good thing is the glass is all flat panes and disassembly wouldn't be too bad. If I were in your spot I would pull apart the frame and have the broken parts welded up and then have the whole frame stripped and powder coated black. Thumbup.gif

2) When the seats were rebuilt was the wood doug fir, mahogany, etc? How was the wood sealed (epoxy or...)? Were any height adjustments made to the frames and if so what were they? In the 'after' pics, it looks like the bow seats are slightly lower/deeper than OE.

Good question on the wood. I'm not sure what the bases are made of, but from what I remember rugger rebuilt them using the original seat frames as templates. They are stock size. Looking at your pics I think my bow seats are also OE height. They look identical to your bases. The new frames were waterproofed by coating them in fiberglass resin.

3) How does the updated observer seat operate? I like the single seat cushion (versus the OE split cushion). I am curious as to what was changed on the framing, if anything, to support the new single-cushion design?

Looking at the pics of your bases, they are identical to mine. The only change is the actually seat cushion itself. Chee and rugger made the cushion a single instead of the split cushion design. I love it. I had the split cushion on my Skier and the Sunsetter's set-up is better IMO.

4) Also regarding the observer seat, how does the hinge work for the backrest/trunk area? Does it still swing down (hinge on bottom like OE), or does it now swing up (hinge on top)? If it swings up, was a hydraulic arm mounted and installed to support when in the up position, and how was it mounted?

It swings down just like stock. I like the swing down design exept for one issue, you loose about and inch and a half - two inches of access room. I'm not a big guy, but I hate crawling waist deep into that compartment to mount amps/heaters/run wire/etc. If it were hinged from the top it might make a bit of a different in how easy you can slide in there - just make sure it swing up past level (over 90 degrees). The other idea would be to use a hinge more like the dogbox with removable pins so the back cushion could be pulled if you need to get in there.

Scott,

Sorry man - I didn't see your thread - not sure how I missed it! :Doh: Boat looks good and will look great once your done. I love seeing guys bring these great boats back to life! Rockon.gif I've sure got a soft spot for the classic Bu's!

I love the conduit idea. I've run probably a couple hundred feet of wire in the boat since I have got it (LEDs, speaker wire, RCA's, ballast wiring, heater, etc). Most of those runs need to go from the helm to the observers compartment and I have yet to find an easy way to get around the bow. Running a fairly large curved hard conduit around the bow or one through the floor would make life very easy for future additions. Thumbup.gif

I answered your questions as best as I could in bold above. Not sure why my PM's weren't working. Could permission issues when I became a mod. Shoot me a test PM so I know I can get yours. Thumbup.gif

Keep up the good work and keep the thread up to date! I moved it to the Mod and Acc area since I think this boat will end up a bit different than it was stock....and in a good way. Rockon.gif

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Steve B.

Hey Scott,

You boat should turn out pretty sweet. I am sure Matt or Rugger will chime in shortly. Here are some picks of my ol 89. I managed to avoid doing the floor or stringers although I think they were suspect around the motor mounts. We did end up putting in a reinforcing brace to avoid any stringer work.

Work on my boat and trailer included the following

- ballast system

- tower

- stereo

- paint

- new vinyl

- led's

- new motor

- rebuilt tranny

- new gauges

- lots of trailer work

- Rankin tarp

- Perfect Pass

- Depth Finder

- Exhaust

- Shower

- Heater

- and a host of other parts!

Here is the picks

This is one of the nicest, coolest boats I have ever seen ! All I can say is Congratulations !

Steve B.

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Scott N

1/30/2013: Updated link to pics. All pics combined into one Web album.
https://picasaweb.google.com/115611970306715909734/1989SunsetterRebuild02?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMygpoDa0IXD9QE&feat=directlink

***

Martinarcher - thanks a lot for the helpful replies on the rebuild stuff. Appreciate you taking the time. Regarding the PM issue, I took a screenshot with the error message showing. This error comes up after I press the send button.

The past few days have been a little bumpy with trying to figure out next steps on the stringers. Turned out that the original shop I was working with was (in my opinion) less than forthright in their business practices. I got a second opinion and am going to go with the second shop.

Final decision is that I am replacing everything under the floor. No messing around with epoxy fillers in the old stringers. Empty hull will go in Monday Dec 5 and I get it back ~2 - 3 weeks later with new doug fir stringers. I negotiated a little with the second shop and they were very willing to work within my budget. I am paying $4k for the stringer replacement, new floor, motor re-mount, foam, and possibly carpet install (I might elect to do the carpet myself). Given the level of work on the stringers alone (see day 4 pics) I think this is a very fair price. Even though the second shop is a 30 minute drive they get my business this time (and will get my repeat business, as well as recommendations) because they were honest. I could also tell that they clearly wanted the work to be done right the first time and didn't want to mess around with half-baked solutions.

As for other work...

Foam removal

I hacked out the foam myself after taking my boat back from the first shop mentioned above. The tools used are shown in the pics for those that are interested in possibly doing this on their own. Taking the foam out exposed for the first time the full extent of the stringer issues. With the foam out I could see that water had basically been trapped between the bottom of the foam an top of the fiberglass on the floor. There was also a moderate amount of water sitting against the stringers in the areas between the foam formations. When all the foam was out, except for where the floor has yet to be removed past the bulk head, I cranked up the heat in the shop. Within an hour I could see the fiberglass drying out and looking better. I don't think that glass had been dry in quite a long time.

Gas tank

The aluminum has some pocking and minor corrosion so I took a wire wheel to it pretty hard. The tools used are shown in the pics for those that are interested in possibly doing this on their own. The steps were 1) wipe it down with rag to clean off any dirt and free debris, 2) wire wheel the entire surface with extra care to be sure all welds were clean and in good shape, 3) wipe down cleaned aluminum with acetone, 4) spray aluminum with zinc chromate, 5) paint over zinc chromate with engine paint. I went with engine paint because it's super durable and pretty gas-resistant. It's probably overkill since any gas spills are likely to happen on the exterior gelcoat during filling, but...I figured why not. The tank cleaned up nicely and I am happy with the outcome.

Upholstery

I was able to get in touch with Chee. I let him know that I am a few weeks away from being ready to send a check and start the process. That said, the wife and I really like martinarcher's interior and will probably copycat the design in our colors.

Windshield

I called Pacific Coast Marine Windshield to pick their brain on bringing the framing back to life. I think I will end up dismantling and then getting the metal anodized (instead of powder coat). Similar to what martinarcher mentioned above.

That’s all for now. Hope somebody can use some of this information someday…

Edited by Scott N

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old skool malibu

Scott

I would recommend you mount the motor using something other that the lag bolts into the stringers. I think this is a weak design. I would go with a mount similar to the new Malibu's or something like mine and possible through bolt it. I think Rugger or Matt can chime in as well on how his motor is mounted. I dont think Rugger just used lag bolts.

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martinarcher

No problem at all. Just ask if you need anything or pictures of specific parts of the boat to help you along.

It looks like it's coming along well. Thumbup.gif It's great your documenting the work so well like rugger did. It will help those in the future who tackle the same project.

As far as remounting the motor, mine is mounted with lags. They hold well, but the bad news is they breach the fiberglass and can let water into the stringer. In my case with the Sunsetter being a garage queen I don't think it's something I'll ever have to worry about.

One alternative idea would be threaded inserts. Talking with rugger when he did the wedge, I suggested stainless threaded inserts fiberglassed into the stringers. We both liked the idea and that's what he used to mount the inner plate to the stringers. Any way you can keep from breaching the stringers after they are replaced the better. The more holes make it through the fiberglass, the more water and wood rot can happen. That said, even with all the holes Malibu put in their stringers back in the day these boats still made it over 20 years and more if well taken care of.

Keep up the good work Scott!

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