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MSD1

Sunsetter LX Resurrection / Restoration

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MSD1

I have gained a fair amount of idea's from this site over the last year or so and I wanted to share my recent project.

I finally ran across a project boat last fall that would fit the bill for my family. Our family had outgrown our closed bow Skier and I wanted an open bow boat that would be used for all watersport activities.

So I picked up a 1999 Sunsetter LX from upstate Connecticut that had less then 80 hrs on it but had been sitting for 10 plus years outside. It seemed like a perfect project for me. Hoping to just do the interior, paint and some clean up I would be ready for the next season. I bought the boat sight unseen which was a bit risky but I was prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. I had to keep my wife interested...

I had the boat trucked down to NC by a friend and was pretty happy with what I got. Unfortunately I discovered very quickly that the block was cracked so now I am past just upholstery and buffing.

I ended up going much further than I wanted to go but it is in my nature to do so. The boat was still an excellent platform to work with. No structural damage so I was able to sand an buff the topside gelcoat back just fine and I painted the hull side with a factory looking color scheme. I also went ahead and replaced the gunnel molding with a stainless steel insert.

On the inside I went pretty deep, much deeper then anticipated. Steering cable was seized up as well as the throttle cables. So new Throttle and cables. New tilt mechanism and cable. I didn't really have a good feeling about using the gauges based on what I read on different posts so I replaced the gauges and added perfect pass. The dash had terrible sun damage so I upholstered the dash itself and put in some carbon fiber panels. I changed the switch layout to allow me to put in a fusion head unit on the dash since the factory location wouldn't allow for the new size.

I completely changed the overall look of the upholstery to make it look like a newer model boat. I also put in some recessed speakers and drink holders in the bow to make it look a bit more updated. I couldn't really handle the factory tower. It looked too much like a ladder rack to me. So new tower it is... I have always liked the illusion towers so I tried to make something that looked pretty close and I painted the windshield frame to match the polished tower rather then going black. The swim platform sanded out pretty nice so I was pretty lucky with that.

On the engine / drivetrain it wasn't too bad. I put in some of the OJ phenolic strut bearings and an OJ dripless shaft seal. I have replaced packing glands too many times. The trans was fine which was a bonus. On the engine I found a vortec block and heads from a Krispy Kreme donut truck so the boat is now "Donut Powered". All the internals / externals where fine so it was a pretty easy rebuild. The manifolds didn't crack so with the exception of water pump, fuel pump and ignition parts I was ready to go.

I am currently installing an automated ballast system in it similar to a post I read on the site. I have 370 in the locker, and I arrange 1200 in the back of the boat with the wedge for surfing.

It was a great boat this summer. We barefoot, ski, wakeboard and surf so it is a great all around boat.

Before:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202199447130239&set=a.10202199446170215.1073741825.1311288135&type=3&size=960%2C720

1375249_10202199448530274_251671018_n.jp

1095008_10202199447570250_126120448_n.jp

1385862_10202199447210241_2080259235_n.j

1377123_10202199447130239_238477780_n.jp

After:

1394427_10202199449970310_1501015184_n.j

1385877_10202199449730304_1269895064_n.j

1379264_10202199449810306_862280620_n.jp

1380231_10202199450250317_989239119_n.jp

1374289_10202199450570325_1460940927_n.j

1374211_10202199450690328_54542842_n.jpg

Edited by MSD1

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jk13

OK. You win best first post ever.

Great job and welcome.

So did I read correctly that you made that tower?

And which steering wheel is that? Looks nice.

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REHinH20

For some reason I can't get any of the pictures...Would love to see them, do you have a link to another source? This sounds like a great story!!

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built2rev

Dude, great rehab project there!!! And Perfect first post!! Glad to see other people take on projects like this to bring good boats back too life.

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tvano

welcome to the crew!

great outcome but the 'before' pix make me want to slap someone.

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Levi900RR

WOW!!! Great work and :welcome:

Did you actually paint the bottom? Or is it gelcoat?

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John I.

Awesome resto-mod!

Hard to believe those 'before' pictures, especially as that boat is only 2 years older than mine.

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eyekode

Wow! Looks wonderful.

Who did your upholstery? I am located in NC too.

Salem

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Bozboat

WOW, I scrolled down slowly, not wanting to be disappointed. After the fourth photo, I was thinking is this the before or the after, surely not the after and then WHAM, the sun came out on photo six, I would never guess that was the same boat.

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Asmodeus2112

AWESOME! Welcome. I'm stalking a '97 LX right now that just had a new re manufactured engine, but needs interior, tower etc. You have inspired me to do it.

What brand tower is that?

Edited by Asmodeus2112

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Slayer

WOW!!! Nice job and killer first post!

It amazes me how one of these boats can be kept in such horrific shape. Super sad but at the same time, a fine rebirth of a fine craft! Well done, Sir.

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Michigan boarder

THAT is impressive. Nice job sticking with it and doing it right. More than right.

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Michigan boarder

What paint did you use on the windshield frame? Looks really good.

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ebelizard

WOW! Phenomenal job! That's a night and day difference, be proud, you probably saved a ton of money for a future investment. I wish I had the time and resources to do that, but you displayed that it can be done with persistence.

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REW

Amazing work and find. You have a new boat for a fraction of the cost of an new boat. Not to mention "donut powered" is great. The tower is amazing and hard to believe it is home made. Where do you put 1200 pounds in the back of the boat? Also what prop are you running?

Welcome to the crew.

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happypappy

Pretty dang impressive.

WHat did you do to the windshield frame? Strip the paint off and repainted with what? spray paint or powder coat?? Cause the windshield frame looks great. And you made/fabricated the tower?

ANd to replace the gauges too. Lots of work and patience.

I have installed new rub rail, and it was a PITA.

Lots of work, but a great looking boat.

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Rmattajr

Unreal and well done. You should send the redone pics to the previous owner.

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martinarcher

Look great! Congrats on a great looking Bu!

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ColinP

whut?!? wow!

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MSD1

Ok I will try to answer as much as I can at one time.

I did design and fabricate the tower. It does hinge fwd although I have honestly not folded it yet as my shop door accomadates it. I do only have 3" on each side of the door in width however.

The hull and deck are the original gel coat, I was able to sand and buff it out. The black and blue hull side is PPG base / clear. Since the windshield frame was originally anodized I scuffed it up and shot it with DP epoxy primer and then PPG concept silver base. I think I still have the code.

Right now I am still using the factory 3 blade stainless prop. I have read some posts that say the prop is junk so I plan on getting an acme 231. Anyone have any prop comments?

This year model sunsetter has the bench seat that you can raise up to make a sun platform. For surfing I put the bags under the seat as much as possible. It's not the best but it works. As mentioned earlier I am in the process of installing pump to make the ballast more automated. I am also prototyping a very simple version of the NSS to hopefully eliminate shifting the ballast depending on the rider. Will keep you posted.

I'm cursed in the fact that boats are not only my hobby. I own a company that builds OEM interiors for fishing boats. So my company did the interior.

I appreciate all the comments. I have really picked up some good info from this site and hope to be able to pass some on.

I am in Greenville NC.

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happypappy

Would love for you to provide the paint color/code, as I might do the same in the future. thanks

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Woodski

Stellar job, great looking vessel. I noticed you do OEM interiors for fishing boats. I am looking to match some vinyl to make a custom panel for my ride, the closest match other than the OEM is Wise deluxe seating solid white. Do you know where I can get just a couple of yards of material? Thx.

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MSD1

On the windshield frame I used PPG Concept. The code is DMC 982. It is a bit tricky to spray as it is really thin but it turned out great once I got the hang of it. Good Luck.

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CumminsBu

Looks good, nice job!

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