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Bean97

1997 Sunsetter rehab

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Bean97

Hello all!

I am new to this site as I just inherited my parents 1997 Sunsetter.  I have been doing research on gelcoat and upholstery repairs/rehab options and there is a lot of good info so I figured I should join up since I will probably have many more things to work on the boat in the years to come.  This boat was purchased new by my parents at Paradise Marine in southern California.  All the kids in my parents house are gone now so they gave me the boat so that I could take on the yearly costs of the boat (a hell of a deal for me!).

We want to get this thing looking good again so to start this year we will be looking at options for the exterior gelcoat, interior upholstery, and a tower to get the boards of the floor.

On the exterior we are looking at all options:

  • wetsand/buff existing gelcoat
  • re-gel coat the entire boat (99% sure this is cost prohibitive)
  • painting (not sure how this would work over gelcoat, but still throwing it out there)
  • vinyl wrap (this would allow us to change the colors, which my wife really wants)

On the interior we will be re-doing all the upholstery.  We got a quote from a local guy and will be getting more this weekend.  We need to figure out what we are doing with the exterior before we can decide on upholstery colors.

On the tower I have not really got into searching much since this is last on my list.

This Friday we will be hauling the boat around Southern California to get info and quotes from different shops on the exterior and interior options.

Haven't quite figured out how to add pictures but will once I get the hang of it.

If anyone has any suggestions or input to any of the above I am all ears and really appreciate any and all info.  Thank you!

 

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Michigan boarder

Welcome to the site!  Might as well chip in the $$ to become a supporting member, makes posting pics a lot easier.  Plus you'll get that investment back 100 times.

So....post some pics of the gel, how bad is it?  My red boat was pink when I got it, sanded it back to life and put a new interior in it back in '09.  Way cheaper (but labor intensive) than regel or wrap.

faded_transom resized3.jpgwet_sanding resized.jpgpost-8942-067825600%201294928850_thumb.jpgpost-8942-026567900%201294928894_thumb.jpg2016 Winter storage compressed.jpg

 

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Nitrousbird

For the interior, make sure you see a LOT of examples of the guy's work.  I see way more bad interior jobs than good ones posted up.  Three things I typically notice:
- Vinyl is loose.  Wrinkles everywhere
- Vinyl is cheap looking.  Either from the design chosen or the material used.  Insist on designs similar to OEM and require an OEM material.
- Vinyl is poorly cut.  Piping that doesn't line up, things off-center, etc.  Usually when you see this, the above two issues are pretty prominent in the job that is done.

It will be costly, but a cheap vinyl job sucks.

As for the exterior, painting is a no-go.  Re-gel is too from a $$ standpoint.  If the color scheme is super dated, get a wrap.  Otherwise, wet sand, buff, polish.

As for the tower, don't get some China-bay BS.  Not worth it.  For strength/cost, the Star One (Titan 2) tower is good.  I personally don't like the look of it.  Samson Blade is pricey but a pretty nice looking tower.  Even with a free boat, budget should still be considered as it is a 20 year old boat...only so much money can go into it before diminishing returns.    

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Bean97

Thanks for the input!

I am very worried about the vinyl because the original has held up extremely well and I am afraid I will actually make it worse by re-doing it.  There are a few spots coming apart like the back bench seat from people stepping on it to get to/from the swim platform.  I will take your suggestions on how to inspect a vinyl shops work/materials.  

The color scheme is not actually bad, teal with light grey and forest green accents.

That titan 2 tower is way cheaper than I expected for a tower, but yes I don't really like to look either.  The blade is a bit more than I care to spend, but does look sweet!

I am hoping to stay under $7K for these 3 items, but will sacrifice the tower if I need to spend the full $7K on the other two to get better quality.  Here is what I am thinking so far from phone calls/research:

  • $1500 for sanding/polishing the gelcoat.
  • $2000 for upholstery
  • $2000 for tower

I will try to join as a supporting member later when I have my wallet on me so I can post pictures.

 

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Bean97

Michigan,

Great looking boat!  I like the new design you put in the vinyl.  When they re-sand the gel coat, do they get all the little detail areas of the interior too?  Do they have to completely strip everything off the boat?

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Michigan boarder
1 hour ago, Nitrousbird said:

For the interior, make sure you see a LOT of examples of the guy's work.  I see way more bad interior jobs than good ones posted up.  Three things I typically notice:
- Vinyl is loose.  Wrinkles everywhere
- Vinyl is cheap looking.  Either from the design chosen or the material used.  Insist on designs similar to OEM and require an OEM material.
- Vinyl is poorly cut.  Piping that doesn't line up, things off-center, etc.  Usually when you see this, the above two issues are pretty prominent in the job that is done.

It will be costly, but a cheap vinyl job sucks.

 

Spot on Nitrous, great points.

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Michigan boarder

Also - how is your trailer?  Will it spend much time on the road?  Tires should be replaced if more than 5 years old, grease bearings, make sure bunks are fastened solid, check for excessive rust/holes, make sure winch strap is not frayed.  Some other things to consider when thinking about your budget:

  • Engine tune up.  Cap, rotor, plugs, wires.  When was all of that serviced last?
  • Impeller.  Many guys replace these annually, I do every 2 years.
  • Rudder has a zirk fitting - 1 pump of grease should do it
  • Check all screws and bolts for tightness
  • How is the steering?  Should be 1 finger steering, nice and loose, easy to move while stationary or under power.  If not, you may need a new steering cable (not uncommon).
  • Stereo.  Are you happy with it?  Mine is 4 speakers, amp, head unit, Basslink powered sub.  Simple but great for a Direct Drive (DD)

We can spend your years' wages on this site!!  That said - you should tackle the wet sanding yourself, save $$ for other stuff.

Edited by Michigan boarder

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That Guy

Congrats and welcome!  Hopefully you can bring it back but I'd make sure you get quite a few written quotes before you tear into anything, in addition to making sure the boat itself is a solid runner otherwise I fear you may get in "too deep".  I've personally seen a 96 Sunsetter get a new interior and entire thing wetsanded by a local shop, and it turned out great but cost approximately $6k. And the gel wasn't bad at all, the owner just wanted a solid once over on it. Interior was about $4500, wet sand/polish/detail was a little over $1000 and then all new decals ate up the rest. Don't get me wrong, it looks great but it adds up fast especially if you're paying someone else to do it.

Be sure to post up pictures of your progress!

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Bean97

Awesome responses, it is great to have this active site with members willing to respond!

Michigan, you did a great job with the sanding, buffing and polishing!  I know everyone is busy but man I really don't know that I could find the time to do all that work on my own.  Plus, it is usually a 50/50 chance that I mess something up or make it worse when I try to DIY.

  • The trailer is in good condition, all 4 tires brand new.  Not going to be on the road more than 1 mile back and forth to the lake on the weekends and maybe a couple 500 mile river trips.  I will check the winch strap.
  • The steering cable is one that I have known for a few years needs to be replaced and was planning on doing it this year.
  • The stereo is garbage in my opinion and will most likely be a slow upgrade, with a new head unit a must.  We do need to decide if we want to add speakers at all since that might change the vinyl.
  • I'll grease up the rudder, thank you.
  • Have a spare impeller on board at all times, will probably proactively replace it this year.
  • Engine tune up - I doubt it.  I think my dad just changed the oil every year and not much else.  We have seriously never had one-single-issue...EVER.  And this is despite the fact that we sank it once.

Damn, way too many things to think about all at once.  Maybe I should just give it back?  Haha, not gonna happen

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Bean97
16 minutes ago, That Guy said:

Congrats and welcome!  Hopefully you can bring it back but I'd make sure you get quite a few written quotes before you tear into anything, in addition to making sure the boat itself is a solid runner otherwise I fear you may get in "too deep".  I've personally seen a 96 Sunsetter get a new interior and entire thing wetsanded by a local shop, and it turned out great but cost approximately $6k. And the gel wasn't bad at all, the owner just wanted a solid once over on it. Interior was about $4500, wet sand/polish/detail was a little over $1000 and then all new decals ate up the rest. Don't get me wrong, it looks great but it adds up fast especially if you're paying someone else to do it.

Be sure to post up pictures of your progress!

$1000 for the exterior I can deal with, seems well worth it for me not to have to spend 40 hours (which for me would realistically be at least double what it took Michigan).  $4500 for the interior, not too sure about that one, but I definitely cannot just ignore the large tear in the back seat.  Lots to think about.  Add that my wife wants this basically done now, and it feels like a lot of pressure.

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Michigan boarder

Well, if you are going to pay someone else, then I'd forgo the wet sanding and go with a vinyl wrap.  REALLY gives you a chance to update it, make it look like a much newer boat.  Combine that with a matching custom interior (probably not much more $$ than going stock), and it's a whole different boat.

Sounds like you have some solid knowledge & experience on the other stuff, off to a great start!

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solorex

I'd second a wet sand and polish... did this to my '97 Tantrum and came out like new (it wasn't that oxidized to begin with), but Gel Coat is very forgiving with a little common sense.  Keep the graphics simple and clean, no need to do a full wrap.  I get compliments all the time on my boat since it is a clean older 'bu

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Bean97
3 hours ago, Michigan boarder said:

Well, if you are going to pay someone else, then I'd forgo the wet sanding and go with a vinyl wrap.  REALLY gives you a chance to update it, make it look like a much newer boat.  Combine that with a matching custom interior (probably not much more $$ than going stock), and it's a whole different boat.

Sounds like you have some solid knowledge & experience on the other stuff, off to a great start!

Far from knowledgeable or experienced so I really appreciate all the info and input here.

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HPetit

Bean, where are you located. Your numbers seem high for a wetsand and polish. 

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braindamage

Congratulations and welcome to the crew! Next to "someone else's" a "free" boat is the best kind!!

my 'bu had been terribly neglected by the previous owner And I spent the first winter redoing the interior and getting it water ready.

for the gelcoat, I didn't want to spend the $$ to pay someone else and I thought me sanding was risky, so I just did a strong once-over with an orbital and compound, followed by polish, and then wax. Rewax mid summer, then do again the following year. The boat always looked better each year and after the 3rd season there was no need to do the compound.  

Have a blast with the rehab. The 'crew is the best place for advice and to help you spend your $$.

and one saying that you will get used to hearing. Pics...or it didn't happen. So post some already!! ?

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braindamage

Also-if you are Redoing the vinyl, do the uninstall-reinstall of all the seats, sides, and motorbox yourself. That will save about $1000.

also, while the motorbox is off I suggest putting in noise dampening material inside. There is a great article in the "how to" section  

its one of the best mods and really easy.

Edited by braindamage

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Bean97
5 hours ago, HPetit said:

Bean, where are you located. Your numbers seem high for a wetsand and polish. 

I am in Southern California, LA area.  I got another quote today after sending pics to the guy.  $3000 for vinyl and $650 for wetsand/polish.  Set up 3 appointments for Friday to take the boat in person for gelcoat and upholstery quotes.

Edited by Bean97
spelling

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Bean97
2 hours ago, braindamage said:

Congratulations and welcome to the crew! Next to "someone else's" a "free" boat is the best kind!!

my 'bu had been terribly neglected by the previous owner And I spent the first winter redoing the interior and getting it water ready.

for the gelcoat, I didn't want to spend the $$ to pay someone else and I thought me sanding was risky, so I just did a strong once-over with an orbital and compound, followed by polish, and then wax. Rewax mid summer, then do again the following year. The boat always looked better each year and after the 3rd season there was no need to do the compound.  

Have a blast with the rehab. The 'crew is the best place for advice and to help you spend your $$.

and one saying that you will get used to hearing. Pics...or it didn't happen. So post some already!! ?

Thanks for the welcome!  And yes I enjoyed the boat being "someone else's" for the last 20 years so I am well past due to be the one paying for it.\

I tried to sign up so that I can post pictures but got this error message when trying to pay with my wife's paypal:

"There was an error processing the payment. Please try a different payment method or contact us for assistance."

How do I "contact us for assistance" in this joint?

EDIT: It was my Wife's Paypal.  Got it figured out and hopefully posting pictures below.

Edited by Bean97
updating info

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Bean97
2 hours ago, braindamage said:

Also-if you are Redoing the vinyl, do the uninstall-reinstall of all the seats, sides, and motorbox yourself. That will save about $1000.

also, while the motorbox is off I suggest putting in noise dampening material inside. There is a great article in the "how to" section  

its one of the best mods and really easy.

I thought about pulling the stuff myself but am really worried that when I re-install everything won't fit/align correctly.  I figure if the shop is doing it they will have to address the issues themselves upon re-install, just my thought.

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powbmps

Other than the back seat, that boat looks pretty good already!

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INCOPPNITO

That fifth of Jack come with the boat?  Might come in handy as you do some of the work...and write checks! 

A wrap would be great, but then you might be locked in to changing the interior as well.  Which is tough because most of it looks pretty good.  Good luck and congrats

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Michigan boarder

Dude, that does NOT look all that bad!  My suggestions:

1. Pull the back seat base out and have someone repair just the back seat.  It slides right out.

2. Have the boat detailed/polished.  Wet sanding is not necessary.

3. Toss me that bottle of Jack

4. I can't help you with the tower, no idea there

5. Take a pull and pass this to your right.  Did you bring smokes?

6. Spend the rest of the night sitting in the boat listening to the radio laughing about stupid stuff with your buddies.

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Bean97

Thanks everyone!  Unfortunately that Jack container is my coin storage and I was counting the pennies to see if I could afford the work we want to get done.

This is my childhood boat and I am really nervous and sentimental about changing any of it, other than fixing the tears.  Hopefully when my wife and I take it down to a couple shops they will agree that minimal work is required and can convince my wife.  

Either way we will be having a great time on the water this summer, so hurry up with the warm weather already!!

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