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wakesetterDD

1999 Malibu Sunsetter VLX Restoration

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wakesetterDD

Bought this boat last year.  Great value based on performance per $.  I would currently like to basically resto-mod this bad boy.  It may take some time though so we're not spending oodles at all once but here we go…

  1. Tracking fin repair: 1 is loose.  Looks like a cheap job was done previously to slow a possible leak.  Boat currently at fiberglass shop near Edmonton, AB, Canada.
  2. Hull repair (previous owner drove onto bunks without carpet--- duh!). https://photos.app.goo.gl/TozLptGkBhbdnMCx8 
  3. I would like to removing snaps for old button-on cover and have the fiber glass shop fill them in but I think this will be very costly.  Might do this but will have to delay.  Awaiting fiber glass shop input re: new ski locker cover as the current one, I think, was already cheaply replaced and is bent and has sharp edges.  My ballast bag also makes it float up so those edges can be pretty dangerous.  Yes, I do empty the bag in that case but I don't always catch it before it starts lifting the cover.
  4. Fuel gauge doesn't work.  Would like to replace with a more reliable system.  When I get the boat back I will see what type of sender it has but I believe it will be an old float style which don't work for long anymore.  Will buy reed style switch (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keMQush7l7U ).
  5. Stern white light and navigation lights don't work.  Light bulbs?  I don't measure any voltage on the contacts of the stern white light plug (where the rod plugs into the base).  Good videos on youtube to help me fix.  Again, boat isn't here at the moment so I can't figure out how to remove the covers or access the wires from underneath.
  6. Engine Divider panels: the current ones sag real bad against the engine- may not actually be effecting the engine (hope not anyways) but would like something sturdy and easy to remove for winter cleaning, winterization, engine maintenance, etc.
  7. Engine hatch: currently an electric driven hydraulic lift controlled at the helm.  I would like to replace with a couple of gas struts (bakesonline.com).  Based on my discussion with the fiber glass guy about towers, the best way to connect this would be to drill holes in the fiberglass and mount it with bolts/washers/nuts.
  8. Trailer Bunks: currently has plastic https://www.amazon.ca/Caliber-23056-Bunk-Wrap-Grey/dp/B01N0I1ZIX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549411416&sr=8-1&keywords=caliber+bunk ; fiber glass recommended replacing but I'm not convinced it's that terrible for gel coat and I rent a slip at a marina so I only every put it on and off the trailer twice per year (or hope so, as long as boat is working).
  9. SeaDek or GatorStep flooring; previous owner put down some pretty plain grey SeaDek.  Fairly rough job around the edges, ski locker, and the gas tank cover.  In fact, the gas tank cover is set on several screws  where it is normally supported by the hull.  The intention is that the screws raise it up to the right height with the rest of the floor but it's actually a little low.
    1. I would like to do a teak colour with black background.  I would also like to peel the vinyl off the engine hatch and put seadeck on it too.  I think it would get a lot of use for jumping off the boat (without a head cracking slip).  This year VLX is one solid hatch.
  10. Battery Switch.  Has two batteries connected in parallel currently without a switch.  I think it was because of the stereo  setup but I think it would be better to run off one and have the other charged and ready to go if needed.
  11. FAE.  'nuff said.
  12. Trailer- would like swing tongue trailer but unless I modify some stuff in my garage the boat won't fit anyways.  The hydraulic trailer brakes were disconnected.  I was told by a local shop (hard to find someone that will do this) said about $1500 CDN for repair (just over the phone).
  13. Maybe one day we'll redo the vinyl.  The two rear seat cushions and the engine hatch have already been re-vinyled (no doubt they were really bad).  The other cushions are tearing at the seems but are actually in pretty good shape given their age.  We have 3 young kids so why make it nice now?  Probably best to wait until after their teenagers lol.  More pics of interior to come in the spring.
  14. Reduce Swim platform size- the support brackets are very near the edges of the platform so this is probably a no go.  I don't see much interference with the surf wave although I hope to get to testing that out.  I think if anything, raising the platform would help; this can be done by adding 2x4s directly above the support brackets only (and then screw these 2x4s to the underside of the platform). 
  15. Sound. Came with 4 MTX speakers powered by standard CD deck with a sub and amp (I had to buy the amp).  Doesn't sound great but does the job.  Wife wants tower speakers so she can groove while surfin so, uh, ya, doing that eventually.  I decided to remove the tower for winter storage on my driveway so I would like to wire the speakers with a quick-disconnect at the tower base.  Haven't found any good products yet.

 

Other comments: 

Boat Value.  This is the reason to do this restoration.  At the moment (2019), a new wake boat with huge ballast and push-button surf tabs will cost you at least $80k Canadian (e.g. 2012 MasterCraft X series, Gen 1 Surf, or 2015 Moomba).  They're great because you can switch sides easily and (only from what I hear), you can surf so far back two or three people can surf on the same wave.

This 99 Malibu VLX (SV23 Hull- wakeboard hull) has 2475lbs of ballast and a mission delta surf tab.  The front bag is best on top of the seats, reducing seating space, and the boat seats so deep in the water the water is near the aft rub rail when surfing.   And ya, you gotta switch the tab for goofy/regular surfers.  But I would have to pay about 3-4 times as much to get significantly better performance from the surf wave... so why not put a little money into this one and love it?  

I want to check my engine alignment and stumbled upon youtube videos by: SkiBoatPartsonline.com (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHOLmJXRsWifyZKB9aR4jA) such a good resource and gives me other things to check that may be the real problem!

Sunsetter VLX specs:

Year:1999 Length: 21' Beam: 93" Draft: 18" Weight: 2900 Lbs. Seating Capacity: 10 Persons Fuel Capacity: 35 Gallons (132L) Drive Type:V-Drive Hull: SV23

 

That's it for now (probably haven't documented everything here yet).  Hope someone finds this interesting and helpful.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mm9Lu9vBCqDUVQ8E6 (boat with cover)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SgDuUVsvLrPEzsdo8 (swim platform fix)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TozLptGkBhbdnMCx8 (hull scratches)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/9hni1n3zki3g1AP86 (water pump leak- from the open area of the pump- NORMAL??)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/o3rDwXGXrkxwHFcY8 (awesome surf wave video)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/d3Edb8kkTmHVr6Ur8  (gas tank cover removal video)

 

 

Edited by wakesetterDD
spelling errors, correction- 4 MTX speakers not 2.

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jtrezon

Bringing back memories!  Other than gel work... I’ve probably done it to this ‘99.  

 

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wakesetterDD

Wow jtrezon!  I might be asking for advice in the near future...

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wakesetterDD

Also needing to repair some loose parts of the windshield.

Tower light bar.  I have one but the mounting brackets suck- they won't fit so I gotta figure out a workaround.

I'd like to put a riser on the captain seat because the seat does not have a bolster.

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jtrezon

Definitely a satisfying winter project.   All the harder to see it go.   Currently have it listed in classifieds    

 

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asp13

Following! Looking forward to how this turns out! Always good to see other Alberta boaters and boats. Also the surf wave looks really good in the video you posted

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wakesetterDD

Just bought some bolts for the tower mirror and moved the mirror over to the left side.  We’ll see how I like it on the port side.  I find it’s hard to look at from the driver seat when it’s right in front of you and you have to crouch down not to be in the way.

ordered blue loctite for the water pump bolts and a couple of fuel filters (one to keep on the boat as a spare).

i also have a design for a fake a lake that I will post later.

boat still at fibreglass shop.  I think  the guy is putting other frequent customers ahead of me.  I’m anxious but there’s still two feet of snow on the ground so...

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wakesetterDD

Also bought life seal marine sealant.  From what I read this is the best stuff.  Will help seal up any chips the fibreglass guy doesn’t get to (he’s doing from prop shaft exit forward).

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wakesetterDD

So I made a dual battery box rack in an attempt to save some floor space for other storage.  Thank goodness it won't be visible very often (but hey, it is practical and I had all the materials already).  I did this while the boat is at the fiber glass shop so I don't know how well it will fit but it can be made a little shorter if nec.  Will post pics of it in the passenger seat storage compartment once I get the boat back.  I figure I can install a bus bar directly to this rack and amps too if I really want.  Of course, I will find a way to tether it to the boat so it doesn't fall over but so far it seems very stable (I have put a battery on the top shelf to test it).

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tqW4AkPk3iCGR4CF6

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wakesetterDD

See photos of boat in fiberglass shop.  I hope the motor mounts were tight...

In the photos you can see the tracking fin cracks in the fiber glass.  Apparently there is another wood block that was rotting away and the washers and bolts came loose (and we think that a slow leak formed and killed the batteries due to bilge pump running too frequently if we didn't use the boat for a week or more).

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rsGKa2uqAi1aDphz8

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ahopkinsVTX

Looks like you have a good detailed list and have a good start. I love these threads and look forward to following a long. 

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wakesetterDD

Fiberglass shop is done with the boat.  Picking it up later this week.

There's actually NO WOOD plate above the track fins; the fiberglass had worn very thin above the tracking fins and was breaking away around the bolts/washers.  Someone had previously tried to tighten the bolts without properly sealing the area.  So that's probably the source of our leak.  Nice thick layer or fiberglass added to this area.

Fiberglass shop said the gasoline was grungy and would not suggest putting it back in the tank.  There goes another $150.  But at least it will give me the chance to clean out the tank and eliminate that as the source of any future performance issues.  I guess because the tank will be empty it will also allow me to inspect their work.

Any recommendations on cleaners for inside the tank?  I don't think I should pressure wash it... although that would be very easy and I have time to dry the tank well (heat/air/time).

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wakesetterDD

*as per my note about sound system redo: Speakon speaker wire connectors would work for a disconnect at the tower base, although they are not 'water tight.'  I am thinking that having the tower remain on the boat every winter will actually help me tarp it better so the snow and rain stay out so I may not bother putting quick disconnects at/near the tower base.

Amazon has Speakon connectors; basically they are the same style plugs as for indoor DJ speakers and microphones.

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wakesetterDD

Gas tank removed, cleaned.  Drying now...

https://photos.app.goo.gl/HzRaySAnXHJj31pM8 props to my buddy for doing all the dirty work at the car wash.

swing arm type: longer than 5-1/2"; tank depth = 5-7/8"; tested: gauge and float working (

); maybe electrical contacts were dirty; based on size of swing arm the device may indicate empty prematurely. Replace in future if nec. with 5.5" reed switch sender (Amazon).

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wakesetterDD

Rear hatch screws came loose- put some body filler in- didn't harden properly (too cold when I did it) but so far it's good enough.  Used longer screws to screw into a wood backing plate underneath.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/CWDQeqQAMtRbjQFXA 

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wakesetterDD

Changed the fuel filter.   Wix 33033 amazon.ca = $8.99 CDN.  Don't need the extra hose or clamps that come with.  I think they would be helpful if you had to extend your existing hoses or if you are running fuel thru the filter outside of an existing system.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/fWhnAtKxvMyLLjmN8 

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wakesetterDD

Re-attached the heater fan to the heater core.  Used an old piece of backer board (1/4" thick, used for stone/fireplace walls) to pin what was left over of the fan frame to the heater core on one side (existing screws just long enough to go thru the backer board with washer on top).  Then zip tied around it and the heater core to secure it in place.  Not pretty but the only other way would be to buy a new fan but why when this one runs great!?  Also installed spade terminals on ground wire because the rest of the wiring already has a 3-pin disconnect thing.  Will make for easier replacement in the future.  I re-installed it on the wall in front of the driver's seat.  I just installed it lower so it would be easier to connect the ducts.  One problem was that the left side screws would not stick in the wall (thin fiberglass? (covered in carpet)).  So I used an existing bolt and two zip ties to secure it.  Installed it at an angle so the water should drain to the inlet/outlet end.  Hopefully that's the right way!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WHU6j8ZQhBjqFidf7 

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wakesetterDD
Posted (edited)

Port storage compartment mods.  The battery shelf is too tall and if I make it shorter there won't be any room to use tools on the terminals/connections... so, going back to two on the floor.  Will update link below with more photos soon.

Used LifeSeal on the bow ballast bag vent hose as there is a hole in the hose just before the check valve.

Removed the organizer panels.

Also the bolt/screw standing on the floor was coming thru the hole to its left from the bottom; almost stepped on that thing a hundred times since having the seat bases out.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZzHC4QKe3rzMT7Lq5

Edited by wakesetterDD
update

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Bozboat

cant open the photos

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wakesetterDD

Reinstalled the gas tank and fuel sender last night.  Inside of tank looks nice and clean.

Also started pulling stereo cables, dash control wires, etc. from port storage compartment back thru the bow to the starboard storage area in front of the driver.  Bought 1-1/4" sump hose ($10 for 20ft at Canadian Tire) to put all the wires inside as a conduit to protect the wires from water and mechanical damage (from people moving stuff in and out of the bow seat storage compartments).  Ran the sump hose around the bow and will soon pull wires through the sump hose with a fishing tool line that I have already run through the sump hose/conduit.

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wakesetterDD
Posted (edited)

Tonight I wired in my LED light bar and connected up my batteries.  Photos once tower installed.  Unfortunately, the batteries died real quick after connecting.  I am charging one right now; will charge the other tomorrow.  I hope they were just low and there wasn't some sort of a fault.  My bluetooth audio device turned on tho, and some of the lights would turn on, just dim, so I am hoping the battery was just low and so the voltage was too low (I measured 8V) to run most anything.

Also problem-solved the navigation light and all-around white light.  Nav light bulb dead.  12V power good to its wiring.  Just bought an LED light (to replace the entire housing).  Why put a cheap bulb back when I can get a new LED that will probably never burn out over the life of the boat?  I found power (12V) at the all-around white light wires but the two prongs inside the housing (which the bulb thing plugs into) were so corroded that I measured infinite resistance (i.e. no continuity) between the housing's pig-tail wiring and the prongs.  I found evidence of corrosion on the splices and then inside the wires too so hopefully I am correct here.  Just bought a replacement housing from Amazon. 

Edited by wakesetterDD
grammatical corrections

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braindamage

This is looking really good!! Keep it up, you still have time before the season.

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wakesetterDD
2 hours ago, braindamage said:

This is looking really good!! Keep it up, you still have time before the season.

Can you see my shared google photos?

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