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Discussion Starter · #141 · (Edited)
My understanding is that in order for the new coats of resin to adhere to the floor, all of the loose or flaking material had to be completely removed. I tried several different approaches, with different sand paper grits, in different locations along both side isles, but the more I tried, the more floor just flaked off. It stuck just enough so that you had to work at it but I am sure it would have lifted if I put the new resin over it. It took me just twenty minutes to be sick of this project but I am pretty stubborn so I kept at it.

When I tried to sand off those top two layers with a small flat sander, I found that the floors were not nearly as flat as they seemed. The high spots sanded down nice and quick but left the low spots untouched. Trying to feather in the low spots didn’t work so I had to sand deeper. Just about the time I got to the bottom of that second layer, the fiberglass cloth pattern suddenly appeared next to it on the high spot. I tried several ways to keep from cutting down to the cloth but nothing worked. I switched to an orbital sander trying not to go as deep into the cloth. I kept going until both sides were done except along the stringers and under the deck. There was cloth showing every few square inches and I was sick.

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Up against the stringers where I couldn’t get a sander, I used a razor blade and paint scraper to pop off what I could and hand sanded the rest. I also used the scraper under the deck but it took hours of hard, uncomfortable work. Parts of it turned out better but other parts still had to be sanded and ended up with cloth showing.

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Looking for help and advice, I showed the floors to several people. Most of them just stared, speechless. I was told just about every imaginable outcome: If I put resin over the exposed cloth, the cloth will still show through; I might have to put a new layer of cloth down, and then more resin, to keep the exposed cloth from showing; I might have to grind out the whole layer of exposed cloth and then replace it so it wouldn’t show; etc, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
I was overwhelmed so I didn’t do anything for a while. During that time, I got bored, removed the v-drive and opened it up to see how it works. That is another story. Then I decided that if I’m going to have screwed up looking floors, at least they would be really flat. I went over everything with 80 grit on the DA, making sure that it was flat, thoroughly scuffed and ready for resin. Even though this removed more material, it didn’t seem to expose any more cloth or look any worse.

I got my fiberglass cloth, mat, resin, hardener and wax from Manny at Fiberglass Unlimited, along with some instruction. He said the resin is isophthalic polyester and for the first two coats I mix it with 2% of the hardener. This will leave a slightly tacky and un-sandable finish. The third and final coat has the 2% hardener again but also has 4% wax added to it. This leaves a hard, shiny and sandable finish.

Instead of experimenting on the boat, I got a small piece of plywood, put a section of mat on one side and some cloth on the other. I put a coat of resin with 2% hardener over the material and used a little hard plastic roller to flatten it out. Once it felt tacky, I applied a second coat. Once it felt tacky again, I put the third coat on with 2% hardener and 4% wax. That third coat kicks a lot faster and it didn’t take long before it was hard and dry to the touch. To replicate the problem with my floors, I then sanded the board until the cloth and mat was exposed. Then I repeated the application process with the three coats, like I was supposed to do in the boat. The first coat answered the big question. Yes, you can still see the exposed cloth through the new resin but it was only noticeable at certain angles and in certain lighting. Definitely good enough for my ski boat. The second and third coats did not make any difference, better or worse. Just for the hell of it, I put another layer of cloth on the test piece and put the same three coats over it again but it didn’t change anything. You can still see what I sanded down into if you look close.

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Winter, here in Central Cal, was over. Time to get this done. I cleaned the whole inside of the boat as well as I could, removing all of the fiberglass dust, resin chips and dirt, oil, sweat, blood (yes, blood), etc. I went over everything a couple of times with soap and water, rinsing it really well. Then I went over everything again with acetone.

I had decided that the new gunnel fuel tanks would be black so that they would blend into the boat instead of attracting their own attention and requiring polish. The sides needed attention after grinding the old tank-mounting mat down flush. I originally figured I would just apply the resin to the sides and floors at the same time. Because the original gel is black, the sides are dark but they were sort of a dark green color. I decided to put black gel coat on the sides of the hull, front to back, to help the tanks blend in. This would be the time to do it, so I went back to Manny for gel coat.

When my new fuel tanks arrived, I used them to make up my templates for the bulkheads that would hold them in place. I mocked up the tanks to position the bulkheads and glassed them into place. I taped off the floors and got stuff ready.

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I bought stacks of plastic painting cups and a bag full of syringes, both with measurements on the side, to help me mix ingredients properly. I pre-poured measured amounts of everything, grabbed a bunch of rags, extra chip brushes, a cardboard box for trash and got dressed for the occasion.

I went over the sides one more time with a clean white cotton rag and acetone and then mixed the goods and jumped inside. I applied all three coats, using the same process as before. It went on pretty quick but it kicked a lot faster than I expected. As instructed, between each coat, I put my brush in a separate cup of acetone to keep it from hardening so I could continue to use it. I put less hardener in the second and third coats but I really had no idea what I was doing or what I could get away with and still have a long lasting result. The three-inch brush marks didn’t flow out before it set, which was disappointing. I decided that it was good enough from the transom to the front of the front seat because it doesn’t show. I wasn’t sure what to do with the part that would show.

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Discussion Starter · #143 · (Edited)
Moving on, the next day I switched to the floors. This is when the headaches became more frequent and intense.

While cleaning the floors with acetone again, I noticed that little balls of white cotton cloth were sticking to the floor. They sort of melted their way into the floor and were hard to brush off. I figured I could solve the problem with a “lint free” cloth. I just happened to have a whole brand new bag of rags from Costco that even said “lint free” on the bag. Perfect. Using these yellow micro-fiber towels, I scrubbed the hell out of the floors and left no lint behind.

Again, I got everything ready and jumped in. I crawled up under the deck in the center isle with my brush and my buddy John stirred the hardener into the resin and passed it up to me. I worked my way back to the dash and crawled out to work from over the side of the boat. It brushed on smooth and shiny. I was thinking, Hell, this is easy. What had I been so worried about? About the time I got to the middle of the boat, John told me to stop. He showed me that everything behind me was changing into an orange-peeled dimply mess. It was obviously going to have to come off. It was sickening. I tried to scrape it off but that didn’t work. Crap!

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I let it kick and although it wasn’t as hard as it would have been with the wax coat, it was thin enough to sand off with the DA and some 40 grit paper. Of coarse, this makes such a mess that when you are done, you have to start the cleaning process all over again before you can think about putting more material down. This includes cleaning the underside of everything, the gunnel, transom, deck, etc.

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Then it was time to try and figure out what the hell went wrong. Any guesses? Remember how you are supposed to pre-clean everything with acetone to prevent contamination? You know how well acetone cuts through and cleans up your brushes, cups and spills? Well guess what micro-fiber towels are made of (among other things); Polyester! So basically I was melting the rags and rubbing the contamination all over my surfaces, which contaminated the new resin. Great. Dumbass.

The next day I went out and bought a brand new batch of clean white cotton towels, along with some more measuring/mixing cups and sticks. While I was at Depot, my house painting contractor buddy called to catch up so I told him about my experience with the resin and gel so far. I told him I didn’t like the brush strokes in my gel coat and explained that I had mixed the hardener the way I was told. I remember him showing me what a difference a good quality brush can make painting wood and asked if a better brush may have prevented the strokes in the finish. He doesn’t know anything about these materials and wouldn’t speculate. The more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that investing in better brushes would save me time in the long run and result in a better finish. I bought a fist full of nice, expensive brushes and went home.

Two days later, I was ready to try again. Imagine my excitement! After learning some hard lessons and creating days or additional hard work, I finally had it figured out. I repeated the entire cleaning process with a brand new batch of clean white cotton towels. Paying better attention to my original instructions, this time I also cleaned my brushes in acetone before beginning, just to make sure I wasn’t going to have further issues with contamination. By this time I had also created a few cups full of hardened resin, some with brushes sticking out of them and some which had melted through the bottom. I crawled up under the deck with my new brush and John handed me the fresh cup of resin. I was focused on moving at a faster pace this time to beat the kick of the hardener.

We made smaller batches this time because I was afraid to mix up a big batch after having so many problems. As I used up a cup, John would hand me the next freshly mixed one. It was working pretty good and I got all the way to the back of the starboard side and started up under the deck on the port side before John said STOP! again. It was almost the identical contamination. What the hell did I do this time? Any ideas?

Guess what the new expensive brushes were made of. Polyester! And I had cleaned them really well in the acetone before I started, to prevent any contamination. I’m nothing if not consistent. If I had hired me I would have fired me a long time ago. And stubborn. Maybe stupid too. Dumbass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 · (Edited)
I took a few days off before I could show my face in the neighborhood and then took the boat back to my old hot rod neighbor buddy’s house to borrow his DA again. I sanded all of the new material out again, cleaned it all again and put it back in the garage. I jacked up the port side of the boat, leveling the starboard floor as well as I could.

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Two days later, John came back and we tried again, this time using clean white cotton rags and cleaned cheap chip brushes. It was daybreak and cool but was going to warm up quick. We mixed up one big cup and I crawled under the deck again. I brushed as fast as I could, applying it with one stroke, laying it down with the backstroke and then left it alone. I handed the cup out to him and he continued until I crawled out from under the deck and got in position beyond John to take over again. It only took a couple of minutes to get a layer down. We kept it as thin as we could while still having good coverage. I noticed that jacking up the boat to level the floor prevented the material from trying to pool up along the stringer as much so I think it was a good move. We held our breath and watched. Once again, we had some contamination, but only directly under the breather in the center of the valve cover. It was like watching oil on water but the defect was thin and everything else looked great. After it got tacky, we did it again and most of the defect disappeared. The wax coat completely covered it except for two pencil lead sized dimples. That wax coat sure kicks a lot faster than just the hardener. I walked away until the next morning and then inspected it. It was a huge relief to see how well it turned out. I jacked up the other side of the trailer and repeated the whole process on the port side floor, which came out without any contamination.

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Several days later, I tried to sand the brush strokes out of the black gel coat on the side, from the front seat forward. It sanded out nicely but again, chasing the low spots, I went through it. I cleaned everything up again and taped off the new floors. This time I did some experiments with the gel, hardener and wax mixtures in several areas along the side of my wooden fuel tank mock up. I found that it worked much better with a little less than 1% hardener and then on the final coat I only used about 1% wax as well. I put the three coats back on and although it did not have brush strokes, it had an orange peel texture to it. I was able to sand the gel smooth without cutting through it.

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Discussion Starter · #145 · (Edited)
As good as the floors came out, since I had to sand the gel, I figured I might as well do the floors while I was at it. I was too tired to move everything back to my old hot rod neighbor’s place to continue so I just borrowed his DA again. Hot Rod Bob is 80 years old and I think he bought the DA when he was young. It is all metal and very heavy but it works with my smaller compressor. I did everything, floors and gel, progressing from 280 grit, to 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and then 1500. Good quality paper for this makes all of the difference. The only problem I had was about half way through the sanding, the whole spinning assembly of Bob’s DA took off across the freshly sanded boat floor, leaving me holding the handle and watching ball bearings bounce around. Admit it. You couldn’t make this shit up!

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After a trip to the bearing supply house, I rebuilt Bob’s DA and then tested it by fixing the new scuffs from the fragged DA and then finishing up with the 1500. By the way, I bought Bob a new DA of similar stoutness but he opted to keep his old one – locked up. Can’t blame him.

As good as it all looked, I got out the variable speed polisher. With that, I used 3M #1 rubbing compound with a new 7 inch wool pad, then 3M #2 with a black foam pad and then finished it off with a coat of McGuires Marine Wax.

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After all of that, I stood the boat up on its tail and pressure washed all of the layers of fiberglass, resin, dust, dirt and crap out of the entire boat, all the way from the bow eye, back. Then I finished installing the new fuel tanks and went to the lake and lived happily ever after.

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Hey, after all of that, the floors look so good that I am afraid to step on them. I put towels down to put my feet on. Will my new floors turn yellow? Yep. Will they crack or peel or anything else? I don’t know. I sure hope not. I’m very happy with them. Dad says it looks better than when he got it. That makes me proud of my efforts. Will it last? I have no idea but if it doesn’t, I’ll fix it. Yes, I looked into all of the “topcoat” options that were suggested but the bottom line was they worked best when sprayed on and I don’t have the facilities or skills for that, so I am staying basically with what Dad had to work with back in the 1960’s, as usual.

The End. (NOT)
 

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Discussion Starter · #147 ·
Thanks Billy
Pretty neat that Dad is actually proud of the work that I have done


Hey Mr T, I didnt see your post hidden in the middle of mine. Believe me, there was a period in that project where I was sure I had ruined everything and would have to go to veneers or paint or whatever but my goal with the boat has always been to try to preserve it the way Dad had it. It aint perfect by any means but I am happy with how it turned out. I'm even happier that work is behind me...
 

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Discussion Starter · #149 ·
It's a good thing you didn't fire yourself-it looks great:))THumbsUp:))THumbsUp
Thanks

2 years ago, when I first got started with the boat, I drove down to Needles for the February show and I loved it. I decided I would tow the boat down the next year but that is when I was doing all of this work so I didnt make it.

Yesterday, I registered for the show and I will be there! Cant wait
 

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Discussion Starter · #150 · (Edited)
Trailer & Needles Show

The last time I updated this was when I sent in my registration for the Needles Boat Show. It was a BLAST!
I wasted a lot of time working my ass off getting the boat all nice and clean and then drug it all the way down south and put it in the river on Friday. Great fun but the boat was a mess by the time I got it back on the trailer for the show on Saturday. Saw a lot of friends and met a lot of folks and had so much fun I'm going back again this year.
I am cleaning everything up again, even though I plan on spending more time on the river this year before the show.

I did some remodeling on the house just before the Needles trip last year. With a lot of help from a lot of friends, I ended up with a small metal shop on the side of the house to keep the boat in. I say small because I should have built it bigger even though I increased the size twice before it went up. Just another 4 feet wider would have been much better. The boat has always been garaged and I want to keep it that way. To fit it into my garage, I literally had an inch and a half clearance on each side to get it into the garage. I got pretty good at getting it in there but it was very challenging to work on it in there. I like to do things myself (and I can't afford not to) so I helped a buddy and his crew set up and pour the slab. After the building went up, I was just going to leave it the way it was but things quickly got out of control. I needed something to protect the metal walls from getting damaged from the inside. I figured insulation might be a good solution so I insulated all of the walls. If a little is good, more is better so I insulated the ceiling. Then I took it all down and added all the electric and put the insulation back up and covered it with OSB which I painted. Wayyyy out of control.

Then another buddy built me a gantry crane so that I can pull the motor or pull the whole boat with the motor in it off of the trailer. It seems heavy enough to lift the whole shop (I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it) but it fit better in there going 20 feet wide from wall to wall so it isn't in the way. I have added the shelves and a work bench but I still need to clean out and organize everything and add a compressor. I’ll start on all of that after the Needles show. It is bitchin to have all this room to care for the Belmont.

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A couple of years ago I saw that the trailer bunk carpet needed to be replaced so I bought pre-cut bunk carpet. At first, I was simply going to tie the boat to the dock, remove the bolted on bunks, strip off the old and staple on the new carpet and be done with it. Then I realized there was a fair chance that I might also need to replace the wood bunks. I assumed they were just 2x4’s but upon closer inspection, they are 2x6’s, mounted on their sides and custom cut and shaped to fit the bottom of the hull. Nothing ever ends up being as simple as it sounds so with all of these issues, I decided to wait and just kept patching the carpet as needed. It got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore so I decided to tackle the job before going to Needles. I’ve never seen a boat taken off of the trailer before. I could probably figure it out but decided it was safer to get some direction and maybe even some help. I was asking yet another buddy for advice and he invited me to bring it to his shop where he has everything needed and he would walk me through the whole job.

We popped the boat off the trailer, removed the bunks and the carpet just disintegrated in my hands. At some point, Dad had added a second layer of carpet to the bunks instead of replacing the original layer. After pulling out a billion staples, we found the wood was in excellent shape except on the ends. We sanded off some really great, thick black paint that was over a white primer. It really did a great job of protecting the un-treated wood for all of these years. I’m guessing you can’t buy stuff like that anymore. Now that I think about it, it was probably full of lead or some other toxins that we were breathing. After sealing the wood back up with a few coats of resin, we put a cap of sturdy carpet on the top portion of the bunks and then completely wrapped them with the new, pre-cut carpet I had purchased. We used one size larger lags to mount them back on the trailer and lowered the boat back into place. I took it to the lake last week and everything is still tight and right.

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Like me, Dad liked to do stuff himself and got lots of help from friends when undertaking new challenges. Dad knew both Smitty Weeks and Ed Wills and after he got the boat bug he spent a lot of time at both of their shops, watching and helping out where he could. In 1966, Smitty Weeks made his third 19 foot flat bottom for Dad. At the same time, Ed Wills made this trailer for it and he probably also made the trailers for Smitty’s first two 19’s. Knowing absolutely nothing about trailers, it looks like a standard deal that could fit most similar size flats with the exception of the upright bunks. They bolt on to what I will call bunk rails, which are two, long straight metal beams, 2 inches wide, welded onto the trailer flat and straight from the back forward. Simply bolting a wood bunk to the rails would not allow them to support the hull so the wood has to be cut and shaped on one side to fit the contour of the hull. While the new hull was upside down at Belmont and the new trailer was in the yard, Dad cut the top edge of the 2x6’s to fit the shape of the hull, then primed, painted, carpeted and mounted them.

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I don’t recall noticing other flat bottom trailers with the boards standing on the narrow sides like this. I’ve been told that I should change mine, laying the 2x6 flat and wide under the hull, which provides better support and is less likely to damage the hull over time. However, with the boat off of the trailer, we did not find any noticeable damage to the hull from the bunks, yet. It aint broke so I’m not likely to fix it until some later date since I don’t know how to weld or set the bunk supports properly. Maybe when I get around to re-doing the whole trailer someday. Any thoughts on how necessary this change is?

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Another thing I noticed is that each fender with its fore and aft side steps are individual units which then bolt on to the trailer instead of being welded.

So for the past few days, I’ve been doing my annual service, lube and clean everything up so it will be ready for Needles. I have to say, I just love looking into that 51 year old deck and seeing such a clear reflection. Sweet.



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Oh ya, Dad just turned 87, doing well and just bought himself a new toy that he has always wanted…


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C'ya in Needles!

(Crap! can someone tell me how to flip those pics??)

 

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Looks great JT, I'm looking forward to a ride this year, I'll be getting into the campground Thursday evening. The trailer on our 20'er is set up the same way. When Jim Lange straightened out the bottom for us and took the hook out, we reshaped the hull side contour of the 2X6's so they would then match the new bottom contour. On the red and white '65 20'er we had to completely replace the wood bunks (including the custom contour to the bottom) The had originally been covered in vinyl or naugahyde which totally trapped water and over the years the back 2' or so of those bunks just rotted away. We did not reuse the vinyl again but used carpet. Looking forward to seeing you out there :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #154 ·
This place has really gone down hill, sadly. Apparently it has been about 4 years since I updated this thread. I wasnt going to do it anymore but decided to just in case it helps someone else to stay motivated to save these old relics. I am so fortunate that Dad just gave me his boat. All I had to do to use it was put a carb on it and tires on the trailer. Then my education started and most of it happened here. I miss all of the folks who helped me so much. I followed their advice and tried to learn as much as possible. In my attempt to preserve my gift to pass to my daughter and her family, I strive to keep my 1967 Belmont in great shape. As I learned more, I began to collect parts I might need some day to keep it going or to upgrade it. I met a lot of helpful people who also want to keep the old flat bottom v-drive thing alive. Every year it gets harder to find parts and enthusiasts. I have learned a lot but I still dont know much. One thing I have learned to do, is learn to do things. Just get in there and do it. Like a buddy told me, what ever I screw up, I can fix it. Anyway, lots has happened in 4 years. Mostly, the boat has been in the water 3 days a week, 10 months a year.
Lots of cruising, testing ideas or changes, but also lots of sharing with my daughter and her family and many friends. People continue to learn to ski behind this old boat and there has been lots of tube riding too. It has been a blast and makes me appreciate my gift even more. So here goes:

A couple years ago, I had a setback. This isnt what you want to see when you are half mile from the ramp. Turns out it was the parking lot for another ramp. No markings of any kind, anywhere around. I slowed to an idle and moved to the side a bit to let some dumb ass kids in wave makers go by. They were coming out from the launch, side by side, taking up the whole lane. My prop hit the curbing of the parking lot, jumped it and then the rudder stopped my progress as I quickly turned off the key. Long boring story from there but Harold came out of retirement, fixed me up and got me back out there. Thanks Harold.
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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Later, Brian found me a dual carb manifold for my old Olds 425. It was still completely stock and ran good. It had never been apart or out of the boat. I remember thinking as a kid how bitchin 2 carbs look so I put it on. Good idea. I wanted to keep everything looking basically how Dad built it so I powder coated it.
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Discussion Starter · #156 ·
Then I started having trouble with the mechanical fuel pump keeping up under full throttle and reluctantly put an electric one on that works well.
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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
Then my 52 year old started began making occasional noises. I found out that I could not remove it without lifting the engine. So I figured if I needed to lift the engine anyway, maybe this would be a good time to put the hot rod engine in and give it a spin. I got it from a snake oil salesman who assured me it was ready to race. We painted it to look like the original and swapped it out. It sounded like a damn stock car and went pretty good. We put the dual carbs on it to make it better and it was, for about 3 and a half hours. As I was enjoying the roar compared to my old stocker, things suddenly became very quiet behind me. Thankfully nothing went thru the floor. We towed it in, cleaned 11 quarts of oil mixed with lots of water and decided to rebuild the old original.
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Discussion Starter · #158 ·
Sooooo, Im going to leave out a lot of what happened next and skip forward to where Peter Guy Racing Engines saved my day. The original engine is rebuilt with top notch parts and it runs great. It is basically stock again with lower compression so it will run nice on 91 pump gas. I believe that is when we put the larger exhaust logs on it and after returning a couple bad starters, I had the original rebuilt. Unfortunately, this swap required pulling the engine, especially since the rebuilt began to fail soon after installing it. But hey, I was back on the water in time for my daughter and her family's summer trip back home from Texas. We had a freakin ball.
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Discussion Starter · #159 ·
Somewhere in here, I managed a successful rebuild of my water pump which took a lot of worry out of cooling the fresh engine.
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Discussion Starter · #160 ·
Ive been told a bunch of times to replace the wiring in the boat. Like Dad says, if it isnt broken, dont fix it. It was original since Dad and his neighbor rigged the boat in 1966. They ran all the wires from the dash to the engine in a black garden hose and wrapped the rest of it in miles of black electric tape. Most of the wires were black and I couldnt tell what went where and I knew if I cut the tape off to see, I would be opening a can of worms. It worked great but it was still running the original alternator off of the driveline, regulator and a couple other gizmos Im not familiar with. One looks like a brass suppository with wires and it gets hot when the engine is running. There was a white block hooked to the distributor and it wouldnt run without it. I tried to buy a spare but couldnt find one that would work. It became such a pain in the ass that I gave in and switched to a modern distributor. At some point I built a bracket to hold a normal battery and some tools and spare parts. So far, so good.
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