We hooked up the boat trailer and drug our restoration project to western Montana. We spent some time on the water and got some great photos of the boat doing what it is designed to do!
When we took the boat out on the inaugural run there were a couple of issues. One of the most concerning was a horrible noise that occurred when the engine was at idle and in gear. It sounded like rattling ball bearings in an old coffee can. Remember when coffee came in cans? Anyhow – some internet helpers said that this was “damper plate rattle”. I’ll let you figure out what that is on your own, but the solution was to fix a low engine idle speed. While fixing this issue I also realized that my transmission cable was rather sloppy. Happily I still had the one from the purple Tree Nautique, so I pulled the cable, installed the purple boat one and decided that it was a good improvement.
Thus, I decided that it was time for a real test. We went skiing! My brother and my youngest son went wakeboarding and it was awesome. My time behind the boat is coming soon, but it was so cool to use the boat for it’s intended purpose. What a machine. It is so fun to be out on the water.
My brother took a few photos. His oldest daughter came along and she had fun too. She has a good future ahead of her as a boat-driver!
A short video of how it looked underway today
I think in the last few months I’ve said to Susie multiple times, “It sure was easier and faster to take this apart than it is to put it all back together.” Nothing I’m doing is particularly difficult, it just takes a lot of time.
I’ve spent the last couple of months working on carpet in the boat. This may have gone faster if I lived in a place with more warmth, but Seattle in the winter is just not a location where we see 65 degrees F very often. The temperature matters because the glue used to hold down all this carpet, and all the parts being glued, need to be at 65 degrees. I did a few pieces indoors with the windows open, but the fumes were too much so I waited.
The first bit of effort involved all the pieces and parts that go in the boat. There are multiple panels , seat bases and lids that go everywhere in this boat. The basic steps are: trim the carpet to fit, apply glue to the panel, apply glue to the carpet, wait 15 minutes and get ready to stick. For example, this is the two “kick” panels that go under the bow in front of the driver. I disassembled these, removed the old carpet and then had to trim and glue on the new carpet. If you are observant you can see the wood from other panels and the new carpet ready for trim in the lower left corner of this photo.
So to save time I’ll skip over a lot of that work. It involved a lot of glue, staples, waiting for sunshine and waiting for sunshine. It eventually warmed up.
Next was putting the carpet in the interior of the boat. This was a remarkably similar task to the panels, just scaled up. Trim, glue both sides, wait 15 minutes, align and stick. I did the sides first, then a plastic trim piece that goes between the sides and the floor, and then finally the floor.
Once I had the sides on, the floor was an interesting thing to do. It is all one big piece that had to be carefully trimmed and glued into place section-by-section without adding in wrinkles or getting things out of alignment in other sections too much. By the time it was done I was very satisfied with the end result.
Once I had the carpet in I could hardly resist the temptation to just throw in all the interior. It looks brand-new.
If you are reading this post in the Pacific Northwest and you wish you could have brand-new seats done, you should contact E’s Kustom Fab-Up. I keep thinking that my next project should be a muscle car and I can’t wait to tear into it with the expert advice and fab work from E’s. I just can’t say enough how great the upholstery looks and I’ve seen amazing things E’s has done with other classic cars, boats and trucks. Plus there are always some cool projects just hanging around in the shop.
I have installed the propeller, primed the fuel system… I think an on-the-water test is near.
One other item has been installed in the boat recently, and that is the stereo. The boat came with the wires and space for a stereo unit, but it essentially had to be done from scratch. David and I spend a couple of hours over a weekend getting everything needed and then making all the connections. It has to be done by hand: strip the wire going to the speaker, install a splice, strip the corresponding wire in the stereo harness, attach to the other side of splice. Repeat a lot.
Then we hooked up the power wires, attached the battery cables, and then… nothing. A lot of button pushing and some fun with a volt/ohm multi-meter and we discovered the power wires we were using had no energy. But, we did find a spare wire that had juice so we spliced in that one and… TA DA! It sounds great. 🙂
Just a quick update since it has been ages since I last posted. After the long cold winter I’m quite ready for the weather to turn warmer. It’s been a long journey with this boat but I may be getting close to the end.
I got my rear seat back from my upholstery expert (who is also my cousin) on Monday. It looks great, just as do all the other seats. He now has the dog box and the bench part of the observer’s seat to finish up his work. I’ve begun to tear apart all the pieces that need to be carpeted with the new carpet. I’m starting with the rear set bench. I was a little surprised that the bench is actually a bunch of small pieces all screwed together to make the whole. In the end I think this will be relatively easy as it looks like very little glue and many staples. Staples are easy and quick. I’ll post some photos when everything is done. Here are some shots of the work in progress. These are just a few more examples of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken of everything in this boat to remind me how things were situated, attached, or were just plain interesting. I don’t know how cars/boats/airplanes/anything mechanical was restored before we had digital cameras.
My cousin sent me this image. The interior is getting closer all the time! 🙂 The drivers seat is at the bottom and you are looking at the observer’s seat and the side bolster. New Alpine marine speakers are looking sharp!
I keep plugging away on things. I’m waiting for some decent sunny weather to finish painting the trailer. Unfortunately the sun has not been cooperative with that idea. So, today I got out to the garage and started tinkering with things. I realized later in the morning that I have now started working on what I would call the interior of the boat. There just isn’t much else to do on the boat but put in the carpet and install the seats. Oh, and work on the gelcoat and put on the trim pieces. I’m waiting for the boat to be on a trailer before I go nuts on the gelcoat so I don’t make a huge mess of my garage. Hence, the work on the trailer.
Here are a few photos of the progress.
Earlier this week I spent a couple of days working on my dashboard. The dashboard is designed to come out of the boat so I was able to work on it inside my warm house. This seemed much better than shivering in the garage. I did most of the work on the kitchen table. The dashboard I am putting in my boat is actually the dash from the purple tree boat. The dash from the blue boat is quite beat-up and the gauges are really sun-bleached.
Earlier in the restoration process I purchased two NOS (New Old Stock or New Original Stock) speedometers and new dash plaques. I installed those in the dash first. The flash sort of drowns things out, but you can get the idea. The dash plaques are the “Ski Nautique” and “Performance Engineered” pieces.
The next issue to tackle was the lower right-hand portion of the dash. I can’t find a super-good “before” photo, but if you look at this picture you’ll see that there are two rows of switches and what is supposed to be a yellow checklist on the lower-right portion of the dashboard just to the right of the steering wheel. In the middle of that yellow area there is a white control panel for a stereo. I don’t have that stereo in my boat and it wasn’t in the purple boat either. All I have left is the useless control panel. It had to go.
The stereo control was installed by cutting a square hole into the dashboard. For this project I needed to remove the control panel, fix the hole and then apply a new sticker to the panel. I could not just use the blue boat panel because it was cracked. It is also likely that the switches and lights from the purple boat panel are in much better condition than those in the used and abused blue boat.
After removing the stereo control box I had to remove all the switches and lights from the panel. Due to the design of the lights, which are designed to be installed from the front, I unfortunately had to cut the wires for all the lights. I then cut out a matching square piece from the panel in the blue boat and glued it in place with some two-part epoxy made for plastic. It worked great. The epoxy was sanded flat and a new plastic sticker applied to the panel. After cutting out the holes I was able reinstall all the switches and lights. The progress and finished product look like this: