1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Tear down and restore of a new project

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Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

I recently decided to sell my comfortable 2013 Apex Quest 716 fishing pontoon and pick up a project.

Goals: Most good fishing lakes in the area are electric only and I can't really get my pontoon into them. Even if I could, a pontoon isn't as much fun with an electric motor on a windy day. I also want to be able to take my 85 yr old step-father fishing more places and since he is more of a still, worm fisherman vs. a lure slinger, there are better places I can get him if I had a different type of boat. Finally, I have a big ole Newfoundland and Golden retriever and I live 10 min from a local state park lake. A different boat would make it easier to get them out for a swim more frequently.

For $1000 I picked up a 1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD and a 1990 Highway trailer. Both have seen better days but to be honest, it came with 2 marine batteries, a Motoguide 55# bowmount trolling motor, a Minn Kota 55# transom mount trolling motor, a Hummingbird 535 fish finder and a really nice Helix 5 with GPS and SI. I felt like the accessories alone made the deal and I loved the size of the boat. The boat has a working livewell and bilge pump as well so I have some decent things to start.

The seller had used the boat for crabbing and fishing. He drilled 5/16" holes in the side and mounted wood casting decks in the front and rear and covered the bolts with a rubbery stuff to seal them. My plan is to remove the casting decks and open up the center of the boat for more room. I'll put 2 pedestal seats inside so my step father doesn't get dizzy fishing off a deck. I really don't want him falling in, especially when I get him out early for crappy. I also love the idea of more room for the pups to lay and I think it will take more effort for both dogs to jump in on their own if they have to go up and over vs a jump off the deck.

I just got started on the project. I'll add a post by day so you guys can tell me what to look out for and offer up your suggestions.

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

DAY 1

I want to start with the trailer so Saturday evening I determined that the best way for me to get this pig off the trailer was to back it up under my deck (onto the patio) mount eyelets into the studs of my deck (supported by 6x6s) and use ratcheting tie downs to lift the boat off the trailer. This worked like a champ.
I did not want to leave all that weight suspended and I wanted the bow higher so the water would drain so I picked up 2 saw horses to support the weight off the back and I'm taking my cherry picker around today to hold up the front.
Boat_Deck.jpg
Boat Hang.jpg
Trailer.jpg
Last edited by Pector55 on 09 Sep 2019, 11:02, edited 2 times in total.

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

Day 2: Trailer work / evaluation / strip down

So to kick things off I wanted to dig into the trailer. I knew it was old but why dump work into a boat, only to haul it on an unsafe trailer. I started pulling parts and looking at them with the end goal of clearing the trailer, wire wheeling it down and then spraying it. I have automotive paint to do the job (primer, base, flake, and clear).

Electric:
This was a mess. Not even sure where to start other than I just decided to wipe that slate clean and redo it all. I've never seen so many wire nuts and yellow tape. I found an orange bungie and when I removed it, the bracket that had the right rear tail light came off. hmm, not my style so let's just do a clean redo on all lighting. Side markers were not hooked up and the lenses were brittle so those got pulled as well.
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Wheels / tires / bearings:
Great news here. The tires look new, the wheels just need painted, and the bearings were good (adding bearing buddies anyway)
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Hitch/Winch/Jack:
I didn't like the rust on any of of these and since these and the safety chains are so important, I'm just replacing them all.
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Bunks:
So this part got interesting. When I got the boat, I noticed the bunks did not even touch the boat. They were probably about 6" away from the boat on each side. As I got to looking at how they were mounted, I realized why. These were clamped on to the sides with U-bolts and they have no way to be functional. I'm removing the carpeted wood bunks and remounting all 4 pieces (covering with PVC) where there are cross supports. That will serve as both guides and actually center the vhull as it goes on. The weight of the boat will be supported on the center rollers and horizontal bunks.
BunkMount.JPG
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Leaf Springs:
Finally, I noticed that the leaf springs were 1000lb springs on a 2x2 axle so I'm thinking it's the 1750lb? But the problem I saw was that there was only a single, rusted out diagonal ubolt holding the rusty leaf springs on. I decided to get a new clamp kit and replacement springs.

I am hoping to start wire wheeling this evening so I can get paint on her Wednesday.
Attachments
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Slimcowboy1978
Posts: 20
Joined: 09 Aug 2018, 01:17
1
Location: Eastern Oregon

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Slimcowboy1978 »

Nice looking boat. Can’t wait to see more of it

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

Day 3 - 7 will be minimal work since it's only a few hours after work.

Monday night I pulled off 3 rollers and ordered replacements. I noticed that when the boat rests on the bunks, the rollers were not even touched so when I put the boat back on the new trailer, I will adjust to make sure the rollers are in play. Because only the front 2 rollers were being hit, they were badly worn.

I also unbolted the rusted out ubolts holding the axle to the leaf springs. These were pretty bad and I want to paint the axle so removing the hardware was necessary. New leaf springs are in the garage and I'm awaiting the replacement hardware with 2 ubolts per side instead of this single ubolt setup that was on there.

The goal for Tuesday night is wire wheeling the entire trailer to prep for paint on Wednesday night. It's supposed to rain on Thursday so I would love to get the painting done Wed.

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

Day 4 - Evening, I addressed the bunks. The two on the sides were not mounted right to begin with and to top it off, one 2x4 was rotted. I decided that rather than replace the 2x4 and buy carpet to wrap it, I removed the side bunks and just measured the width of the boat at the bottom. Based on this, I remounted the rails on the solid cross bars of the trailer and I'll cover them with PVC to serve as guide rails. I love having these when loading the boat on a windy day and they also really help to see your trailer when backing up to the ramp. These are now bolted on solid vs the crazy ubolt solution that was on there originally.

Don't mind the axle setting up there. I'm trying to get the bolt out of the slipper leaf spring so I can replace those. I was hoping to get those out tonight but after whacking the bolt with a 3lb hammer, I may have to resort to burning them out.
New guides.jpg

User avatar
LDUBS
Posts: 2650
Joined: 14 Aug 2016, 22:25
3
Location: Clayton California

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by LDUBS »

Pector55 wrote:
10 Sep 2019, 11:18


Monday night I pulled off 3 rollers and ordered replacements. I noticed that when the boat rests on the bunks, the rollers were not even touched so when I put the boat back on the new trailer, I will adjust to make sure the rollers are in play. Because only the front 2 rollers were being hit, they were badly worn.

Might be a good thing that the rear rollers are not touching when the boat is fully loaded. IMO, boat resting on bunks (with transom fully supported) and then on forward roller is a good set-up. More rearward rollers are good for centering & protecting bow stem when loading but not so much for carrying a load while going down the road. Having the keel fluke or whatever you callout set on those rear rollers just gives it a couple of hard points to bounce on. Just my opinion.

I have my side bunks adjusted just under an inch from each side of the hull. I took the time to adjust the trailer bunks so the boat settles right into place making loading easy. I was advised not to set up the side bunks so they are actually touching the hull, because they will tend to start "polishing" the hull as you move down the road.

Here is another thought about changing out to heavier springs. Your boat is fairly light. I would be concerned about stiffening up the suspension as it would tend to be harder on the boat (more bouncing down the road). I'm not an expert but I did stay at a Holiday Inn. Haha.
Have Rod - Will Fish

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

LDUBS wrote:
15 Sep 2019, 12:18


Might be a good thing that the rear rollers are not touching when the boat is fully loaded. IMO, boat resting on bunks (with transom fully supported) and then on forward roller is a good set-up. More rearward rollers are good for centering & protecting bow stem when loading but not so much for carrying a load while going down the road. Having the keel fluke or whatever you callout set on those rear rollers just gives it a couple of hard points to bounce on. Just my opinion.

I have my side bunks adjusted just under an inch from each side of the hull. I took the time to adjust the trailer bunks so the boat settles right into place making loading easy. I was advised not to set up the side bunks so they are actually touching the hull, because they will tend to start "polishing" the hull as you move down the road.

Here is another thought about changing out to heavier springs. Your boat is fairly light. I would be concerned about stiffening up the suspension as it would tend to be harder on the boat (more bouncing down the road). I'm not an expert but I did stay at a Holiday Inn. Haha.
That makes a lot of sense on the rollers. I will keep the bunks as they are and rely on the bunks to hold the weight and supply the better friction. Thank you for the input.

For the springs, I got those old bushings burned out so I could get the old ones out. They are slipper springs and I'm just replacing like for like. I believe they are just 1000 lb springs. I'm not an expert on springs either so you probably know more than me with that fancy Holiday Inn stay. :D

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

I got knocked down a peg Thursday afternoon. I was hit with the flu / strep. I'm a guy who sweats very easily but on Thursday afternoon I had to put on sweats and a sweater and sit out on my deck in 95* heat just so I could stop freezing. I am starting to come around but I lost a few days of work.
While stuck inside I stumbled across my ideal design that I was plotting out for my boat.

I am leaning toward a hybrid design similar to the new Alumacraft Escape and Summit boats. I don't do fishing tournaments so I don't need near the storage that a lot of the fully decked boats offer. I'm more interested in the open space.

I want to take my step dad out fishing, take my pups out to the lake, and occasionally I may take the wife and daughter out for a pleasure cruise. I love how clean this is.
AlumacraftEscape.JPG
AlumacraftSummit.JPG

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LDUBS
Posts: 2650
Joined: 14 Aug 2016, 22:25
3
Location: Clayton California

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by LDUBS »

Ouch, sorry to hear about that flu bug. Friend just told me they already got the flu shot for this season. Seemed early to me but after reading your post I might see if my doc has it in yet.

I like the clean design you are considering, and really they look like they have decent storage.

Get well.
Have Rod - Will Fish

Slimcowboy1978
Posts: 20
Joined: 09 Aug 2018, 01:17
1
Location: Eastern Oregon

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Slimcowboy1978 »

I have an old Valco 12’ that I’m in the process of making similar to the Summit you posted. Biggest difference in my setup will be the rod locker on starboard side instead of on port side. I fish mostly alone and find my self fishing in the back off the starboard side. I lay my spare go to rod on the starboard side ready to go with either my buzz baits or spinners depending on what the perch are hitting on. My main rod has a trusty night crawler behind a small flasher or dodger. In the bottom of my boat I have about 6 different rods ready to rig with what ever is hot that day. Right now my “livewell” is just a cooler in the front half of my boat. When I do have a passenger they typically sit on the cooler instead of in the front casting seat.

I guess with all my rambling on and on I’m trying to say that I can’t wait to see how you morph these two boats into your boat.

I’m watching with great anticipation. Next spring I’m going to start my rebuild on the Valco as I finish off this year fishing, dreaming, and gathering parts.

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

Slimcowboy1978 wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 00:55
I have an old Valco 12’ that I’m in the process of making similar to the Summit you posted. Biggest difference in my setup will be the rod locker on starboard side instead of on port side. I fish mostly alone and find my self fishing in the back off the starboard side. I lay my spare go to rod on the starboard side ready to go with either my buzz baits or spinners depending on what the perch are hitting on. My main rod has a trusty night crawler behind a small flasher or dodger. In the bottom of my boat I have about 6 different rods ready to rig with what ever is hot that day. Right now my “livewell” is just a cooler in the front half of my boat. When I do have a passenger they typically sit on the cooler instead of in the front casting seat.

I guess with all my rambling on and on I’m trying to say that I can’t wait to see how you morph these two boats into your boat.

I’m watching with great anticipation. Next spring I’m going to start my rebuild on the Valco as I finish off this year fishing, dreaming, and gathering parts.
I've been pretty busy at work but I keep chipping away on mine. While working at home I take breaks to go out back and remove some bolts off the old decking and undo some wires. Right now my focus has mainly been on the trailer

This week I got the entire trailer wire brushed and I went over the entire thing with sand paper. I'm going to go over it one more time but I've been holding off. I decided to go with a KBS coating in black and I expect it to arrive on Friday so on Saturday I'll go over the boat with another sand paper hit, then use their degrease / derust / coating process. After that cures I will go over it with an automotive top coat in black, then clear coat it. In the meantime, I have torn down the wheel bearings and removed the seal and races to replace those. I figure if I'm going to build a boat, it should sit on a safe trailer.
Tonight I'm hitting up Lowes for some replacement hardware (stainless nuts and bolts) and some 2x4s to build a couple beams to set the boat on. I want the boat set down so I can get inside it to gut it this weekend.

Wheel hubs stripped down - awaiting the 1" straight axle bearing / race / seal kit.
I also have 2 new slipper springs on the way. I picked up 2 from Tractor Supply but they are only 24.5" and I needed 30". I should have measured.
I expect to have the trailer painted and the boat gutted by Monday so hopefully you will see more progress
WireWheelandSand.jpg
BearingPrep.jpg

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

Well, I power washed the trailer one more time, then hit it with another sanding. Today my KBS coating arrived so I went out over a long lunch hr (or 2) and did the degreaser / rinse, rust stop / rinse, then the sun and breeze dried it pretty quickly so I put on a coat of the their rust stop coating. I'm pretty excited at how much better it looks already. I have to allow this to cure and then I can hit it with the automotive base coat, clear coat in gloss black.

Not bad for a 1990 trailer.
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LDUBS
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Location: Clayton California

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by LDUBS »

"Not bad for a 1990 trailer."


Shoot, it already looks like a new trailer. Nice job.
Have Rod - Will Fish

Pector55
Posts: 49
Joined: 09 Sep 2019, 09:09

1989 Alumacraft Lunker LTD / 1990 Highway trailer

Post by Pector55 »

LDUBS wrote:
20 Sep 2019, 19:02
"Not bad for a 1990 trailer."


Shoot, it already looks like a new trailer. Nice job.
Ha! Thanks. I knew I did a decent job on the prep because it's Friday and my back is still hurting. lol

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