12' Eldo-Craft V-hull restoration


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Active member
Sep 17, 2021
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Mitchell Wisconsin
Hi All,
(If this is posted in the wrong place, please let me know.)

Just picked up someone else's "Grandpa's Boat". (I'll post pics by the weekend.) It's a 1974 Eldo-Craft (Smackover, Arkansas) with a 1954 Johnson 5.5 and a 30lb trolling motor. The trailer has the kind of wheels with no lug bolts (forget now what they call it - Integral hub maybe?) so it's going up for sale along with the outboard and the battery. They were using a Starting / Cranking battery for the trolling motor, and I've been told that those do not like repeated charging. That's going to be sold as well, with the proceeds put back into materials for the boat.

Planning to take advantage of the warm weather this weekend to put 5200 on the seams inside and out. The construction seems sound so far, but the transom wood is rotten and will be used for the template. Plan is to put as little $ into this and have it ready for spring fishing. Will be leak checking tomorrow or Sunday. Thinking of porch and floor paint for the inside, and Rustoleum for the outside. Was going to put 1/4" ply on the thee seats, a small bow deck, and a 24" wide floor with carpet on both sides of the center seat.

The boat measures 54" beam, 48" at the transom, and about 11' 8" in length. This is my retirement (next summer, Lord willing) boat so I will be using it on small lakes and mostly by myself, with an occasional trip with my wife and dog. I'm in the Northern Kettle Moraine of Eastern Wisconsin and have about 7 lakes within 20 minutes of home that are perfect for this size of boat. Someday I may get a newer 3-4hp motor for it, but that is future. For now, the only difference between me and how Grandpa fished is the trolling motor and the future depth finder.

I've had two other boats in my life plus a couple of canoes and a kayak that I can't sit in for more than 20 minutes. Hence the boat. Did a rebuild on the last one 10 years ago, then sold it and regretted doing so. So here I am with a new project. Anyway, sorry for rambling. Stay tuned for pics.


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More b4 pics. You can see the rot in the upper corners of the transom wood, the bracing, and the overall construction. Some dents and dings as is to be expected for a 47 year old boat. I'll be pulling this with a Kia Soul, so keeping the weight down is a concern. The finish is peeling primer over green paint. Thinking about a tan interior, white bottom, and red above the waterline. We'll see.


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Thanks for sharing.
Looks like a nice old tin and motor. Enjoy your retirement project and keep us posted.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Justathought... that 5.5 would be a nice, durable engine for the 12ftr. Might see if there's a "guy" who can look it over and check its condition.

I got a 12 alumnacraft which has a 5.5 on it and it is as reliable as a burro.

Be safe, have fun.
Caulking pics. The old caulking is coming off with a razor blade in pieces leading me to believe it's house caulking. Cutting it out and going to put in 5200 on the seams. Wondering now how well 5200 adheres to old scuffed up paint. I don't feel like taking this down to bare metal, so I was planning to cut the old caulk out, sand, recall with 5200, then paint. I'm using 5200 outside and inside under paint. Any thoughts? Thanks for the kind words.


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Kismet said:
Justathought... that 5.5 would be a nice, durable engine for the 12ftr. Might see if there's a "guy" who can look it over and check its condition.

I got a 12 alumnacraft which has a 5.5 on it and it is as reliable as a burro.
Be safe, have fun.
Thanks, I thought about that. I probably won't find a better motor but it just seems too physically large for this boat. There isn't room for both the outboard and the trolling motor on the back. I really don't want a bow mounted trolling motor either. And, I'd like to not have to mess with gas anyway. The lakes I fish could be fished without one, save one. Long Lake.
That 5.5 would likely plane that boat with a light load. If you don't care about that and putt putting around is fine by you, a smaller motor is fine. I have a little 2hp Mariner/Yamaha that I've used on a 12' and it shoves it around a small lake just fine.

Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk

Weldorthemagnificent said:
That 5.5 would likely plane that boat with a light load. If you don't care about that and putt putting around is fine by you, a smaller motor is fine. I have a little 2hp Mariner/Yamaha that I've used on a 12' and it shoves it around a small lake just fine.

Yeah, I kind of go back and forth on the whole motor thing. On one hand, I doubt that I could get very much for it around here. Might be different in spring, but right now there are two on CL for about $150. And I doubt I'm going to find a better motor new. So keeping means going through the motor myself, which I have never done before, or taking it somewhere and investing $300 into it. But if it turned out to be a good motor, I couldn't buy a 5 hp for what I'd have into it. They don't make them like they used to. Found out the motor and I were born the same year (1960). Anyway, I have to think about it more. If anyone has any wisdom on the subject, I'm all ears.
Basically if compression is good and it runs fine, I'd just put a water pump in it. Worst case it'll need coils and points and a carb kit. All of which aren't too difficult for even a newbie with a combination of YouTube and Leroy's ramblings.

Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk

Sealing the seams, before and after. Used 5200. Curing now so I'm going fishing this afternoon!


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More improvements and paint. Took advantage of good drying weather. Materials used: 3M 5200, Marine goop, porch and floor paint. I'm not painting the bottom until the leak check tomorrow. Transom should be finished today.


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Leak test update:
So this weekend involved finishing up the transom, which is done, and wiring the tow vehicle, a 2103 Kia Soul. The boat was sitting in the sun by Sat afternoon, and the car wiring was done by 6:30 PM that evening. Test tow proved to be no problem, but I discovered that the trailer wiring was faulty. I planned ahead by buying a new led light kit so that was accomplished today.

After a break I noticed that one of the tires would not hold air. So I swapped it for the spare and will take it somewhere tomorrow to get fixed.

Sadly, it has rained all day here so no leak test. The best laid plans....

My point in relating all this is that these projects always seem to take longer than we think, and there is always something more that is needed. I'm hoping that the leak test doesn't reveal something I missed. (Yes, the plug is already in the boat.)

Anyway, it's been a fun project. This boat may be sold after I decide between the Eldo-Craft and the Rich-Line. Planning to take both fishing for about 4 hours to do sea trials. Stay tuned.
Pics from the weekend:


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Finally got the leak test done after work. Dry as a bone. The sea trial comes Wed for both boats. We'll see how things go with about 350 pounds of weight in them. This one will be fished out of first in the am. Pics of the leak test and tow setup.


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Sea Trial Results: I liked Boat 2 better. That's the 1978 Rich Line boat from the other thread. Just more comfortable to fish from. Both boats were pulled very nicely by the Kia Soul. No problems whatsoever. So the Eldo-Craft will be going up for sale this weekend, and if I don't sell it this fall I will hang on to it through the winter and sell it next spring / summer with the original trailer. It would make a nice boat for someone's cottage up north. Rows really nice, and with the 30# trolling motor it moved along very well. If I didn't have the other boat to compare it with, I would have just kept it and lived with it. But... It's so nice to have a small lightweight boat. Putting in a taking out at the ramp was such a breeze. No struggles, pushing, pulling, or grunting to get it back on the trailer either. My back was happy after it was all over. I probably won't post anything here again, and will focus on the Rich Line boat now.

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