1978 Mirro Craft Makeover

Tinman2111

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Upon relocating to Utah, I quickly discovered one has no need for a Cabo 47, so I downsized, to a 1978 beat to crap 14 foot Mirro Craft, powered with a 1978 Evinrude 25hp 2-stroke. I figured I'd give it a makeover and use it to explore the awesome lakes throughout southern Utah and the Dixie National Forest. I had to drive several hours to Arizona to get the boat, but after all said and done, it was worth the trip. Here she is when I brought her home to Utah:

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First thing was to assess and see if she leaked, ran okay on the water etc... Took her to a local lake to run her, found she needed a carb rebuild, but didn't leak a drop. Transom was in poor shape, so decided to rebuild it.

Transom.jpg

Removed wood and used as a template to build a new one. I sealed it with a few coats of epoxy resin and painted it grey.

New Transom.jpg


Next up, remove seats, power wash, and get her ready to strip and paint. Removing all the old paint was no easy task. I tried sanding, scraping and of course chemical paint remover. Ultimately, the paint remover worked best. Applied with chip brush and then scraped with various sized putty knives. I also found that a bucket of hot water and a rag really worked well at removing the old paint.

Boat Strip.jpg
Boat Strip 2.jpg
Boat Strip 3.jpg


Before I could prime and paint, I chose to apply Gator Glide. It's definitely not cheap, but I thought it was a good choice. You have to apply a base before you can apply the "glide". It is rolled on so it takes some time.

Gator base.jpg
Gator Glide.jpg

That's all for now, but much more coming. I will share the entire build, and it's likely I may have gone a bit overboard... Next up, the boat gets primed and painted....Stay tuned!
 

Tinman2111

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A few things I learned with Gator Glide. Shoot for the lower end of their temp application guidelines, it'll give you more "working time" as you mix the various batches. Their YouTube guide on application is pretty good, everything they said that would happen with fish eyeing, happened. Probably the biggest challenge I had was adequate coverage. I barely, I mean barely, had enough to finish three coats of the final glide coat. They recommend up to five, there is NO WAY I had enough, so if you plan on using it, plan to purchase more than you think you will need. And yes, I applied rather thin coats!
 

Tinman2111

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Continuing on with the makeover. It was time to paint the boat. I probably spent far too much time researching various paints and methods, and ultimately chose to spray the primer coat and outside color with a decent HVLP spray gun. I had never used one, but it really wasn't too difficult if you set the gun up properly beforehand. I went with Rust-Oleum 207016 Marine Metal Primer in white and a quart was enough for two coats on the inside and outside of boat.

Primer.jpg

For the outside color, I went with Rust-Oleum 207004 Marine Topside Paint in red, and again, a quart was enough. I thinned it per instructions and also added a paint hardener. I was diligent, and waited at least 24-hours between coats and I think it turned out pretty good. Sure, I could of wet sanded between coats and really made it nice, but honestly it turned out great without doing this.

red paint.jpg
Red paint 2.jpg

For the interior grey, I used rattle cans. I had already used the spray paint for the transom, I just continued to use it. I first tried Rust-Oleum from Home Depot and every single can (out of five) was defective. They would spray for maybe 15 seconds then quit. I drove the 10 miles to HD and returned the crap, very displeased with the quality. I went to Lowes and purchased Krylon Fusion All-In-One paint and primer in smoke grey and it worked perfectly. I guess in hindsight I would have chosen to go to Ace Hardware and tried their store brand. Ace is barely a mile down the street, and Lowes is 12 miles away!

Spray paint.jpg

Now that she's painted, it's time to start figuring out the flooring. I ordered all the aluminum I thought I'd need from Tiny Boat Nation. They really had great pricing, and I as able to order most everything I needed . I say most only because I ran out and and hard to purchase more tubing locally. I had maybe set two rivets in my life, and I soon would have to set far more than that, both brazier and pop rivets! I used a rather "large" rivet gun for the majority, and boy what a lifesaver. I couldn't imagine using the small rivet gun for all of them, my hand would have fallen off!

I purchased both on Amazon, here is the bigger one:

Astro Pneumatic Tool 1423 1/4" Heavy Duty 13" Hand Riveter

large rivet.jpg

And the smaller one below. (For the brazier rivets I used an impact gun and handmade anvil, worked great)

ARES 70017 - Professional Pop Rivet Gun with 60 Rivets - Rivet Sizes 3/32-inch, 1/8-inch, 5/32-inch, & 3/16-inch

Small rivet gun.jpg

YouTube is your friend when you need to see something done that you have never done before. Sure, it took some time, I made some mistakes, but I ultimately got the aluminum bracing installed for the floor, well, almost all the floor:

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sub floor 1.jpg
sub floor 2.jpg

As you can see, I stopped before reaching the front of the boat. I wasn't sure at this point what I wanted to do for the flooring in the very front of the boat, unsure if I'd install some kind of bench or what. You'll see what I chose to do in the end as I progress!

Next up, I gotta make the darn thing float! Stay tuned!
 

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And so it continues....

I started thinking about my outboard, and the fact I REALLY didn't want to have to use pre-mix, so I decided to see if I could find a decent 4 stroke outboard. Finding nothing available locally, I decided to bite the bullet and purchased a new Tohatsu 20hp 4 stroke with electric start. Really lightweight outboard and I assumed 20 hp was enough for what I needed. I'm not necessarily getting rid of my old 25hp Evinrude, I still need to rebuild the carb and it'll run fantastic. Here is the boat with the new outboard mounted.

Boat motor.jpg


Okay, since I removed the bench seats, the flotation foam under each of the seats went too. My goal was to increase the flotation, figured less is bad, so more must be good. I found a 2 gallon kit of the two part flotation foam in 2lb density on Amazon so that is what I used. The stuff is really cool, mix it, pour it, it gets really hot, then expands like hell! It really "firmed" up my flooring supports as well as the pvc pipe I ran as conduit. Not to self, don't cheap out next time and buy proper conduit, it's SO much easier to run wiring. Here's the foam:

Foam.jpg

Two gallons makes a lot of foam, enough for my 14 foot boat. I supplemented with foam insultation board from Home Depot to block off drainage etc...

Foam fill.jpg


Now that the framework for the floor and some flotation, I started to work on the floor. I decided to use 3/4 inch untreated plywood. Of course a standard sheet is not wide enough, so I had to figure out a way to connect the two pieces. I chose to uses mending plates, I lot of them, and believe it or not, worked pretty damn well. There is plenty of support with the framing, so you cannot even tell there are two pieces of wood. Before prepping the wood for carpet, I applied two decent coats of epoxy resin to properly seal and waterproof it. I found 20 ounce bass boat carpet on boatcarpet.com and also purchased matching to redo the bunks and guides on my trailer.

Here is the plywood before carpeting, not sure even noticeable that it is two pieces. Obviously from shape, the flooring doesn't go all the way to the bow of the boat. I was still trying to decide what to do up front.....

wood.jpg



Ok, that's it for now. Still lots to do to finish, so lots more coming!
 

Tinman2111

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And so the addiction continues.....

I ordered seats from BassBoatSeats.com which are really quite nice with a great price! The posts and pedestals I found as a package on Amazon and I found the bases at Cabella's. I installed my 20 ounce boat carpet by gluing down and then stapling with ss staples around the back. Really turned out nice.

Seat post.jpg

boat seat 3.jpg

I finally decided NOT to install any kind of bench or raised deck in the front bow area, and chose to just continue the flooring up to the bow. The boat is a deep V and this presented some challenges in installing the framework. I ultimately got it finished, but took more time than I anticipated. In the end, it is very sturdy and strong. I had left the original front bench brackets and supports believing I may have needed them for support of a bench. But now they must be removed which is not as easy as it seems. I have to install brazier rivets and repair interior and exterior paint! But I will still do it.

front framework.jpg

I continually considered the weight of everything and kept focusing on the HEAVY lead acid battery in the transom area. I have used lithium batteries in our dirt bikes as well as RV, and know they are powerful and very lightweight, about 1/3 of their lead acid counterpart. I researched batteries and found the Ionic 100 amp lithium that could serve as a deep cycle AND a cranking battery! I decided to mount the battery in the bow of the boat and ditch the heavy lead acid I previously had in the transom area. Part of the challenge was mounting a battery tray into the deep V and I ultimately used marine epoxy adhesive and glued the thing in. Worked fantastic! I also ran some power wires, 4awg on the starboard side to power the outboard as well as the transom mounted trolling motor I have if I choose to use it, and 10 AWG on the port side to power electronics. In the same PVC I ran on the port side, I ran wiring for nav lights. Don't cheap out like I did, use proper conduit! Sure, the pvc sched 20 worked, but it was a pain. Battery switches as well for both sides.

battery tray.jpg

battery.jpg

Next up is some bling for a little aluminum boat, so stay tuned!
 

Tinman2111

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TheGrandestPoobah said:
What made you decide against a raised deck?

You know? I'm not exactly sure! I guess I really wanted to maximize as much floor space as possible and I really do not need a raised deck to fish, I typically just fish from the comfortable seats I installed. :)
 

Tinman2111

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Ok, so what's next? I needed to install the flooring in the bow so I salvaged some of my remaining plywood and "bonded" a couple pieces together to get a single piece largest enough to fit. I also cut out a hatch so I could access the battery and switches I installed in the bow. I learned how easy it is to underestimate the extra space you need to accommodate the carpet on the access hatch. What I thought was plenty of space turned out not to be and I had to trim with a jigsaw. I stapled and glued the carpet and installed the floor.

front wood.jpg

carpeted front.jpg

I had a lot of space under the aluminum bow plate, so what the heck, why not install a stereo! I found a Kicker marine stereo on Amazon as well as reasonably priced marine speakers:

kicker stereo.jpg

speakers.jpg

I had to go and buy some more plywood so I could make plate to mount the speakers, but I only used 1/2 inch. I sealed it, added a cut out so I could maybe store a small anchor in the space, and carpeted it. I installed and wired the speakers which fit the space well.

speakers install.jpg

speaker install 2.jpg

Boat's still not quite done, but not a heck a whole lot left to do.......
 

Tinman2111

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Only thing really remaining is installing transducer and a box of some sort to hold switches, stereo, fuse block and fish finder. I debated running the transducer cable through the transom but decided to just clamp it over the rail instead. This way I can easily put the transducer into the boat, or with a little more effort, remove it entirely. I'm just not sure I'm thrilled with not attaching to transom, but I'll see how it goes. I purchased a Garmin Striker 7 on sale at Cabella's. I really do not need a true chart plotter, so this model will work just fine for what I'm doing with it.

Striker Vivid 7.jpg

For the box, I used some 1/2 inch plywood, and of course waterproofed it before building.

Box cut out.jpg

I carpeted and assembled using some aluminum angle for rigidity. I attached the fuse block as well as stereo and switch panel. I also found a locking glove box on Amazon so i made a cut out to install in the bottom area of the box.

Box wiring 1.jpg

Box wiring 2.jpg

Box wiring 3.jpg

Can't see the rear of the box in the pic, but I installed the top with a s/s piano hinge to allow for access to fuses and wiring inside box. Here are some overall pics of boat so you can see and compare the before and after. I really like the way it turned out, I've never done anything like this so was definitely a learning process.

overall 1.jpg

overall 2.jpg

overal 3.jpg

overall 3.jpg
 

Tinman2111

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I'll share the selection and testing of different props in the next post. It was truly like Goldilocks and the Three Bears......
 
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