1978 Starcraft SUS 16ft - Rebuild and Fix'er up

KrazyAboutTin

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Hello silentbravo.
I have exactly the same boat as yours, and I am involved in its restoration project right now.
I wanted to thank you for the pics and explanation of the process. They are really helpful.
There is a question I have been asking around, and, in spite of some good answers, I am still not sure which way to go.
I striped off the bottom paint of the boat using a sandblasting machine. I went down to the bare aluminum.
I found three holes(bout 1/4" each) at the beginning of each of the three ribs that go along the bottom of the boat. They were covered with paint and the sandblasting uncovered them up.
I can't figure out the purpose of those holes. Some say to live them open (the factory way), but I am afraid of salt water getting in there and not getting out, since there is no exit holes, and corrode the aluminum in that part of the hull.
I have been trying to talk to Starcraft costumer service, but that is not easy.
Please let me know your opinion about it.
Thanks
 

silentbravo

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Glad you are finding some helpful info KrazyAboutTin. I will take a look at my boat and see what those holes look like.

It's probably a better idea to keep them open and rinse the salt out, rather than try to block them off. It would only take a small leak to get the saltwater trapped inside, then you couldn't flush it, and/or might not know there's a problem in there.

I guess it depends on your use also. It may be worth putting a small hole at the back side of boat, through the rib only, to aid flushing water through it.
 

KrazyAboutTin

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Thanks buddy!
I thought about the additional holes, but I needed reassurance on the idea.
The holes were closed before I started the project, and there are sings of corrosion at the end of the ribs, where the ribs meet the hull.
I am using Gluvit all over the hull to seal any leaks around rivets and ribs in the outside. I will also apply it through the inside of the hull to be sure.
Thanks for your advice.
 

silentbravo

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Well this thread got kind of left behind! I did still take a lot of pictures and will start dumping them here. Boat has come a long way in a year plus, hopefully I can get the thread caught up.
 

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Completion of the Transom

The original transom support brace had flimsy tabs that bolted to the transom board, and they were mostly broken off. My dad had the idea to add these heavy duty aluminum angle pieces and we had them welded to the support. They bolt into the original holes so no new holes had to be added to the outside aluminum skin.
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A few of the rivets from this brace were broken at the bottom of the boat so we replaced them. I bought good aviation style rivets, the air chisel hammers and fixed a few of them around the boat. Those rivets are practically as good as welding, super strong.
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Here were some of the rivets replaced on the bottom of the hull. You can see some were already replaced with the wrong style of rivets... and then the new proper rivets added in.
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Here's the condition of the rear skin, lots of dents, scrapes, holes. Actually this is after I had cleaned it up and patched some of the holes that didn't need to be there...
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Here I used Rustoleum Self Etching Primer to coat that big bare patch of aluminum. This originally had a 1/2" plywood backer that was totally garbage and unneccessary for my use.
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silentbravo

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Completion of the Transom - Continued

See my "paint booth"
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Finished job. I used Rustoleum White Enamel Spray Paint. Probably Semi-Gloss
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Here's farther along with some of the fasteners installed. I used all new stainless hardware/washers and gooped some Sikaflex 291LOT into any holes. That Sikaflex is terrific, super tough caulking.
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More to add here.. tomorrow
 

silentbravo

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I saw a method about oversizing the holes through the transom and filling with epoxy, so that when you drilled them out for through bolting, you never compromised the wood. I went this route with my transom, and I was careful about drilling the holes straight. Here was how I accomplished that.
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I bought a couple of these drill guides from Big Gator Tools. They are so nice for accomplishing drill press straightness with a hand drill. I predrilled with the 1/4" bit through, and then the hole saw followed the straight hole perfectly.
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For the transom splashwell drains I predrilled through a chunk of 2"x6" wood, then with the hole saw as well, and used the hole in the block to keep the holesaw perfectly straight.
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Here are the 2 splashwell drains. I think I just used a combination of bolt/all thread and nuts/washers to compress these. I know I didn't buy the fancy tool to do it. One came out perfect and the other tore slightly on the edge but it's still sound.
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Completion of the Transom - Finished

Here are the 2 corners attached, Sikaflex sealed on the underside and anywhere else it needed.
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The splashwell was in OK condition but was a little bit weak across the front edge. I used a random piece of aluminum frame to reinforce it. You can sit on that part of the boat no problem now if you need to.
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Here is the completed transom and splashwell area, everything caulked in.
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Here's a little hatch made from a piece of aluminum that covers the bilge pump area. It just has some angle stock riveted underneath to slot in and hold it.
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Transducer Install 6/11/2021

I bought a piece of 3/4" thick HDPE "Marine board" to use as a universal transducer mounting block. I think this is a much nicer solution than putting new holes in the transom with new fish finders... like It had previously. I think I patched about 7 or 8 holes from previous fish finders. Now it's just 2 holes bolting the plastic through, and fish finders can be replaced and re-positioned on the plastic several times.
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I predrilled and countersunk the holes for the bolts
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Here it is mounted to the boat, caulked in and I also chamfered all of the edges to make it look nicer.
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Here is my transducer installed. This is the GT54-UHD that came with my Garmin UHD 93sv
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I leveled the transducer with the boat itself. I'm not sure how much that matters, but it seemed correct.
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Completed install. The cable loops are using some of the existing through bolts for the transom, no new holes added for the cable management which looks really slick.
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silentbravo

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Back to the fun stuff... Electrical

Finished the Auxiliary battery box 6/20/2021

I spent way to much time on this haha (replaced it completely in 2022). Here are all the parts, laid out and painted
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I put a thin rubber pad below the battery, to be a tiny bit of cushioning as well as a block in case the battery leaked somehow.
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Here's the completed compartment, looked really nice and functioned well.
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Lid just sat on top.
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I bolted the quick disconnect lead that works with my NOCO charger to the battery posts, made charging easy.
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New bow/navigation lights Installed

This originally had the single light module in the front center (you can see the hole where it was). My trolling motor plate blocked the center, so I switched to individual lights on either side.
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silentbravo

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Main Electrical Rewiring 6/20/2021

I bought the Blue Sea Systems Mini Add-A-Battery Kit - 65A, Part number: 7649

This kit comes with an On-Off-Combine switch, and an Automatic Charging Relay, that will connect to a second battery. As always Blue Sea systems parts are top notch, I'm a huge fan.

I found a spot near the main starting battery to locate the switch and ACR. Built a small panel from aluminum angle for them
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I have mounted the parts to the aluminum angle and started to prewire the main battery cables here.
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Just a little look at the "in progress" electrical. It takes a lot of tools and pieces to do good electrical work....
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Here they are mounted to the splashwell. The starting battery sits right under this in the corner.
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I added a second panel to mount breakers and an isolated ground stud. I wish I would have used the full length angle piece so I had more room for parts down there..
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Here's some of the wiring coming together "behind the scenes". Big ground stud is super full, but works.
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Here is the final wiring.
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I'll post the wiring diagram and explanation in next post.
 
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