1984 Bass Tracker TX17


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New member
Aug 20, 2023
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West Michigan
Hey All,

I'm starting this as an ongoing documentation of a slow moving project.

The boat is a 1984 Bass Tracker TX17 with a 45hp Mercury, bought used by my dad when i was pretty young. Though neither of use were hardcore fisherman, we had some memorable times on the water with it. He passed away a little over year ago and I now share the boat with my brother in-law.

My goal for the boat is first and foremost just to get it running reliably, I can't justify putting much money into it at this stage of life, though i would love to tear it down some day in the future. It was a decent runner when last used, though if i remember correctly the choke seemed to be pretty finicky and it would occasionally leave a small oil slick at a standstill. It has sat for the last 3 years due to my fathers health issues and me living an hour away with 3 kids 5 and under.

I'd love to at least get it running this fall, even if only in the driveway hooked up to a hose.

My plan of attack at the moment:

1. Change fluids, filters, and plugs ( I have no reference as to the last time any of these have been changed)
2. New bilge pump (found a new on in his storage unit, i'm assuming the existing one was on its way out)
3. Clean up wiring, it looks like at one point there was on-board charging and who knows what else. My dad, bless his soul, was not really a mechanical or electrical guy, so things were often done the quick way which has created a rats nest of wires.
4. Check tires/hubs/lights on the trailer
5. New cover

Long term goals:
1. Tear out decking and inspect the foam below. I'm near certain the foam is all waterlogged by now and is creating an excess of weight.
2. Get the live well operational (this could be an easy fix or not, i have not investigated at all)
3. New trolling motor (i believe the lockout on the existing one is broken, causing it to not want to stay in the water
4. Go fishing with my boys

I'll take any advice, especially motor wise, that anyone has to give. I'm fairly handy but have not spent much time in the marine world.



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Last edited:
If you don't know the maintenance record, I would also change out the water pump impeller. It is a failure point with potentially severe consequences. Change out any fuel filters. I would probably also replace the fuel hoses & bulb from the portable tank. Also put fresh gaso in the tank. If there is any gaso in there, use it in your lawnmower or something.
Thanks for the tip on the impeller, i probably wouldn't have thought of that!
Lower unit oil as well. Commonly unchanged, or worse, contaminated with water.
I went and picked up a few parts today and started on some basics. Since its supposed to be such a great weekend, i figured it would be the perfect time to get the boat in the driveway to do some work and let it sit uncovered so it can air out a bit. I took out the gas tank/line and emptied it all out, bought some lower unit oil that i'll throw in when i'm closer to ready, and removed the old on board battery chargers along with their wiring. I also got the batteries out to test, though i'm pretty sure they're shot.

I decided i wanted to try and clean up the hull before winter hits (regardless of if i get it running), man that river scum is hard to get off! Anyone have any tips? I bough some Purple Power aluminum brightener which worked great on portions of the boat that were under the cover regularly, but it didn't touch the sides/bottom of the hull. Even my pressure washer barely made a dent.
You must have some nasty crud, I use simple green and it works well. It does leave a residue but a second wash with Dawn dish soap takes that away. Just did mine last weekend. If your hull is painted, the paint might be stained, not sure you could fix that. Go ahead and drain that lower unit, best to let it sit and drain for a week or more to get the old crap out. Keep us posted on your progress..
Hello. I am about to buy a 1984 Tracker TX17 and have been trying figure out the total storage length with boat and trailer. My boat will have a 2018 4 stroke merc on it. Any help would be much appreciated.