1994 Spectrum 16 Sport Rebuild? - Bouncing ideas around


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Well-known member
Feb 25, 2011
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Virginia, USA
I got a boat that was abandoned at a property. Free with purchase of the trailer. Great hull, but the interior is trashed, motor blown, transom soft. Here are a few pictures:


The hull is solid, no damage, 16'-5" long, 6' 5" wide with dual consoles, front platform with livewell. Now that I have found the last known owner and will get the title eventually,

I'm actually considering this boat as a replacement/upgrade to my 16' Princecraft, and I'm trying to think it out. I'm considering it because...
1. This boat has a flat floor with no bunks
2. This boat is rated for 70 HP, so it should be a little more sturdy for bigger water
3. I might like having the full windshield for cold/rainy days, especially if I add a Bimini top. Or I can open it up, my choice.

besides the work it needs, the only negatives I can think of is that it will be heavier, slower and fuel-thirsty, My current boat uses ounces of fuel, not gallons on a typical trip.

That being said, this is what I'm thinking right now as far as sequence:

1. Get title in my name before doing anything.
2. Empty and clean out boat, pull seats and carpet so I can see what I'm dealing with.
3. See if it's just the center of the floor that needs help, or if the whole floor needs replacement. Notice that they replaced the ski locker cover with PVC board.
4. Check how difficult transom replacement access is. Some boats are easy, some are a royal pain.

Then come questions about what I'm going to do with it...
1. Keep the dual consoles and glass for protection from the elements or take one and make it an open side-console? (I do crappie fish in the winter)
2. Replace the carpet as-is or leave the sides carpeted and use Nautolex vinyl on the floor?
3. Add a simple passenger seat or just put a cushioned cooler there?
4. What HP motor? I have an Evinrude 50 that I should be able to get running on short notice, but also have a 3-cyl 60. I even have a parts motor for the Force 70 that I could probably use to get the current motor running, but Force 70's are the worst of their motors. Love the 90's, 120's and 150's, but I've never seen a 70 where the center cylinder didn't have issues. Fuel delivery, I suspect. Doubt I'll go that route.
5. Move the livewell from the front to the back, or add a 2nd livewell?
6. Of course, I could always do the minimum, leave it mostly as-is and just sell it.

If you have any thoughts good or bad, please comment. Thanks.
My knee jerk:

1) Keep the walk thru windshields. Add the top and even side curtains if you want.

2) Scratch the carpet including the sides. Do vinyl floors. Paint the sides. Do you need bow seating? If no, get rid of the upholstered trim up front (turn it into a fishing boat).

3) Unless you need the additional storage, the helm and passenger seats on pedestals would give a wide open feel to the cockpit.

4) Don't know. I have a Gregor 18' walk-thru w/ 50 HP. It does't use much fuel. It is probably a lot lighter than this boat.

5) I don't use live wells so don't understand why one location would be better than the other. I would probably use the existing one for a cooler (or replace it with a cooler).

6) I think it really comes down to how much you would enjoy the project.
Force should have been spelled with an "A", instead of an "O". I wouldn't spend a dime on it. My opinion. TexasJim
Thanks for the line-by-line feedback.
  1. I think I like the windshields too. In my mind, it will give nice protection.
  2. Vinyl seems good in this boat. The blue vinyl will match the carpeted sides and save me a lot of work. Not sure why they have the vinyl trim around the front platform, but yes, that has to go. Platform all the way.
  3. Right now, I'm thinking no mounted passenger seat at all, but a removeable pedestal might not be a bad idea. There are two jump seats in the back.
  4. I have a 50 Johnson I can drop on. But I've heard everyone likes this boat with a 70. My other boat with a 70 isn't too thirsty. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.
  5. That's a very long hose for that front livewell, and if it leaks, that will be a problem. I could just do as you say and use it as a cooler or just storage. There is a lot of storage under that area that isn't being used. Maybe I'll delete the livewell and use that space.
  6. That is the question... I have (2) mariners, a 12' Lowe, a pontoon boat and then this one. The others will get restored and sold, but this one might be for me. I've done a lot of boat work, but lately I want to be on the water more than working on boats, especially since I got my new Livescope system!
Force should have been spelled with an "A", instead of an "O". I wouldn't spend a dime on it. My opinion. TexasJim
HAHAHA! I agree, especially with those 70's. Terrible motors.

Taking out all the weight & putting on a maximum 70 hp is a racing boat.
Will be curious to see how fast others are going with a 70 versus a 50. I like speed. Didn't realize it until I got my first bass boat, a little 16 footer. I put a 115 on the back and WOW! It was almost as fast as my Cajun 190 Pro with a 150 Ficht on the back. That one hit 63 on a good day, but 61 anytime. After awhile, 50 feels "normal."

Speed is addictive.
Not sure how that boat is rated but I wouldn't want anything less than a 70 on it, a 90 probably wouldn't be too bad either. Kinda reminds me of the older Lund Tyee battleships.

Run good braided hose up to the front livewell and you will never have a problem with it, chances are it drains right out the bottom up there somewhere so there's not much to fail in that regard.

I may be the odd man out but that looks like the perfect big tiller boat, being wide open in the back. Gut everything except the front deck and the floor and leave it wide open.
You are right- the livewell drains right out the side of the boat, and I see nothing wrong with the factory hose. It's that thick stuff they use, so you are probably right about it.

The boat is rated for 70 HP max. I have a nice 90 I could use, but they are a big step heavier, about 100 lbs or so. I spend a lot of time in salt water, and don't want a stern-heavy boat if the weather kicks up.

As a teen, I was with a friend in his 14' tinny. The weather turned and we ran for home, but while coming off a wave the oversized engine went under, and we were instantly swamped. It was KER-PLUNK, and the boat went down. It was terrifying. Could have died.

Years later, I was out in the Chesapeake Bay on a beautiful day in my 19' Cajun bass boat catching big stripers, when the wind kicked up, and I turned around to see a squall line. I put my rod down and started up. I had a 13 mile run to dock. Came around Cove point and it was surf city. The stern went under several times, but I was able to power through it, fortunately, bilge running the whole time. Big-engine bass boats suck in big waves!

To contrast that, I have gotten caught in similar situations in my old deep-V Crestliner with a 25 on the back. Although it wasn't comfortable, I never felt afraid. That thing bobbed like a cork, and I had an 1100 GPH auto pump in the back. I took my time and navigated through the waves. It was actually kind of exhilarating.

To me, having a balanced boat is very important, although I hope to never get caught out in bad situations again. So I'm sticking to the 70 max in this situation.

Your idea isn't crazy. I have been considering the idea of removing the left console and windshield, but my days of hanging on to a tiller are over, except for the small pond rig. When we take a trip, we are often fishing from sunup until dark for days straight. It's SO much easier sitting up with no-feedback steering in front of you, rather than being twisted sideways in the back of the boat.

I'm mostly leaning toward keeping the full windshield, but it's still a thought.

Planning out a boat is a big part of the fun in doing a build, followed by seeing your plan turned into reality. Fun hobby.

Thanks for sharing your ideas.
I have the same boat. I have totally rebuilt it, and now im in the process of making upgrades. Mine is one model year older so it has some slight variations. I will post pics when I get home from work of what you are working with underneath the floor and elsewhere.
Wow, that would be awesome.

Did you have to replace the transom? I think this one has soft transom wood, and it looks like it's going to be a pain to get in there.
Looking forward to your pics and any experiences you have.

Yes, I replaced it. Hindsight I would have used aluminum like what tbnation offers on their site. I would have just welded something together myself out of rectangle. I used marine ply and epoxy coating.

The transom is welded together and a real pain to disassemble. Hence my reasoning for using aluminum. If I would have known that product existed or thought of aluminum as an option, I definitely would have preferred to use it.
Yes, I replaced it. Hindsight I would have used aluminum like what tbnation offers on their site. I would have just welded something together myself out of rectangle. I used marine ply and epoxy coating.

The transom is welded together and a real pain to disassemble. Hence my reasoning for using aluminum. If I would have known that product existed or thought of aluminum as an option, I definitely would have preferred to use it.
Thank you for sharing that. This one isn't dented in like that, but there is some flex there when I bounce on the motor. I bet it looks just like yours on the inside.

Good idea about going with aluminum. How thick was the plywood? (2) layers of 3/4"?

1-1/2" or 2" square Schedule 40 stock ran me about $100 for mine, and not hard to do, especially on the ground. On the boat, you have to be more careful. I recently raised my transom this way, and I'm extremely happy with the results. It's not pretty, but it's crazy-strong:

How hard was putting it back together? Any more pics? You sharing is awesome. It really helps knowing what I'm getting into!

How on earth did you get that transom out??!? I went out to take a good look, and everthing is welded. The seat bases and splashwell are all welded into the transom.

Did you take an angle grinder and just start cutting, or am I missing something?
Here are some pictures of what I just saw...

Picture of the back of the boat:

It appears that entire rear of the boat is all one piece or welded together. The transom wrapped around from outside to the inside and tied into the splashwell and seats.. Very stong design, but how to replace the rotten core?

Here is what I see underneath. The starboard side (left side in the pic) is worse than the port side:

That side is absolute mush. You can almost pull the tow ring out.
Correct, I had to cut it apart and weld it back together. It was a nightmare. That is my reasoning for regretting not going with aluminum. I hope I never have to go in there again.
I understand that! I looked underneath, and everything is welded together. Really good construction, EXCEPT for the soft plywood, ugh.

I just went in and removed what I could with a screw gun and drill. Got the front part of the center section out, and the rear jump seats and so on. The back now looks like this:


It looks like if I cut out the welds, I can get the seat boxes from the right and left sides. That would free up a lot of access.

Did you cut the top or did you cut the bottom and slide the wood down?

Hmmmm... Not sure what to think of this... There was a piece of PVC board in the middle of the floor. Unscrewed it and found this:

There were wooden blocks set in there to hold up the PVC "lid."

Is this a ski locker/storage area? The bottom of it looks to be made out of some kind of HDPE plastic. Not what I was expecting in an aluminum boat.

The floor feels solid, but I'm curious what I'm going to find when I pull the carpet back. I knew this was going to turn into a bigger project than face value, but I like this boat enough to keep going. Hopefully, this isn't a mistake!

Went back out and discovered that part of the rear seat bases were riveted in, not welded, so I was able to remove them. They are filled with foam, so it doesn't look like much of a change now, until I cut the foam out, but that gives better access the transom.

After that, I pulled the seats and emptied the boat out and stepped back to take a look I'm starting to see where this is going:

The front deck is a no-brainer. Really easy, with no issues. Livewell already there and functional.

As suspected, the floor plywood is solid but a bit wet. I'm thinking of pulling and replacing it. I don't feel like pulling and replacing the consoles, but it might be worth it. You mentioned pictures of under the floor, DaveG. That would be great if you could see them before I start cutting.

The big hurdle is still the transom. Looks like there is no way to avoid cutting metal. It looks like the parts are tabbed together, and I might be able to just cut those tabs without doing too much damage. That is the scary part, but I need to put on my big boy pants and dive in. It doesn't have to take a long time.

One last question, Dave... How thick was the transom wood? Looks like 1.5" will be too thick to fit. 1.25" maybe?

I have square aluminum, and it's 1.5" wide, but it looks too big to fit inside the transom. It would be nice to make it from aluminum.

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"Did you cut the top or did you cut the bottom and slide the wood down?"
Unfortunately I had to cut the top. I have a tig welder, but I just riveted it together because I planned to replace the carpet anyway. That was a couple seasons ago 😄

"Is this a ski locker/storage area?"

That was not that option as far as I know. That must have been added by a previous owner.

"One last question, Dave... How thick was the transom wood? Looks like 1.5" will be too thick to fit. 1.25" maybe?"

I bonded 2 pieces of marine 3/4. I don't know how thick that actually runs, but I'm pretty sure you could squeeze 1.5 in there.

I keep forgetting to post pictures. Weak signal at work. I use the house wifi. I should be able to post in the evening.

You will find the consoles are unsupported in the pass through. The stringers that run fore to aft are about 6 inches outboard from them. This area will weaken and sag over time. The red flag will be the windshield will not line up. I used some angle and supported it underneath. I should have done more to reinforce it as it is still a bit weak.

You will also find the livewell is incredibly small and shallow. I am in the process of a redo in the bow area. If I remember and have time/inclination I will start a build thread.