'87 Bluefin Sportsman 1700 Rebuild - Family Cruiser

kofkorn

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Hi All,

I'm looking at another rebuild. I've been looking for a bowrider for some time now that I can use with the family for tubing and cruising when we go on vacations. My brother had this Bluefin given to him, and he decided that he didn't have time to re-do it. I dragged it home and am planning on doing a full rebuild on it. This is definitely going to stretch my skills quite a bit, as I'm planning on building custom seats and cushions on my own. I'd like a layout that will give me reasonable amount of seating with as much open space as possible.

The current Force 85hp will be replaced with an Evinrude 88 that I have in my garage. While I'm doing the swap, I'm going to replace the transom. I don't think it's totally gone yet, but with a 30+yr old boat that hasn't been maintained, I figured it's due.

So here are some pics of the condition it was in when I brought it home:

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I've already started clearing out the consoles and the front bow seating area. The wood was so rotted, a bunch of it fell apart in my hands. I kept as much together as I could to use as templates. I also pulled off the rub rail so I could remove the cartpeting completely from the gunnels.

I'm going to use the Nautolex on this build. I've been really impressed with the durability from my last build. I'll be sketching up some seating concepts shortly. I might fall back on a standard back-to-back setup if it doesn't work out, but I'm hopeful it'll be alright.

Any thoughts on how I can refresh the look of the paint without re-painting the whole thing?

Comments and suggestions are always considred!
 

LDUBS

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I look forward to watching this. This style of boat is among my favorites. I like the wide gunnels and space. It will be a great boat for the family.
 

davedude

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Will you be able to save the consoles? I see you have the 85hp force on yours. That should be good fun. I had an 88 just like yours except it had the 50hp on it and man it was a weenie!
If you strip out all the crap and build lightweight that boat should move pretty quick with the 85 on it.
 
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You may be able to save the paint, although it is quite faded. Try to clean/degrease as well as possible, then go over it with a clay bar. Next try some 3m aluminum polish in a small area, low speed with a wool pad on a electric polisher might do the trick. There is a few youtube videos that show how to bring back very faded paint on cars and the same princples should apply. If you experiment with this option make sure to show a before and after!
 

kofkorn

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I was able to put a little more time into it this weekend. I managed to pull the floor and all of the foam out. The foam was more waterlogged than the stuff I found in my bass boat. I definitely lightened the load a significant amount. I didn't get a chance to to do a full clean out before it started raining.

I pulled the foam up in about 2' sections. I used a long blade to slice it, the popped out the pieces. It was a fairly easy operation overall. I still need to pull out the small centerboard and the livewell tubing. The new boat won't have a livewell.

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There's a lot of corrosion on the bracket for the bow ring. I'll need ot replace that too, or it'll be a short time before the boat is sitting on the road somehere.

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Next job will be doing a deep clean on the inside, removing all of the remaining accessories from the gunnels, then removing the remainder of the carpeting. The floor was so soft that I was worried about walking around inside before. I feel much better with all of the cruddy wood removed.

I'll look into the possibility of saving the paint. But looking at it closer, there are a bunch of spots that are scuffed and scratched that I wouldn't be able to touch up. So it's more likely that I'll be taking it down to the bare aluminum and going from there.
 

Kootenaykid

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Hi.. looking forward to more pictures. We have a 17’ spectrum by Bluefin with a soft floor. We think it’s a 1990.
Was thinking of using a vinyl wrap on treated 3/4” plywood. Say in 3 separate panels Two panels at the stern and one at the bow. Make the panels so they can unscrew and lift out.
 

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kofkorn

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Slow progress. I've finished stripping just about everything out.

My original plan was to leave the splashwell in position, and simply slide out the transom wood in one piece. I pulled the top cap off of the transom, then put a few eye lags into the wood. I lifted on the eyebolts with my engine hoist. The first few times I tried, there simply wasn't enough weight in the boat to allow the wood to slide free.

I stopped there, went on vacation (good time!) and came back about a week later. Originally the wood in the transom was a bit wet and soft. The extra week away with the transom open firmed it up pretty well. Additionally, I put a strap over the boat and tied it down to the trailer so I had some extra weight to pull against.

This time, it worked out quite nicely. I was able to pull it out in one piece.

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Afterward, I looked underneath and realized that the splashwell was only held on by 12 or 14 rivets under the gunnels. It will make it much easier to work on the transom with it out, so I decided to pull it.

Overall, everything's in pretty good shape. I do have some significant corrosion on the outer aluminum, where they installed a factory "Cap" over the top of the entire transom assembly, you can see the blue piece laying inside the boat here:

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I acutally came across a great deal on a complete windshield assembly. Entire windshield, all hardware, $10. Not a typo... I couldn't believe it. So I rushed down to Warwick RI to pick it up.

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Not long after, I came across a CMC tilt unit for sale. I had one before that I sold with a different boat. I like it for the ability to easily swap out motors without messing with the transom sealing. I work on numerous motors on the side, so this will give me a nice platform to test my motors out easily.

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I've been thinking through my seating layout, and I think I'm going to go with something like this:

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Maybe not a full "U" shape but more of an "L". I don't know if I have enough room to do the "L" along with a swiveling passenger seat, so I may extend the "L" all the way up to the console. Maybe I'll build a bit of a wedge backrest that can allow the passenger to have a bit of support, but we could remove the wedge to have a full flat seat... Not sure about that though. I'm gonna have to give a lot of thought to the way it all goes together so I can have access to storage and to the bilge when needed. It's gonna take some work.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

DaleH

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You're certainly well on your way and appear to know what you're doing, but where you asked for suggestions - take a look at this transom I just replaced on a similar hull, but one also tied in with a splashwell. It came out superb and will last the life of the boat!
https://forum.tinboats.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=47405&p=473317
 

kofkorn

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Hi Dale,

I had reviewed that build before and was definitely planning on oversizing and filling the holes with epoxy.

When you did that, what did you use as a backing to prevent the epoxy from leaking out? Duct tape?

Here's an additional challenge: The prior owner had clearly fit a different motor(s?) onto the transom at some point. From what I can see, there are three separate sets of holes in the skin. Any suggestions that I could use to plug up the holes in the aluminum to prevent extra water from getting on?

I've considered taking it to someone to have that section cut out and a new piece welded in place.



Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

 

DaleH

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I could cut and ship you out a large square or rectangular piece of 5052 alloy, likely same alloy as the hull you have, as that's what Starcraft uses. Then rivet in place on the transom, fitting over all holes, goop/seal edges and filling holes w/ any thick epoxy product. G-Flex 650 would be ideal here, to seal the edges (as is somewhat flexible).

Yes, duct on backside of wood, applied in at least 3 strips 4" long per hole, to prevent weeping, strips overlapped 1/4" at least.
 

LDUBS

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Kootenaykid said:
Was thinking of using a vinyl wrap on treated 3/4” plywood. Say in 3 separate panels Two panels at the stern and one at the bow. Make the panels so they can unscrew and lift out.

Putting your floor in sections so you can pull up a section as needed is a really smart idea, IMO. Wrap the edges with vinyl and you won't even know the seams are there.
 

kofkorn

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So what does an engineer do during quarrantine? Play with CAD:

Here's what I was thinking for my initial layout, with a bench seat on the side and one in the back. I'd need to be able to acess the bilge area for fuel and accessories, which means it would need to be able to hinge upward or something similar. But that leads to some challenges where the seats meet. I'd need to blend the seating between these two corners:

Starboard Front Bench.JPG

Seat Interference.JPG

But I started playing around with removable seating, and I think I might be better off with removable pedestals in the main area. I can take the back two pedestals out when tubing or fishing, or when more space is needed.

This might be the way to go:

Starboard Front.JPG

Port Rear View.JPG

It'll certainly be easier to build in removable seats rather than a permanent bench.

I gave the inside a powerwash last weekend. It looks much better.

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Here are some better pictures of the corrosion on the back of the transom:

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and the cover that caused it:

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Rlight2

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Any new progress on the boat watching this thread carefully as I’m redoing same boat only mine is spectrum 1700.
 

kofkorn

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This one is going to be a slow build. It's been so hot lately, I've not been able to work on it too much except for short spurts here and there.

I did build up the new transom. I used two layers of 3/4 Araucoply material that I picked up from my local lumber yard. I was able to fit both layers of the transom on one, 2' x 6' section, with leftover material. I used the old transom as a template and cut it out with my skill saw and a jigsaw for the rounded inside corners. I screwed the two pieces together to get the edges sanded, and built a quick jig to hold it up while I used my belt sander.

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I did a test fit, and it slid in place nicely

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I've started doing the layers of epoxy, and I have the middle coat, gluing the two halves together, and two coats on one side. I'm going to do a light sand and a final coat on the first side and then flip and do the other side. Plus 3 coats on the edges. It should be fairly well protected.

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I've also created the center supports that go between the two long stringers. I've just started coating those. probably 2 layers per side on those.

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I have decided to cut the really corroded section out of the transom where the motor sat and I'll take it to a welder to get a new piece added in. I'll have them patch a couple of small stress cracks at the front at the same time. The cracks are well above the waterline, but it should help out.

We've decided to update the paint color to a cream or white, but not paint the bottom section. Since the existing paint is in good shape and sticking well, it'll prevent me from having to take it all the way down and re-prime.

I'm going to flip the hull and clean and polish the bottom.

Knowing my time, I'll probably be doing the final build out in the garage over the late fall and winter.
 

Blufin88

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I am working on a very similar project a 1988 Bluefin 19' IO. I am converting to a outboard. The starting condition looked very similar. I am also right now rebuilding building the transom. This is my Covid 19 fall and winter project.
 

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kofkorn

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I would have loved to have the 19' with an ouboard. I came across a 19' I/O after I started this one, but I didn't want to get into the process of tearing out the motor and rebuilding. Probably should have gone for it :) For me, the big thing would be to add some additional depth to the transom. It feels like it's a little weak at the point where the motor sits. Good luck!
 

DaleH

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kofkorn said:
This one is going to be a slow build. Knowing my time, I'll probably be doing the final build out in the garage over the late fall and winter.
That is going to be wicked AWESOME!

I remember you ... you had all of those OMC 60hp & 70hp OB motors mounted on wooden stands so you could move them around your yard. This hull should fly with one of those on it!
 

kofkorn

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Yep, that was me :D

The mix has changed, but the affliction remains the same. I've got a nice '88 Evinrude 88 Special planned for this boat. It's even got a nice custom painted cover to go with it:

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I've managed to move most of the others I had on to better families :) I still have the '77 70hp that needs a new timer installed, and I picked up a nice 4 stroke electric start 9.9 for a job I did for a friend. The 85hp Force on the rack is what came with the boat, it's a running motor, but I don't want to deal with the hassle of parts in the future.

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I recently rehabbed a really nice '61 40 hp for a friend, he's rebuilding the transom on his '61 RedFish now and we'll be putting that back on later this fall. It doesn't look pretty, but it was in incredible condition. Carb was pristine, but I rebuilt that and replaced all of the ignition (100% OEM for Pappy :) ). Fired right up.

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Just this past week, I pulled a few motors from a relative who was managing the estate of a family member who passed. Safe to say I have my time for the next few months planned out:

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jethro

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kofkorn said:
But I started playing around with removable seating, and I think I might be better off with removable pedestals in the main area. I can take the back two pedestals out when tubing or fishing, or when more space is needed.

This might be the way to go:

Starboard Front.JPG

Port Rear View.JPG

It'll certainly be easier to build in removable seats rather than a permanent bench.

For what it's worth, I absolutely love the removable pedestal layout of my Sylvan. Wouldn't change it for the world, and I'm about to redo the whole floor. I don't do much family stuff, so I can take the two rear seats out and have an absolute dance floor back there for fishing. When I go saltwater I put a huge catch cooler back there.

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This is what it looks like most of the time:
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kofkorn

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Progress slowly continues.

I've pretty much finished sealing the transom wood. Numerous coats of epoxy on all sides. I just need to mark out my holes and oversize drill and epoxy the space left over. I'm holding off on that for now, as I'm likely going to be ignoring some of the holes already in the transom and adding new ones as I go. The old Force motor didn't follow a normal mounting pattern, so I'll be updating that. Additionally, because I'm completely rebuilding the skin on the inside and adding a new cover over the mounting area on the outside, so a number of existing holes won't be good guides going forward.

I've started the process of finishing the ouside of the boat. I flipped it and put it up on some stands, and took a closer look at the general condition of the hull. I was a little surprised to find some good sized corrosion holes on the bottom side. It became pretty clear what created the holes, as they were very specifically contained within the gaps that were between the structural ribs. Additionally they are all on the outer edges of the hull. So this area is where the 2 part foam crept into the ends of the ribs and set up there. When the foam absorbed the water and held it there, it set up a galvanic corrosion environment. So I will need to clear out the ends of the ribs on each side to ensure this doesn't happen again going forward.

Flipped and supported
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Corrosion Holes in the rib spaces
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Example of the foam in the ribs
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I've started prepping the hull for a full coat of Gluvit. I'm going to put a heavy coat on, then prime and paint it to protect it from UV exposure. So I've gone ahead and filled the exposed holes, per the Gluvit guide, and then used a Scotch brite type of cleaning disc to remove gunk and prep the surface of the hull.

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