Xpress 1546D Makeover... -- SOLD!

russ010

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Ok.. so I'm going to transfer this mod into a new one....

Turns out, this boat is a 1999 model Xpress Boat by Alumaweld. And I do believe this thing may be too heavy to pull with my truck - but by God I'm going to try. I didn't bring it home yet, but I do have pictures. I forgot to look at the placard in the boat, but I'm pretty sure it's a 1546D model, but the length across the gunwhales was more on this boat.

Total Length - 15' (well... 14'6", but I think they call it a 15')
Floor Width - 46"
Gunwhales - 68-69"
forgot to look at the depth, but it's nice. There is a carpeted floor in it, and even though it's marine plywood, I'm going to take it out because I swear it was holding a ton of water and that might be part of the problem why I couldn't lift the tongue.

I'm going to pick it up later this week and the first thing I'm going to do is take it straight to a car wash and get rid of the mildew and trash.

Here she is.....

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russ010

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here are my plans...

If you can think of anything that might make it better, please by all means give me your suggestions.

1 - extend the front deck back about 2'. I think that is a 42" deck, but I didn't measure and I'm going from looking at the photos. I want to put 1 battery on the left and right, then put a middle storage. I want to keep life jackets in that cubby hole under the front pedestal seat. I even thought about leaving that space open as a walk down and then extend the battery compartments down the side of the boat a little for my plano boxes with baits.

2 - scrap the rod box.

3 - extend the rear deck foward about 2' for storage and a place to put a livewell.

4 - the livewell.... I'm thinking I can get a big plastic box and make my own, or keep the cooler and just fix it so that it can still be removable.. BUT, I want to put a pump in the back to fill it up, a recirculation pump on the actual cooler, and then rig up a bilge to pump water out. I've got the plans in my head, I'm just scared to death to drill into the boat. Does anybody see any problems with putting the drain hole on the side of the boat? I've seen one other boat done this way at one of our tournaments, but I didn't look at it closely enough to see how he did it.

5 - batteries in the rear. I think I'm just going to deck over that space, but leave compartments on the side to store anchors, and any other nonsense.

6 - wiring... I think I should run all the wires under the flooring, but I'm wondering how well the boat will still drain. I could run the lines down the sides of the boat, and I'm actually thinking of putting 1/4" ply walls up and incorporating some type of storage.
 

russ010

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Tyler (bassfisher6) and I finally trekked out to Athens to pick the boat up, we walked down the hill to check it out and see what just needed to be done. We immediately started taking out the screws holding the decking in place. I told Tyler to see if he could pick the tongue of the trailer and it was heavy. We spent about 30-45 min just trying to get all of the rusted deck screws, lag screws and everything else this guy could find to put the rod locker together. I cut back some of the carpet on the floor and saw the wood was wet - and I mean SATURATED THROUGH WET. We finally kicked the rod box apart and it took both of us to lift the floor out - a full 4x8 sheet of saturated marine plywood that weighed about 200lbs (no joke). I get on the lady's 4 wheeler and back it up to get a running start at that hill - no prob, it made it up without the added weight of the decks. We were going to leave the wood and stuff at the bottom of the hill (out of sight, out of mind) - BUT, the lady called me and asked what I did with it. Needless to say, we ended up going back down the stupid hill to get it out. Now it's in the woods behind my house... Tyler and I did stop and wash it on the way home... you'll see the clean boat pics in a bit

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Now that I have the boat home!!!, here comes the pics. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do first so I looked at the inside of the boat and remembered I had just bought a 150qt marine cooler (BJs wholesale has them for $70, so Tiffany approved and I paid.. man this thing takes up some room... guess I'm going to have to put a small sheet of something underneath because it barely sits on top of the channels. I've got a size 24 battery that will run all the electronics in the boat, including the circulation pumps and all that jazz for this bad boy.

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Then how much room it takes in and then what it looks like when it's out...

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Then I looked up and remembered the shotty wiring... this guy took Liquid Nails and put the wire conduit against it and the side walls... needless to say a putty knife, flat head screwdriver and hammer were necessary.

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Then I decided to go ahead and take off the trolling motor (which didn't work).. The #@#[email protected] owner used 3" lag screws (phillips head) to connect the top 2x6 to the bottom and then counter sunk lag bolts in the bottom piece to the deck. I ended up having to split the wood - I even found a nest of TINY ants in the middle of one of the pieces.

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(here are the ants)
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but then I remembered that I better take care of the trailer. So once I knocked off the mis-matched bearing buddies (non bearing buddy brand) I saw why the wheels had about 1/4" play in them - the castle nut needed to be tightened up another notch. But I went ahead and repacked the bearings since I took off the bearing buddies - MAN THAT STUFF WAS NASTY! Keep in mind this boat hasn't been moved since 2004. And before I could make the journey back home, I had to replace the wheels/tires. The other ones were dry rotted and had flat places, not to mention not holding air.

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Then it was on to the trailer light issues... the casings were there, but like most of the openings on the trailer, they were inhabited by wasps. I took out 6 nests on the trailer (not including the nest in each of the rear lights). Anyways, new LED lights and new wiring. They did this trailer right... they welded nuts along the inside channel (out of sight and I forgot to get pics) to run the wiring through. Piece of cake!! and these Blazer LEDs are brighter than the LEDs I got at Wal-Mart for my last boat. I got these at AutoZone (military discount works at some of these places too if you keep it quiet)...

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The right turn signal is on... that's why it looks like it's winking - these things pulse when the flashers are on - they're awesome

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I don't like the plastic license plate frames that come with these lights, and for some reason I had a metal one laying around. Found a can of flat black spray paint and painted it up. While I was waiting for it to dry, I got to looking at the trailer... well, the tongue got painted black. And I was considering changing the coupler, but it's welded and paint makes it look brand new again. I think I'm going to use Herculiner on the trailer like Brine did. I've got a gallon a coworker gave me, but I'm going to wait and see how Brine likes it first..

Before
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After
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Well, it's rack time and I've been up since 6am. Fished for a little while this morning and caught one, but it's been sent to Jim, so I won't post it here... BUT, the sorry rascal finned me. I've never been finned by a spotted bass, but my pinky is swollen about twice the size (not any more) but if you look, there are 2 pin holes up top, well the one to the right actually went all the way through my finger and came out - that's what the slit is at the bottom.

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Here's some cleaned up pics of her... still trying to come up with a color scheme - right now I'm thinking black paint with yellow lettering (even though another guy in my club did that, I'm going to see how his heat issues are this summer before I follow through.)... but then again, I may leave it like it is - I have no idea how I would be able to get this boat off and flipped over by myself

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russ010

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I did cut me a floor last night out of 15/32 exterior grade plywood... I just didn't get a chance to post the pics last night, but hopefully I'll get it done tonight.

I'm going to have to put me a temporary TM mount up front. I had some 2x10 laying around the house, so I'll use that for this weekends tourney, then I'll fab me something out of sheet aluminum. Anybody got any ideas how I can bend it without a break?

I also have to do some simple wiring for the batteries, but that's the easy part...
 

bassboy1

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russ010 said:
Anybody got any ideas how I can bend it without a break?
If you are using .063 or something in that range, you can bend it fairly well. Line up your bend line with the edge of a sturdy table (preferably steel), and clamp a piece of steel over the top with a pair of sturdy C-clamps. Now, work back and forth with a large rubber mallet, and bend it a little at a time.

There is a bunch of .063 aluminum over at the local scrapyard right now, and the current price is $1 a pound. I have got a metal bandsaw, so if you want to swing down here one day, you can use the bandsaw to make your cuts, if you have all the sheet pieces in mind.
 

Zum

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Still can't get over that livewell,thats gotta weigh 300+ pounds when full?
I know it gets alot hotter there then here so maybe you need it there.
I wouldn't be able to catch the fish once there in there,I'd have to fish for them again:)
Sorry can't help you with your aluminum bending but I'm sure you will figure something out.
 

russ010

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well... here it is 1230am and I"m just getting in from working on the boat.

Started out with the carpet. I made a run to a different Lowe's because they had remnants left over a few months ago.. but no luck. I got to looking at their carpets, and they actually had 1 marine carpet on the line. And this is NOT indoor/outdoor carpet. This one has twice the amount of rubber on the bottom, and it's actually plush carpet. It's gonna suck for hooks, but my feet are more important than hooks.

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And here is how I get my clean corners without overlaps when doing carpeted edges

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and..... voila!

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I wanted the batteries to sit lower, so I cut out the dimensions of the battery so that they set down inside the deck... that's close to 2" so they won't be moving around.
These 2 motors will be wired 24volt to run the front trolling motor...
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This is a 24 series deep cycle. I'm going to run all the electronics off of it (radio, livewell, BluewaterLEDs, fish finder, etc)..

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I decided to see how hard it was going to be to do the wiring and be able to hide it... so I got down on my newly laid floor and looked inside the little cubby hole - HOLY CRAP - there was wasps nest, mice nests and a birds nest in there... along with some ground up plastic bags and an OLD fish stringer. I have no idea what this foam is in there.. looks like it was - well hell, I don't know what it looks like

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Ok.. so then it was on to mounting the trolling motor. This is just a temporary fab job - so don't think this is how it's going to stay. I took 2 - 2x10s and laid them on top of each other. The bottom 2x I ran aluminum angle iron down the sides so that I could attach that piece to the boat. The top 2x was attached to the lower 2x with about 10 3" fine wood screws (remember, temporary). Then I put the TM mount on there and tried to figure out where I wanted it placed.

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Then I mounted the motor on just to see what it would look like... I like it alot, but something gripes the crap outta me. When the motor is down, I know where I want the foot pedal and I wanted to build a tray to put it in - BUT, when I go to stow the motor, it pulls that foot pedal back and around. I guess I could put it further in the water, but I really don't think it needs to be any lower.

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ben2go

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Russ,if my 2001 Ranger, with a 2.5 liter 4cylinder with 2 bent valves and a weak automatic trans,can pull a loaded Escort wagon on a dolly 220 miles through the mountains of KY,VA,TN,NC,and SC, then your truck can pull that boat. :roflmao:
 

Jr Branham

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Russ,
Nice find. That is going to make a nice one when finished. Good luck, BTW, shame on you for leaving that old wood at the lady's house [-X .....lol
Jr
 

russ010

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I didn't leave it at her house... she called me as I was about to leave and asked what I had done with it. I tried to pawn it off that we couldn't make it up the hill with it - the she said "can't you use the 4wheeler?" - at that point I was stuck... so we grabbed that heavy sack of shot and carried it up the dang hill. We were both give out after that and I wasn't worth 2cents the rest of the day
 

Brine

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Russ,

Nice Stalactites! You've got Rock City under that deck! :lol:

Tough to tell from the pics, but from what I have seen on other boats, that pedal well is normally postioned another foot aft. If you decide to put it where you have it in the pic, I would cut out a small area in the middle of the pedal well position to make sure that the hull doesn't interfere with it being that far forward. That way you have some flexibility in moving the well forward or aft if needed without making a cutout to big. I don't have the option of mounting mine that far forward, because the slope of the hull would prohibit the well from recessing flush with the deck. As far as getting it to sit still, have you moved the mount forward an inch, moved the pedal back an inch etc.....to find a happy medium?

On a sidenote, I was in Wallyworld the other day and saw a cake pan that sure looks like it would work for a pedal well for $14. I might have to play guinea pig with it if the measurements are close.

Thanks for posting the carpet seams, I wondered how to do that myself.
 

poolie

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Dude... that is looking so good! The underside of the front deck looks like a cave with the stalagmites or is that stalactites hanging down :)

That's the carpet I have in my boat and it's oh so comfy.
 

russ010

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I guess I'll leave the mount for the TM where it is right now... but I'm going to bend some aluminum to mount the bracket on for the tm. I guess I'm going to have to move it forward some more - I have it forward about 2 inches past the bow line - I guess I can move it a few more and not have to worry about it.

The part about the carpet that I never was able to figure out was cutting the squares where the plywood is cut to fit down inside the ribs... but somehow I managed to get all of them covered up.

I wish my tournament wasn't this weekend... I really wanted to paint that plywood - but no way in HADES am I pulling that carpet back off to do it. I might paint the underside, but for now I'll keep taking it in and out until the boat tarp gets here
 

russ010

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Just made a quick trip to Bass Pro... man I can drop some dough in that place!

Ended up getting a lot of recessed hatch openings, automatic livewell switch/timer, power distribution plugs (for TM), and some new looking baits to try out this weekend during the tourney.

I know I got something else, but for the life of me I can't see what I put in my basket - more pics to follow tonight of what I get done (got a lot just to make it tourney ready!)
 

russ010

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I forgot this was the post I was supposed to be doing all of this talk in.....

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I finally got that front bearing and bearing buddy part out.. had to take the rear seal and bearing out, then use a 2x2 and a hammer to knock it out. I cleaned it out and the inside of the hub at the rear was chipped pretty good on one side.. one of the bearings had worn through the outside frame of the bearing and was rubbing against the seal and the hub itself... so I'm going to replace both hubs and keep the other side as a spare just in case.

Anyways, heres a few pictures of the process... I was fussin about the wheel to Tiffany and she walks over with some Clorox Cleaning Wipes and says this should do it. I was like, go ahead - thinking to myself no way will that work, but I'll do it to appease her. Well.... she won. Those little wipes cleaned that grease up like it was nothing. I was glad too, I didn't want to use the brake cleaner on a painted surface.
Here's a picture of what it looked like before I started...

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Forgot to take pictures of it before I started cleaning, but the whole inside of the wheel was covered in grease

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And then off with the hub and I decided to check the spindle... well - let's hope I never have to change it because it's welded to the axle. But it was good to go

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Then the outside of the hub

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and the inside or rear..

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And here is the rear seal, housing and all the little bearings... and the spring that fits inside the rear seal that ended up being wrapped around the inside of the spindle...

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Since this post on the other thread, I have ordered REAL Bearing Buddy's (actual name brand from the actual manufacturer)... and I'm trying to get in touch with Trailer Parts Depot to see if they can get me the hubs by Friday... but they haven't called me yet.
 

poolie

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That wheel bearing has definitely seen better days. Hope they can get you taken care of by the weekend. Did you find hub replacements?

EDIT: I was distracted.... work can do that. I see where you're trying to get the hubs.
 

BassNBob

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Russ, once you removed all the trash and dirt, that boat looks really nice. You will make into a nice bass rig when your through. Keep the pics coming.
 

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