SR 1979 Reborn!
(1979 22' Hard Top Sea Ray)

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1979 Sea Ray
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Moisture Meter
checks for dry rot
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Boat Inspection

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Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log

This article is a journey into the land of buying a older boat.  Trusted contacts I've made over the last 20 some years will guide me thru the rebirth of one helluva fishing boat when Project SR 1979 is totally reborn at the beginning the 2008 season.  

My reasoning leads down the road of not spending 50 to 75 grand on a boat.  Especially, a boat that will not see much usage.  Most of my time is devoted to my tackle business and a a ton of dough in a new boat is just not wise.  Maybe, to put it better, why dump a large sum for something that's might get used 20 days a season?

The Steps

1. Hire a trusted registered surveyor.  In my case I knew John P. Watson (231) 723-2485, former Marine Safety/CO for our DNR for the last 20 years.  His integrity is implacable, so I trust what he says!  Cost to survey the 1984 22' Sea Ray Hardtop was $280.00.  Survey is necessary for insurance on most boats older then 15 years, when you purchase a used vessel

2.  Be honest, both the seller and buyer must build bridges about what needs to be done.  I was looking for a older Sea Ray, as quality issues are always extremely good.  Better then the newer models from what I've seen. 

3.  Expect motor problems, as it looks like I'm the 3, maybe fourth owner.  Research on the internet found brand NEW long blocks 350 MerCruisers for a little over 2 Gs for my particular boat.  The original motor will be replaced eventually.  Same goes for the outdrive replacement, as earlier MerCruiser Type I out-drives with V8s are known for failure.

4. Interior needs to be brought up to my standards and Dick Boyajian (he makes the trolling bags) has 40 years in the canvas/upholstery.  Dick's going to measure for new materials in the windows, seats and a newly designed backdrop.

Once the boat is paid for, I will disclose what I paid and negotiated into the sellers end, because of major defects that I consider unsafe.  After being thru many, many charter vessel inspections, I demand reliability and safety above all else.

Reasons I chose this boat:

1. Hardtop
2. Dinette
3. Sea Ray quality
4. Highly trailerable
5. Sleeps 3 in comfort
6. 12 volt DC Refrigerator
7. Wide open cockpit
8. Elevated skippers chair
9. Alcohol 2 burner stove
10. Sink with running water
Things I do not like about this boat:

1. Carpeting
2. Electrical/wiring issues
3. Faded gel coat
4. Some teak needs replacing
5. Rear jump seat brackets
6. Poorly designed transom access
7. Existing upholstery
8. Gas lines need replacing
9. Outdated electronics
10. Cooler hung in the middle of transom
(can't work with a chute, or 3 rigger spread)

Stick with me, this journey has just begun!

I'll update this page every time a step forward means progress has been made. My total budget, including the purchase price of this boat is 20K for all upgrades like new interior, new teak moldings, canvas, 350 GM V8 motor, riggers, outdrive, 07 electronics, 15 hp 4 stroke kicker motor with steering and helm throttle/shift controls.


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Bad Connector
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Jumbled Wiring
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Rigger Board
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Helm View

This is a working list page with the stuff that's in need of repair, it's not written a War & Peace novel, nor is it intended to be.

Working 5/6/07 to do fix it list:

1. Bennett Trim tab, port actuator is not working.  Pressure lines have swollen over time and
need replacing, cuz of leaking fluid.
2. Starter does not turn engine over.  Replaced starter, secondary solenoid.
3. Battery cable (lugs) ends need replacing.

Daily Diary & Work Load

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5/7/07  Major progress today.  Changed a bad starter, put a new secondary solenoid and
replaced the old style cork valve cover gaskets (24 years old).  Soldered on some of the 
poorly installed battery cable ends, or lugs.  Got the boat to turn over and run.  Disconnected the trim tabs, as the port side hose was leaking tranny fluid.  Ordered the parts to fix this.  Good new here is the port actuator is now working, cuz that would be costly to replace.
Installed a new distributor cap, as the one that was on the boat was cracked.

5/8/07  Removed the steering cable that was froze up and required extra effort just to turn the wheel.  169.00 fix this to a newer style of steering, with a second hand tilt mechanism I bought for 40 bucks including the steering wheel.  Looks like slightly over 2 C notes to have
100% completely 2007 steering.

5/9/07  Brought life into this project by starting the engine and bring the motor up to temp with the ears/hose to the lower unit.  Motor was sounded good with not even any lifter tappet noise.  This is a good thing!  Pulled the outdrive to replace the upper bellows, lower bellows and rebuild the lower unit water pump.  This looks to be around 2 C notes again to bring this up to snuff 100%.  Top U-Joint was fine, grease was clean in the lower unit, so the prop
seal is still doing it's job.

5/10/07  Pulled odd the old rigger mounting system that was an complete abortion in my eyes.  Toggle bolts and cement anchors are not boat rigging hardware.  Changed to a new compass (seller supplied this) and mounted the dinette pedestal.

5/11/07  Finished up the paid for price and got the seller 4 grand for my new rig.  Outdrive has a new lower unit water pump, upper and lower bellows and is ready to go back on.  Got lumber for new trolling board and 1/2 pressure treated for the new cockpit combing cushions.
Had this boat for only one week and tremendous progress has been made.

5/12/07  To do's for today: Pull off the over the transom fish box holder and will save parts of this to make
new bird holders that run down from the hardtop to the gunnels.  Center mounted cooler, or fish box would not work with a chute rigger.  Remount the battery dual switch after soldering new battery cable terminals on it.  Moved the trim tab pump bracket
and installed 2 battery cases.  Outdrive re-install after checking engine aliment.

5/14/07  Installed new steering system cables with tilt wheel front helm.  Engineered re-doing
the transom/gunnels for board that's going to hold 3 riggers spread.

5/15/07 Installed new hoses from the trim tab pump to the cylinders that move the tabs.  
Grounded the auxiliary battery charger.  De-greased bilge and motor.  Installed new 500 gallon per hour bilge pump and float switch.  Started to install new speedometer, but got rained out.
Ordered a new 2007 four stroke 15hp w/electric start for a trolling motor, looks like 3k for this.

5/16/07  Not much actually accomplished today, other than ordering a new oil pressure and volt meter to match (on EBay for 60 bucks shipped).  Ran down a 100 quart Igloo fish box for 50 bucks at Kmart's webstore (60 bucks total w/shipping).  There's a wide disparity in pricing, so using the internet to shop is advised.  Especially, if you live in a remote area 50 miles away from major stores like I do.

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Power Winch 912

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Motor Area
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New Motor Box
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Rigger Board

5/17/07  Found lost gold today with a expensive Power Winch 912 (350-400 bucks new) that was in need of a new wiring harness, switch and power receptacle.  This model has 3500 lb. straight line pull and will make loading the boat a breeze. The 912 is rated for boats weighing up to 10k. Started on the stern rigger board with initial cuts and layout.  Measured for access hatches for gas tank.  Ordered a new fuel pickup for the 15 hp trolling motor that runs on it's own separate fuel supply.  Gonna do something?... might as well do it right the first time around.  Cobbled up short cuts always lead to future nightmares!

5/22/07  Re-designed the motor box to gain extra aft deck room.  Gained almost a foot and about 4 inches on both sides.  Working with an above deck motor presents problems and the smaller the motor hatch, the better off you are.  Finished cutting the new combing side cockpit cushions that will be upholstered soon.  Installed new oil pressure gauge and still had about 35 pounds at idle speed of 600 rpms, which is a good thing on a motor pushing 30 years old.

5/23/07  Projects for today: Make the gunnels support for a wider trolling board.  This Sea Ray only has 3 inch flat spots on the gunnels.  This is being widened to 6 inch on both port and starboard sides and 12 inches across the stern.  Got a call from Bear Lake Marine and the new 15 hp. 4 stroke Johnson will installed on 5/29/07.  Lots to do before then.  Remount the fish box holder to the portside to add room for kicker trolling motor system.  Install EZ-Steer bracket on the outdrive.

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Page 5 2008