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Project StressEliminator Restomod-23 Daytona

HydroSkreamin

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So, RDP member HeadlessHula has been bugging me to start a build thread. He somehow got sucked into the boat rejuvenation business alongside me, as well as a few other friends of mine.

Here is my best attempt to document the journey. Hopefully, others will read this and see how much work can be lurking under that awesome looking gel scheme. I have learned much along the way, and the learning never ends!

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These are a couple of pix I got when looking to purchase the boat. I knew it had a rotten transom, but had a friend of a friend go look at it for me, and other than obvious transom issues, seemed like a pretty decent project. This era of boat is when I got into boating and racing, so I've always had a soft spot for the gel schemes of the 80's/early 90's, and the price did reflect the work involved, so I dove in, January 2014.
 

HydroSkreamin

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Being January in WI, it really isn't the time to haul a boat and expose your trailer to salted roads, and winter storage is already full and probably snowed in, so the friend of a friend handled the pickup and storage after my purchase was complete.

Can you imagine how long it is from January to May?!? I can tell you, it if forever plus one day!:D I spent just about every evening searching for anything about a 23 Eliminator Daytona, compiling pictures of things I liked and didn't like, the different interior and dash configurations, rebuild threads, setup, engine combinations, color and graphics combinations, rigging, setback...the list seemed endless!

But we finally found time in the beginning of May to run to TX and get the new ride. I found myself driving faster and faster, trying to get there! After a journey of 1000 miles, May 3, 2014, I finally got to lay eyes on it.

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It was like a dream come true! I finally had my Eliminator that I'd always wanted. It felt so good to hook it up to the truck and call it "ours". It took about half a day for it to sink in that it was really happening, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it in all of my mirrors, following me home.
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Having other vehicular projects in the limited garage space at my house, the StressEliminator went to reside in a friend's storage barn about 4 miles from my house. I did go look at it a few times and take measurements, just to check on it to see if it was OK and to drool a little.

It would have to sit until September, then it would get to come live in the garage where it would start its transformation. Little did I know that Project StressEliminator was going to be the exact opposite of its name!
 

AZMIDLYF

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Subbed...love the gel in that era as well.:thumbsup
 

HydroSkreamin

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UnderHoist.jpg UnderHoist1.jpg

After leaving my new purchase sitting in the dark all summer, I figured if there was any chance of working on it, I'd better get it into the shop before winter hit. The leaves change and fall comes pretty quickly around here once the middle of September hits, so September 21, 2014, I hauled the StressEliminator out of storage, weighed the boat and trailer on a local grain scale, and with the help from my buddies Crash and his brother Glen, lifted the boat off the trailer and onto a cart, utilizing my 4-post lift. We found the CG with no interior or rigging, and the StressEliminator was in its home for the next couple of years.:eek

For reference, the boat on trailer with no interior and no rigging except for the fuel tanks and dual cable steering weighed 2800, of which 1540 was the hull. Tanks were 40 lbs each (with filler caps and tubes), and the steering with cables was 25 lbs. That puts bare hull at 1435. We'll see how close we can stay to that, or maybe beat it??

I can't explain how good it felt to open my garage door and see the gleaming colors of that Eliminator. If I needed inspiration, it was nice to open the door and take a gaze!

Lots and lots more to come, and thanks for your interest.:thumbsup
 

Gelcoater

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I dig it.:thumbsup


I showed your boat to Bob Leach today.
Trying to talk him into doing a retro graphic on a new 28 Speedster and guess who's boat I want to use for inspiration?:champagne:
 

Headless hula

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You guys will have to get bifocals by the time this story has ended. I've witnessed and participated in this project for quite a while. It's even better in person.

Heck, I'm getting impatient just to see the next post!
 

Headless hula

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I dig it.:thumbsup


I showed your boat to Bob Leach today.
Trying to talk him into doing a retro graphic on a new 28 Speedster and guess who's boat I want to use for inspiration?:champagne:

I'd be curious to see what his reaction was.
 

Gelcoater

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I'd be curious to see what his reaction was.
His first reaction to seeing this boat was wonder.
As in I wonder if it's a California build or a North build.

Many years ago he started a plant in his home state of Wisconsin.They built a bunch of boats up there for a time.Bob shipped off one of the gelcoaters to work up there and train a guy as the gel guy didn't want to stay living up there in the tundra;)

As to building a new boat retro he wasn't opposed to it.He wants a buyer for it before we start it though.Cant blame him there,it's a bit of a gamble building a boat stock as it is.Finding that buyer with balls of retro spice might be challenging until the trend locks in.
 

Gelcoater

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You guys will have to get bifocals by the time this story has ended. I've witnessed and participated in this project for quite a while. It's even better in person.

Heck, I'm getting impatient just to see the next post!
I love threads like this, bringing a boat back to bad ass status.:thumbsup
They're among my favorite flavor of thread. :boobeyes: threads of course trump the restoration threads but hey.....
 

Headless hula

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His first reaction to seeing this boat was wonder.
As in I wonder if it's a California build or a North build.

Many years ago he started a plant in his home state of Wisconsin.They built a bunch of boats up there for a time.Bob shipped off one of the gelcoaters to work up there and train a guy as the gel guy didn't want to stay living up there in the tundra;)

As to building a new boat retro he wasn't opposed to it.He wants a buyer for it before we start it though.Cant blame him there,it's a bit of a gamble building a boat stock as it is.Finding that buyer with balls of retro spice might be challenging until the trend locks in.
Yes, we are VERY aware of the eliminator presence here in WI. That facility was around a town called Shawano
(It's pronounced Shawn-o). North and a little west of green bay. This is definitely the land of tundra. Hot and humid in the summer, freeze your beer in the winter...
 

HydroSkreamin

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I dig it.:thumbsup


I showed your boat to Bob Leach today.
Trying to talk him into doing a retro graphic on a new 28 Speedster and guess who's boat I want to use for inspiration?:champagne:
Wow, Gelcoater, that's cool!:thumbsup

I have found out it is one of those schemes that is quite polarizing, either you love it or hate it. I have friends that can't believe I'm not going to paint the boat, and others that say I'd be crazy to. We don't have the supply of gelcoaters that you do out West, so it will remain this way until I'm not able to keep it looking nice. If the day comes where things get bad enough, I guess I'd trailer it out there for repair if I had to. It's pretty decent for now. A couple of stress cracks that I can live with.

The only color I wish was different is the light blue. It sets me off, but I realize it worked at the time, so I overlook it.

What if you did the color scheme with metallics like we did on HeadlessHula's? That was our take on an old graphics scheme with modern colors and materials.

Thanks for your interest, hope you enjoy the rest to come.
 

HydroSkreamin

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His first reaction to seeing this boat was wonder.
As in I wonder if it's a California build or a North build.

Many years ago he started a plant in his home state of Wisconsin.They built a bunch of boats up there for a time.Bob shipped off one of the gelcoaters to work up there and train a guy as the gel guy didn't want to stay living up there in the tundra;)

As to building a new boat retro he wasn't opposed to it.He wants a buyer for it before we start it though.Cant blame him there,it's a bit of a gamble building a boat stock as it is.Finding that buyer with balls of retro spice might be challenging until the trend locks in.
This is definitely a Shawano built boat. It recently turned 29 years old, build date of August 6, 1987.

Frozen tundra season is time to restore boats! :D
 

HydroSkreamin

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Well, sorry for the slow update, been slammed at work. Now to continue the journey....

Not a lot happened from the time I got it off the trailer until the following spring, but here are noteworthy points that helped contribute progress:

October 5, 2014, got my hands on a pwc cart, and set the StressEliminator on it, relieving the hoist of its duty so I could actually use it to work on cars!

StressEliminatorCart.jpg

Then, I sold my Hydrostream to a fella in FL, so I combined delivery with a visit with a good friend in GA. This freed up room to be able to breathe and move.
I built a platform to fill in the center of my 4-post hoist, complete with ramp so I could roll the boat up onto it, with the help of a friend, of course. I'm still puzzled why my buddy Crash would answer his phone on Sunday night when it was time to push the boat in.:D

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January 24, 2015, I picked up wood to build a jig for the boat to rest on and conform to while getting reconstructed.
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Work, family, and general life would keep me busy until the snow was gone, but that is when the fun really starts!

Here are a couple of pix of what winter in WI looks like at the lake:

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That is, before the ice fisherman drive their trucks on it and we go screaming across it with our snowmobiles...:skull

Thanks for your interest.
 

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Wow, Gelcoater, that's cool!:thumbsup

I have found out it is one of those schemes that is quite polarizing, either you love it or hate it. I have friends that can't believe I'm not going to paint the boat, and others that say I'd be crazy to. We don't have the supply of gelcoaters that you do out West, so it will remain this way until I'm not able to keep it looking nice. If the day comes where things get bad enough, I guess I'd trailer it out there for repair if I had to. It's pretty decent for now. A couple of stress cracks that I can live with.

The only color I wish was different is the light blue. It sets me off, but I realize it worked at the time, so I overlook it.

What if you did the color scheme with metallics like we did on HeadlessHula's? That was our take on an old graphics scheme with modern colors and materials.

Thanks for your interest, hope you enjoy the rest to come.
Great thread! I owned a Shawano Eliminator back in the day, so really digging your story. Russ at Blue Ribbon Fiberglass in Oconomowoc can do great gel. Of course West Coast style stuff isn't brought into his shop very often, but he appreciates working on it. He worked on my Schiada and my Hallett, and both had top notch quality for a very fair price.
 

HydroSkreamin

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Great thread! I owned a Shawano Eliminator back in the day, so really digging your story. Russ at Blue Ribbon Fiberglass in Oconomowoc can do great gel. Of course West Coast style stuff isn't brought into his shop very often, but he appreciates working on it. He worked on my Schiada and my Hallett, and both had top notch quality for a very fair price.
Thanks for the heads up, I will store that away for future reference. That's about an hour and a half southeast of me. Cool!
 

HydroSkreamin

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I like the blue actually. :thumbsup
I guess I wasn't really very clear, I love the dark/medium blue of the boat, it's the sky blue stripe between the cool blue and the yellow that I could do without. I love every other aspect of the stripes, and like I said previously, I realize that it fit the times, but if I was ordering it today, I'd omit the sky blue stripe, that's all.

I'm struggling with what colors to use in the new interior, as I don't want that part as wild as the original.

'67 Cuda hanging out behind the Eliminator?
'68 Corvair I'm building for my wife. Bored, stroked, supercharged, EFI, drive by wire, 4-wheel disc brakes....but that's a whole 'nuther story! It's waiting for this boat to get finished so it can be the front burner project again.:D
 

AZMIDLYF

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You could do white interior with piping/stitches in color of choice.
 

coolchange

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I agree with all white to update it a li5le. Then behind the storage pockets on the seat or side panels put the colors to pay "homage" to its 80s heritage without going all jetbotey l9kin.
 

HydroSkreamin

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You could do white interior with piping/stitches in color of choice.
I agree with all white to update it a li5le. Then behind the storage pockets on the seat or side panels put the colors to pay "homage" to its 80s heritage without going all jetbotey l9kin.
I agree with you both. It will probably be mostly white, with small inserts of blue carbon, and either orange or yellow piping.

Here's some simple ones I like:

RearSeatFwdPadding.jpg

27SpeedsterSeats.jpg
 

HydroSkreamin

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Well, after sitting through the winter of 2014/2015, the snow cleared and the weather got nice enough to work with the garage doors open once again. I did not sit idle during this time, but took measurements, made some drawings, drew up plans for a jig, bought materials, and built a solid base to place the StressEliminator on for it's serious operation to overcome its weaknesses and shortcomings.

I didn't realize it until I started compiling pictures and associating dates that exactly one year to the date after I brought the StressEliminator home, the jig to hold the boat was finished and the StressEliminator was set on it, May 3, 2015.

Jig1.jpg Jig2.jpg JigLoaded.jpg

The jig was built square and level, 48" wide, 12' long, with Doug Fir 2x12's for framework, and sheeting to keep it square and parallel. A couple of Harbor Freight wheels gave it some mobility, and utilizing my 4-post car hoist and straps, HeadlessHula, Crash, and probably a couple of other guys plus myself gently lowered the hull onto the jig. The first thing we noticed is that the sponsons were not parallel with each other, with the fronts pinched 2" tighter than the rears. Over time we used a porta-power and jacked them parallel (not shown in this picture yet), shimming them with lumber and paneling shims to get proper spacing against the jig to hold them in place.

Even with things out of square, I was just happy to get to work and figure out what all needed attention so we could address each issue and resolve it, and move on to the next and keep the process rolling.

This process had more steps than anticipated, but with lots of help from friends, and a boatload of patience, they have been overcome.

Next installment, we start getting down and dirty!

Thanks for your interest!
 

Headless hula

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I think I recognize that dude in the first picture. ..lol.
 

HydroSkreamin

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Well, the next step was really the window into the amount of work this project was really going to turn into.

I just want to say that this thread is all about helping someone be realistic about how much work a "project boat" can be. We'd all like to think that a buff and interior and it's good to go! It's never been the case with anything I've been involved with, and this boat was not any different than any other mechanical device that I bought to fix and use.

The other thing that I'd like to say, is that I knew this boat needed work when I bought it, I just wasn't experienced enough to know exactly what to look for, and didn't take an expert with me, since I bought it off pictures and an acquaintance's visual. In no way do I blame anyone or hold anyone at fault in this process, so this thread isn't a call out or complaining session, just a recollection of the journey. This is a 29 year old boat, and it happens to be owned by a stubborn, never give up SOB!

So, May 4, 2015, I started cutting the transom knees, floor, and bulkheads out in order to get the transom wood removed, as well as the floor for replacement.

This is what I started with:

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Here is what it looked like along the way:

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It took very little other than cut with a Sawzall at the panel gap where they were tabbed together. I peeled all of the floor, transom and bulkheads out myself. I apologize for the turned picture, it is saved in the proper orientation, but I left it attached so you can see what is going on with the sponson bottom where it meets the tunnel, just left (above in this view) of the stringer. You can see witness marks of it moving at least an inch! That means it was running that way!

I knew at this point things were going to be more difficult than originally planned.

I'm very busy at work right now, sorry for the slow updates, but I will try to make it shorter than a week.

Thanks again for your interest.
 

HydroSkreamin

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I don't have all of my pictures in one folder, so I'm looking at all of my storage locations and realized I need to get the timeline back on track here.

First off, demolition tools of choice: Milwaukee Skilsaw, Milwaukee Sawzall, Rockwell Vibratory tool, and not pictured, Milwaukee 4" right angle grinder equipped with diamond wheel for cutting, or 16 grit Zek wheel for grinding. HeadlessHula uses them for prepping for bedliners and spray foam material, and supplied me with a handful. I have not used up all he supplied, although I did wreck one using it as an edge grinder. The stones don't mind, but the plastic backer cares a lot, and lets you know it as it is melting and hurling hot plastic chunks at you. Hammer and chisel set came in handy was well.

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Later in the program, HeadlessHula lent me his 7" Makita variable speed/light start grinder, with larger versions of the diamond wheel and Zek abrasive grinding disc. I worked the crap out of that tool on this whole project, and will own one of them for myself as well.

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Also, I use Tyvek suits, and still wear long sleeve shirts and pants underneath, 7mil gloves from Harbor Freight, and HeadlessHula supplied a pressurized mask w/pump.

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I did all the cutting in my garage, but when I started grinding, I rolled the unit outside. That didn't last long, and I borrowed a dust collection unit from my buddy Crash, who is a contractor and works with wood a lot. After using his for about a month, I decided I needed one of my own and he found me one on craigslist about 45 minutes from my house, so I now have my own. This doesn't eliminate the dust, but sure cuts it down an awful lot. I certainly wouldn't do it next to any parked cars, but I did grind, clean up, and park cars inside during the winter, and that wasn't too bad. I think I paid $150 for it, I know I didn't spend more than $200 on it. It was certainly worth that, as whatever it doesn't catch while grinding, it does catch it when you take the 4" hose and use it like a shop vac. I do recommend the separator in line with the dust collector, it really helps let most of the dust settle out before hitting the collector and plugging the bag. Also, behind the boat you can see HeadlessHula's Contractor Edition Shop Vac, code name "SuperSucker". We used this before laminations, as it really does a great job of sucking up all the fine dust. I have a standard ShopVac, but his kicks the crap out of mine.

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You can see one of my 15" JBL speakers hanging from the ceiling with dog chain, they came in handy for motivational tunes while on long days of lamination. A lot of laughs and wide eyes at some of the stuff that came out of those speakers, all part of the memories looking back on working to repair the StressEliminator. We took turns supplying music, and learned things we never knew about everyone's personal music tastes. Radio, CD's, Pandora, and phone memory were all used in this production.


Enough for now, more demolition coming soon!
 

HydroSkreamin

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Well, utilizing my arsenal filled with tools of destruction, short work was made of floor and knee brace removal.

The strategy I had for removing the wet transom was to first gain access to the whole thing, then using the skilsaw, set the blade at a safe depth and cut a grid pattern of pieces about a foot square. Then utilizing the oscillating tool, make plunge cuts through the wet wood, watching the measured marks on the blade, as well as reacting to the difference in feel on the blade when it finally made it through the wood and hit the fiberglass of the hull. You could feel it and hear it change pitch at the same time. It took about 3 oscillating blades to get everything cut up. The first oscillating tool I used was my brother-in-law's, then I purchased one of my own that had a little more power and the speed was adjustable. This is handy for control and blade wear. It was quite easy to plunge through the fiberglass and guide it through the wood, putting enough pressure on the blade to make it eat wood like a termite, but it let you know when it had enough. Very predictable and controllable.

The first pic is with the floor and knees out of the way:

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The next three show the progress as I'm removing each block, working on one (achievable) piece at a time. Transom in a box!
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You can see how rotten the transom was. This is with one layer peeled off. I'm thinking the silicone in the bolt holes wasn't enough, what say you?!?
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I used to think the guys were overreacting when you'd install an engine with fresh holes and just use silicone. Maybe not?? I can tell you any fresh holes I put in transom now have a fresh coat of resin in them before they ever see a bolt!

Thanks again for your interest and patience.
 

HydroSkreamin

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It took about a month of occasional evenings and weekends to get all of the transom, floor, and bulkhead wood removed. This task was completed on June 2, 2015.
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I apologize for the turned pictures, they are saved as vertical. If someone has a tip to help me rotate them 90*, I'd appreciate it.

As I was walking around, kneeling and working inside the boat, I noticed areas that were "crunchy". Not good, better investigate.

Top of starboard tunnel
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Top of port tunnel
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Started grinding all the rough edges, as well as removing the remnants of wood remaining stuck to the glass. This was before I had the dust collector, and it made a whale of a mess! After these pictures were taken is when my buddy Crash lent me his dust collector. I would get my own 2 months later.
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After all the grinding, I purchased three 1100 lb scales from Northern Tool. I checked them with a 1000 lb weight against our calibrated scales at work, and they were within 1 lb. With a sale and a coupon, I believe I got all three scales delivered to my door for around $200 http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/NTESearch?storeId=6970&ipp=24&Ntt=1100+lb+hanging+scale

On June 26, 2015, I hung the boat from the hoist with the scales, and the total weight was 770 lbs! Exactly half of what I started from.

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lenmann

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Wow! I'm really curious to see your strategy for taking the tweak/warp out of the sponson.

On another note, how did the dust collection and personal protective equipment work to keep the itchies and scratchies away?
 

Headless hula

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I remember hearing the disappointment in your voice when we talked about the tops of the tunnels. What I didn't realize was just how far down the rabbit hole this project was going to go.

This thread is just getting going. I hope you all enjoy it.
If you've seen my thread, the custom stuff over there pales in comparison to whats coming.

I'll pipe down, and let you continue the story.
 

HydroSkreamin

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Wow! I'm really curious to see your strategy for taking the tweak/warp out of the sponson.

On another note, how did the dust collection and personal protective equipment work to keep the itchies and scratchies away?
You are going to make me start the next installment, aren't you?!?:D

After I did this initial grinding, I asked my buddy Crash if he could bring his port a power over. He did, and we spread the front of the tunnels hydraulically, a little at a time, as they were creaking and groaning. At this time, we were able to get them spread to be the same width apart as the rears. You can see this picture has 2x6's and masonite as shims on either side of the jig, in comparison to the initial pic where we just had it sitting on loosely. If you study the vertical of the inner sponson, you can see it still isn't plumb, and you can kind of see the pressure on the 2x6's where they contact at the bottom of the sponsons hard.

IMG_1244.jpg

As far as the itchies and scratchies go, they were there, but nowhere near as bad as I've gotten before with no protection. I found that if I wore a long sleeve cotton tee, long cotton socks, and generous use of wide rubber bands on arm and pant leg cuffs, it wasn't too bad. If I didn't wear a long shirt or the rubber bands slipped, even after a cool bedtime shower my forearms would be on fire into the next day. It would remind you how much fun you had grinding the evening before when you would lean on something and it would get your attention!:eek

I would wear the Tyvek suits for 2 nights or so. They are cheap, and start tearing easily after worn a bunch. They also definitely keep you drinking your fluids, as you sweat a lot in them, but I would probably not have done this without them.

Good safety glasses and the nitrile gloves did their job, too. I wore a welder's cotton cap to try to keep the mess out of my hair, foam earplugs to keep the noise and fiberglass dust out of my ears. The rest of the ears, that's another story. Let's just say I kept Q-tip in business!

To be honest, I it really didn't bother me once we got going hot and heavy on the project, you just did it and ignored it.

As always, thanks for your interest!:thumbsup
 

HydroSkreamin

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I remember hearing the disappointment in your voice when we talked about the tops of the tunnels. What I didn't realize was just how far down the rabbit hole this project was going to go.
Um, yeah. You mean you can't still hear the disappointment in my voice today?:rolleyes

I hope mine looks as nice sitting still on the water as yours does when it's done.
 

HydroSkreamin

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So, sitting in traffic on my way to Route 66 NHRA drags on July 12, 2015, holding my foot on the clutch, my back went out. Turns out I had a bulging disc, but the next half a year or so I was in a lot of pain, getting jacked by insurance trying to get an MRI. I finally got one in December, and had a cortizone injection at the end of December 2015.

As frustrating as it was to not work on the boat, I did bide my time researching components that I wanted to use, such as battery switches, steering, lighting, etc. I'm not going to lie, I did research similarly for my wife's Corvair project, but I did procure the dust collector previously pictured, steering components, and a genuine Eliminator cast aluminum foot throttle with the help of Bob Leach and Shueman.

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I'm looking forward to pushing this throttle to propel the StressEliminator!

So, during the winter when I should have been getting things ready for the boating season, all I could do was look at the boat every night when I parked the cars in the garage. Very frustrating!

The shot took effect, and I took off the week before Easter to try to get momentum going again on the project. I put body weight on the bottoms of the sponsons between the stringers and tunnels, and stringers and freeboard. Anything that was crunchy got attacked with the diamond wheel on the 4" Milwaukee grinder. Taking a small slice to see what was going on, I uncovered a whole bunch of no good.

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At this point, the plan was to cut the core out next to the stringers to see what we had, and go from there. Next installment is the continuance of going down the rabbit hole....Remember how nice it looked in pictures? :grumble:

Again, if anyone can clue me in on how to rotate pictures, I'd sure appreciate it, as the foot throttle is saved in a vertical orientation on my hard drive.
 

Headless hula

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Ya know bud, I just reread through this.
It's been a while since we've had time to work on her.
The messed up part is, I can still smell hot fiberglass and rotten wood. I remember it like yesterday.

It was a good feeling to step into it on sunday and know just how far she's come.

It's time for another little update here.
 

HydroSkreamin

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So, I followed the Dr's orders and let my back heal for a few months. It was very hard to not work on the boat when it was sitting right there in the garage every night when I got home from work. Truth is, I couldn't have crawled into it if I wanted to. A work trip kept me away for a bit, and then spring came, and my back was feeling better, so I took the week of Easter off to see what could be accomplished if I could work on the StressEliminator for 7 or 8 days straight. Headless Hula got wind of what I was doing and arranged his schedule so he could be there as well. I didn't even ask for his help, he just showed up, and not knowing what the task I was embarking on entailed, wondered if I could even keep him busy.

As I may have mentioned before, before I even removed one piece of wood from this boat, I discussed the whole situation with my friend Roger, with whom I used to race (of the bench and tunnel boat variety), ported an outboard engine for, and generally watch every boat bottom he touched go faster. He is very knowledgeable on boat bottoms and composites, and he'll tell you at the very least, more knowledgeable than me! We met when I was porting motocross/snowmobile/watercraft cylinders at PSI. The owner of PSI had me remove all the hardware from his HydroStream and we flipped the boat and loaded it on Roger's trailer. It came back a few weeks later, I put it all back together, and it was 4 MPH faster and handled better! I was amazed, and we became friends, learning that we had common gearhead friends and had never crossed paths before. We've been friends for 30 years, and have worked on more than a few projects together. We now live an hour apart, so most advice was given to me by phone, but occasionally Roger would tell me to meet him at our local airport, about 3 miles from my house. He'd use it as an excuse to get some flight time in and shorten the drive significantly. After assessing my situation, he'd give his opinion and advice and take to the sky and go home. His direction, knowledge, and encouragement was priceless on this project.

The plan was to remove the deteriorated material between the stringer and inner sponson, knowing we would have to scarf pieces onto the rear of the stringers. Roger did not want to remove the stringers at any cost, as he felt this would add a significant amount of work, and the bottom may never be straight again.

The first piece was removed by making a cut with the diamond wheel on the 4" Milwaukee grinder in the fillet between the stringer and bottom, and one along the radius where the vertical surface of the inner sponson joins the running surface (bottom of the boat), just penetrating the fiberglass. Here's what we found:

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That lone white patch is all that was holding the inner layer to the outer layer. Pretty scary, huh?

Thought we should dig a little deeper and see what those stringers that sounded OK looked like.

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The stringers were wet, but not rotten. There was no way to get them dry quickly, and what if their integrity was compromised? At this point, I texted these very pix to Roger and he called me back. I told him with my intentions of this boat, I need something more solid than a patched together cruiser; I'm putting my family in this. He agreed, and since the boat was level on the jig, the sponsons were checked with the digital level, straightened and supported to keep the angle in place.

Both stringers were cut out, unfortunately loosing a little bit of HeadlessHula's time, as he had been working on scarfing pieces in the rear, and had made 2 very finely matched pieces to insert. Change of plan caused them to be scrapped.

New plan! Cut both stringers out, grind the whole bottom of the inside of the boat. Before we could do that, we decided to add some stiffness to the transom, as we were now starting to deal with a thin, flimsy Tupperware bowl that would move if you brushed against it. HeadlessHula's brother, "ScottyTheAxe" supplied some angle iron and the use of a magnetic base drill for the project. A quick stop at Ace Hardware for some 3/8" nuts/bolts/washers and we were in business.

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Headless likes to see how many different ways he can open a beer.

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Remember when I was wondering if I could keep him busy?? Boy, was I wrong!

More boat in a box!

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We spent the rest of the week grinding, and picked up the straightest pair of 20' Doug Fir 2x12's Menards had to offer. (Read: very low in the pile)

Next installment: Let's Make Stringers!
 

HydroSkreamin

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So you worked for Bruce Kahlhamer?
Yes, a long time ago I worked for "Claw Hammer" for 4 years, then continued supporting the PSI snowmobile race program after I left, also crew chief for MGD snowmobile race team for a couple of years.
 

n2otoofast4u

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Yes, a long time ago I worked for "Claw Hammer" for 4 years, then continued supporting the PSI snowmobile race program after I left, also crew chief for MGD snowmobile race team for a couple of years.
I'm not going to go down the Bruce road on my personal level, but we're you around and involved in the mid/late 90s maybe even into the very early 2000s with the sleds, and the early Genesis period?

If you were do you know the name Roy Sidel?

After that there might be the Dunnigan name floating around that era at the sled track.

Or even Mark Herek as a later participant?

Not going down any path other than its interesting to see the depth of this site in regards to people who share common knowledge across the country.
 

HydroSkreamin

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I'm not going to go down the Bruce road on my personal level, but we're you around and involved in the mid/late 90s maybe even into the very early 2000s with the sleds, and the early Genesis period?

If you were do you know the name Roy Sidel?

After that there might be the Dunnigan name floating around that era at the sled track.

Or even Mark Herek as a later participant?

Not going down any path other than its interesting to see the depth of this site in regards to people who share common knowledge across the country.
I worked for Bruce from late 1986 to mid 1990. I started in the pipe department cutting parts and painting all the pipes, sometimes running deliveries. Since I didn't have anything going on after work, I hung around for all the night projects just to learn and drool on myself. I had never been exposed to that stuff before. Soon I was taught to port cylinders by his brother in law, Jerry, also known as "Chief". Charlie Reiter was a very good snowmobile drag racer that lived nearby, and I started helping him, going to the races, and learning how it all worked and was done. He was a real deep thinker, and taught me a LOT. We did a lot of the very early Genesis stuff, including the 6-carb 3 cylinder, which won Best Engineered at the 1988 World Series of Drag Racing. The Yamaha Exciter 650cc Genesis monoblock cylinder was my idea (To get more transfer area), and the Polaris 550cc Genesis was the last Genesis cylinder I was involved with before I left for college in 1989.

I ported over 4000 cylinders working for Bruce, so I'm guessing I made him a lot of money at the time, but he also gave a kid a chance and helped further my knowledge, and let me do piecework when I left to go to college for mechanical engineering. Even after I moved on to another 4-stroke based engine builder, we did all of Bruce's crankcase align boring, also all of the cutting and splicing of the 3-cylinder cases into 4-cylinders.

The last sled race I attended was the World Series in 1995. We mainly raced with Mid America Drag Racing Group (MADRG) which was a fun group of upper midwest racers, and I did that from 1987-1994.

The name Roy Sidel rings a bell, but I can't say I remember him.

The Dunnigans that I knew were very competitive and fun people in the MI arena of snowmobile drag racing, and we'd always go head to head with them at the World Series, and our season ended early so we'd go over there and screw up their points!:D

The name Mark Herek does not ring a bell.

Are you a supplier, customer, racer, avid entusiast, or all of the above? Sleds, bikes, watercraft?

You are correct, this site has some serious depth. It's fun to see the difference in the West Coast culture vs the upper midwest. A lot of similarities, and some major differences!

Thanks for your interest!
 

HydroSkreamin

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After the decision was made to get the wet stringers out, we had to devise a plan to try to keep the bottom geometry from moving too far from original. Obviously, we were gutting all the structure that was left. It is surprising to me that even though you can see how little of the core was there, the inner layer was still providing enough support to hold body weight walking around in the sponsons. You could hear cracking where the core inside was totally absent, that was the clue that caused me to dig deeper, as I knew that sound was not good.

So, the plan was to spread the tunnels another 2", so the rears measured 50", the fronts measured 48" when we started, we initially spread them to 50", and now with the core out, and after talking with some offshore, tunnel boat racer friends and boatbuilder friends of mine, the decision was made to spread them another 2", so +4" from start, actual +2" from rear measurement. The thought was that they would come back slightly. The betting pool is on for when it actually comes off the jig, I'm guessing it will lose 1/4"-1/2", some say none, and others say 2". We shall see. The tunnel boat and offshore racers both agreed that even if they stay out, the boat will turn in on the corners more aggressively, kind of like Ackerman steering in a car.

The other decision that was made was to shim the sponsons to control the deadrise angle. We shimmed it 1* higher at the front of the running surface than at the transom, again in anticipation that it may or may not droop. The flexibility of the sponsons at this time after complete core removal was kind of scary, and the only place that you could walk or place weight in the boat was the tops of the tunnels, which were supported by the jig, or the center pod, which was solid as it had a thicker layup of fiberglass but no core to rot. The sponsons will not have core replaced, but they will mimic the center pod, albeit with multiple layers of 1808 biaxial material.


Once we had everything shimmed according to plan, we commenced removal, grinding, prepping, etc. This included removing all rotten core from the tops of the tunnels as well. Once we hit good balsa, we stopped.

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The Headless 1 is pointing out where one of us cut through. This was not the only dumbass attack, but it was definitely thin in the areas we cut through. Not a huge deal, ground them thin in prep for repair layup.

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2nd dumbass area on top of the starboard tunnel, ready for 'glass, painter's tape underneath to hold resin in.

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This is the end of major destruction.

Next installment: We actually start working on the positive side of repairs!
 

Headless hula

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Filthy, yes.

A little bit terrifying too. Like working on a big itchy eggshell.
 

HydroSkreamin

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I commend you guys that's a ton of filthy hard work.
That's a fact!! I cannot stress enough how much easier this job was with the 16 grit Zek wheels that Headless Hula supplied, in 4" and 7" variants. They are badass tools that wear very well, I think we used 3-4 of each size for the whole project. The 7" really covers the ground, if you can muscle that thing for that long, and the 4" on the Milwaukee grinder was more controllable, good for grinding the corners and not creating large gouges or divots.
 

Headless hula

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That's a fact!! I cannot stress enough how much easier this job was with the 16 grit Zek wheels that Headless Hula supplied, in 4" and 7" variants. They are badass tools that wear very well, I think we used 3-4 of each size for the whole project. The 7" really covers the ground, if you can muscle that thing for that long, and the 4" on the Milwaukee grinder was more controllable, good for grinding the corners and not creating large gouges or divots.


With all the money we saved on grinding wheels, we had a few bucks left over for beer!
:beer:beer
 

lenmann

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Great progress.

Keep the updates coming, I am really interested in the lamination schedule/approach you are going to take.
 

HydroSkreamin

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Well, it was such a good feeling on April 4, 2016 to actually start working towards putting things back together instead of tearing them apart.

Being my first time laminating without supervision, I was quite nervous, but started the process with baby steps, putting chop strand mat (CSM) down to repair the cut throughs on the tunnels and sponsons. In preparation for the vapors, the service door to the house was taped, so as to keep the fumes in the attached garage, not into living space. I ended up taping the inside and the attic door as well, as the vapors were getting into the house, not good. This pic is before the inside taping.

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I forgot to put gloves on before I started pouring this, they went on before I grabbed a brush!

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At this point, my buddy Crash was mixing resin and cleaning for me, this would become Headless Hula's job as this laminating machine began gaining wheels and progress. Since his job involves keeping track of chemicals and their mixing ratios, he made charts of what it would take to mix different percentages of hardener vs volume of resin to get us the correct percentage we we desired for different volume batches. He also kept very good track of time so we could be ready when a batch was going to kick. I'll post a pic of his tracking later.

The materials we used initially came from Express Composites (http://www.expresscomposites.com/), in Minneapolis, MN. It is a family business, and Jim, the owner used to race boats with my friend Roger, my advisor for this project. Being novices, we are using polyester resin, as that is what the boat was constructed from originally, and if any repairs are needed, about anything will bond to it. Roger had originally helped me start a materials list in 2015, which I ordered before my back went out, so I was eager to use them. We started with a roll of 8 oz chopped strand mat (CSM), and a roll of 1808 double biax (click here for info)>http://www.expresscomposites.com/?product=fabrics-2 To get started initially, I also bought tools to make the process easier and safer, like the MEKP dispenser bottle, multiple sizes of brushes, rollers, etc.

The 1808 was a material I had heard of before, but had never used. Roger had me over and we made a small layup table, laying down wax paper for easy removal. We laid and wetted a layer of CSM, he likes to consider this a "binder", acting kind of like a primer for the 1808 layer. The 1808 with the +/-45[SUP]o[/SUP] fibers, sewn to another layer of CSM, really is a neat material, but you need to be careful to use a decent radius for it to lay properly around corners, it doesn't like sharp bends. As long as you take this into account, as well as surface prep and good fitment BEFORE wetting, things go well. We laid up one layer of CSM, and 2 layers of 1808 on top of that. After it cured, we did some bending tests, which really opened my eyes. What tough material! The piece we laid up was about 1' wide and 3' long. We had laid up the last foot with just one layer of 1808, and the difference in strength was incredible. I cut this practice layup into 3-1' squares, and weighed the pieces. The CSM/1808/1808 layup weighed .97 lbs. I think that is pretty decent weight to strength ratio.

On the first sponson, I cut material on the fly and ended up having fitment issues at the intersection of multiple corners. This caused panic a couple of times, and throughout the layup process, many lessons were learned. It also allowed us to speed up the process greatly with no panic on later layups. As I said before, we are not professionals whatsoever, but with guidance and persistence, things progressed nicely. The layup schedule was CSM/1808/1808 on the bottom of the sponsons, set stringers, then CSM/1808/1808 on each side of the stringers, wrapping again across the bottom of the sponsons and up the vertical surfaces, wrapping over the radius to the top of the tunnels.
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You can see the offsets we planned for when cutting material, in order to not line up seams, keeping strength in mind.

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This is the CSM going down. You can see we wrapped it up the sides of the inner sponson and the freeboard. The cool part of this is when the 1808 gets wrapped from vertical to vertical surface, the +/- 45 strands are adding their strength as they are continuous from surface to surface. It is cool when you are rolling it out and you can see the strands moving all the way across the piece. Once cured, this adds immense strength. As stated earlier, the only area you could step or place any body weight was the tops of the tunnels or the center pod, which made maneuvering with one or two people quite interesting. You could literally take your finger and deflect the bottom of the sponsons. Just with the first layup schedule for the sponson bottoms allowed us to walk around in the bottom!
 

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HydroSkreamin

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Now that we had a decent bottom to start with, the entire previous layup was ground to prep for new layup adhesion, and we marked off the sponsons every foot from the transom. At each mark, we placed the 4' level across the tunnels, giving us the plane that the floor would be laid on. At this point, we also marked the bottom of the sponson to give us a uniform distance from the inner sponson to locate the stringers longitudinally (that's Roger's term; I always then say, "You mean the long way?":D) Using the 1' increments, we made a map of what the curvature of the new stringer should be cut to, double-checking our measurements.

The original stringers were 16' long, and ~7-1/2" tall (I'm assuming they used 2x8's). They didn't quite reach the floor, and were short of the front bulkhead. We decided that the new stringers were going to be 2' longer, and would also be cut to meet the floor for more support and stiffness, as well as intersect the new front bulkhead.

Starting with a pair of 20' Doug Fir 2x12's ($48 @Menard's), the following pics show the process we used:

The Milwaukee circular saw was set to match the sponson angle.

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Headless Hula ground the stringer to fit perfectly in the areas that needed touch up.

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Then we made bracing to hold the stringer in place during installation, as well as transferred a line from the bottom of the 4' level as it straddled the tunnels, giving us our topcut to meet the floor.

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The next step was to prep the sides of the newly shaped stringer to give the wood some "bite" to accept the layers of fiberglass it was going to receive. This was done with the variable speed 7" Makita grinder and the 16 grit Zek wheels at a relatively slow speed. The goal wasn't material removal, but surface prep. You can see exactly what kind of ripping and tearing they are capable of.

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Once we were happy with our fitment, bracing, and prep, we made up a batch of microspheres and resin. The microspheres are tiny, hollow glass balls used as filler, taking up space without adding much weight. They have the consistency of baby powder, and every little wisp of air disturbs them in the same fashion as it would baby powder. When mixed with the resin in the proper consistency, you actually get a "peanut butter" like substance that is not runny, and can be formed with Bondo spreaders or whatever tool you choose. The microsphere mix was generously applied to the bottom surface of the stringer, and the stringer was installed to a line we had placed with a Sharpie.

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Here is a shot with the bracing to hold it in place as it's curing.

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The next pic shows the match of the tops of the stringers to the tunnel tops.

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After the stringer cured for 24 hours, the bracing was removed, and any excess microsphere mix was ground away. A new batch of microspheres was mixed and each side of the stringer got filleted with the mix, utilizing a Bondo spreader that I had custom cut the corners on to give me about a 1/2" radius. This radius will allow the 1808 to lay nicely in the corners, adding to our strength. I didn't get a pic of just the mocrospheres, but you can see them in the radius through the layup in this pic. We then cut pieces of CSM and 1808 in given lengths, marking a cardboard "map" of the sponson, cutting all of our material so the seams were at least 6"-12" apart. Again, it was a CSM/1808/1808 layup. The one thing we realized we did out of order while laminating this stringer was the fact that we laminated the inside of the stringer first, forcing us to reach over our work to do the outside. We rectified this on the second stringer.

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Inside sponson layup done!

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A slight celebration is in order.

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The next day, (Sunday) we laid up the outer sponson after trimming the sharp hairs from the inner sponson hanging above the stringer with a 4" diamond wheel. We rookies learned a lot on this layup, and would apply it to the starboard side a couple of weeks later.

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