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TOPIC: new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout

new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 5 years 11 months ago #111749

Hey, new guy here. I just jumped head first into the "project" boat scene. I've been looking for a while, but could never find the right thing, or what I thought was right. Either the trailer was shot, hull/transom was shot, or engine was shot, or too far from me, or some combo of those.
Well, what I grabbed was this 78 Fiberform; It was close to me (like 15 minutes away), hull didn't (and still doesn't) seem too bad, trailer looked ok, engines are still a concern, and it had a ridiculous amount of paperwork with it, titles, original receipt, Fiberform owners booklet, etc. 800 bucks.
The potential bad news is that it may have been unused since 1994, at least that was the last time the trailer was registered. It was parked with the bow up really high, and with the original full canvas with snap in windows on it, until that gave up the ghost which kind of sucks as i think it was a pretty cool top.

The trailer needs a bit of help, but I was able to put air in the tires and get it home without too much pucker factor. Had to use temp trailer light kit though.

Here (hopefully), are a couple of pictures, one as it sat at the previous owners place, nd a couple from after I got it safely to my house.
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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 5 years 11 months ago #111756

First, welcome aboard, glad to have you here. That should be a nice project. Double check the floor real good, make sure it isn't soft anywhere, especially around the seat base area. Basically anywhere there may have been screws into it. That's usually where the floors start to rot if water gets to it. I think I saw your post on the Merc forum, that's good plenty of knowledgeable folks that can help out. Now time to giver her a really good scrubdown and see what ya got.

Bob

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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 5 years 11 months ago #111803

Hello Bob.
Thanks. I'm pretty sure given the boats history that there must be some softness/rot here and there, but even with my limited fiberglass boat history I haven't felt any worrisome spots yet. My hope was to figure out if I can make the engine live, and get her out a couple of time this season, then do some more extensive work over the winter. Man, I sure am jealous of some of the shops other members on here have! That being said, I've some pretty amazing work being done under tarps and/or the portable 10x20 "garages" too. I don't think I'll have any boat time this weekend as i have a kitchen remodel to wrap up, but we'll see.
Have a great weekend.

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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 5 years 11 months ago #111805

Looks it will be a cool project. I'll bet the finish will look a whole lot better after a good scrubbing.
Believe me, if you wind up having to glass in new stringers, deck, etc. with polyester resin, you'll be glad you're outside, the fumes are wicked.

Bill

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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 1 year 10 months ago #140449

Jaysus! has it been 4+ years that this poor thing has been darkening my yard?
Well, not a lot of progress.
The Original Calkins trailer was a bust. Heavy as heck, but absolutely no parts availability. I now have an '85 Galvanized ez loader adjustable sitting on the opposite side of garage from the boat. New hardware (bolts/washers, rollers, wiring, etc) happening to that.
The boat has been cleaned, and some stuff stripped off since initial pictures. I also grabbed a 1980 Merc v6 150 as a parts engine, so that is on a custom stand in the garage. I scored some new back to back seats from a shop in the U district.
The original "spam can" steel fuel tank is still hiding up in the bow. I removed the secondary aluminum tank that was sitting (not hard mounted) aft of the factory tank.
As a family, we just came back from a week at Lake Pend O'rielle and now I have the bug to get this dang boat build in motion.
Oh, another setback was the 1994 Landcruiser I bought for myself. Ha!
I completed butcherblock counter tops for our kitchen, and generally ignored the boat for much of the last 4 years.
There's been a lot of second guessing strategy, and potential changes to the boat and I tend to get bogged down over silly details like;
Should I use the Moeller 19 gallon bow tank, or get a slightly bigger "normal" shaped tank in there for the same or less money?
I did not like the way the 1978 lower unit looked when I started on water pump refresh; there was quite a bit of gasket builder type good in there. The 1980 lower unit has a part that the 1978 does not though, and I'm not sure I can ignore it. The part in question is 22-85822A1 "connector" it looks like a section of windshield washer hose from a car.
My other hair brained scheme that's been holding me back is to convert from the older more complex tilt/trim system on the '78 to the newer single piston system on the '80. It looks like I can unbolt and swap transom brackets, but I am unsure what wiring headaches I will be into.
Anyway, i hope to have some decent progress before I start having to fight rain again.
cheers to all.
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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 3 weeks 4 days ago #144674

How do you all decide when a hull is worth restoring and when it isn't? The Fiberform floor is pretty rotten. I tore into it a bit tonight, as near as I can tell, the floor was glassed in at the factory, where they went wrong though (in my limited experience opinion) is that the plug/patches for the foam injection holes was not very well done. Also, it looks like the deck plywood was stapled down and now screwed down with stainless screws. My 2 main stringers (immediate left and right of keel), are 2x lumber that are glassed in, but the top mating surface is pretty rough.
I've watched a few demo videos, and part of my hull design has me confused regarding how to proceed. I'm fairly convinced that I should fear for my transom as well, which for this boat means pulling the "lid" off. That all seems like a ton of work. Also, the nice marine plywood is running $140 per sheet right now and I haven't even checked on resins and fiberglass and all of that.
I'm going to estimate the dump fee for a hull at around 100 bucks.
Part of me is looking at this as a challenge now, but part of me wants to wash my hands of the whole affair.
I'll get some pics up tomorrow.

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Re:new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 3 weeks 2 days ago #144705


Here are pictures of some of the carnage. Do I have any hope of doing a proper repair without separating the "cap?"
Can I drill a couple of 1" hole saw holes to test the transom, or is there a better way to do that?
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new member, 78 fiberform 18 ft runabout 3 weeks 2 days ago #144709

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First - I am no transom expert, so hope the experts jump in. However, with that said, I have seen pictures of a few transom replacements where instead of separating the entire top half of the boat, they cut the gunnels on each side just ahead of the splash well. This allows them to only have to separate the top from bottom only from the splash well back and remove in one piece. This allows for easier transom replacement access. The top glass then needs repair reconnection and cosmetic finish at these 2 much smaller connection points. I have seen this done on several Powercat pictures. Can’t remember where I ran across that, but maybe consider looking at the Powercat boats website and fish around. Other people here and YouTube videos should be able to give you test drilling ideas and methods as well as full repair methods. I have seen the external back cut out methods as well as some clever methods only cutting the top enough to dig out and replace wood. There is also information on this site about pouring that sea cast material to replace wood. Not sure I spelled that correctly. Hopefully some examples I have seen will pop up on here with their pictures to help you decide what method you might want to consider. Good luck!

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