Refurbish Boat Project – Sea Sprite with an 85 Force Motor

DSCI0028Back Story:
A while back (long before my wooden boat build idea) I started getting into fishing.  I quickly got bored with the concept of fishing from docks and peers so I started to talk with my wife and a friend about possibly purchasing an inflatable boat.  They objected quickly stating that I will be eaten by the gators and sharks.  I simply rolled my eyes and continued to debate the pros and cons while looking up TONS of inflatable boats designed for fishing.  I found some that seemed to get great reviews and looked as if they would be a good start.  However the really good ones were still between $150 and $200.  I started to slowly save up some extra money and continued to argue with my wife and friend about the risks.  In the meantime the same friend watched craigslist for cheap boats.  He actually found one that didn’t seem like a bad deal.  In fact it was an excellent deal.  In order to get me off the inflatable boat idea he offered to split the cost with me and help fix it up.  The boat was in pretty rough cosmetic shape but we were told the engine ran fine the last time it was run.  Worst case the trailer that came with it was worth more than what we paid for the whole thing.

DSCI0027Once we got it back to my house we started the process of fixing it up.  I started by ripping out the rotten seats and started to clean out all of the leaves and mud that had collected in it over time.  I also took out the old cassette radio and CB that were obviously not functional anymore. We then decided to put off the cosmetic repairs and focus our efforts on the engine.  To be honest without the engine the boat would be worthless even with the interior redone.  Engines cost so much that people are giving the boats away free (or close to it) without engines all the time on craigslist.  So there would be no point to making it look good without an engine.  There is no way we would be able to save up for an engine once the boat is looking good.

DSCI0031After a short time we were able to get the engine to fire up by jumping it from my friend’s truck. Each weekend (that I do not bail and go fishing instead) we make a little more progress.  We completely removed the steering cable as it was seized and he has been working on getting it to move better. We have also removed the bottoms parts, drained the old oil, cleaned all the gunk that was clogging the water path, replaced the starter, and cleaned up the carbs.

Current Status:
Currently we are in the process of replacing the impeller inside the engine that pushes the water.  We ordered a replacement but it was not the correct one.  The current one does not look bad but since we have it open we may as well replace it.  Also the gasket crumbled once we took the impeller housing off so that will need replaced also. We replaced the starter relay hoping that it would solve our issue with having to jump it rather than turning the switch but it appears it was a defective one.  It is getting correct voltage and arching it starts the engine as normal but it won’t start on its own.  We are going to see about getting a replacement soon. This weekend I am going to get back on the cosmetic work and see if I can get boards cut for the seats.  I saved the vinyl from the old seats but some of it was pretty damaged.  So I think we are just going to create removable seats with normal padding and fabric.  That way we can put them in the garage when the boat is not in use to protect them from the elements.  We should also be doing some work on the engine, steering or even the throttle cable this weekend.  I really hope we can have this running by Christmas!

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