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Questions prior to starting my rebuild

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    Posted: 10/26/2011 at 5:30pm
I'm preparing to rebuild a 1991 Suntracker 30 ft Party Hut.  I got the marine plywood decking, re-carpet kit, and some extra hardware from PontoonStuff this week. Nice folks. My plans include complete tear down and cleaning everything. I'll repair and paint the fence rails. Still up in the air about new wiring harness. And new navigation lights. The walls are shot so I'll be rebuilding/replacing those too. The furniture is 2 years old, and in good shape, it has plastic bases so I'll use most of it again. 

Now my questions.....

The marine plywood has some gouges that in some places goes through the second ply. More than just a scratch. What have you guys used to fill and repair the decking prior to installing it? Some of the boat plugs (football shape patches) look like plastic wood, but not sure. These repairs will be waterside so I want it to be as stable and durable as possible. Any suggestions?

Second, I watched some videos on u-Tube about the re-decking, and read the info from PontoonStuff. It seems straight forward, but the videos talked about a color change in the glue so you know when to apply the carpet, and said don't be in a hurry to put the carpet down....wait for the color change. However, the instructions on the adhesive tub don't mention the color change or waiting for the glue to get tacky before putting carpet down. Soooo, what's the correct process? Even doing half a 30 ft deck at a time will take a while to get the glue down. Note to self: More labor needed. Smile How long do I have to get the glue down and the carpet stretched before the glue starts getting too dry to work properly?

Great place for information. As soon as I start my project, I'll post some pics, thanks all,
'91 Sun Tracker 30 DL
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2004 Dodge Ram Hemi with tow package
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Smooth side of plywood goes topside, glue will fill any voids. Underside we don't worry about but lots of guys are now doing aluminum underskinning including myself.  Myself, I didn't wait for glue to change color, as it isn't necessary. You probably read the old blogs or you read where people where putting down vinyl glue which is different. Regardless, you trowel on the glue lay down one side, trowel down glue on the other side, lay down the other side of the carpet then roll it with a heavy roller, you're done at that point other than waiting for the curing time which varies by tempature and DON'T let it get wet before it cures. 30ft deck isn't that big a deal, you lay the carpet on, roll part of it back, lay down glue, lay down carpet, other side repeat process. BUT if its HOT, don't dillydally, or wait till late evening when its cooler.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/26/2011 at 6:07pm
Really wouldn't worry about it, but I'd use Bondo if you want to fill in the small holes and imperfections..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote p3cflyr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/26/2011 at 6:33pm
Agree.  I didn't wait for a color change on the glue and no probs.  I'd use bondo and did.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote CajunDiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/26/2011 at 8:04pm
Ditto the bondo. You could also use epoxy resin for fiberglass. I recommend marine vinyl on the top deck so the water runs off easier. Be sure to put the fence spacers in also if you haven't already got them
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/27/2011 at 10:59am
briankinley thanks for the reply. 

I got the enough spacers for the deck railings and walls. Do you mean I should use the fence spacers on the top deck railing as well?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/23/2011 at 9:46am
Finally got some pics of my pontoon boat project. My wife and I wanted a project boat to rebuild and had been looking for awhile when we found this one at a nearby marina. These are in Sept when we went to look at it at the marina where it was kept. It's a 1991 Sun Tracker 30 DL. The engine is an Evinrude 150, but I haven't got into it to research the year/model yet. It runs good and has a stainless prop. And it's actually pretty clean inside the cowl. The deal also included a dual axle trailer and the complete boat outfit... life jackets, anchors and ground tackle, fenders, lines, GPS, radio, and other assorted parts. The trailer tires are so-so. I was really sweating the 1 hour drive to bring it home, but the truck handled it well and the brakes and everything worked ok.

As for the rest of the boat..... that's a different story. It had been in the water for a long time judging by the amount of build up on the pontoons. However, it sits nice and balanced port to stbd, and it's trimmed by the stern like all Sun Trackers. No leaks in the pontoons. 

The previous owner had installed the "decorative panels" to cover the extensive wall damage. He forgot to mention that and I'm sure he thought I didn't know it was damaged. However, my offer sure reflected the condition. Oh well, I wanted a boat to rebuild. LOL 

The carpet and decking is original '91 material. All wasted and will be replaced with 3/4 inch marine plywood and carpet from Pontoon Stuff. New nav lights will be installed. Not sure if you can see it, but the previous owner put combination lights (red & green) on both port and stbd sides. 

My overall plan is to strip it down to the pontoons and rebuild from the ground up so to speak. Right now I'm planning more of a restoration then a different rebuild. I like the retro look, what can I say. Big smile The rails are in pretty good shape and I'll reuse them after some repairs. All the decals will be removed and I'll clean and shine the aluminum and paint the panels. The furniture is about 3 years old and in good condition so I'll reuse most of it. I plan on rebuilding the console and all the walls.



I've been reading the other rebuilds and have got a lot of ideas about walls and such, but one thing I haven't come across yet. My rails have lots of extra holes where snaps and screws have been removed. What have you used to fill these extra holes in the aluminum rail frames?

I resized the pics, hope I got it right. 

Thanks for all the tips and info on this site.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/23/2011 at 11:23am

Don't forget to holler at me if you decide to do some rewiring since I'm just down the road from you. Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SunBlocker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/23/2011 at 1:23pm
I have two tricks for existing holes in the railings:

If they are just small screw holes I simply put in a nice stainless pan head screw and call it a day.  A screw head is much nicer looking than a hole.

If the holes are larger I drill them out to the appropriate size and use black plastic snap-in hole caps that I get at my local hardware store.  Most of the ACE and True Value stores carry them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote new2boating Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/23/2011 at 2:31pm
On the glue, like Charles said...don't mess around if it is hot. I had heard about waiting on the color change (for the water to start leaving the glue), but it hit me a whole lot quicker than I needed for it to. It was really hot out, but I was wanting to get it done while I had the chance and it almost bit me. I only had 20 foot of deck to cover, but on the first half the back had almost gotten too dry before I finished spreading the glue. It was almost to the point of where it wouldn't bond, but with the heavy roller it worked out.

Scott, I like the stainless pan head screw idea. I was thinking of putting my skin back on the outside of the rails (one reason being for covering the holes), but may rethink that now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CajunDiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/23/2011 at 7:15pm
Also I missed your question somehow about the spacers on the upper deck. Yes I would recommend that as it will allow the water to run off faster with the vinyl and not pond on the roof so much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/24/2011 at 1:13am
Hey everyone, thanks for the input. And Happy Thanksgiving!!!

WCD, when it comes to wiring, I'll be sure to give you a heads up. Thanks for the offer. I haven't really had a chance to thoroughly examine all the wiring yet, but judging from under the console, it'
s gonna be a mess. 

Scotbee, I like the idea of the pan head screws, I'll look into that. I found a product at Home Depot to repair metal. It's an epoxy type stuff that's kind of greyish/aluminum colored. Thought I might try it and see if I can blend it into the rail enough to shine up. Have to see.... If not, the pan heads have it. Smile Thanks for the idea.

new2boating, thanks for the input on carpeting..... I was beginning to think I was mistaken about reading about the color change. lol Now the weather has control of the rebuild and I'm waiting on better weekend. Way too much rain here now to try and carpet. Perhaps I should have ordered the plans for the Ark.......

briankinley, I ordered and extra pack of spacers so I should have plenty to use topside as well. That's a great idea. Thanks. Actually, the top has vinyl and appears to be in good shape, so I hope I can use most of it again. I only found one hole drilled through the vinyl so it should be watertight.

More pics to come,

Thanks everyone,



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/30/2011 at 10:19am

Got the boat home. No problems with the trailer or handling. Never seen pontoons so black before. 




Put the boat on cribbing blocks so it's level and steady to work on. Some of the bunks needed attention cause they weren't positioned to support the pontoon. Also, I used a 4 inch putty knife with rounds corners to scrape most of the scum off. then pressure washed it twice. I started taking off the decals. 



Most of the walls are this bad, some are worse. I'm planning on rebuilding all of them. 



After I removed as much of the decals as I could with the rails mounted. I took them down to finish on the ground. Most of the bolts came off with a wrench, but some were so rusted that I ended up breaking them off on the bottom side of the deck with vise grips. The bolts and nuts were SS. The bolts were in pretty great shape, however the nuts and washers were totally rusted. I'll go back with all new hardware. Oh yeah, I made lots of pics of everything so I can figure out were it goes back. Smile



The dark colored decals mostly came off in strips, but the lighter colors, especially the white and silver scraped off looking like crepe paper. I used a 1 inch putty knife with rounds corners and a slightly sharpened blade (not knife sharp). I was careful and tried not to dig in and damage the panel. I found holding the putty knife at an angle to the decal strip worked best. Then I washed the panel with Goof Off and a green pad (the kind you have in the kitchen) followed up with dish detergent. Most of the adhesive was gone. I'll sand the panels before painting and there are some damaged spots to repair.

The lower pic shows my temporary rig the hold the panels while working on them. I discovered that if I placed the panel so the sun heated it from the backside, the decals came off much easier. I just turned the work to follow the sun. I did these on a day when it was in the mid 60's and the panel got pretty hot. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PS-Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/30/2011 at 1:01pm

Outstanding job on your pontoon rebuild (including the text and pics)!  Looks great, keep em coming!  Thumbs Up

Feel free to contact me for help on your project!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SunBlocker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/30/2011 at 1:17pm
Much like you, I discovered that heat was the "trick" for getting the old decals and striping off.  I did my rebuild inside, so I didn't have ready access to solar heating.....  but a heat gun did the job nicely as long as I didn't get the vinyl too hot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/01/2011 at 12:03am
Hey guys, thanks for the comments. 

I'm jealous of all these huge warehouse size boat houses I've seen on here. I'm stuck outside, and right now now the weather is not cooperating. Been raining for days. Cry   When it gets too cold to work outside, I'll move into the garage to shine the rails and paint.

I read lindaslounge rebuild, and she mentioned a cutting compound that she used to clean up and shine the rails.  Her boat looks terrific. I believe it was Extra Cut Compound made by 3M. Any experience with that product? Or do you have another product in mind that would cut through a lot of rough oxidation on the aluminum?

I forgot to post some pics of the inside beforehand. So here's a few of the inside conditions.....



These walls practically fell apart when I took them down. Nothing left inside but foam, all the Masonite was like sawdust and dirt.







I'll use the cabinet shell for a pattern to build the replacement from. And probably add some storage room to it. I want to make the galley area more usable than the original was. So, if you have any ideas.....

More later 


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After I removed all the rails and walls, I had to figure out how to get the top deck down. I had inspected the top deck and it's a rubber like material and is in good shape. No tears or cracks. There's no sign of leaks on the underside, so next I used a awl to probe the wood from the bottom and edges, to check for soft spots. Took me while to figure out where the wiring unplugged. 

It took 4 people to lift it off and set it on the deck. No easy task. But we got it down without damages.



The top removed. I'm surprised the walls are still standing. Shocked



Once the top came down, the walls were simple to get loose. Again the bolts were rusted and impossible to unscrew, so I broke most of them off underneath the deck. The only wall section worth saving was the door to the head. I started out drilling the rivets out, but after a few, I had to find a better way. I used a cold chisel that was beveled on one side only. A couple of taps and the rivet top would pop off. Then a small round punch to push the barrel back into the wall cavity, and done.

A few more pics and I'll have caught up my postings to where my actual work is. It looks like the weather is gonna be in control of the schedule from now on. I didn't post anything at first, cause I couldn't resize the pics correctly. I can't wait to start putting it all back together.  Already got the carpet. It's upstairs just waiting for better weather.  I picked the 20oz. gun metal gray from PS. 

After the last pics, I didn't get any comments, hope it's not too boring. Clap
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Not boring at all. Just a little slow around here this time of year. Looks like great progress and I bet that top was fun getting down. Going back together will be much more fun. Keep the pics coming..Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/03/2011 at 8:47pm
shoot no, like Rick says it gets slow during the winter so we enjoy updates like yours Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CajunDiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/04/2011 at 8:43pm
Are you going to keep the roof? If it is a true rubber roof it would be expensive to replace and should last a long time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/05/2011 at 11:46pm
Yes, I plan on keeping the top. The rubber decking is in good shape and I'd hate to replace that. I only found one spot, about 2 square inches that are not stuck down. And it's along the edge where it wont be walked on. I will paint it with a special roofing paint after I rebuild. 

Rick, you're right it was a chore removing it. We had a lot of fun, but it took 4 of us to get it down. But we did it, and no one was injured. You can bet when I'm ready to go back up, I'll have more labor available. Smile 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swatdoc1991 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2011 at 8:20am
Well, when you need those extra hands, just give a shout...looks like we're not far from each other! I've done a few rebuilds, never done a pontoon though and we've always wanted a Hut!
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2011 at 9:05am
Welcome to the forum swatdoc. Always nice to see someone close by. There's a retired Army doc that builds wooden boats here in M'boro. Is that you by any chance? Anyway, I welcome comments and ideas on my rebuild.  I'm always looking for ideas as I rebuild. There seems to be a lot of suntracker 30s around. Hope you find one so we can compare rebuild "how to" ideas. Smile

again, welcome
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swatdoc1991 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2011 at 7:32pm
Unfortunately I'm not the retired one...wish I was! And buying one is going to have to wait...we're supposed to PCS to Hawaii next summer or fall. Definitely not arguing about going! lol Just have to wait till we're back stateside.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p3cflyr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/06/2011 at 8:45pm
Spent four years in Hawaii.  after 1st year the seasons ran together.   Was glad to get to a place with changes in the weather.  Enjoy your PCS.  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/23/2011 at 9:26am
Ok, a couple more questions for the experts.  

I read in lindaslounge rebuild where she mentioned a cutting compound that she used to clean up and shine the rails.  It was Extra Cut Compound made by 3M. Anyone have experience with that product? Or do you have another product in mind that would cut through a lot of rough oxidation on the aluminum? I'll be getting a 6 or 7 inch power polisher to use on it. Too much to do by hand. LOL

And second question....... Is there a trick or a tool to remove the wiring pins from a wiring harness plug? It's the female side of the connection. I need to get one wire out to repair it. Seem to remember Wildcatdude  talking about this, but couldn't find it.

Thanks

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/23/2011 at 2:38pm
called a wiring pin extractor, common at your local radio shack tool part #274-223. Here's a nice article about pin insertion/extractionaddon edit: Think I found the article you probably had seen  about the tool, it was here when I was talking about the delphi connectors and usually when you buy those packs, they'll include that tool. Those connectors are the best for waterproofing and they do make those in 6pin.

Edited by Wildcat Dude - 12/23/2011 at 3:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sun tracker 30 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/23/2011 at 4:52pm
Thanks Wildcat Dude, I'll check out Radio Shack. I knew you'd have the answer to an electrical question. Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CajunDiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/23/2011 at 10:20pm
Not sure about the compounds she used but you might start with steel wool. There are different grades so maybe a coarse one then follow up with a medium or fine. I used steel wool with good results, even removing paint overspray, on my rails. I use it to shine stainless rails on my catamaran as well. If it doesn't work well then the compound may be needed.
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Location: Kirksville, Mo
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p3cflyr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/23/2011 at 11:47pm
We used steel wool also.  Course and fine in steel wool and then polished with Mcguiers (spelling?) aluminum wheel polish from Wally World.  Did not know if the result would last but it has gone through two seasons and still looks good.
Mike

"Atta Boy" Award June 2011
1987 Lowes Fish and Fun 20ft
1999 Merc 50hp 4 strk big foot
Kirksville, Mo
P3C Orion Pilot
ASW Warfare Specialist
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