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Sand M.E.'s 1990 Lowe 24ft Rebuild DONE

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    Posted: 05/17/2012 at 6:06pm
Here is my 1990 24 foot Lowe with a 1990 Evinrude 70 hp outboard.  We bought the boat in 2007 as a cheaper alternative to completing my original pontoon project, a 1970's Gregor that had no furniture.  When we got it this one had decent carpet but some obvious wear on the upholstery.  After four seasons of use, the carpet wore out too, and the upholstery didn't heal itself, so it was time for some well deserved attention.

Here are a few before pics:







Our plans were to remove all the furniture and either replace or reupholster it and replace the carpet and at least the front portion of the deck that had gotten soft.


Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednek yot club Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2012 at 7:05pm
Hi Paul welcome, I reconize that lake your sitting on in your boat!!! If I were you I would'nt mess with just decking what needs to be redone, I would redo the entire deck! It's all work but why have to do it again later when the rest of the deck fails? ......Do you come to Havasu often? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2012 at 7:41pm
Thanks! That picture is from Lake Mohave where we do most of our trips. We go to Havasu once a summer to visit friends in the middle of August. We love Lake Mohave, and specifically Cottonwood Cove. I grew up going there, and now my parents have a trailer there. We store the boat out there to avoid the drive back and forth with a trailer. We will send our greetings down river to Havasu.

Replacing the wood would probably be good, given that it is 20 years old. The dry weather helps though, and the damage in the front is just where the carpet left the surface exposed.   Another issue is that it is 5/8 inch thick, not the common 3/4. I have seen solutions for that on these forums, so if I re-decked it I would probably cut off the H channel and go with 3/4. That will probably be part of the plan for next time.
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote socmom153 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2012 at 8:32pm
Sand ME, we also have a 1990 Lowe that we are currently having redone from the carpet up.  Our wood was fine -- shocking to me because the front of our boat looked just like yours.  LOL.  We replaced our seats rather than recover them.  The wooden bases were in sad, sad shape -- rotten.  They were worse than we realized.  We are getting rid of the hard top and replacing it with a Bimini, although the Bimini we  bought needs some love and attention before we mount it.  We bought the DeckMate furniture and console from PontoonStuff, and I highly recommend them.  Great customer service!!  We have someone who is doing the work for us, and we hope to get the boat back next week just in time for the holiday weekend/beginning of summer season.  Good luck with your boat!
24' 1990 Lowe, 110 Johnson, about to have refurbed!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 1:19pm
We pulled the furniture off of it to begin stripping the deck.  I was impressed with how easily the benches unscrewed, and the wood bases were in pretty good shape considering they weren't fiberglased or anything. 



I took the seats home and began looking at working with them.  At this point Pontoon Stuff still had the clearance Wise seats, and that would have been my preferred option to get new seats and save a lot of money, but I still just didn't have the budget for it this year.  We decided to see what it would take to recover them. 

We removed the hard top, which I am going to keep because it is in fine shape and works well to cover part of the boat when it is stored.  A bimini would look newer, but I have accepted the fact it is an old boat and I'm ok with it having an old top.



We also finished removing the railing and console on a second trip up to the boat, which we were storing at my father in law's house to save having it in my front yard while it was all apart.  He has 10 acres in the desert and lots of capability, tools, and willingness to help out, so it works out great and we all have fun working up there.  Below he is helping remove the railing and console with my wife:





Now we were able to peel back the carpet, and thanks to the prior owner's lack of using effective glue, it was not a difficult task.  Once we had it down to bare wood, I removed the front piece because of the damage from the exposure from the bad carpet.  I was surprised, like others before me, to find that it was a 5 foot by 8 foot sheet. 



After discussing the options, and how to place the seams if I tried to re-create it out of 4x8 sheets, my father in law suggested shortening the deck by a foot.  At first I wasn't sure, but we then came up with plans for a retractable boarding ramp that when retracted would extend up to where the old deck was, and the space we would be losing was outside the railing anyway, s we decided to go for it. 

We left the boat as a bare deck, happy with the day's progress:



Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 1:48pm
Back at home, we had to figure out how to deal with the upholstery.  I really wanted to order new seats, but I just couldn't do it, so I started looking at other options.  I found a set of "pontoon" seats on Craigslist that had been removed from a Cheetah deck boat by an upholstery shop that was doing a complete custom interior for that boat.  My wife an I went to look at them to see if we could make them work, and we got the whole set for $500.  This left me with money in the budget for carpet and other things that would pop up along the way, and we figured out that it was actually cheaper than the vinyl would have been to recover the old ones, so we picked up this set:



The front benches were really low, so I decided to build risers to make them a comfortable height:



With covering the 2x6 risers with matching carpet, I hoped it would look ok, and at least it made the cheap seats more comfortable and easier to get up out of. 

Meanwhile we still had the captain's chair and console to deal with.  My wife really is amazing, and she was totally willing to sew the upholstery for the whole boat, so she was excited to see what she could do with the seat and console.  Here is the before, during, and after of what she did for the captain's chair:







On the console, I had the wiring to deal with which turned out to be kind of interesting.  It turns out the previous owner had hooked up the battery backwards and burned a good portion of the wiring.  When he rewired it, he left the old melted burned wire in place, and did the re-wiring using no fewer than 15 Scotch-lock connectors.  I guess it was easy to do at the time, but it surprised me how trouble free it has worked for the past four years.



I got it cleaned up quite a bit, and soldered up a cleaner harness.  The marine wiring diagrams on this site were really helpful, and the fact there are standard wiring colors simplifies things a bit.  Meanwhile my wife worked her magic:



And then we put the top back on.  Removing it made the wiring so much easier, since I could wire it on the bench rather than standing on my head.  Then there are just a few connections to make to the rest of the boat once the console is back in place.














Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 1:56pm
Originally posted by socmom153 socmom153 wrote:

Sand ME, we also have a 1990 Lowe that we are currently having redone from the carpet up.  Our wood was fine -- shocking to me because the front of our boat looked just like yours.  LOL.  We replaced our seats rather than recover them.  The wooden bases were in sad, sad shape -- rotten.  They were worse than we realized.  We are getting rid of the hard top and replacing it with a Bimini, although the Bimini we  bought needs some love and attention before we mount it.  We bought the DeckMate furniture and console from PontoonStuff, and I highly recommend them.  Great customer service!!  We have someone who is doing the work for us, and we hope to get the boat back next week just in time for the holiday weekend/beginning of summer season.  Good luck with your boat!


We are working to get ours ready for Memorial Day as well.  I am behind in posting to the forum, as I mainly read other posts for quite a while while I was making the decisions as to what to do for mine.  I still wanted to show what I ended up doing though, since while unconventional and certainly cheap, it should be interesting at least.  

I guess Lowe did something right to have wood stay decent after 20+ years.  The many cross member supports have to help, but it surprises me that the 5/8 thick wood still seems solid.  

I bet you can't wait to have yours back and on the water.  I have done all the work on mine myself (with help from family members) but the best part about that is getting to see the progress along the way.  I would be really anxious to get to see it finished in one step.  I would love to see pics of yours, I bet that Deck Mate furniture looks great on there.

Enjoy!
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 2:00pm
Yeah, those front windshields are different, and they matched the one on the console, but over time they have gotten fine cracks in them and faded to a weird reddish color.  I'm not sure what color they started out as, but I think I will be leaving them off unless I can make some new ones.  I am hoping that the new seats will help with the slope of the front rails, because the old windshields did a decent job of giving it a more sleek look.  I won't throw them away, but I think I will try it without any of the plexiglass and see how it looks.  
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Tell you wife KUDO's from me, she did a great job not being a professional and I admire a guy who'll do studying of the wiring and getting the hang of it Clap.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 3:48pm
Back to the boat itself, it was time to make the turnaround and start laying down the new carpet.  I got the carpet and first began covering the seat risers I built for my used seats. 



I got them covered and attached, and I think they'll work:



You can also see the new speakers I ordered to fill the holes in the seats.  For the rear seat I ordered some lights too since they had been removed from it. 

I loaded up the furniture on my flatbed and headed for the boat. 



Yes, my daughter's Jeep went along for the trip as well.  Up at the boat, we added one 4x8 sheet of wood to the front deck and added some aluminum to the cross members to stiffen them in order to attach our boarding ramp that is still evolving in our minds.  I also got some vinyl flooring that I decided to use for the back part of the boat, since I figure it would be a better barrier for the water and gas in the rear storage area.  We began by laying down the vinyl flooring:



Then we laid out the carpet and glued one half at a time as suggested.  It went very well, but I sure was glad to have shade to do it in to keep the glue from drying too fast.  Compared to our last boat we re-carpeted, this carpet was much nicer and didn't let the glue soak through it (which was a problem we had with our last cheap home improvement store carpet) so we didn't have to be as concerned about excess glue.



Once it was all glued, we stretched and rolled it the best we could, and my daughter wanted to help too:



Later that afternoon we sat some of the railing and rear seats on to start to make it feel like a boat again:

Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 3:53pm
Originally posted by Wildcat Dude Wildcat Dude wrote:

Tell you wife KUDO's from me, she did a great job not being a professional and I admire a guy who'll do studying of the wiring and getting the hang of it Clap.


Thanks, I am really happy with how her part turned out.  My wiring isn't as pretty, but at least it should work and I did it without a single Scotch-lock.  All solder and heat shrink now.  At least now everything will be fused too, which should decrease the chances of "letting the smoke out" of the wires. 
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p3cflyr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2012 at 6:47pm
Nice work.  Pics are well done also.  You are just going to town!!Thumbs Up
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yes you are moving right along. Looks great.
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Looks great, Paul.  I will try to get some pictures of our boat next week at the lake and post them (if I can figure out how to do it). 
24' 1990 Lowe, 110 Johnson, about to have refurbed!!
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Outstanding job to the both, well the crew, Clap, she is really coming along. Last year I recovered my own seats and it cost 300 in just the vinyl, and neither one of us were talented enough to sew, so I did the christmas wrap corners and called it good. But either way, outstanding job, can't wait to see the finished look.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/21/2012 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by Knotta Yachta Knotta Yachta wrote:

Outstanding job to the both, well the crew, Clap, she is really coming along. Last year I recovered my own seats and it cost 300 in just the vinyl, and neither one of us were talented enough to sew, so I did the christmas wrap corners and called it good. But either way, outstanding job, can't wait to see the finished look.


That was my plan, to do whatever I could to put new vinyl on it.  I saw your boat and think it turned out great.  I was ready to do whatever I had to to get some new vinyl to sit on.   Recently my wife has gotten into sewing though, and she was up for the challenge.  Getting the used seats was a change of plans, but it saved us a lot of time and effort over doing all that recovering ourselves, no matter how we did it.   Thanks for the compliments, and I should be able to post some more progress shortly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednek yot club Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/21/2012 at 1:44pm
ClapLooking good and what a find on the seats! I was off by 1 lake? We go to Cottonwwod seldom, I have a friend that works there building all the new docks! His name is Sam Smith he drives a lifted red golfcart and runs his dog next to it! Do you know him? I was able to pull my boat out of the back yard this weekend, it's so close to being done, good thing too cuz it's getting REALLY HOT out here!......Beer
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We had another good weekend and were able to get the furniture and railing mounted, and I even brought the boat home so I can work on it in my driveway during the week:









The big parts here went pretty quickly, and the hardest part was dealing with the steering cable and routing it up into the console.  I fed it through before the console was bolted down, which helped because I kept having to reposition the console to get access to the hole where it comes up through the floor.  The first time I got the cable up the nut was still under the boat, so I had to re-feed the cable to get the nut to slide up top as well. 

Once everything was mounted, the next step was hooking up the console electrical to the boat electrical, and replacing some speaker and light wires on the boat that were in bad shape.  After an afternoon of pulling wire and another of hooking them up at the console, I was able to test everything and it worked!  Here are the lights on, and the new speakers are hooked up and working too.



I like the lights in the seats, and I added a new light fixture on the top.  It is getting close now!
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Looking sharp, you're just rock'n roll'n this build!
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I like it Clap
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Amazing transformation for sure. You all did a great job and the upholstery looks top notch...Clap

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/22/2012 at 5:21pm
Thank you all for your encouragement and kind words.  It is far from a high end rebuild, but I'm ok with that.  I did what I could on a really tight budget, and while it isn't brand new it is a lot better than how it was before. 
 
My recent progress is making the replacement back deck / hatch.  We decided to replace the split hatch / changing room setup it had before since the new seats go all the way across.  I sealed a piece of plywood with fiberglass and planned on using it as the new hatch.  We held it up to the boat and marked it, which was actually a mistake because I forgot that the way the hinges mount it actually needs to extend beyond the back of the railing an inch or so.  Once I saw that the new hatch was shorter than the old one, I had to figure out some way of extending it because I didn't want to scrap the whole piece.  I ended up adding a piece of 5/8 in half round moulding to the front edge before carpeting it.  That helps fill any potential gap between the deck and the aluminum rail, and gives a rounded edge to grab to lift it.  If you gotta mess up, at least be able to come up with a good way of hiding it:
 
 
The moulding was fancier than the plain half round I envisioned, but it should look fine covered in carpet. 
 
 
 
Then I had to decide where to put the latch, and drilled a hole and mounted it.  I ended up deciding to use just one of the previous two latches, and to place it right in the middle.
 
 
 
Tonight I plan to work on the retractable boarding ramp that we have been thinking about for under the front deck.  I will post pics of how that turns out tomorrow.
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Originally posted by rednek yot club rednek yot club wrote:

ClapLooking good and what a find on the seats! I was off by 1 lake? We go to Cottonwwod seldom, I have a friend that works there building all the new docks! His name is Sam Smith he drives a lifted red golfcart and runs his dog next to it! Do you know him? I was able to pull my boat out of the back yard this weekend, it's so close to being done, good thing too cuz it's getting REALLY HOT out here!......Beer
 
I don't know Sam, but I do admire his work.  The new docks have been a great improvement.  I haven't been out yet this year, but that should change starting on Friday! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednek yot club Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/24/2012 at 4:37pm
I'm really curious to see this "retractable ramp" as I need to do the same thing for the 4 legged critters boarding the boat. I have a couple of things in mind one of which includes making the ramp "float" when extended to make boading easy for them when they decide to jump in after the ducks when we are floating in deep waters!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/25/2012 at 11:42am
We have been thinking about putting a ramp on the front to make it easier to board the boat from shore.  One of the things I love about the pontoon compared to every fiberglass boat I've had is the ability to drive it right up on a beach and walk off the front.  The step is too big for my Mom though, and we end up balancing on an ice chest as a make shift front ladder.  Once we figured out we would be shortening the deck by a foot, my father in law started thinking, and that really got the process started.  He had some old aluminum cubicle divider material that he had made a ramp out of, and it was 6 feet long by 4 feet wide.  That meant it would fit between the pontoons and give us a 6 foot ramp when extended.  When retracted, we could have it sit flat with the deck and stick out a foot to give a step down for the first person off the boat, and to make up for the lost front deck space.  

We found some elevator door track material and rollers, and started working around them:



We mounted the track just under the deck of the boat.  It will be well above the water usually, but in big waves it will hit and get wet. 



We mounted the rollers on the cubicle frame.  We ended up narrowing it to 40 inches wide to allow room for the uprights between the pontoons at the back.



And with the new carpet on there and it mounted under the boat here is the finished product:



I use a 1/4 inch bolt to hold the ramp down to the front cross piece, which holds the ramp in the retracted position for towing and driving.  To deploy it, I pull a wing nut, lift the ramp and pull it forward.  Once it clears the crossmember, it can drop down in the front.

It is definitely an experiment, and we will see if it holds up and how well it works.  For a similar setup to drop into the water it would be neat to have a float mid-way on the ramp, so that it would drop into the water and leave the end of the ramp submerged for the dogs to climb up on.  I have seen pool ramps that work similar to that.  Our setup is heavy, and I think it would need to be lighter to easily deploy it in open water. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rednek yot club Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/26/2012 at 2:21pm
That should work great! I never thought of the elevator track and rollers which should lock the ramp in from the the twist of the deck! I did figure a way to give it some buoyancy. I was thinking about using a side bumper, the same as the ones you put out over the railing to protect against a dock or another boat! You could punch a couple of holes in the buoy, screw it towards the middle or so of the ramp then silicone the holes to keep it air tight!
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I was thinking of something along those same lines Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knotta Yachta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/26/2012 at 3:14pm
I have been kicking that idea around for almost three weeks now. Last time we were out and beached, my two yr old slipped off the make shift cooler step, luckly nothing happened, but that is when I have started thinking of the ramp idea. Glad to see someone made an effort at making one so us others can hopefully start. My idea was going to be simple wood, but it wouldn't be permanent. You would have to take it off and store it somewhere in the boat.
 
The back is exactly what I want to do with mine. Problem is I don't have aluminum or the welder or bender. I am going to have to make mine completely out of wood and cover it. Been thinking of fiberglassing over it, or glueing FRP to it. Plan on starting that after the move to Florida which will be this next month. Boat projects are on hold. Good job on all of it.
Kevin
Sold-97 Sun Tracker 25'
*97 Tracker 75hp
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CajunDiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/26/2012 at 4:28pm
You may want to consider a hinge at the end somehow so you will adjust to various bank heights. I have seen this on houseboats before but cant remember exactly how it was done
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sand M.E. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/27/2012 at 7:34pm
Here is a quick update.  We are out at the river, and the refurbished boat is working great!   We got it done, and it is great to have it in the water.  
 
 
The ramp only has wheels at the back end, so once it is pulled out far enough to clear the front cross member it will drop down to whatever height the shoreline is at.  We did modify it to let it slide back further and stay flush with the front deck, because in rough water it does catch water and splash up on the front deck.  Here are a couple more pictures:
 
 
 
It is getting some use, and we are loving it.  We didn't have to bend or weld any aluminum, but the tricky part was finding the track material.  We looked at Unistrut tracks and rollers, and thought that might be an alternative before we fount the track we used.  On the way back into the marina today, we noticed a similar ramp on one of the houseboats.   It is made from two lenghts of C channel and a piece of flat material underneath them to make a rectangular box to slide the ramp into. 
 
 
 
Paul
1990 Lowe 24'
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