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Old 08-20-2019, 12:30 AM   #1
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Getting Started

Hello to all,

I'm in the process of purchasing a 1978 tri-level trawler, 36' with two Ford Lehman 120hp engines. Good news is the price is right for me to get started, she's not sinking, and one of the two engines is running lol. Bad news is she needs a lot of love to get back in shipshape.

First thing I plan on doing is some basic cleaning and organizing to see exactly what I'm looking at. most of the interior needs to be restored and put back together (only found a couple soft spots when inspecting).

But after that I'm not sure where to start. I'm guessing safety type stuff first?

What areas of a boat rebuild project would you suggest tackling first?

Thanks ahead of time.

Cheers, Chris
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:50 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard. I would look at the items that are causing further damage to the boat and start there to stop the bleeding. Things like leaks. Good luck.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:10 AM   #3
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Thanks Comodave!

So far I haven't seen anything critical. The bilge does have a little bit of water in it, like maybe an inch worth. Pretty sure a little bit of water is normal considering the age of the boat and that its been docked for a while. If you know of a good youtube channel on working on older trawlers that would be great.

Chris
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:10 AM   #4
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Comodave might have been talking about deck/window etc leaks rather than hull leaks.
Is the boat fiberglass? An 1" of bilge water is likely to be from the stern glands needing adjustment or repacking, not a big job(depending(ahem) on access).
Probably too early to identify priorities until you list all the issues, but safety would he high, like checking through hull fittings, bilge pumps, etc. And the batteries to power the pumps, the shorepower system to run the charger, the charger itself, maybe the solar if any for the batts.....

What is the boat? Someone with one might be able to help. Twin Lehmans is always a good find.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:24 AM   #5
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Hi BruceK,

The boat is a 1978 36 foot tri-cabin trawler, I believe manufactured by Universal? Fiberglass hull. I don't technically own her yet, but will likely be purchasing the boat in a couple weeks
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:10 AM   #6
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I would,,,First stop all leaks , PH,deck ,window ,shaft .
The boat will only stop deteriorating when every leak is gone.

Then exercise every sea cock , and replace every hose and non marine hose clamps .

Change the engine oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze.

Then see about getting the dead engine running.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:48 AM   #7
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Total cost of ownership wise,sounds like it will be a very expensive boat.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:17 AM   #8
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While not a trawler channel, I like Boatworks Today. He shows boat repair in general and has a lot of good videos. Another good site is Compass Marine. He does not have videos but a lot of good DIY articles. I like working on boats so I typically donít look for pristine boars but rather boats that need TLC. On our current boat I have repaired hundreds of fiberglass spots, painted the whole boat, removed 4 leaking windows and glassed them closed, added 3 ventilation hatches, replaced 11 portholes, replaced main electrical panel, added a stern thruster, added a hardtop to the flybridge, fabricated new enclosures for flybridge and sundeck, recaulked and refinished teak deck on sundeck, replaced galley counter with Corian, refinished backsplash in galley, replaced all lights with LED, updated all electronics, added 2nd helm seat on flybridge and more that I canít remember right now. I am currently getting all the things I need to make a crane in the salon so I can pull the port engine out and stack it on top of the starboard engine in order to get to the port fuel tank. The tank isnít leaking now but it is 32 years old so I want to replace it while I can still do the work. Also while the engine is out I will clean up and paint the bilge. Also replace hoses and whatever I find while I can actually get around in the engine room. Next year I will pull the starboard engine to do the starboard tank. Usually when ai get done working on a boat I sell it but as I am getting older I may have to hold onto this one. Also our boatyard canít haul anything bigger.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alleywolf View Post
Hi BruceK,

The boat is a 1978 36 foot tri-cabin trawler, I believe manufactured by Universal? Fiberglass hull. I don't technically own her yet, but will likely be purchasing the boat in a couple weeks
Are you getting a survey? If not, are you getting estimates as to the work and cost of work needed?

If you haven't done this before, the cost and time are many times what you would estimate.

So, where to start? Be sure you really know what you're getting into. It's not too late to avoid major issues.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:35 AM   #10
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I'm sure it will be expensive overall as I go from one project to the next, but with a low starting cost and the education I'll get as I go...
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:38 AM   #11
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Thank you for the info Comodave for the info!
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:40 AM   #12
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I'm sure it will be expensive overall as I go from one project to the next, but with a low starting cost and the education I'll get as I go...
That's the problem. You're getting a low starting cost likely as a reflection of how expensive it will be. The low cost is a mirage.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:41 AM   #13
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Are you getting a survey? If not, are you getting estimates as to the work and cost of work needed?

If you haven't done this before, the cost and time are many times what you would estimate.

So, where to start? Be sure you really know what you're getting into. It's not too late to avoid major issues.
Yes on getting a survey. Luckily, for the price even if I find that I'm biting off more than I can chew I can part it out and make the money back or even a small profit. One of the Ford Lehman 120's alone would likely recoup the money.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:12 PM   #14
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Yes on getting a survey. Luckily, for the price even if I find that I'm biting off more than I can chew I can part it out and make the money back or even a small profit. One of the Ford Lehman 120's alone would likely recoup the money.
That depends on the condition of the Lehman.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:15 PM   #15
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Boy, have I heard this story before. Vaya con Dios.

Is the seller giving you the boat and cash?
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:31 PM   #16
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It all depends on the buyer and his desire and skills to refurbish the boat. Our current boat was on the market for a long time due to deferred maintenance. It was exactly what I was looking for. I love working on my boats. Most people would have walked away from our current boat when we bought it. Now when I am cruising it on our river I get people yelling how beautiful the boat is. Yes, it took me a lot of hours and a lot of money. If I were to sell it right now I would probably get back all the money I have spent so far. I would loose all the hours I put into the boat but that is my hobby, when I am not working on my boat I am thinking about what I should be working on in the boat. So if he is looking at a boat in need of a lot of work, maybe that is what he wants. Usually when I get done working on a boat, I sell it because I am bored and canít find anything more to work on. Maybe that is why this is our 23rd boat...
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:46 PM   #17
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I like fixing up older boats. Usually it allows me to remake them just the way I want them. I showed my wife a newer boat but it didn’t change her list of alterations. So I bought a cheaper boat in need of much TLC. I spend more money and time refurbishing than I spend cruising. I am ok with that, it’s my hobby. Can I sell my newly refurbished boat for a profit? Maybe if you only count my material costs. The minute you add my labor it’s a minimum $100,000 loss. If I had paid a yard I would be upside down by $250,000 in just the last 3 years.

Not telling anyone not to take on a boat project but you had better already be a carpenter, plumber, electrician, mechanic first or it’s going to get very expensive.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:59 PM   #18
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Someone else like me...
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:33 PM   #19
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I like fixing up older boats. Usually it allows me to remake them just the way I want them. I showed my wife a newer boat but it didnít change her list of alterations. So I bought a cheaper boat in need of much TLC. I spend more money and time refurbishing than I spend cruising. I am ok with that, itís my hobby. Can I sell my newly refurbished boat for a profit? Maybe if you only count my material costs. The minute you add my labor itís a minimum $100,000 loss. If I had paid a yard I would be upside down by $250,000 in just the last 3 years.

Not telling anyone not to take on a boat project but you had better already be a carpenter, plumber, electrician, mechanic first or itís going to get very expensive.
I get what everyone is saying and know most would abandon ship rather than purchase a boat like this one. For me, the adventure includes the rebuild and knowledge that will come from putting hands on every part of the boat from bow to stern. I could wait a little bit and spend more initially to buy a boat that is ready to go, but at some point every boat needs work and maintenance. I'd like to be the guy who doesn't just own a boat and have to pay someone to fix the issue, I'd like the ability to fix just about any issue myself, perhaps even underway or in some small port if need be. I know it will be expensive and a huge headache at times to purchase a "fixer upper" boat but I'm okay with that.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:07 PM   #20
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I get what everyone is saying and know most would abandon ship rather than purchase a boat like this one. For me, the adventure includes the rebuild and knowledge that will come from putting hands on every part of the boat from bow to stern. I could wait a little bit and spend more initially to buy a boat that is ready to go, but at some point every boat needs work and maintenance. I'd like to be the guy who doesn't just own a boat and have to pay someone to fix the issue, I'd like the ability to fix just about any issue myself, perhaps even underway or in some small port if need be. I know it will be expensive and a huge headache at times to purchase a "fixer upper" boat but I'm okay with that.
Sounds like a plan, good luck with it and keep us informed. Oh, BTW we require photos...
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