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Old 09-22-2022, 02:14 PM   #1
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Learn from our mistakes!

This post is geared towards the new boat owner. I can look back at my earlier endeavors to repair/paint etc. and can easily say I've made damn near every mistake possible! An example is when I tried pushing a varnishing project by painting the sixth coat later in the evening. The moisture in the air caused clouding and I had to start the project all over again

It's been talked about on this forum extensively, but there are basic rules everyone can follow to save themselves time/money.

1) Prep work: The most time consuming and difficult part of any project (Probably 90% of the time needed for any project). As a newbie, I was impatient and took the easy route, or avoided steps. This would always cost me time and money when I had to redo the project a year or two later. Think of a simple screw hole in a cored deck-drill a bigger hole, fill with epoxy, then drill the smaller hole through the epoxy. The epoxy step takes an extra day, but it will prevent an extremely costly core replacement. Following the directions on the can, or advice on this forum, is the key for success.

2) Pay the extra money for the better/correct part. This relates to the above. After doing all the prep work, you want all that work to last. Example: Interlux Brightside vs Interlux Perfection. Sure the Brightside is cheaper and easier to apply, but I would prefer to avoid the prep work to repaint a project every five years vs fifteen.

3) As a DIYer, I've learned that's there are occasions when it's worth it to pay for a professional. A lot of times this decision is based on the fact I can't afford the tool to do a certain job. The other is safety. Right now I'm having the pro do the exhaust on my hydronic heater. I can't weld. I could do it with a clamp, but the consequences of failure is death. Simple decision.

Obviously, if your rich, paying someone to do the work is easy. I don't have that perspective. I don't want to make this to long, but would love to hear others perspective and additions to the list.
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:25 PM   #2
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Mistake 1

Never buy parts for your boat while dreaming of a project from your office.

Go to the boat. Look over the actual installation, and then and only then shop online for your parts.
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:44 PM   #3
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Mistake 1

Never buy parts for your boat while dreaming of a project from your office.

Go to the boat. Look over the actual installation, and then and only then shop online for your parts.
So true! How many times I have ended up modifying the boat around the part is ridiculous
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:44 PM   #4
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Boy, I can think of a number of times when I messed up, or my repair job failed. When I saw the topic header I thought - lesson learned: do it right the first time. I think I told a story before in another thread about our previous Carver 3207. Had an electric horn that sounded like a child's kazoo. One thing led to another, step by step, until I spent about $1200 on a marinized compressor and air lines and horns and volume tanks so the boat would sound like the Queen Mary. What a waste of time and money. Or paying $175 to get the rusty Norcold fridge wire shelves sandblasted and powder coated, only to have the refrigerator die and we finally carted the whole thing to the dump a few weeks later. The older and more experienced I get, I'm beginning to think we have limited time in life, don't get carried away. When you're dead it won't matter if all your heat shrink tubing is the same length and color. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:18 PM   #5
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Oh, the stories I could tell. Best advise I can give is pay the pro’s to show you how its done and what you wil need to do it yourself.
I hired a pro to do the first service of the Main and genny. A very patient tech who not only showed me the tricks but where to get the “Special Tool” needed to get it done, such as the special bolt to remove the impeller on the main. A 2 dollar bolt made that job so much easier. Cummins wanted $76 dollars for that tool.
He also showed me where to buy the right parts to service those items. Cummins and westerbeke are real proud of there parts.
I figure that one labor cost of $200 was well worth all the services I did down the road.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:45 PM   #6
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"The dullest pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind" my old boss used to say. Meaning write info down instead of relying on memory. Better yet, take a picture with the cellphone of the labels, dimensions, etc. delete them later when the job is done. I can't even guess how many wrong parts I've bought over the years that had too similar part numbers and were wrong.
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Old 09-22-2022, 04:13 PM   #7
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My rule is if I donít feel comfortable doing the project then I hire a pro. I have learned to do a lot of small projects but larger ones and those that involve tight quarters I will write the check.
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Old 09-22-2022, 04:34 PM   #8
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My rule is if I donít feel comfortable doing the project then I hire a pro. I have learned to do a lot of small projects but larger ones and those that involve tight quarters I will write the check.
So true. After humping 4 8Ds out of my engine room last weekend (and still feeling it) and almost crushing four fingers, I am realizing I won't be able to do some jobs much longer. Sucks. My dad warned me about this. He advised me I will just have to work smarter (pulleys, ramps, etc).
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Old 09-22-2022, 04:39 PM   #9
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"The dullest pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind" my old boss used to say. Meaning write info down instead of relying on memory. Better yet, take a picture with the cellphone of the labels, dimensions, etc. delete them later when the job is done. I can't even guess how many wrong parts I've bought over the years that had too similar part numbers and were wrong.
I live by my cell phone. I've started taking short videos to talk myself through how to put something back together. This was an evolution after having to wait weeks for a part and forgetting how the hell I took something apart.
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Old 09-22-2022, 04:40 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr. M. Excellent topic. Should be cross posted to "Boat Buying 101". MY advice: Wait at LEAST one season/year before making any major changes and/or alterations. Attend to the most pressing issues first (leaks, electrical faults, fuel issues, structural integrity). Get to know your new mistress, THEN you can remove that locker or put down new cabin flooring etc.
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Old 09-22-2022, 04:56 PM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. M. Excellent topic. Should be cross posted to "Boat Buying 101". MY advice: Wait at LEAST one season/year before making any major changes and/or alterations. Attend to the most pressing issues first (leaks, electrical faults, fuel issues, structural integrity). Get to know your new mistress, THEN you can remove that locker or put down new cabin flooring etc.
+1
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Old 09-22-2022, 07:29 PM   #12
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Yeah, those batteries....

I'm thinking hard about a new LiFePO4 capable inverter/charger and lithium for the house bank. Stick with the series split 6 volt lead acid starters. Getting 4 gallons of oil out the engine room was hard enough.
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Old 09-22-2022, 07:40 PM   #13
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Yeah, those batteries....

I'm thinking hard about a new LiFePO4 capable inverter/charger and lithium for the house bank. Stick with the series split 6 volt lead acid starters. Getting 4 gallons of oil out the engine room was hard enough.
I got lucky in a couple ways (kinda). My existing 24 volt house bank is completely isolated. Good because I don't have to worry about the complications of the alternators. Bad because my alternators won't be charging the house bank. I will have solar to charge the house bank. I also got lucky that my xantrex inverter/chargers can be programmed to charge LifePo4 batteries. Look at the cycle life of LifePo4 batteries. If you plan to keep your boat awhile, it will be worth it.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:01 PM   #14
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Only take on one project at at time (I really haven't learned this yet).
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:10 PM   #15
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Only take on one project at at time (I really haven't learned this yet).
Baaahaaahaaa! Not possible! I'm ashamed to say it but......I look forward to winter, so the cold weather prevents projects and I'm forced to relax.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:18 PM   #16
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Only buy parts when you can walk into the parts store with the part in your hand.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:45 PM   #17
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Only take on one project at at time (I really haven't learned this yet).
Over the winter I intentionally break this rule. The boat won't be used for a few months anyway and multiple projects means that when I get stuck on one I can just work on another and bring the part I need or whatever next time I'm there.
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Old 09-22-2022, 10:04 PM   #18
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Once you go LiFePO4, you'll never go back!
Speaking from experience . . .
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:24 AM   #19
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. The older and more experienced I get, I'm beginning to think we have limited time in life, don't get carried away. When you're dead it won't matter if all your heat shrink tubing is the same length and color. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
As an ex boatbuilder I can tell you that the final 20% to get to 100% can often cost as much time and money as the 80%
And, the average Muppet doesn't have the eye to see or know what the 20% difference is anyway.
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:35 AM   #20
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