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|1980 Browning Aerocraft Mach II a 26 year old Fiberglass vessel with 5.7 mercruiser, cuddy, trim tabs and a whaletail on the outdrive. |
At first glance; Not bad looking on the outside, inside was dated but OK, the upholstery was fair. Engine looks clean, I/O drive looked OK, hull had the typical blemishes and scratches. A little TLC is all she needs (or so I thought) and would make a good project and perhaps make a few bucks on re-sale.
We previously owned a 32' Trojan Cabin Cruiser on the left coast and now we had a 26' Wellcraft Nova II cuddy which was perfect for the inland lakes Neither one was a project boat and never needed any major structual repairs. But everyone needs a project. The new boat towed home 150 miles just fine and without any problems (unknown trailer) even though I did not have the stern tied down. .OOPS!!
It occurred to me there are some things that may reveal hidden problems, with a given boat, for the used boat buyer. I believe the previous owner found the bow up way to much most of the time and the boat had a hard time coming up to plane. Hence the hydrofoil whaletail. When that didn't help, trim tabs were installed (or vice versa in order). Additionally, I found 2 wet 60+lb. sand bags in the ropelocker up front, in the cuddy. I believe they were added for more weight, to bring that bow down...
Why was the bow up in the air constantly? Why did it have crappy fuel consumption? She was totally water logged! The old foam acted like a big sponge. No water, per se, in the engine bilge but, the hidden side compartments and cuddy floor were full of water. I'd guestimate (hillbilly science) about 2000 lbs. in water and rotten wood/foam with 70 gals of fuel, this vessel would act like a displacement hull. 1 cu. ft. of water weighs 60 +lbs. In an effort to overcome this weight, the P.O. installed the trim tabs and the whaletail.
The way this boat was built, it did not have any limber holes to drain water from the sides or under the tank. Hence any water that did collect in these areas would stay and eventually get soaked up by the foam. It only had a drain line from the cuddy to the engine bay bilge. After opening her up I could really see why Browning in no longer in business. Poor design, cheap construction and mexican day labor craftmanship.
So, if you are buying a used boat and it has all the "run better mods" be careful that they are not there to overcome greater issues. A good practice would be to run over a set of scales and compare the weigh ticket to the vessels and trailer weight, before buying a used boat. I never thought of it.
I should have resold the boat once I pulled the carpet up and found the soggy floor.
You are reading this because you believe there maybe a problem with your boat and are planning or doing a re-build. So read on, save some yourself some grief and perhaps a few dollars.
Floor felt soft mostly around the engine compartment. You can see the wavy pattern
Add Marine alternator to parts list..
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