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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default How do you know when it's time to restore?

    The way this season is going so far has reminded me my Saltare is old and will eventually need restoration. Trailer work and whatnot to get ready to tow up north for vacation, new suspension, cobbling together the fenders yet again. New tires, a blowout, loose bearing on the road repacked and adjusted that got me through the trip, etc. Worked great while away though, no issues and I got some pulls in.

    Before vacation I took the trailer for a test drive and to fill the tank. Rough roads, the gas tank straps came off and tank shifted. Rotted at the strap mount penetrations. I strapped it down side to side with two metal straps screwed into the solid wood on either side that locates the tank, it was fine through vacation and still strapped down.

    The rear hatch pulled out from the back of the seats. The seat backs are dry rotted and gone in one spot. I was able to hit enough relatively solid spots in the seat backs to be good enough for now. The bow cushion bases are rotting but serviceable (barely), and the observer seat base is warping from being wet.

    Years ago when I got new batteries I cut an access under the wine bar storage compartment to move the batteries and create storage under the observer seat. I abandoned this when I found there was no solid wood left under there to mount the batteries to. The wine bar drain dumps into this space and not the bilge. Cooler drain just dumps to the floor as well.

    Pylon is loose, nothing for the lags to bite into. Extended pylon is secure enough to the bow. I wonder if the extended pylon on the tapered original pylon may have wallowed this out from having a loose fit at the top of the pylon.

    Motor mounts are still tight. Floor is solid where you walk. The boat feels solid through rough water.

    Wet wood on the transom. I drilled the exhaust holes larger to fit mufflers, removing the wet wood there. I resealed the platform mount brackets and bolts, the wood was wet in some holes from these leaks but sealed now. New rudder and port. The bilge is totally dry now.

    A dry bilge was super cool, but now my transmission leaks as does my distributor (a real mystery). Runs well and just plain works, aside from topping off the transmission.

    I've had the boat for 12 years. The only costly repair was replacing the worn out and leaky rudder, port, helm and cable. Even for that I probably would have been fine with just repacking it but I wanted to do it right. In a dollars per year sense this boat has been very good to me.

    I'd be happy with this Saltare being my last boat (well, never getting rid of it anyway), I have no desire for fancy new electronics and I can add a tower when it makes sense. It'll need stringers and a proper restoration eventually, which I guess make sense from a dollars and cents perspective when looking at the cost of newer boats. Composite boats have their own issues with saturated foam, was reading a thread on a Malibu restoration removing all the wet foam from under the composite floor. On that note, I'm thinking composite would be preferable, but more work. Major concerns with that are how to attach anything such as motor mounts to stringers.

    I have too many irons in the fire to start gutting this boat and a less than ideal workspace (but far better than some have worked with, 24'x30' heated garage). If I can get through next summer I might be able to fit it in the garage and start the following winter. How do you decide when it's time though?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Flowery Branch Georgia


    I have rebuilt 4 boats now [3 Supra's 1 Correct Craft] I can't help you with when but the how is something I can help you with. I do all my heavy work in the winter . I also have a basement big enough to put 2 comp boats in . Its so nice to work downstairs in a heated and air conditioned area. The worst thing about Supra is you have to remove the top cap to fully get to the stringers and foam . This is no small task especially on a salty. If you do make sure you make a structure to fully support the top cap it can get damaged by its own weight if not supported properly. Feel free to call for support and advice its a huge job but well worth the time and money to save a classic Supra. Mike Hunter 678-227-8833

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Central Texas


    My 2 cents is, don't wait to long before beginning the restore. Reason being is that if you wait too long, it will be hard to make replacement parts when the originals are turned to dust. For my restore, there was no stringer left only the fiberglass shell which didn't offer too much help. Also don't discount wood Cobalt was using wood in their boats till the mid 90's and Tige used wood until the early 2000's and you don't see many people doing stringer rebuilds on those. The only place I would say use composite is in the transom just due to all the penetrations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002


    I agree with h2o-ski. What's under the deck is multiples worse than what you're seeing above. That doesn't mean it'll fall apart on you soon. There were noticeable soft spots when walking before I bit the bullet & rebuilt yet she still performed great. Was a bit shocking once the underneath was exposed. I was able to set aside the stringers' fiberglass shells to use as a reference but the wood was just mush. Supra's design calls for notching the stringers at intersections allowing water to easily penetrate. It doesn't take much time or effort to improve some areas (adding limber holes for drainage, etc) as well as just doing a better job fiberglassing. Focus on those areas and new wood will last much longer than what the factory was putting out yet you still got 30+ years out of it (unless a PO already did some work). It's a big, dirty job but very rewarding.

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