1978 24 Open Rebuild Thread

Mattmattn

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Jun 18, 2017
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Matt
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Starting a clean build thread for my skippy. Any advice, knowledge, wise cracks welcome. Bought this thing from I guy named Ron Schmidt out in the Long Beach area for $5500. It had the motor package I wanted and I happened to have the cash so boom. Rebuild is a labor or love mostly cause I love the lines of the 24 open. Ron had owned his own tackle shopped and referred to his boat as a fish murder machine. He had gotten on in years and was ready to let it go. It'd had been sitting for at least 10 years. Maybe longer. Even though he had kept up on the registration. With fresh batteries the engine rotates and tries to start. Fuel tank I'm not sure about. It's had the hatch opened to get to it but I can't tell if it's been replaced. Ron said it had but that was in the heat of negotiation. Questions I have thus far after several weekends of demo:

1. What wood is between the helm and the cabin? Is it structural? It's clearly had some termite damage. And a pack of wild cats and what I presume was a very large rat either lived and or died in it.

2. In the cockpit the wood behind the vinyl pads on each side where the throttle mounts, is likely gonna have to come out and be redone. Pressure washing it pealed a couple layers off. Any reason not to use coosa board to repair it? Recommendations welcome.

3. How does one color match the gelcoat or as close as you can get? I'm not ready to awlgrip the whole thing yet.

4. How bad does the drive look you think? Uninformed opinions welcome.

5. For the cabin space I gutted everything, cut down some of the roof insert (that's where ratso was living), vaccuumed it all out. Still can't get the cat pee smell out. Wondering if I should just sand it all down and paint the interior if that would do it. Also it doesn't look like the cabin is sealed in between the port left side and cockpit area. Like it was intentionally left with a gap in areas...maybe for ventilation. Curious if anyone has seen something similar?

6. The bow hatch leaked...so I pulled it off and took it apart. The plywood inside was basically powder with some resin around it. Kinda makes me wonder about the stringers...but when I pound on them with a closed fist they seem solid. Is the best way to check to drill a hole in them and then patch it up? Same question for the transom. Seems solid but not sure how to confirm.

7. Demo work is pretty much done. Gonna get it into a mechanic in the next couple of weeks. I was surprised the wiring was still "good" and functioning. All gauges work, etc. Didn't try the trim tabs or drive trim. Any local to Temecula/San Diego mechanic recommendations welcome.

Here's what it looked like when I bought it and post pressure wash and demo:

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Windy Bay

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Aug 2, 2008
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Larry
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2 Skipjack Sports Cruisers both under construction
In regards to your wiring, some of the wires go bilge blower, nav lights, outdrive up and down, bilge pump. the wires that are original will be to marine color code. If you want a copy of that I can provide it
 
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Mattmattn

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Jun 18, 2017
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Matt
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Tbd
In regards to your wiring, some of the wires go bilge blower, nav lights, outdrive up and down, bilge pump. the wires that are original will be to marine color code. If you want a copy of that I can provide it
Thanks I guess it's similar to an auto wiring harness.
 
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CI_SeaWolf

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  • Feb 13, 2006
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    Camarillo, CA
    Name
    Tom Farrell
    Boat Name
    Wellcraft 22' W/A
    Definitely time for a re wire with marine, tinned wire and better terminal blocks and fuse protection. Most boats from that period and price point used automotive type wiring and it was spaghetti type wiring back to the panel….. really needs a clean up!
     
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    tbev

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    Dec 21, 2017
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    tom
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    Skipjack 24 Fly
    My recommendations are to first decide what yup want to get out of this boat. How long are yup going to keep it, are you gong to flip it etc. The biggest one; how much do you want to put into it. haha. I just wanted to get my boat fishable, that was my plan at first. By the time I had it "fishable" half the wiring as replaced, the stringers were fixed and drive was rebuilt. The I quickly found out the fuel tank needed to be replaced, the the drive then I needed a ton more wiring to accommodate all the additional bullshit I needed. . blah blah. What I'm getting at is it's MUCH easier and cheaper to totally tear the boat down, do the glasswork; anything that's rotten, stringers, fuel tank, gelcoat EVERYTHING then start putting it back together, ALL new wiring, I think this is a must anyways, along with the fuel tank. If you don't know that the tank has been replaced in the last ten yes you need to cut the deck open and get a new tank in there.

    You said you weren't going to paint \ gelcoat the whole thing YET. This is the worst mistake you can make IMO; it's where I'm at now. I have a ton of money in my 24, it's exactly where I want it to be, but I have to do a ton more work now to paint the entire thing, much more than if I would have just admitted to myself that I wasn't gong to fish it this year and got down to business. Everything will be done much easier, cheaper and better if you gut that thing right now and start from the ground up. It's the difference between a boat that is worth something to resale or not much at all.

    I have a 70, 24 flybridge, there are some differences but if you have any questions I'm happy to answer as best I can. I know it sounds like a lot of work, I think you know that already, but it's not that much more work doing it the right way and every step is going to be easier along the way. More importantly, like I said, your going to end up with a much nicer boat when your finished. ..if that matters to you, it may not and that's just fine too. I started re-wiring and adding new stuff in the beginning on the cheap and everything just ended up gong to shit and needed to be replaced. Cheap crap from amazon and automotive wire. The wire you want is tinned copper, but it has to have the right jacket on it as well, here's a link, Pacer is great.

    Even if you do just want to get it going and "fishable" I still think you should do all the wiring and the fuel tank. The outdrive could be just fine but you'll never know until you can get the boat running well.

     
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    Windy Bay

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    Aug 2, 2008
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    Larry
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    2 Skipjack Sports Cruisers both under construction
    I agree that doing it right is the way to go. I am restoring a 1990 skipjack sport cruiser, and I partially restored a 1980 skipjack 24 open. I found some old threads that I have posted.
    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/90-sport-cruiser.787902/#post-5578681
    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/skipjack-need-help-with-wiring.643583/#post-5533849
     
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    Windy Bay

    Member
    Aug 2, 2008
    499
    236
    Elkton, OR
    Name
    Larry
    Boat Name
    2 Skipjack Sports Cruisers both under construction
    I am on my 2nd skippy. The first one was a 24 open and now a sport cruiser. The 24 open was on a budget and I would tackle something every year. The sportcruiser has been a 2 year project. I have done a new engine, 383 stroker, changed the outdrive around, replaced the duo prop 1.94 gear ratio to a 1.78 gear ratio, new electronics, repair all the old holes in the stern and the gunwales, and the list is still now complete. I just got the wire to move the dash from the factory location to the overhead. I am posting some threads of wiring and gelcoat repair. I think alot of us are on a budget, so we can only do so much at a time. Figure out what you need, then what you want.


    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/skipjack-need-help-with-wiring.643583/#post-5533849

    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/90-sport-cruiser.787902/#post-5578681
     
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    gecsr1

    Plain Jane Rods...Hobby Rod Builder
    Jul 15, 2005
    15,404
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    Poway Ca
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    Gary
    Boat Name
    No Boat Now
    Well looks like you will be real busy with the rebuild...Good Luck...
    post pics on your progress....
     
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    Mattmattn

    Newbie
    Jun 18, 2017
    35
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    Socal
    Name
    Matt
    Boat Name
    Tbd
    My recommendations are to first decide what yup want to get out of this boat. How long are yup going to keep it, are you gong to flip it etc. The biggest one; how much do you want to put into it. haha. I just wanted to get my boat fishable, that was my plan at first. By the time I had it "fishable" half the wiring as replaced, the stringers were fixed and drive was rebuilt. The I quickly found out the fuel tank needed to be replaced, the the drive then I needed a ton more wiring to accommodate all the additional bullshit I needed. . blah blah. What I'm getting at is it's MUCH easier and cheaper to totally tear the boat down, do the glasswork; anything that's rotten, stringers, fuel tank, gelcoat EVERYTHING then start putting it back together, ALL new wiring, I think this is a must anyways, along with the fuel tank. If you don't know that the tank has been replaced in the last ten yes you need to cut the deck open and get a new tank in there.

    You said you weren't going to paint \ gelcoat the whole thing YET. This is the worst mistake you can make IMO; it's where I'm at now. I have a ton of money in my 24, it's exactly where I want it to be, but I have to do a ton more work now to paint the entire thing, much more than if I would have just admitted to myself that I wasn't gong to fish it this year and got down to business. Everything will be done much easier, cheaper and better if you gut that thing right now and start from the ground up. It's the difference between a boat that is worth something to resale or not much at all.

    I have a 70, 24 flybridge, there are some differences but if you have any questions I'm happy to answer as best I can. I know it sounds like a lot of work, I think you know that already, but it's not that much more work doing it the right way and every step is going to be easier along the way. More importantly, like I said, your going to end up with a much nicer boat when your finished. ..if that matters to you, it may not and that's just fine too. I started re-wiring and adding new stuff in the beginning on the cheap and everything just ended up gong to shit and needed to be replaced. Cheap crap from amazon and automotive wire. The wire you want is tinned copper, but it has to have the right jacket on it as well, here's a link, Pacer is great.

    Even if you do just want to get it going and "fishable" I still think you should do all the wiring and the fuel tank. The outdrive could be just fine but you'll never know until you can get the boat running well.

    Super solid advice. Definitely needs some noodle time. But year the wiring looks shot. It's functional but looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I got a quote on a new tank last week. Guess I'll start there. Thanks for the info!
     
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    Mattmattn

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    Jun 18, 2017
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    Matt
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    Tbd
    I am on my 2nd skippy. The first one was a 24 open and now a sport cruiser. The 24 open was on a budget and I would tackle something every year. The sportcruiser has been a 2 year project. I have done a new engine, 383 stroker, changed the outdrive around, replaced the duo prop 1.94 gear ratio to a 1.78 gear ratio, new electronics, repair all the old holes in the stern and the gunwales, and the list is still now complete. I just got the wire to move the dash from the factory location to the overhead. I am posting some threads of wiring and gelcoat repair. I think alot of us are on a budget, so we can only do so much at a time. Figure out what you need, then what you want.


    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/skipjack-need-help-with-wiring.643583/#post-5533849

    https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/90-sport-cruiser.787902/#post-5578681
    Thanks good info
     
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    tbev

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    Dec 21, 2017
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    Skipjack 24 Fly
    Super solid advice. Definitely needs some noodle time. But year the wiring looks shot. It's functional but looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I got a quote on a new tank last week. Guess I'll start there. Thanks for the info!
    I found out about old fuel tanks the hard way. I spent a few months with wiring and assorted other things trying to get my boat ready to finally get on the water. I thought I was good, things were coming together for my first trip out on the water. I was in the boat as my old man backed us down the ramp and right before we hit the water I noticed a lot of water in the bilge. It was extra odd because we hadn't been in the water yet. I told him to stop, he said don't worry about it and backed down a few feet farther into the water. I stuck my hand down in the bilge and discovered that there was a lot of gas in that water in the bilge. Turns out there was no water in the bilge it was a hundred and something gallons of gas in the bilge. Never had a leak or any type of warning prior to this, the seam of the tank split, while it was on the trailer, presumably from bumps on the freeway. It was not because my dad hit some crazy bumps, he drives much slower than most, he's a professional driver, it was just the age of the tank. When I puled it, you could see lots of spots that were very close to breaking through, many more that I could put my finger through and a big split down one of the seams.
     
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    TheWesNMads

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    May 18, 2020
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    Yorba Linda
    Name
    Dan
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    1979 24’ skipjack fly bridge
    I found out about old fuel tanks the hard way. I spent a few months with wiring and assorted other things trying to get my boat ready to finally get on the water. I thought I was good, things were coming together for my first trip out on the water. I was in the boat as my old man backed us down the ramp and right before we hit the water I noticed a lot of water in the bilge. It was extra odd because we hadn't been in the water yet. I told him to stop, he said don't worry about it and backed down a few feet farther into the water. I stuck my hand down in the bilge and discovered that there was a lot of gas in that water in the bilge. Turns out there was no water in the bilge it was a hundred and something gallons of gas in the bilge. Never had a leak or any type of warning prior to this, the seam of the tank split, while it was on the trailer, presumably from bumps on the freeway. It was not because my dad hit some crazy bumps, he drives much slower than most, he's a professional driver, it was just the age of the tank. When I puled it, you could see lots of spots that were very close to breaking through, many more that I could put my finger through and a big split down one of the seams.
    Whenever something breaks at the ramp I think of it as a blessing even though it hurts. That was a blessing from the gods or universe depending on your beliefs. ☠️
     
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    bent rodz

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  • Aug 30, 2014
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    Tony
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    Skipjack 24 Open
    As far as I can see it looks like you've got a good grip on it so far. So hell yeah and congrats on the Skippy! I love these things and you have the admired and wanted Open model! Biggest dancing floor it this class hands down. I'm going to agree with everyone above though. @tbev said it perfectly. Do it once from the ground up and don't skip on the fuel tank either. Vince at American tanks in La Mesa is a good source for a custom tank. He did mine and turn around time was quick. Either way, have a plan and go for it. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. When your done you'll have a solid boat that you know inside and out and you trust it. Your confidence in troubleshooting will go way up too. Youll be proud. These old skipjacks are built like tanks. They are tried and true, seaworthy and capable boats. That's why its not uncommon to se the older ones being refit and repowered over and over again.
     
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    bent rodz

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  • Aug 30, 2014
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    Tony
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    Skipjack 24 Open
    I could talk about this for days. I've been in your shoes. I have the exact same boat, except mine is a 72. I rebuilt it from the ground up. Stringers, new fuel tank, new deck, re-wired, re-powered, full paint job inside and out, new gauges, electronics, full tower and hard top, dual stations, etc.. the entire 9 yards plus some! Its a fully custom built Skipjack 24 Open. Happy to spark up a convo anytime to share any info and answer any questions for ya. Shoot me a message if you want and ill give you my number and we can chat about it.
     
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    Mattmattn

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    Jun 18, 2017
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    Matt
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    I could talk about this for days. I've been in your shoes. I have the exact same boat, except mine is a 72. I rebuilt it from the ground up. Stringers, new fuel tank, new deck, re-wired, re-powered, full paint job inside and out, new gauges, electronics, full tower and hard top, dual stations, etc.. the entire 9 yards plus some! Its a fully custom built Skipjack 24 Open. Happy to spark up a convo anytime to share any info and answer any questions for ya. Shoot me a message if you want and ill give you my number and we can chat about it.
    Thanks dude I followed your build post. I'm sure I'll be bugging you when I get to the rewire. All that stuff has to come out. It functions but is such a disaster. Appreciate the info!
     
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    tbev

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    When you get your tank built consider taking it to a powder coater (if the builder doesn't offer it) and have the outside powder coated. It will be a hundred bucks, maybe two, it will add a nice layer of protection on the outside. Also, I recommend at least using a 5/8 vent, I used a 3/8 vent and my tank is an absolute pain in the ass to fill. It burps and backs up really bad, I have to fill it extremely slow. On these boats it's a very long and horizontal run from below the deck to the tank that it needs all the help it can get. I'm not sure a 5/8 vent will solve all the problems but it should help a lot. I consider ripping my tank out again every time I fill up.
     
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    SkipJack Boats

    55 YEARS OF BUILDING OFFSHORE FISHING YACHTS
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  • Jul 8, 2020
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    Oak Hills, CA
    www.skipjackyachts.com
    Name
    Michael Englebrecht
    Boat Name
    20 ft Skipjack
    1. What wood is between the helm and the cabin? Is it structural? It's clearly had some termite damage. And a pack of wild cats and what I presume was a very large rat either lived and or died in it.
    A history lesson of boat building with plywood.
    When I was young I built boats with marine or exterior plywood because standard plywood did not use resorcinol(sp?) it was a cool powder that wood make a waterproof strong glue when mixed with water. Then later all plywood was made with water proof glue.

    Marine plywood differs from standard plywood because it has many thin layers so it has more layers of protection. Making a hull? Use Marine. making a bulkhead, table, bed or a base for a counter any good plywood can work. I personally like to cover completely with west system and let it slowly cure because it gets better protection that way.

    The reason for the above is money. Standard exterior plywood is cheap and if done right plywood will last as long as the boat.

    Most likely in those days it would have been exterior for something like your helm.

    Remember, structure is strength. I would replace it with plywood or other good core material.

    BigMike
     
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    SkipJack Boats

    55 YEARS OF BUILDING OFFSHORE FISHING YACHTS
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  • Jul 8, 2020
    553
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    Oak Hills, CA
    www.skipjackyachts.com
    Name
    Michael Englebrecht
    Boat Name
    20 ft Skipjack
    In regards to your wiring, some of the wires go bilge blower, nav lights, outdrive up and down, bilge pump. the wires that are original will be to marine color code. If you want a copy of that I can provideI think it depends on the year of the boat

    I think it depends on the year of the boat. The fantastic color code was introduced after many Skipjacks were made. I've seen several boats that were grey spaghetti and hade a few colors added by the local neighborhood friend of a friend who knows a guy. Most of the time the color chart only helps if you redid the wire.
    How did that happen?? I said that LOL.
     
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    Dec 12, 2021
    94
    64
    Central Valley
    Name
    Nick
    Boat Name
    Skipjack 24 Open
    If you want to check the stringers, take a look inside your port or starboard deck hatches about 6" up the stringer from the hull. Probably a battery box of sorts screwed to the stringer...see how easy the screw pulls out by hand. Or if there are no holes, you can zip a little 3/8 hole in the fiberglass, put a smalls screw in and see if it rips out soft soggy wood or stays in nice and tight. Seal it back up well if the wood is in good shape.

    If it rips out soggy wood, you may have opened pandoras box. Definitely different opinions on the need to replace vs strength of the fiberglass alone.

    Mine were rotted from the motor cover to about 10" from the very tip in the cuddy. That capillary action is amazing.

    PS make sure you re seal that fuel tank cover. It'll let a lot of water in.
     
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    Mattmattn

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    Jun 18, 2017
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    Matt
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    Tbd
    If you want to check the stringers, take a look inside your port or starboard deck hatches about 6" up the stringer from the hull. Probably a battery box of sorts screwed to the stringer...see how easy the screw pulls out by hand. Or if there are no holes, you can zip a little 3/8 hole in the fiberglass, put a smalls screw in and see if it rips out soft soggy wood or stays in nice and tight. Seal it back up well if the wood is in good shape.

    If it rips out soggy wood, you may have opened pandoras box. Definitely different opinions on the need to replace vs strength of the fiberglass alone.

    Mine were rotted from the motor cover to about 10" from the very tip in the cuddy. That capillary action is amazing.

    PS make sure you re seal that fuel tank cover. It'll let a lot of water in.
    Thanks for the pointers. Next step is yanking tank. Soon as I find time.
     
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    Dec 12, 2021
    94
    64
    Central Valley
    Name
    Nick
    Boat Name
    Skipjack 24 Open
    When I removed my tank, the previous owner had slipped drum liners around the outside edges of the tank and filled them with expanding foam. It made removing the tank very easy. I used 3/8 bolts through the tabs with a chain and a forklift. Easy money. I reinstalled it with the same method, heavy clear drum liners. I used 6 liners and two gallon kits of expanding foam. and let the foam in the liners expand over the top of the tank to lock it in.

    I also added two 1" drain holes either side of the keel stringer between the bilge and fish box location so water could be drained out of the fuel tank area. Just epoxied two short pieces of 1" stainless pipe and used expansion plugs in them to keep the tank bottom dry. When I drilled the holes I had about 15 gallons of water come pouring out from beneath the fish box/fuel tank. My tank had been coated with coal tar epoxy but the PO did a sloppy job with prep on the aluminum and the coal tar was flaking off. If one were to hit it with some light sand paper and clean it with acetone, that would be a good route for an install on a new tank.
     
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