1st boat project- Skipjack 20

HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
I picked her up off @SDFishingRob over the weekend and got plans on making her into a fish slayer. Nothing too fancy, being this is my 1st real project and with me off work for another 10 weeks, I got time to plan things out properly over the holidays. I've seen some really nice rebuilds and one day I'll be in the same boat. My 1st order of business is to get her off this trailer and on new/used trailer that's in better shape. That will give me the peace of mind in moving her around. The next thing is to get her bones checked out and see how they look. If they look good to go then I will be focusing on the engine and outdrive. One of the former owners put a new gas tank in, looks decent from my perspective. I've read that the stock was a 165 HP Mercruiser and wonder if I should find a 6 cylinder marine block and continue with the Mercruiser gen 1 outdrive. I've also seen that a 250 HP is what some are running but I'm not to sure if I want to beef her up. Honestly, I just want to fish the paddies, hit the 9 and once completely comfortable in her, take her out to the islands for an overnight. I'll post pics of her and would love to hear any feedback from older and new skipjack owners who've done rebuilds and repower and any other suggestions. If you're in SD, swing on by and we can always powwow over a beer. Tight lines everyone
 

HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
How much did he pay you?
The boat was free. After I left, the trailer tongue snapped and he was a stand up man to pay the $140 to get it towed to my house. Honestly, I feel I should owe him the tow fare cause not too many people would do that once the papers are signed
 

bman440440

I am the one who knocks!!!
Sep 8, 2010
2,722
1,147
San Diego 92117
Name
B-MAN
Boat
Heisenberg(20' Maxum), Ships & Giggles (32' double decker pontoon)
IMO you have 2 ways to go for power... 1st find an engine outdrive combo... my first choice would be a 1996+ 4.3L with a alpha 1 gen 2, second choice 1996+ 5.7L with a alpha 1 gen 2... 2nd choice would be bracket with 175+ HP outboard.

the latter would be nice and free up deck space that you could make into some nice storage or fish box but it would more than likely cost more to do that than a 4.3/5.7... either way you go it will be a great boat!
 

willit float

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 7, 2008
411
104
South Cal
Name
Em
Boat
20' Livesay Offshore Utility
If it was me. I’d build it back out to the 165. I have the 165 in my 20’ Livesay and like it.
It’s no speed boat but planes out quick and runs very smooth.
Your engine compartment might be designed for the narrow Inline style engine.
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
IMO you have 2 ways to go for power... 1st find an engine outdrive combo... my first choice would be a 1996+ 4.3L with a alpha 1 gen 2, second choice 1996+ 5.7L with a alpha 1 gen 2... 2nd choice would be bracket with 175+ HP outboard.

the latter would be nice and free up deck space that you could make into some nice storage or fish box but it would more than likely cost more to do that than a 4.3/5.7... either way you go it will be a great boat!
Thanks bman! I've seen some really nice skippy's with outboards that have some really beautiful, spacious decks. I'm most likely gonna keep the I/O set up and build off of that. I'm gonna check out a few sites and try and find a deal on a outdrive combo. If you know of any links or any place in SD that sells engine outdrive combos, shoot them my way bud, I would appreciate it. Thanks again bud
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
If it was me. I’d build it back out to the 165. I have the 165 in my 20’ Livesay and like it.
It’s no speed boat but planes out quick and runs very smooth.
Your engine compartment might be designed for the narrow Inline style engine.
I've actually looked into a 165 HP. I'm no speed demon, I just want to float to my spot and fish then float on home, safely lol. Maybe 10 yrs ago I would have the need for speed, now that I'm older and got a son, I just want to enjoy every minute of the ride
 

willit float

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 7, 2008
411
104
South Cal
Name
Em
Boat
20' Livesay Offshore Utility
I've actually looked into a 165 HP. I'm no speed demon, I just want to float to my spot and fish then float on home, safely lol. Maybe 10 yrs ago I would have the need for speed, now that I'm older and got a son, I just want to enjoy every minute of the ride
Yep, I’ve had fast boats and bigger boats with twin screw V8’s. In boards and out boards. I like having a simple reasonable to work on 6 cyl. Keep watching Craig’s list for boats or engine packages: you’ve got a project boat and depending on the condition of the transom, stringers, subfloor etc it could be a beast or you could get lucky.
I pulled all flooring and gas tanks started from a solid structure and am glad I did it.
There was a poster on the last thread that said he might have an engine outdrive assy. Also check Sailer Johns on Pioneer El Cajon if he’s still there. The last time I was in there he had a 165 on a pallet and they rebuild out drives.
 
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GOFAST88

WORKHARD-FISHHARD
Sep 8, 2012
416
398
Murrieta
Name
Tyler
Boat
18' Bayrunner
Man! congrats on the new project... I wanted this thing bad!! I think I was the first to contact him too, but with a 2nd kid on route and just finished building a bayrunner, it was just bad timing.
A skipjack 20' pilot house will more than likely be my next project. A guy on here built one exactly how I would build it. They ride very well with an outboard I hear...

IMG_0151_zpstcpvbjnc.jpg
 

duckbutter6a

Florida man living in SoCal
Nov 15, 2014
1,346
1,322
El Cajon
Name
Hank
Boat
Dusky 17
Are the decks soft?

If theres rot you might as well gut it and repower with a outboard and do a pilot house conversion or a center console.
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
Man! congrats on the new project... I wanted this thing bad!! I think I was the first to contact him too, but with a 2nd kid on route and just finished building a bayrunner, it was just bad timing.
A skipjack 20' pilot house will more than likely be my next project. A guy on here built one exactly how I would build it. They ride very well with an outboard I hear...

View attachment 981018
Thanks bro! She is a very nice boat and will push me to my limits being she's my 1st so the learning curve is gonna be pretty steep lol. I do know that the BD community is very knowledgeable and helpful and I'm gonna see her thru to the end. I thought about the outboard route but just the thought of the whole process and price ranges started to scare me just a bit lol. With me and my lady having our 1st child last year on Thanksgiving, I'm very thankful she let me take on this project baby home just a week away from our son's 1st birthday
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
Are the decks soft?

If theres rot you might as well gut it and repower with a outboard and do a pilot house conversion or a center console.
I haven't got around to knocking around on the deck to check for bad spots just yet, been busy with Turkey day prep and birthday shopping. From a standpoint, the deck is solid with no visible soft spots. There is the caulking seal in the joints that are bad that needs to be redone with proper caulking. I'm just trying not to be in her on that trailer as she looks like anymore than 3 inside will make the trailer collapse. I think once I get her on a decent used trailer, I will have peace of mind walking around and working inside her.

Should I start by checking under the fuel tank and surrounding areas for water damage? From what I've seen it looks ok, but I'll take better pics of the area when I get a chance.
 

HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
I will be changing out that rod holder/rack, so if anybody is interested in it, shoot me a fair price and it's yours. Tight lines everyone
 

karlow

Twins 2017
Apr 29, 2004
1,772
718
63
Duarte/Covina
Name
karl
Boat
20' skippy Topless /17' whaler Wet Ride (sold) /18' Outrage
That will keep u busy for a min.
A 4.3 would be a great choice.
On a small boat more deck space would be really nice as well.
The outboard would get u there but it would $$ you.
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
That will keep u busy for a min.
A 4.3 would be a great choice.
On a small boat more deck space would be really nice as well.
The outboard would get u there but it would $$ you.
I feel you bro. I've seen the tags some have paid to get it converted. I wouldn't mind the deck space but it's mainly gonna be me and 1 other fishing from her, maybe 2, so about 3. So a 4.3 would be a good start? I'm still in the air on what size heart she should have. I've been leaning towards a 165 HP 6 cylinder. I dont mind driving miss daisy out in the water, I'm more slow and curious than fast and furious LOL
 

bman440440

I am the one who knocks!!!
Sep 8, 2010
2,722
1,147
San Diego 92117
Name
B-MAN
Boat
Heisenberg(20' Maxum), Ships & Giggles (32' double decker pontoon)
I feel you bro. I've seen the tags some have paid to get it converted. I wouldn't mind the deck space but it's mainly gonna be me and 1 other fishing from her, maybe 2, so about 3. So a 4.3 would be a good start? I'm still in the air on what size heart she should have. I've been leaning towards a 165 HP 6 cylinder. I dont mind driving miss daisy out in the water, I'm more slow and curious than fast and furious LOL
the 165 would move the boat ok BUT... the problem is that parts are going to get harder and harder to find plus its a taller engine... with the 4.3 you can lower the dog house quite a bit and make a more usable deck than the 165... the 4.3 parts are PLENTIFUL and inexpensive compared to the 165 (if you can call marine parts inexpensive)... a basic 1996+ 4.3 will be 190 HP (up to 220 4.3 LXH) .. when the boat came factory with a 305 (5.0) v8 they where rated at 200 HP... so the 4.3 IMO would be the best option for you... good economy, easy maintenance and good power with out going the v8 route... I had a friend with a 20' skippy and 5.7 v8 and it was VERY fast and got VERY thirsty when he was in it hard... again IMO the 4.3 would be almost as quick if you wanted to be and still be much less thirsty most of the time. that's my 2c :cheers:
 
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HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
the 165 would move the boat ok BUT... the problem is that parts are going to get harder and harder to find plus its a taller engine... with the 4.3 you can lower the dog house quite a bit and make a more usable deck than the 165... the 4.3 parts are PLENTIFUL and inexpensive compared to the 165 (if you can call marine parts inexpensive)... a basic 1996+ 4.3 will be 190 HP (up to 220 4.3 LXH) .. when the boat came factory with a 305 (5.0) v8 they where rated at 200 HP... so the 4.3 IMO would be the best option for you... good economy, easy maintenance and good power with out going the v8 route... I had a friend with a 20' skippy and 5.7 v8 and it was VERY fast and got VERY thirsty when he was in it hard... again IMO the 4.3 would be almost as quick if you wanted to be and still be much less thirsty most of the time. that's my 2c :cheers:
Brother I owe you a 12 pack of some good beer for that info. Helps me with my search on heart size. Now that I'm gonna go with a 4.3, do I stay with the alpha drive or have to upgrade to the bravo?
 

Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
4,967
3,614
Too far from water
Name
Beeulzebob
Boat
uh....
If you're interested, I have a an entire donor boat that could very well work for you. It has a mercruiser 233 (351 Ford) with less than 100 hours and has never seen the salt. The engine and drive are of the same vintage as your boat, and would quite possibly fall right in.

It is a v-8, but it wouldn't be working hard at all pushing that little skippy.

PM me if you are interested.
 

willit float

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 7, 2008
411
104
South Cal
Name
Em
Boat
20' Livesay Offshore Utility
the 165 would move the boat ok BUT... the problem is that parts are going to get harder and harder to find plus its a taller engine... with the 4.3 you can lower the dog house quite a bit and make a more usable deck than the 165... the 4.3 parts are PLENTIFUL and inexpensive compared to the 165 (if you can call marine parts inexpensive)... a basic 1996+ 4.3 will be 190 HP (up to 220 4.3 LXH) .. when the boat came factory with a 305 (5.0) v8 they where rated at 200 HP... so the 4.3 IMO would be the best option for you... good economy, easy maintenance and good power with out going the v8 route... I had a friend with a 20' skippy and 5.7 v8 and it was VERY fast and got VERY thirsty when he was in it hard... again IMO the 4.3 would be almost as quick if you wanted to be and still be much less thirsty most of the time. that's my 2c :cheers:
Is the 4.3 v6 wider than the original in line 6. Would the engine compartment and cover have to be widened ?
 
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bman440440

I am the one who knocks!!!
Sep 8, 2010
2,722
1,147
San Diego 92117
Name
B-MAN
Boat
Heisenberg(20' Maxum), Ships & Giggles (32' double decker pontoon)
Brother I owe you a 12 pack of some good beer for that info. Helps me with my search on heart size. Now that I'm gonna go with a 4.3, do I stay with the alpha drive or have to upgrade to the bravo?
stay with a alpha drive... an alpha 1 gen 2... no need for the bravo... and the alpha will be close to the key hole you have in the boat already.

Check out Craigslist Victorville 1973 Chev 6 cyl

Is the 4.3 v6 wider than the original in line 6. Would the engine compartment and cover have to be widened ?
yes the 4.3 is wider than the original 6 and no... the engine compartment is already wide enough to support a v8... the v6 and v8 are the exact same width.
 

HighRootz

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 23, 2018
138
78
38
San Diego
Name
Al Nelson
Boat
Skipjack 20
stay with a alpha drive... an alpha 1 gen 2... no need for the bravo... and the alpha will be close to the key hole you have in the boat already.



yes the 4.3 is wider than the original 6 and no... the engine compartment is already wide enough to support a v8... the v6 and v8 are the exact same width.
Thanks again bud. I was looking at alpha 1 gen 2 outdrives and they have I guess standard and counter rotation drives, does it matter which one I put or does it have to be a specific one to fit?
 

karlow

Twins 2017
Apr 29, 2004
1,772
718
63
Duarte/Covina
Name
karl
Boat
20' skippy Topless /17' whaler Wet Ride (sold) /18' Outrage
Your best best is to find the total package. That way you get everything that you need. You don't want to piece that thing together. I think Rock Lobster was going to replace his 4.3 package with an outboard. Search on here for his post. He built an 20Skippy about 10years back or so.
 
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flytie

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 20, 2012
709
887
Orange, CA USA
Name
GC
Boat
Out of Office - Custom Invader CC
Nice pick up. I thought about it but my wife would kill me if I did another one.

Another vote for bracket and outboard. Man o man, you'd be happy and the fuel mileage is amazing.
 
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