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1989 Robalo 2680 turned project


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Update alert.... Transom is back together and SOLID as a rock!!! It is now 4.25in thick and virtually indestructible... The bracket should be going on very soon, but they still have to get it painted first... 

 

Stringers were cut out and should be going in this week, the new stringers are deck height now to support the new deck and hatch area. The new stringers are overbuilt like everything else in this build.

 

The fishbox lids were all removed and the core was checked and there was no rot, they are just built like a tank... We are still planning to recore and lighten them up some since they are already out. Not sure if I mentioned it before, but after they got all of the foam removed they learned the culprit for the water saturation was all due to the fishbox fittings being melted from the foam catalyzing.... The best news is that there was ZERO rot or water intrusion forward of the fishboxes. The new fitting were installed and ready to be plumbed into the gulper pumps soon... 

 

So, today's best update is the I found out that my boat was a naughty girl, today she went topless!!! Unreal, right! I could not find a hardtop that was perfect for this application so they arw going to be building me a custom hardtop from scratch, I'm kinda excited about it... Here is a rough "very" sketch of what we are looking to have built... The plan is for this new hardtop to have the nav lights recessed into the front corners, I plan to put one of the slim flexible lumitec anchor lights on the back of it, should look clean... below they will be building a nice looking E cabinet to go with the new style... I had the option of a curved hardtop or a flat one, I like both styles really but here lately I have really liked the way some of the new boats look with the flat hardtops so, that is what it will be... The new hardtop will go just a bit longer than the old one... 

 

The center console is going to be getting stiffened up some and then they plan to glass it into the deck to give it a nice sturdy base then supported by the new pipework that will be getting welded up for the hardtop...

 

Anyways, that is the most recent update... She is coming along nicely overall, it is hard to  believe where this project has gone but when it is all done I will have a new boat build to custom specs!!!

 

Oh, and in my spare time I picked up a decent trailer frame and we are building a nice trailer for this beast...Overbuilt which is in my nature but I had most of the spare trailer parts laying around including some nice. Ew alloys with mounted G rated tires... I only run G's on my trailers for work so I wanted to keep it the same on this, G rated tires rarely blow out and there is virtually no sidewall flex.

 

Some of the pics didn't want to download so I will have to attach them in another posting...

 

 

 

 

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That transom looks MASSIVE!  If the new stringers are anything like that, it will definitely be a tank!  

Something to think about before the floor and cap go in...are you planning on running 2 pieces of aluminum channel against the inside of the transom to bolt the bracket to?  I did it on my transom re-do years ago and it added additional rigidity to the transom in addition to preventing the bolts from pulling through.  It would be easier to fit that in there before the finish glass work goes into place so you are not fighting working in a tight space.  If you go that route, pre-drill one of the channel flanges every 2-3 inches with a 3/16" hole so the channel can be uses as a cable chase and you can zip tie the control cables and wiring harness to the aluminum, where needed.

I kinda always thought you would end up with a custom hardtop.  That boat is just too big for a mass produced top to give it the look you are after.  I am actually glad you are going custom as you would have been second guessing the decision to use something else that was laying around in someone's shop.

Tell me more about G rated tires.  Do they ride harsher than a standard trailer tire?  I just replaced 5 tires last year with Goodyear Endurance after I had another brand send the tread shooting across 2 lanes of traffic on a 2 mile long bridge.  Just got on the bridge and felt a slight vibration.  Looked in the mirror and saw a black doughnut go sailing across the left lane.  Thankfully it did not hit any vehicles or cause any issues.  Got off the bridge, drove the front tire up a wood chock I keep in the truck that is high enough to get the adjacent tire off the ground, broke out the electric impact and had at it.  15 minutes later, back on the road.  Replaced all tires that week.

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53 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

That transom looks MASSIVE!  If the new stringers are anything like that, it will definitely be a tank!  

Yes, the stringers that he made are overbuilt as well, he was showing me all the pieces and his plan while it was all on the bench... He really put some planning into it all before he began cutting and laying glass, I am honestly very impressed with his work so far... He said after everything gets glassed in he is going to be coating it all with white pigmented epoxy to make it all look nice and clean... 

53 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

Something to think about before the floor and cap go in...are you planning on running 2 pieces of aluminum channel against the inside of the transom to bolt the bracket to?  I did it on my transom re-do years ago and it added additional rigidity to the transom in addition to preventing the bolts from pulling through.  It would be easier to fit that in there before the finish glass work goes into place so you are not fighting working in a tight space.  If you go that route, pre-drill one of the channel flanges every 2-3 inches with a 3/16" hole so the channel can be uses as a cable chase and you can zip tie the control cables and wiring harness to the aluminum, where needed

Yes, he scrapped the rectangular pieces of galvanized steel that came with the bracket and he has the same welder that is going to be doing the pipe welding coming in to cut and drill a full width plate to go along the top and bottom of the bracket... I like the route of the chanel and drilling the holes to secure the rigging, I am going to call down there in the morning to have him do just that... Speaking of the rigging, I was actually thinking about now changing the path for it since it no longer has to go up thru the side and make the turn into the transom, now it could be a straight shot and would look cleaner too...

53 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

I kinda always thought you would end up with a custom hardtop.  That boat is just too big for a mass produced top to give it the look you are after.  I am actually glad you are going custom as you would have been second guessing the decision to use something else that was laying around in someone's shop.

That is a very true statement, the one I had found that was about the right size was for an Everglades and nothing was perfect about it for my application, so in the end I told I was going to have him build it from scratch... I think it will look much better this way, and it will be unique with exactly what I like from others... 

53 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

Tell me more about G rated tires.  Do they ride harsher than a standard trailer tire?  I just replaced 5 tires last year with Goodyear Endurance after I had another brand send the tread shooting across 2 lanes of traffic on a 2 mile long bridge.  Just got on the bridge and felt a slight vibration.  Looked in the mirror and saw a black doughnut go sailing across the left lane.  Thankfully it did not hit any vehicles or cause any issues.  Got off the bridge, drove the front tire up a wood chock I keep in the truck that is high enough to get the adjacent tire off the ground, broke out the electric impact and had at it.  15 minutes later, back on the road.  Replaced all tires that week.

That is a common occurrence with your typical C, D, E rated trailer tires, they are all garbage IMO... on all of my big trailer I only run G rated tires, the brands I trust a Sailun, Advance, and Hercules in that order (ironically my buddy's shop who sells tires can't believe I like the Sailun tires so much since they are a cheaper Chinese tire, but they last)... The trailer I just built for the boat has a nice set of torsion axles under it so it will have a softer ride than springs. I only used two 6k axles spaced a bit wider than standard vs 3 axles because I didn't want too hard of a ride with stiff suspension... You will not see any sidewall deformation when you do any tight turns like you will on the most other tires with lesser ratings...

The G tires will ride very hard but if your suspension is soft that really shouldn't matter too much, you can always run the around 80psi or so to soften the ride more... The tires I use I run them at 110psi, they are 285/70/ 16 tires so they are close to 32.5in tall (a very big tire for most boat trailers), I'm not sure if you can get them any smaller or not, I'd have to ask...Anyway, the thing with the G tires is that I can honestly say that I have NEVER had a catastrophic blow out event with them on my big trailer in over 500K miles since I've run them exclusively... I have had hubs fail and drag these tires and they still survive... IMO, they are the only tire I will run because of the dependability and durability.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have locked into a hardtop design, the hardtop was built from a mold and on the 18th I will be down meeting with the pipe welder and the fiberglass guy to go over the smaller details and make sure we are 100%. The fiberglass shop wants me to be there so we can make sure the hardtop design works for the look I was wanting and to make sure it all works for the pipe welder as well... It won't be far off from that point forward....

 

I don't have any new pics of the build because shortly after I arrived there was a downpour and my phone was still in the truck however, the stringers have been laid and epoxied in, the glass fabric should be finished up this week and then the flooring will start to go in place... The rigging guy is there this week and doing all the plumbing, electrical in the stern, mounting the trim tabs, etc. I should have my transom lights and other needed electronics for him to get all tied in by the time I return on the 18th.

 

Things are really moving quickly now, I am actually the one holding it up a tad at this point since I wanted to be there for a few of the steps and wanting to be very involved at this stage of the game... 

 

So I will update later when I have more to add...

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I hope your meeting went well. Not wanting to sound like a know-it-all but from hands on and broken parts over the years  I can’t stress enough the need to be anchored onto the floor with backing plates or heavy duty marine toggle type bolts .  If the TOP is going to the gunnel cap we ran a support under the cap and to the floor and if it was getting a tower or hardtop on the initial build sheet we Automatically  glassed alum. Backing plates to be drill and tapped it in them.  Surprisingly more damage came from going down the highway at 75 mph ( yes some do ) on a long trip.  
cant wait to see her .

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/13/2020 at 9:07 PM, mrrobalo said:

I hope your meeting went well. Not wanting to sound like a know-it-all but from hands on and broken parts over the years  I can’t stress enough the need to be anchored onto the floor with backing plates or heavy duty marine toggle type bolts .  If the TOP is going to the gunnel cap we ran a support under the cap and to the floor and if it was getting a tower or hardtop on the initial build sheet we Automatically  glassed alum. Backing plates to be drill and tapped it in them.  Surprisingly more damage came from going down the highway at 75 mph ( yes some do ) on a long trip.  
cant wait to see her .

I agree with that 100%, I had said the same thing when they were discussing it just due to the localized stress in the mounting pads... I met with the guys working on the boat over the weekend to get an idea of their overall game plan and the welder is actually planning to build a base that goes between the fore and aft legs as well as when they mount it to the floor they plan to use a backing plate. He also plans to tie it into the console in a few different areas to add to the rigidity. My fiberglass guy is planning on adding some ribs and reinforcement to the console itself and he is also thinking he will be glassing the console down to the deck... I think all of this combined should make for an extremely sturdy build... 

 

 

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A few update pics from the weekend... Things are moving along good still...

Console is at the welding shop so he can do a mockup in the shop...

The hardtop mold came into the shop on Saturday and they should be getting ready to lay some glass this week.

The new cabin door is getting ready to be installed this week. Since it was tall.we had a few options but decided to keep it full height and glass up to it using the existing angles of the boat. Sounds more complicated than it really is, lol...

We decided not to even mess with adding the rear transom hatch that I was going to add to the wall,  now that we have everything open inside of the bilge and new stringers laid in place, all of the rigging will be run straight and we will maintain access to the transom thru the other hatch on the floor... If anything we may install a small starboard hatch at a later time if we need to have any access to the top portion of the transom. **This should work out great because I had been thinking of putting a fold down seat back there...

The entire deck was recored with Coosa amd epoxy. It used to have a little bit of give but it had a foam core originally. It feels as solid as concrete now.

Both of the fishbox lids were recored, they were saturated which is why they were so heavy before. The livewell lid had a few ribs added to it to strengthen it up some as well.

I think that is about all of the recent achievements and plans for right now... But things are gaining momentum... It won't be too much longer and the paint will be laid down and it will start to resemble a boat once again...

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Nice to see it coming together.  I really like that big access to the bilge area.  If you plan accordingly and don't have a sea chest or any other "crap" in the area outside of the main stringers, I cannot think of a reason to have it open for now.  Make sure they have some big limber holes at the stringer/transom interface to allow easy drainage of those areas...much easier to take care of that now instead of later.

I am kinda liking how you had to raise the areas for that door; it breaks the line of that big flat area.

Just out of curiousity, I went back and read your first post on this project.  How come what you laid out for phase 1 and 2 look nothing like what we are seeing now 😁?

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3 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

 

Just out of curiousity, I went back and read your first post on this project.  How come what you laid out for phase 1 and 2 look nothing like what we are seeing now 😁?

Lol, we all know what B.O.A.T stands for.... I'm living proof... 

Nothing like having a new boat built from a hull and cap!!!

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PoPs and I fished a few tournaments in one and once you get her in h ocean you will feel how solid she is. I took new models out and fished them with all intentions of seeing what I can break. It paid off in the long run a I  would bring the boat back on Monday park it just to the door of the rigging dept. After the supervisors morning meeting I would have them meet mE at the boat and let them see just what happens to it when the owner fishes it hard. First time they were so mad at me for just ripping it all apart. However I got my point across that this is where we HAVE TO IMPROVE THESE AREAS OF RIGGING. In a short period of time the changes were implemented and they actually couldn’t wait to see the boat. As with any new model there is going to be some things that just aren’t going to work and you just have to improve it as you go along.
The way you are building your “ DREAM BOAT “  with hands on workmanship will give YOU what you want. I know it is going to be expensive but getting it your way it will be far better than you can buy a production boat. At today’s prices you building this boat at 1/2 the price of a comparable boat on the market today. Will it be the perfect boat “ NO “ and I know that first hand my  DOTTIE Q Is 52 years old and I am still trying to rig her out But always find something I WANT TO CHANGE . 

KEEP UP TH GOOD WORK ! 

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  • 5 months later...

Lomg time no post, we had a pause over the winter but are back in the saddle again...

Some slight changes to the aft area from original design only because we realized it was no longer required for me to have a big hatch with an access to the stern since now only the rigging will be pushed up thru there... 

 

So, the deck is now all closed in, solid as a rock, stringers are fully tabbed in with support knees on both sides... the bilge access hatch is installed and look great, all of the rigging will now go thru this area instead of the side boxes now (should be very clean looking)... the blanks were installed to close off the cap from the cabin area.... the entire deck was recored including all hatch lids etc... THe companion way door was installed (still a rough in but mostly completed... 

 

This week the the new porthole windows will be installed (they are flush mound black metal and glass, a bit slimmer than the stock ones)... the aft area will be fully closed in this week with a solid piece on the interior... The deck will all be glassed in as one piece except for the large center piece over the fuel tank... The bracket may go on towards the end of next week finally as well... We need longer bolts to mount the bracket since the transom is a little over 5in thick lol... 

 

Soon, the console will be fully reinforced and of the old compartment holes and other nonsense will be closed in, hardtop will hopefully be started and finished... bow rail is going to be pulled off and cut down about halfway to give it a sportier profile, almost ready to start painting the topside amd the bilge area at this point... 

 

It is starting to feel more real now... re-rigging will be soon, then electronics package, gatorstep and the wrap... maybe a few more months I'm guessing...

Here are a few pics from the last 2 weeks...

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Get it together!!!! I want to see it all rigged up!

Was beginning to wonder what had happened to you since it had been 6 months since an update.  Thought you had won the lottery and bought a new boat.

I am assuming since the big hatch is no longer there, you still have some way to access the bilge?

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12 minutes ago, 2-N-TOW said:

Get it together!!!! I want to see it all rigged up!

Was beginning to wonder what had happened to you since it had been 6 months since an update.  Thought you had won the lottery and bought a new boat.

I am assuming since the big hatch is no longer there, you still have some way to access the bilge?

My fiberglass guy ran into some personal issues over the holidays so there was some delay but I am not in a huge rush.

 

Yeah, I tried to win the lotto bye so far I've been failing!!! I have a feeling that if I put as much money into the lotto as I have this boat I would have been able to play every possible combination lol...

 

I still have the large hatch just not the HUGE one (see pic), the pic may be a bit deceiving but I can actually climb down into the bilge myself (I am 6'2" and 240lbs)... There is no way I would have given up access to the bilge, I hate new boats that I can't access the bilge very well and don't want that here either...

We are closing the stern access area up with a solid piece of glass, just having a tunnel type access for the motor rigging... The hatch on the deck will have access to all of the plumbing, fuel/ water separators, plus a large storage area... All of the rigging has been rerouted and will no longer go thru the side box but right down the side of the stringer we added...

 

Here is a pic today with the new porthole window sitting in place, I attached an old one as well to compare...

 

 

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So today, the seams in the deck were all glassed in and sealed up (except for fuel tank access)... The only screws now are for the tank access, the only seams are where a hatch is now... I think it gives the boat a more modern look and feel once the Gatorstep has been laid out...

 

The bracket position has been calculated out and almost ready to mount... Waiting to paint the transom first though. For the paint we have decided to go with a Snow White Awlgrip paint... This will go on the stern, inside the gunwales, above the rubrail, any surface other than a walking surface... It should look sharp when completed. 

 

I think I had mentioned before that the fishbox hatches and fuel tank access were all cored with Coosa, the livewell hatch had ribs added for strength, the livewell was patched where someone had installed a 6in access plate to reach the plumbing (no longer needed due to the hatch)... 

 

Moving on along!!!

 

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Good idea on glassing the hull / cap joint and other non-accessable areas.  That will cut down on any potential rattles down the road.  I am amazed at some of the sounds my boat makes where some parts were bolted together and loosen over time.

Brackets...I am assuming you guys know the aggravation of finding the right height to mount the bracket.  I spent a lot of time with a sheet of paper covering the transom and plotting lines on it before the first hole was drilled.  Just be sure it allows you to be able to raise or lower the height sufficiently (this sounds kinda odd, but I would hate to hear the bracket was mounted too high and you could not get the motor low enough to run right).  For every 12 inches off the transom the motor sits, the height of the top of the bracket needs to go up 1 inch in relation to the factory transom height.  30 inch bracket; 2 1/2 inches higher.  

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1 hour ago, 2-N-TOW said:

Good idea on glassing the hull / cap joint and other non-accessable areas.  That will cut down on any potential rattles down the road.  I am amazed at some of the sounds my boat makes where some parts were bolted together and loosen over time.

Yeah, this was partly my thought and Joey who is doing most of the glass work said the same... He also is all about strength of the hull and tries to be strategic with where and how he ties things in... He plans to really strengthen the center console as well to give it real structure instead of just being a shell...

 

1 hour ago, 2-N-TOW said:

 

Brackets...I am assuming you guys know the aggravation of finding the right height to mount the bracket.  I spent a lot of time with a sheet of paper covering the transom and plotting lines on it before the first hole was drilled.  Just be sure it allows you to be able to raise or lower the height sufficiently (this sounds kinda odd, but I would hate to hear the bracket was mounted too high and you could not get the motor low enough to run right).  For every 12 inches off the transom the motor sits, the height of the top of the bracket needs to go up 1 inch in relation to the factory transom height.  30 inch bracket; 2 1/2 inches higher.  

 

Yes, the math on this is pretty intense... Luckily for me Joey has done this before and knwq how to calculate... He wants to paint the transom before hanging the bracket but he has already bored the holes. If he messes it up I guess we will have to install jack plates lol...

 

Things have started to speed up now, I know we still have to cut out the pulpit area for the anchor roller, bore the holes for the new flush mount cleats...  I think after those things are done we will be ready for prep and paint....

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Looking great. Is the floor live well going to be your only one.a word from   Experience is you have to be very careful when washing the boat to clean all the soap out of the live well . This isn’t just on your boat but any boat that has a floor live well. Too many times on my friends boat  we have loaded up on bait only to find them belly up when get to our fishing spot. 
so we brought another one for on the deck. I’ve also had to help out the kids who left it open and one of the others stepped into it .lol  Do you have it plumed yet ? If not I put these in live wells I built when I had a company that sold them .https://www.hottuboutpost.com/pentair-jet-3-8b-air-x-3-4b-water-w-air-check-valve-986200/ One similar to this. It helps keep the baits friskier. Another trick is to paint the inside light blue you and put a blue light in there .Depending on the bait it will keep them from jumping and hitting the lid plus easer to get at night.
Also the anchor pulpit is not solid so you don’t get surprised while cutting into it. There was a running change in construction where we added L shaped aluminum and plate to it as a stiffener as we had some that were not holding up in the field. 
Just my 2 cents worth. 

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2 hours ago, mrrobalo said:

Looking great. Is the floor live well going to be your only one.a word from   Experience is you have to be very careful when washing the boat to clean all the soap out of the live well . This isn’t just on your boat but any boat that has a floor live well. Too many times on my friends boat  we have loaded up on bait only to find them belly up when get to our fishing spot. 
so we brought another one for on the deck. I’ve also had to help out the kids who left it open and one of the others stepped into it .lol  Do you have it plumed yet ? If not I put these in live wells I built when I had a company that sold them .https://www.hottuboutpost.com/pentair-jet-3-8b-air-x-3-4b-water-w-air-check-valve-986200/ One similar to this. It helps keep the baits friskier. Another trick is to paint the inside light blue you and put a blue light in there .Depending on the bait it will keep them from jumping and hitting the lid plus easer to get at night.

Yes, the in floor livewell is the only one I have... If I had put 4 stroke engines on the boat I probably would have turned the 2 side boxes where I have the 2 stroke VRO jugs into above deck livewells... But, I am keeping the 2 strokes for a while so that may be a future expansion plan for a later repower.

 

I had considered changing the livewell hatch to a thick piece of acrylic with a seal, I have seen this on several newer boats and thought it was a good idea, I just don't have a lot of experience with building or modifying a livewell so we kept the existing hatch in place... I have seen a lot of boats paint the inside of the livewell blue and I was considering the same, as for lights I have a blue and white submersible LED the I am planning to install in there...

 

I have not plumbed it yet, it has been a while since the plumbing had crossed my mind but soon I will have to face it. I was overwhelmed by the amount of diagrams and options. So right now I basically have a fresh tub except for the drain in the bottom nothing else has begun... So if you have any best practices for plumbing an in deck livewell I am all ears...

 

2 hours ago, mrrobalo said:

Also the anchor pulpit is not solid so you don’t get surprised while cutting into it. There was a running change in construction where we added L shaped aluminum and plate to it as a stiffener as we had some that were not holding up in the field. 

I kinda figured this, when I removed the old bow light I realized that it was hollow. I believe the current plan is once we cut out the shape of the new thru pulpit roller we will box it in with Coosa and glass in order to provide more structure and rigidity to it. This part is not far off at this point so I will probably have some pics soon on this one.

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Joey just sent me some pics of the deck... All of glassworks has now been filled in and ready to be finished soon... He is about to shoot the paint on the transom next week and then he will be hanging the bracket... After the bracket is installed he will close up the transom access area with a Coosa panel... Tomorrow I am going to go explore Marine Connection Liquidators to see if I can find anything that I need... 

 

This beast is starting to look like a boat again. 

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