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1996 2120 Restoration, Work in Progress!


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Last spring I came across a 1996 Robalo 2120 that was destined to the junk yard by a local marina owner. I asked if I could have the boat for free and I was the proud new owner!  It had been sitting for 5 years after being storm damaged and abandoned, so needless to say it has plenty of issues. But I enjoy a good project and the world was shut down due to covid so it gave me something to do.  I am happy to get into extreme details if anyone has a particular interest in any step so feel free to comment and I'll elaborate. 

First pictures are how she sat.  Bent bow rail, missing t-top canvas, hull damage on the bow and starboard side.. totally neglected and bastardized. 

https://imgur.com/a/v5B23DS

Brought her to my local marina and got to work.  I focused my efforts on the hull damage first at the bow and starboard sides.  I took an angle grinder with a flap disk and ground out the damage until I got to good clean fiberglass under the gelcoat.  Traced the pattern onto some plastic with exceedingly larger patches every 1/2" or so to build up the area. Layered 6oz glass with West Systems epoxy and fileted the area with thickened epoxy to get the bow shape back in order.  After the patch cured I sanded it down with 80/120 grit for a smooth finish, color matched some gelcoat and painted it to look half-way decent. Wet sanded the gelcoat down with 200/400/600 grit for a smooth finish. Finished with a good wax job and she's water tight.  Painted the bottom and removed all the weathered lettering/striping for a clean hull. 

https://imgur.com/a/rUCePE6

Not Robalo related but did some motor repairs. New high pressure & low pressure fuel pumps, timing belt & tensioner, injectors, VST service, exhaust leg replacement, cooling service, full tune up.. started on first crank! 

https://imgur.com/a/u1r55Tn

Now that the motor was operational and the hull was water tight, time to hit the water! I had a t-top made up, gave the boat a deep cleaning and used the boat all summer!

https://imgur.com/a/AjexKur

Now we come to present day.. Boat is very bow heavy, the fuel tank is original and should be replaced, the wiring is a mess, the bow rail is bent, pulpit is chewed up, and the motor sits too low in the water for my liking. I plan to tackle these issues this winter. This past weekend I started at the bow. I removed the bow rail and pulpit with no plan to replace, bring the boat into the modern age looks wise.  Then  I took my circular saw, grinder, hammer and pry bars and removed the front lockers.  Dug out about 150 pounds of foam underneath and plan to re-glass the deck flat. Maybe I'll add some bow seating down the line.  But here is where I am at today! 

https://imgur.com/a/pUpx9zy

Plans going forward are.. glass the new bow deck. Pull the t-top off and replace the fuel tank (maybe cut the deck under the tank and dig out that wet foam too..). Cut the transom off and raise it 6"-8". Rewire the entire boat. A bit ambitious but we'll see how it goes!  I'll update the post as I go along  

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Impressive. Looks good. You'll have to read MrRobalo's comment about male boats: http://robaloboatowners.net/forums/index.php?/topic/7504-register-your-old-robalo/page/2/#comment-39448

Sounds like you've got more work planned and I'm surprised the original tank is still good.

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1 hour ago, FullThrottle said:

Impressive. Looks good. You'll have to read MrRobalo's comment about male boats: http://robaloboatowners.net/forums/index.php?/topic/7504-register-your-old-robalo/page/2/#comment-39448

Sounds like you've got more work planned and I'm surprised the original tank is still good.

LOL male boats... that's great. 

To my knowledge the tank is still good which is shocking. Used it all summer with no glaring issues but I have shop space available this winter so I'm going to go ahead and replace it. Thinking of going with a plastic Moeller tank.. aluminum tanks are double the price right now and have a 2-3 month lead time from our local shops. Any opinions?

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Did the motor come with the boat?

Was any of that foam wet when you dug it out of the front?

Definitely go with the plastic tank.  Plastic tanks are held in place by straps, not foamed in like on older boats.  Also check fuel coffin to see if it has a drain to the bilge for any water that may collect in there.

The picture of it in the water looks great!

If the foam up front was not wet, a little surprised it was sitting low in the water.  Transom sitting low...part of that could be the weight of the 4 stroke motor being about 100 lbs more than a comparable 2 stroke. Are the batteries located in the boxes at the transom or under the console?  If at the transom, move them forward and that will get around 120 lbs off the back.

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@2-N-TOW

Motor came with the boat, had good compression in all cylinders when I looked at it.  Sitting for 5 years I knew the fuel system would be compromised so I pre-emptively went ahead and serviced it from the inline filter through the injectors.  Also with these F225 motors they are an interference motor meaning if the timing belt fails it would cause catastrophic failure so I put a new belt and tensioner on to avoid that potential issue.  Motor ran strong all summer so I am happy with that.

Foam in the bow was wet on the top 1/2" and wet down at the stringers about 1-1/2", but I was surprised overall it was in acceptable shape. I'm afraid water is pooled under the coffin box, I may have to cut open under the tank and do some further digging.  

Batteries are currently in the transom boxes and I do plan to move them under the console when I re-wire the boat. Thinking I will ditch the house battery as I don't have a complicated electronics system. I plan to cut out the transom boxes entirely to free up the stern for fishing, sort of like the contender open center consoles. I also plan to raise the transom 6" to get the motor to sit up higher, I have enough leg on the motor to go up. It'll come down to how much I can get done before May 

 

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@EstettnerAfter running our 2120 for the past two years and racking up over 250+ hrs(running on the water) I have figured out a few more quirks about the boat that I would do if I were going to the length you are...

Plan out your systems and plan for the future...

  • Run a small wiring tube from the CC area forward to accommodate expansion of systems
    • Plan for a windlass/trolling motor, speakers forward (even if you don't do them its a selling point to the next owner) 
  • Under the CC is a coffin box - the 103 gal tank runs from the back of it forward. The forward end of the tank is most likely held in place with closed cell foam.  I would dig all that out because there is about 18" of wasted space and do the following from stern to bow:
    • Add a smaller tank or have your aluminum tank cut down 30%(there is no need to carry more than 75 gals of fuel unless you are fearless and running 100+ miles offshore)
    • Add a small water tank for rinsing and washing down the boat ~ 5 gals 
    • Add a small access port (hatch door) on the floor in front of the CC so you can access the fresh water pump 
  • Center console 
    • Batteries under the helm / pinnacle is a good choice
    • upgrade your electronics - start with fuse panel, switches, add a good MFD unit running a NM2K network - I think two most important tools to integrate into your MFD(Fuel flow meter and AIS)
      • AIS is important if you start doing longer / larger runs and need assistance.
      • Fuel flow meter - knowing you have an F225 your cruise range with a 60 gal tank is easily 180 miles @ cruising speed ~ 3400 RPM's.  Having a fuel flow meter can be an important tool and another good and in-expensive upgrade that will give you peace of mind
    • T-top - move as much as you can and take advantage of it and the box. 
      • stern/anchor light
      • running lights on each side
      • vhf/fm antenna, etc.   
  • Transom area 
    • Trim tabs - I run them 12" Bennett tabs, I use them heavily as loads shift, change, etc.  We can also load up to 6+ adults and kids, two huge coolers gear and the boat is easily controlled and helps balance it all out.  Additionally, I find with with my 2120 and the transom bracket the boat loves to ride high - this is great in smooth water but as soon as it gets rough I want to nose into it without sacrificing trim.  Your F225 would way about 400 lbs more than my 200 HP ox66 but with the transom and bracket it is probably very similar.  
    • Jack Plate - If you can find a used jack plate consider it - now I run in FL and cruise through many passes and deal with shifting sand but they are helpful and frankly can ad additional engine performance and efficiency
    • If you consider closing the transom and adding a transom bracket, consider building a storage box across the boat that can include cooler, saftey equipment, fishing gear/etc. 

 

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Great points Mosalin.  Trim tabs are a great help.  Also, oversize any rigging tubes and seriously consider a second rigging tube for future expansion.  Easier to do it once instead of re-doing it later.  As for enclosing the transom and adding a bracket, here is the link to my re-build:

 

16 years later and still as strong as the day it was finished.

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On 3/3/2022 at 7:29 PM, 2-N-TOW said:

Great points Mosalin.  Trim tabs are a great help.  Also, oversize any rigging tubes and seriously consider a second rigging tube for future expansion.  Easier to do it once instead of re-doing it later.  As for enclosing the transom and adding a bracket, here is the link to my re-build:

 

16 years later and still as strong as the day it was finished.

Love that transom job.  Mine is clean but you did what i would have done if I did it myself too.  Ironically I have some cracks starting to appear along the cap...its most likely nothing more than superficial, who knows what materials they used when they laid it up but from what I can tell it appears to be some sort of filler that is cracking.  I'll take pic's of it and posted so y'all can see. 

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Thought I would throw some pics up of what our transom looks like and how the boat sits on its lines.  If I could I would have raised the bracket up at least another 1" but I'm pretty sure they consulted with Armstrong when they added it.  Again, if I were going to the lengths of pulling the boat apart I would consider reducing the size of tank and moving as much weight forward. 

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Looks great!  Regarding your comment about raising the bracket, how high is the motor above the top of the bracket?  Is there enough room that it could be dropped if the bracket has been raised another inch?  When on plane, is the top of the cavitation plate above the water surface like this?

 

cavitation plate.jpg

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There is room to go down if the bracket was up another inch.  No issues with cavitation plate when trimmed up, but it would be nice to have it up higher and the engine a bit more vertical.  Especially when in tight water, you just have a cleaner bite with your prop.  

Side note - buffed the boat out this weekend - looks better than new! Just have to figure out how to get below the waterline...might have to let a marina do that part of the job. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So this thread got me motivated. One benefit of living in Southwest Florida is there are tons of boats and used parts to find, repurpose, etc.  So I've been hunting for a T-Top.  I found one on FB Marketplace for a sick deal.  Best part is, it will fit with only a few minor modifications and it has a built in leaning post...its going to be super cool.  Here is the sketch and pics - the guy thinks it came off an old Pursuit which is the same hull with minor interior mods. 

 

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@mosailn Great advice! I'll definitely be doing the wire chase for future upgrades.  And glad I could inspire you to put the t-top on, it will be a huge improvement.  Weather has sucked up in NY, lots of rain and below 40 degree temps so my glass work is on hold until it warms up. Would hate to go through all of this effort and then have the glass not cure properly. I will update as I go along in the next few weeks

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Estettnerthat is exactly why I moved to Florida - after 40+ years in NY & NE I had enough.  Originally grew in Huntington! Anyway, top is done, now tough part is to rig it and fasten it to the floor.  

@2-N-TOW or @EstettnerDo you know the depth of the original floor? How deep can I drill over the fuel tank? I was planning on using 3/16" bit and slightly larger stainless screws and 5200 to bed it all down.  The rest of it will be bolted to the console. 

Thank you guys! I'll post pics when I get it on the boat. 

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Mosailn -

On my 2160 I believe it was a 1/2" composite core for the regular floor.  Fuel tank will probably have a similar layup

image.png

I am not a big fan of just a screw holding the t-top flange as they will work loose eventually.  If this is going into the coffin lid, check the clearance between the lid and the tank by measuring at the inspection port over the fuel sender.  There should be 1-2" clearance.  Best solution is to mount a 1/4" (or 1/2") aluminum plate to the backside of the coffin lid with fast set 4200 adhesive, then drill and tap the backer plate to accept stainless screws.  Be sure to overdrill the hole in the coffin lid so you can either backfill with epoxy or your favorite sealant to prevent water intrusion into the core.

Another option is the toggle bolts / wall anchors used for installing shower grab rails.

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Thank you, I doubt my '86 2120 has a composite sandwich construction like that, I'm almost certain it is plywood.  I'm thinking toggle bolts are the right way to go. Unfortunately, pulling the coffin lid is not part of my plan this year.  

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Got the top on the boat tonight @Estettnercan any work done recently? This was a huge effort by me and my neighbors - pictured on the boat.  We rigged up a couple of lines threw them around the limb of a tree and pulled the t-top up with my wrangler...we then backed the boat down and slid over/on top of the console.  Tomorrow I'll trim out the SeaDek and start pre-drilling holes and getting the tower ready to mount.  Need to make some modifications to the hatch doors and start the process of filling holes and cleaning up the boat to make it look ship shape for the rest of this season.  

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well we made a few more tweaks and dialed it all in after our test run.  Here is the revised adjustments, raised the cross bar and added some additional lower supports.  This thing is solid as a rock! I'll make a seat & backrest today/tomorrow for the integrated leaning post.  Next up get the old boy rigged & cleaned up for the rest of the season..  Fill holes, paint the transom bracket, rig up the electronics box, compound the interior, brighten up the teak, get a few new pieces of SeaDek for the deck and throw one more coat of wax on the topsides.  This coming winter I'll tackle a complete rewire of the boat. 

@Estettner thanks for the motivation - how's it going? 

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front of console.jpg

Olaf with new top.jpg

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Good to hear you got it mounted and is real solid!

Curious as to the prep and paint you will be using on the bracket as I need to re-do mine in the near future.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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