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Everything posted by Rugger

  1. @Jeffo, I know you didn't build this specifically for Wake Garage, but I promise you Wake Garage was made to showcase projects like this! Love the out of box thinking. I'm a big believer in Fresh Air Exhaust (good company and product) and you now have benefits of a few functions in one.
  2. Rugger

    Custom-Fabricated Wedge for 80s Direct Drive

    @Jeffo -- Thanks for the comments! I posted a polishing link in Shop Talk forum (below). Lots of techniques out there but I swear the zephyr system is great. I learned a lot from that wedge project, but I think I could have started with a better metal finish. Or at least got the flat pieces to a better point before welding.... would have been easier. You get what you pay for in terms of finish but you probably know a lot more about metal than me. That wedge took a lot of sanding until the actual polishing began. It did come out great though. One of my favorite projects for sure, especially because everyone said you can't put a wedge on an '87.
  3. That is awesome Jeffo! Great work. It's actually simpler than your other one which makes it an even better design in my book. Who needs a brake, that looks great. That might be difficult to make for my power wedge though. Why do you think your regular changed? Did you have the same wing plate shape before?
  4. This project was done around 2008, and seemed necessary after having to gut the 1987 Sunsetter due to rotten stringers and floors. Once that structural project was completed with modern materials (new stringers, fiberglass and composite flooring), I couldn't just reinstall the 80's era interior or it wouldn't be right. Plus the seat backs were also made of wood, were soft, and needed rebuilding. I've come to believe outside of the hull, those boats had no protection against water. So I took each one apart one by one, and replicated the seat bases one by one. Also rebuilt the bow so that every part of that interior was new. Unlike when the boat was built, this time the seat backs were reproduced but received multiple layers of fiberglass and resins to waterproof them and provide structural integrity. This was fairly painstaking, and it shows hand constructed boats of this era were not very symmetrical in their construction. If I were to do it today, I'd have done all composite, but this update will still last a lifetime. The rotten wood and vinyl were removed. New seat bases were constructed and waterproofed based on the original templates. But when it came time to replace the seat vinyl, we had some decisions to make. I figured it was a blank canvas at this point. I also had new carpet installed over the new floors. I sketched up some drawings of what I thought would look good -- more modern, but still fitting for that era boat hull and accents. In fact I went through all the current (2008) boat brochures and picked out my favorite schemes. After talking to a few people at the Malibu factory about materials, I was referred to one of their own interior specialists at the time when the Merced factory was still there. He made some suggestions (and improvements) to the designs to work better with these sizes and layouts, I gladly took them, and we made it happen. New skins were made using Malibu's 2008 vinyl with newer styling and more robust materials. We also decided to replace all the foam with the latest and greatest. Essentially I ended up with a 2008 interior in a 1987 boat. Could not have been happier with the way the boat turned out! I loved the classic look of the original interior, but I would not have traded it for anything after the project was complete. Hats off to the good folks at Malibu who helped with the materials. They were very supportive, and that experience probably steered me to buy another Malibu later. This boat is a one of a kind (see the other projects re: stringers, transom, dash, custom fabricated wedge) and then went to an even better project guru (MartinArcher), who gave it a custom-fitted Titan III tower, ballast, surf gate and his world renowned Wake Logic custom controller for wake devices and more.
  5. This project was easy... I needed to swap the decals from a boat 13 years old, which means years of sun exposure to the gel coat will contrast with the virgin gel coat beneath the decals. If you replace decals with the exact same one, you'll be fine. But for an updated look, in this case stainless emblems with a different size, you have a problem if you don't restore the gel coat properly. A couple things... This project on the 2003 was not extreme, because the gel coat looked new, until we pulled the decals. (I did this once on a 80s Sunsetter, red, and it was much harder because there were more years of exposure that created a chalky red.) A quick polish will make the contrast go away briefly, but trust me it will not last. It's best to clean, wet sand and then polish. This project was for decal swap, but the same steps work for restoring color regardless. In this case the gelcoat was in great shape, because it gets polished and waxed regularly. So it's really not the best example for demonstration. These pictures are not very good, but you can see not only the outline but the gelcoat has a different gray then the grey thats been exposed to the sun. Polishing is just a temporary solution, but you don't want to put new decals on until you make a permanent adjustment. 1) So I first washed the boat so there was no dirt in the area I was working on. I used acetone to remove the decal residue completely. 2) Before starting the wet sanding process, tape off a section off the area you are working on. You have to be patient with this process, when you wet sand from lower to higher grit paper, you cannot skip a step and its easy to get lost even on a small section. Tape helps you keep track. 3) Only use a sanding block, do not use a rotary or try to wetland with your hand. It's also best to get good wetsand paper, and let it soak in a bucket first. For this project I started with 600 grit, the 800, then 1000, then 1200, then 1500, then 2000. Had to clean in between every step, and keep the sanding block/paper wet the entire time. Also, it helps to move the tape out with each step. I found a little car wash soap in my water-dunking bucket was helpful because it made it a little slick as well. 4) When it was clean and dry, I taped off the next section and repeated the process. 5) At the end, I removed all tape and polished the entire area with a rotary buffer using a wool cut pad and Maguiers 105 (heavy cut) polish. Although not needed, I then went to 3M's Finesse it polish for a final finish. I almost waxed it before realizing I should put the new decals on first so they stick better. Not sure if I needed it, but I used a little more acetone to clean the gelcoat again before the decals. Once they were on, I added the wax to the whole thing. It's best to cover your trailer too, I did not and it got pretty mucky from the wet sanding you can see in the picture. It does wash right off though. A few boat trips and sun exposure, and the gel coat contrast is still completely gone. Permanently fixed, until I decide to change decals years down the road. I'm a hack, so I'm sure professional detailers can jump in here and improve the process. But this works very well. EDIT: I found pictures of a previous project I had to do to the 87 Sunsetter. It too received new decals, but the gel was in much worse shape to start with and was a better example of before and after. Check it out... I hope it's helpful for anyone who shies away from an older boat because it was chalky!
  6. Rugger

    Boat Renew / Audio Upgrade 2012 Malibu 22 MXZ

    Thanks for posting, Chris. That's a sweet boat. The attention to detail is second to none with sub box etching, button, bezel etc. It's really multiple good projects within one large install that myself and others can use as a great example. It's got me spinning with ideas! Thanks again.
  7. Rugger

    Malibu 247 8.1L FAE Install

    Any changes you'd make if you did it again? My 8.1 needs an FAE this summer. I miss having it from last boat. I'm gonna modify my swim deck first though.
  8. As part of the rebuild of the 1987 Sunsetter, we rebuilt and redesigned the interior. One of the projects within this rebuild was the dash, and I've seen many questions about replacing the dash in this era of boats so I wrote up this project to show you one option. The dash on these boats was essentially a large vinyl sticker over gelcoat with tournament water ski time guides printed on it, and featured a 80s grid pattern. You can't buy this vinyl sticker anymore as a replacement. I actually really liked the dash and thought about re-creating the vinyl with my own custom tweaks to keep the boat closer to stock. It's a classic ski boat and I wasn't trying to completely change it. But some of the switches and gauges were also having issues so I ended up making an entire new dash w/rocker switches and white face gauges, which I bought as a set on Ebay. I really wanted vinyl and was able to get some extra black vinyl from Malibu when they helped with my new interior. The goal was to make it more modern but to look like it could have come stock on this boat. I started with a blank aluminum sheet, and cut down the basic shape. The challenge was bending the sides to match the contours of the fiberglass, because they had about a 1"rounded turn in them and had to fit. I could not find a way to achieve this in my garage. So I took the aluminum piece, with measurements and examples of the bend I needed, to a machine shop and they handled it no problem. Worth it. From there I just needed to plan my gauges, switches and layout, and start cutting holes. I used poster board as a template for this step. Once the holes were cut out I heated the vinyl, and stretched it over the dash adhesive until it fit like a glove, and then installed the gauges. All in all, I was thrilled with the results and it really added to the overall redesign/rebuild!
  9. I just broke this project up into multiple parts. I remember how hard it was to find examples of specific parts of the project so hopefully Wake Garage's database with sections will be more helpful to those just looking at specific areas of restoration.
  10. Rugger

    Exhaust mod/ cav plate mod

    That is sweet! I loved the concept when I saw Centurion's announcement. Unfortunately for me I have Malibu's power wedge to deal with... I do like using the wedge and it's adjustments, but it'd be awful hard to create exhaust like this with the wedge. Nice job on both projects, Jeffo! Was the rooster tail the only disadvantage to the FAE style pipe? The plate is cooler for sure, but just curious.
  11. Rugger

    MB Slappers

    But wait.... I thought we couldn't get a wave like that without a $150k boat? Haha. That's a monster wave. Love it
  12. The cool thing is the old Illusion is getting retrofitted (narrowed) for an older Malibu. So it's getting new life and will make the next boat look great too. Hoping he will post that project here too.
  13. Rugger

    MB Slappers

    Looks like you had a manual ghetto gate, err, "slapper" at one time (sitting on platform in picture). Post some wake pics when you can! Awesome project. You could probably charge some of us for your relay/timer recipe... its very clean and looks like it works well. I'm a huge fan of Wake Logic but you came up with a very effective alternative. Impressive. You'll probably get hit with more questions about it come summer. Nice project and thanks for sharing it!
  14. Rugger

    Reversible manual surf gate

    Thanks. Got a few mods in the works... But the manual SG mod definitely was worth a few hours of time. Saved me from having to throw down so much weight right out of the gate for sure. I have the materials for powered gates, just need the time. Been really happy with a basic setup but I still hate trying to fight the steering with a manual gate, especially to pull around and pick up goofy riders. Make sure to edit in any updates to your SG project, and let me know if I can help!
  15. Spending over 80 hrs on prepping the hull and tiny details like adding motor decals... wow. Nice work. That's impressive. Love the silver metallic tower matching the new decals too. That's a sweet looking boat. If you have any more pictures of rebuilding the ballast pumps, please post them in the ballast projects! Haven't seen that done too often but I'll bet you'd save others money. Thanks for sharing! That's about as detail oriented and impressive as I've seen. Congrats.
  16. Rugger

    My custom Nautique 230 NSS

    Awesome project, Max 1.6. Thanks for sharing. That's some solid info on the psi force the system generates. I'm thinking about trying this on my Malibu. No doubt to me Nautique's NSS design is clean. Nicely done!
  17. Rugger

    Exhaust Manifold/Tip/Piping Upgrade

    Love that boat. The fly by video made it all worth while. Besides the sound, did you notice a big performance increase with the increased flow?
  18. Rugger


    One of the original and best implementations of DIY gates to date. Shows you what old school boats are capable of and shows off some pretty frickin' slick engineering on your part. I remember when you were going through the process. Thanks for sharing the results.
  19. Rugger

    Manual Surf Gate Project

    Nice job. That stepped transom is a pain but glad the bracket solved the problem. There are quite a few similar shaped transoms out there where that bracket would work, including Centurions, Malibu LXis and some Nautiques. You'll be stoked when you get those actuators on there.
  20. That's a lot of insight. We don't see enough engine mods, yet we spend thousands on tower speakers without even blinking I can't wait to see that Skier on the water. It's gonna scream!