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  • Share your completed boat projects!  DIY or Professional Installs

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  • Complete Refurbish of SANTE 220

    • Year: 2007 Brand: Nautique / CC Model / Trim: SANTE 220 Cost: $3500+ DIY or Professional Install: (unspecified)

    For the past two years (off and on), I completely restored a 2007 SANTE 220.  I wanted a "newer style" wakeboard boat, but without the cost (haha!).  Keep in mind I was coming from a 2002 Bayliner 175 that I paid $1000 for, refreshed the motor, and replaced the interior (a raccoon went at the cushions buffet-style).

    I found this boat on craigslist.  It was in need of a serious rehaul.  Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the boat as it sat when I picked it up, but from the photos below you can assume it wasn't pretty.  The boat was kept about 1 mile from the ocean and was heavily oxidized/rusted.  After a long and rainy drive home, I pulled it into my Dad's shop.




    The rain hides the oxidation in this photo.  The prior owner couldn't tell me much about the boat - he bought it from White Lake Marina but never got around to starting the work (I think he bit off more than he could chew).  I contacted White Lake Marina, which gave me the service history on the boat (a big help when working on this!).  Apparently it was a trade in on a new boat.

    Disassembly was easy, but had me worried about finishing the build.  Everything was significantly rusted - even the motor mounts were rusted through!


    I made myself very familiar with the sandblaster and sandblasted + painted or powdercoated every part that was to be reused on the motor (I have a powder coat boot and oven in my basement, so that helps!).  I learned from the service records that the exhaust manifolds were recently replaced, saving me quite a bit of money!  I also bought replacement motor decals.


    We also examined in the trans and v-drive.  other than a few seals and sandblasting/painting, both were in good shape.  Keep in mind that the seals from Nautique are expensive, but are not unique.  Spend the time measuring and you can buy generic ones and save some money.  That goes for most parts on these boats - most are outsourced and can be bought from the manufacturer directly instead of through Correct Craft (saving at least 50%).

    The next big undertaking was the hull.  I stripped it down to bare fiberglass (taking out the monkey fuzz and all) and began wet sanding.  I spent over 80 hours prepping the hull - from wet sanding, repairing gel coat dings, and buffing.  It took some serious elbow grease to sand/buff out the sun fading from the old decals.  I could purchase small containers of the matching white in a bondo-like paste, but had to create the paste myself for the blue (I could buy the matching blue, but had to mix it with silica to make the paste).  Repairing the gel coat is much like bondo work (which I have significant experience in).  I also removed the underwater gear and cleaned/waxed the bottom of the boat.  Using muratic acid was the easiest way to quickly clean the fiberglass.  I used one of my dad's shop's lifts to hold the boat up while I waxed the bottom.


    I ran new wiring for much of the boat, and installed a new steering cable and middle windshield (the original was missing...).  Taylor Made was a bit pricey, but easy to work with on purchasing the original windshield.  After finalizing the interior sand/buff I began installing the new motor (and refreshed v-drive and trans).  Mounting an engine lift to one of my dad's shop's lifts, and deflating the trailer tires, I was able to back to boat under the lift to easily lower the motor into place. 


    This is where the fun began - seeing the boat take shape.  But I was a bit nervous on installing the old tower.  The bolts on the tower were corroded, and there was a small dent in the side post.  Looking around online I found others who installed an FCT5 tower on these boats.  Selling the old tower (it was in high demand, actually) I was able to defer about half of the cost of the new tower.  I also found a used Z5 bimini for a great price (the 10-hour drive to get it sucked, but it saved me $$$). 


    I paid someone to install the decals on the sides - these things were nearly $1K!  I have installed an untold number of decals in my life, but paying someone $40 so I knew I wouldn't mess these up was money well spent.


    I had a local body shop match the blue for the side of the FCT5 tower and the white for the base, but painted the actual tower a metallic silver to match the new decals.  Plus I had never seen a silver tower (most of them are white, black, or the predominant color of the boat) and I wanted this boat to be a bit different.  I also had a local decal shop make matching registration numbers.


    I went back and forth on the interior - whether to use original Nautique skins and install them myself, or have my local upholsterer make/install new skins.  I have installed skins before - it's not difficult but it is time consuming.  I went with the local upholsterer predominantly for price - she was about $1400 cheaper to make/install the skins than I would have had in just buying original replacement skins!  Plus with three young kids, I have a feeling I will be needing interior repair work sooner rather than later.  No need to worry about an expensive skin getting ripped up.

    My dad helped me rebuild all of the ballast water pumps.  At approximately $350 each, it was worth a shot.  I'm still working out some small bugs in the, but we essentially sandblasted/painted the pumps, swapped out the paddle wheel, and replaced magnetos inside the electric motors (about $4 each from J&N Electric).  J&N Electric also helped me on a few other relays/switches and I could not be more impressed with their customer service.  I would walk in with some small electrical component and everytime someone would happily help me for 30-45 minutes search through their parts books to find a replacement (often less than $10).

    Some other fun touches I added - retractable pylon, blue courtesy lights, Roswell horn mono speakers (painted blue to match), blue led cupholders, blue leds in the rear side vents, Seablaze X underwater lights out the back, and Seadek throughout (instead of carpet). 


    Nearly two years later, and weathering a (1) basement remodel (did myself); (2) sale of old house; (3) purchase of new home (with 6 acres and barn for my toys!); and (4) baby #3 - I can now say it's finished and our family is enjoying the lake nearly every weekend.  I can literally say every single part on this boat was either replaced or rebuilt (we even disassembled the computer to confirm it was in good shape, rebuilt all of the gauges individually, replaced every single hose in the boat, and used muradic acid with clear coat to keep the tracking fits and prop looking like new brass!)

    My wife says she almost killed me during the build, but couldn't be happier now with a new boat for about 60% of the cost of a typical 220  (isn't that how it always goes?).  To think - she wanted me to build her a house!

    Big shout out to my Dad, who helped quite a bit and let me use his killer set of tools...




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    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.



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    How's the Seadeck compared to carpet?   That's a straightforward update that really updates the boats quickly.  Did you have to prep it beyond pulling the carpet and general cleanup?  

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    That is an impressive refurb.  When you took the engine out to clean it up, where did you separate it?  Was the process difficult?  I am doing to some extensive fiberglass work to the back corner of my boat and this would be a good time to clean up the engine.  It would also make working back there easier.



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