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  1. #1
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    Default 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Hello Everyone,

    With luck this thread will follow and document my eventual restoration and repair of my newly acquired 1971 21' Chieftain!

    This boat followed me home at the beginning of last week soon after I discovered it on Craigslist. I bought the boat as a non-runner in somewhat unknown condition. The boat had been sitting for likely close to 20 years under cover, it had recently replaced fuel tanks and all new fuel lines as the PO had planned to start using the boat again but had never gotten around to it. Beyond that though the boat was in close to the same condition it was in when it was parked in the early 90's.

    The seller wanted $950 for the boat and trailer and I happily paid the asking price as I've wanted a Chieftain for years and knew he had other interest in the boat and would have no issues getting his ask.

    We filled out the DMV paperwork along with a bill of sale and my brother and I were on our way home, I quickly realized that our truck with a 4.3V6 was not the ideal tow vehicle for a boat this size, we made it home without incident but after seeing our 2 hour drive going to look turn into a 3 1/2 hour drive coming home I realized that I will definitely want more power on tap if I ever plan on going real distances with the boat on trailer.

    Over the next week I worked on the boat as time allowed, on the engine I found that the starter and solenoid had been rebuilt shortly before the boat was parked, the entire ignition system less the coil also looked brand new and recently replaced, but the engine wouldn't start, it wouldn't even crank over.

    I was worried that the engine had seized from sitting for so long. Thankfully I was wrong, it turned out that the copper plate inside the starter solenoid had become so badly corroded that it was no longer providing continuity between the battery and the starter and as a result I was getting a healthy sounding solenoid click but no power to the starter.

    With that problem resolved I moved on to the fuel system. I didn't hit any real snags working through this, I replaced the water separator filter and used a Mity-vac to prime the fuel lines, I then used a fuel pressure vacuum gauge to check the pump on the block, everything checked out fine so I put everything back together and got fuel flowing to the carb.

    Next up was the ignition system, this took me the longest as all my previous experience has been on diesel engines and I didn't realize I was looking at the wiring diagram backwards until the third day of playing with test lights and probing around with my Fluke. It turned out my no spark issue was a bad coil, $36 later I had a new one and had a good spark. I rough adjusted the point gap and was back in business.

    I turned the key with the outdrive on muffs and the engine started up almost instantly. I forgot to mention previously but I did a compression test and found all six cylinders to be at 120PSI +/- 2PSI

    Now with the engine running I did a visual check on the outdrive to verify proper shifting and water flow, everything looked fine so I headed off to the lake for a sea trial, everything worked as it should with the exception of the (up) button for the tilt (it had to be jury rigged by jumping the solenoid on the pump).

    Happy with the way everything was working I brought the boat back and now I'm contemplating what to begin work on next.








  2. #2
    Lieutenant Teamster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Nice looking rig,...

    Yous don't want to know what I might maybe do to that boat if I owned it!!!!,.....lol,..

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Welcome. Looks and sounds like you got a lot of boat for not much money.
    Dave P.
    1979 22' Starcraft Supersport V5
    w/ 1985 Evinrude 140 & 1979 Evinrude 9.9

    My original thread about my boat:
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  4. #4
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Nice looking boat and a great deal for the money and the motor even runs congrats and welcome. How are the floor and transom ?

  5. #5
    Admiral Huron Angler's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Welcome aboard Erik, nice Chieftain for a good price...congrats!

    Glad to hear you made progress with the motor, that inline 6 should provide plenty of power for the rig.

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Commander boatnut74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Thats a nice looking rig, almost identical to mine. Those inline 6 motors are excellent and very good on fuel.
    1969 Lonestar Medallion restoration

    1972 Glastron GT-160 restoration

    1973 Silverline Grand Bahama restoration

    1991 Galaxie 19' 4.3 Mercruiser
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  7. #7
    Lieutenant Junior Grade MichaelP's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Welcome to the Starmada! Wicked deal you got there! Looks like the deck will need some attention soon but over all it's in excellent condition for it's age. Someone here from NJ is searching for something like that and having a tough time.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Thanks for the comments everyone. As for the floor and transom, well the floor in the cuddy has some very soft spots from standing water and will need to be replaced. There is also soft wood at the sides of the engine and the wood under the seats (under the replacement fuel tanks) is new but hacked into place above the original floor. So I plan on gutting the boat at the end of the season and replacing the entire floor as most of it needs work and I'd rather do it right once than patch in panels and be right back working on it in a few years.

    The transom seems to be good and solid, but I won't say that for sure until I have a chance to pull the cap and probe around a bit.

    I really do like the inline 6 engine, it has plenty of "get up an go" to move the boat but can also happily push the boat around at 800RPM for canal cruising. Does anyone have rough fuel economy numbers for the engine? Reason I ask is I have ~22 gallon fuel capacity on the boat and I'm planning on doing some canal trips with the family later this year and want to get a rough idea of how long I'll be able to run before I need to fill-up.

    Thanks again for the comments, I'll be sure to keep the thread updated with pictures and my progress!

    Erik

  9. #9
    Admiral jigngrub's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Thats a super sweet tinny and deal you got there!!!(*insert envy emoticon here*)
    I consider overkill a job well done... plus a little extra.

    There's as many ways to do something as there is people to tell you how to do it... but not all of them are the right way.

    The drinking and debauchery will continue until morale improves... and maybe for a little while after.

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner jasoutside's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Gotta agree with these guys Erik, excellent score on the new rig man! Great boat all around buddy, enjoy and welcome to the Starcraft brohood

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Teamster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Personally I would redo the floors and put in a 40 or 50 gallon tank,......

    Better to much than not enough,........

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Quote Originally Posted by Teamster View Post
    Personally I would redo the floors and put in a 40 or 50 gallon tank,......

    Better to much than not enough,........
    I like this idea, I know I'm redoing the floors, but putting in a larger single tank at the same time is also appealing.

    Anyone here know what size tank(s) was/were factory on this boat? Right now it has two new 11.5 gallon tanks mounted under the seats.

    Thanks,

    Erik

  13. #13
    Lieutenant Junior Grade MichaelP's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    I had a Mercruiser 165 4 banger that got about 3.5 gph @ 3500 rpm in a 19' Stingray cuddy. Yep a glasser but that was when I was very very young. I'm toiling on tank size myself. Check out the Inca brand.

  14. #14
    Lieutenant Teamster's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Stop by Jason's 22 foot Islander thread and see what he put n for a tank,....If I remember right it was way bigger than the original,...

  15. #15
    Chief Petty Officer tgp***'s Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    WOW!! Nice boat. The gas tank is just like everything else, bigger is always better. That is one nice ride you have there, I'm jelous.
    2011 SOTY Award Winner
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  16. #16
    Lieutenant Commander boatnut74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    I think the factory tanks were around 12 gallons, one under each seat. I had one original in mine and it looked close to twelve. I know under the deck of mine there wasn't a whole lot of room for a belly tank, but one would fit. I think I only had about 7 1/2" of height where I could put one. Moeller had a couple that would work, one was a 26 gallon and I think they had one that was around 50ish gallons.
    1969 Lonestar Medallion restoration

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  17. #17
    Supreme Mariner jasoutside's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Quote Originally Posted by Teamster View Post
    Stop by Jason's 22 foot Islander thread and see what he put n for a tank,....If I remember right it was way bigger than the original,...
    Yah, this is what came out of the Islander, twin above deck 17 gallon tanks...
    http://i543.photobucket.com/albums/g...r/P1000824.jpg

    (one of those ended up in a Jeep with a Corvette engine, the other is being installed in a Super Sport down Lansing way)

    What went in was a 28 gallon cut out of a Baja and a 33 gallon cut out of a Bayliner...
    http://i543.photobucket.com/albums/g...r/P1040768.jpg

    I had to do a bit of redneck engineering to make it work. I also lost that step down part into the cabin which I didn't care for anyway (I felt like I'd trip/fall as I am watching rod tips).

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Hey Everyone,

    Here's the latest progress.

    I spent some time last night and removed the icebox cabinet and the sink, both of the cabinets are in reasonably solid condition with the exception of the particleboard tops that swelled from water exposure. I'll take a closer look later to confirm my findings but right now I'm thinking I can build up new tops, scrub them up and reinstall on the new floor.

    Speaking of the floor I bought the new wood this afternoon and soon after set to removing the old floor with the help of my little brother. We're making good progress and had the first 8' (working from the stern) removed in under an hour, we're working carefully so the pieces can be used as templates to cut the new sheets! So far so good, some bits are pretty rotten but I think with some mirroring techniques I can get pretty accurate templates to cut from.

    Now for the questions:

    -Can anyone explain (pictures would be a huge plus!) how the wall to the cuddy is removed? We'll need to remove it tomorrow to pull the next floor piece and I'm unclear on how it comes out.

    -The seat framework in the cuddy is riveted to the hull. I know I can remove the rivets easy enough but I'm not sure what would be used to replace them? Are their any special tools I'll need to install new rivets?

    -I'm going to rewire parts of the boat that need work while everything is opened up. I was thinking of running PVC soft conduit inside the "walls" are their any special rules for using conduit in a marine environment?

    -How is the top half of the cuddy held on the hull? I'm not planning to remove it unless it's necessary, but I'd like to know how it's secured just in case I run into a situation where I need it off.

    I think that's all for now, I'll add some pictures in a minute, as soon as they're uploaded!

    -Erik

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    The help:


    The floor, this section was covered by a piece of plywood that was glued and screwed over the hole:


    The progress!:


    Hoping to have the new floor in by the end of the weekend! Yes, I'm optimistic

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Nice progress surprised to see that foam actually looks dry . I never took apart a chieftain so can't help you there but bet one of these other chief guys can.
    http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restoration-building-hull-repair/1974-starcraft-chieftain-18-ob-refit-472217.html
    http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restoration-building-hull-repair/1972-starcraft-chieftain-restoration-477984.html

    The only thing You need to replace the hollow pop rivets is a rivet gun available at any hardware store. The solid rivets are a different story requiring special tools not sure which your dealing with here.

    I don't know of any reason not to use pvc in a boat best way I can think of to be able to pull more wires through or whatever without tearing stuff apart again. I plan to run all My motor wiring, control cables, steering etc in solid pvc subdeck . I haven't decided yet on nav lights etc...

    Hope some of that is helpful good luck and keep at it

  21. #21
    Lieutenant Commander boatnut74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikF View Post


    -Can anyone explain (pictures would be a huge plus!) how the wall to the cuddy is removed? We'll need to remove it tomorrow to pull the next floor piece and I'm unclear on how it comes out.
    It's been awhile since I took mine out, but there were screws along the top, and i believe there were brackets on the inside of the cabin that screwed into the floor, then on the sides of the hull there were bolts that went all the way through the wall into some brackets.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikF View Post
    -How is the top half of the cuddy held on the hull? I'm not planning to remove it unless it's necessary, but I'd like to know how it's secured just in case I run into a situation where I need it off.
    You shouldn't need to take it off for anything but If you decide to (like I did) you can take off the rubrail and there are about 80 rivets to drill out and the whole "cap" will lift off.
    1969 Lonestar Medallion restoration

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    1973 Silverline Grand Bahama restoration

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    A boat is just a big hull in the water you throw money into.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Hello,

    Thanks for the advice yooperangler and boatnut74, the rivets I'm dealing with going through the hull are solid rivets, I already have rivet guns and replacement pop rivets so those won't be an issue, I'm just a bit wary of grinding the heads off the solid rivets and popping them out without being ready to replace them.

    I think I've gotten all the screws out holding the cuddy wall in place, I'll have to go back and take another look, double check, I can get it moving a little, but it's still pretty stuck and I don't want to damage anything taking it out.

    80 rivets under the rubrail doesn't sound so bad, I might take a look at that later today.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Erik

  23. #23
    Petty Officer 1st Class ingalp01's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Just throwing a couple of things out... Gluvit on the rivets while you've got everything opened up? Have you replaced the impellor on the outdrive. I'd do that just because of how long it sat. Those are the only two "issues" I can come up with. Other than that, it looks like a great deal and a steal at $950.00. I agree, pulling the wires through the PVC is a good idea. Nice project, keep us posted...


    Phil

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    [QUOTE=ErikF;3412479]
    -The seat framework in the cuddy is riveted to the hull. I know I can remove the rivets easy enough but I'm not sure what would be used to replace them? Are their any special tools I'll need to install new rivets?
    Wondering why you need to remove these ? Planning a different set up for cuddy seats ? in the way ?Just curious. Some pics of the problem might help. I believe there are some bolt and collar type pieces You can use for replacement although I had difficulty finding em in aluminum gave up and used some I found at Lowes to replace a couple sheared off solid rivets on the bottom but the ones I used would look like carp if somewhere visible on outside. What kind of wood are You using for the floor?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1971 21' Starcraft Chieftain (eventual restoration)

    Hello,

    We've made a bit more progress this morning. We took out the cuddy wall, very few of the bolts holding the door frame in came out, I'm guessing they used interference nuts when they build the boat to keep anything from loosening up over time. As a result I used a die grinder to split most of the nuts and get it apart.

    With the door frame out we removed the middle section of the wall from above the door and then with all the hardware and dash removed from the two remaining wall sections we wiggled them from side to side pulling towards the center of the boat until they broke free. With everything being as tight fitting as it was I'm thinking it will be a good idea to pull the cuddy cap before I try to install the new walls as it seems like trying to wiggle the walls into place would probably damage the new floor, especially if I use a vinyl floor covering.

    Now we have the final three pieces of wood to remove, once this is done I'll pull the boat out of the shop, lay the new plywood on the shop floor and set the old floor over it to trace!

    Feels like we're making good progress, I'll update with new pictures tonight.

    Erik

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