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The Tin Addiction 18' 1970 Starcraft Chieftain IO total restoration

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  • The Tin Addiction 18' 1970 Starcraft Chieftain IO total restoration

    The spring of 2013 I was looking for an older Startcraft to rebuild into a cruiser. I found what I was looking for in a bone yard only 5 miles from my house. Built in 1969 and sold as a 1970 model the 18' Chieftain was the older MC driveline with a 2.5L MerCruiser 120.



    After some negotiating I walked away empty handed leaving my offer as solid along with my phone number if he wanted to accept the offer. 2 weeks later I found my driveway had an addition to it, a Chieftain that was rotten inside and suffering from salt corrosion.



    Nothing in the interior was usable on the 43 year old neglected Chief and that included the engines that turned out to be only worth scrap.





    Every nook of the Chief was inhabited with some less than helpful boat re-building critters.



    Several session of tarping and bombing the hull knocked the hordes of yellow jackets down to a minimum so the tear down could begin.



    Let the tear down work begin. I have a best friend that I refer to as my "resto buddy" as he helped me on my last rebuild project and dove in head long with me on the Chief.



    With the summer of 2013 fading the first priority was to have the Chief stripped down to nothing but the hull and flipped into the turtle position.





    With my goal completed near the end of the 2013 boating season here in Eastern WA State the Chief looks like a big row boat.



    The trailer was found to be nothing but a corroded out pile of junk that would not ever be usable so I had to add a new trailer to the list. That meant only one thing, I needed a donor boat that had everything I needed in one package. A rotten older glasser needed to be found and stripped out. Enter the 1988 Chris Craft 19' cuddy.



    This is what I rescued from the itchy rotted out nasty. Alpha One driveline



    Oh yeah... a strong Alpha One 4.3L V6 205 HP!



    A nice poly belly tank



    Controls and helm were also saved as were a coffee can full of stainless hardware and screws. Then the last ride for the old Glasser so I could get my Chief's chariot out from under the hulk... My full thread contains video of the event but it's not for the faint of heart.

    The months of 2013-2014 winter I worked all the "smalls" cleaning, sanding, primer and painting.

    Oh a shout out to Jas for sending me his hatch cover from his "Bowlander". Awesome bud thanks again!





    Beautifully intact mahogany bow cover supports.



    The gunnels with each side sporting a minimum of 70 holes each...



    Spring of 2014 arrives and I'm right on schedule to get this Chief on the water during the summer. The rebuilding begins with the hull now inside a nice heated work space.

    Hull stiffeners were added to beef her up some.

    These are hull stiffeners that add strength to the boat from being riveted to the bottom and the sides of the hull. I fashioned my own homemade metal bender from parts I had laying around. I also found that using a non-ferrous metal saw blade in my table saw cut aluminum like a hot knife through butter.



    Hull stiffeners bent on the homemade metal brake.



    ... and the hull stiffeners in place along the inside of the hull effectively isolating the spray rail chine and strengthening the hull.



    Some tools of the trade that are a life saver "Clecos" allow you to fasten the pieces to boat and hold them firmly while riveting.



    Some hull patches to cover stress cracks at the rib ends were also needed and you can see the Clecos in action



    Once the hull repairs were finished the paint started going on.





    Back on the old trailer I began the work of fabricating from scratch new motor mount beds for the V6 and then painted the interior.





    Before adding all the weight back into the boat I needed to get the new Chief chariot ready. All the tubes were covered with nasty sticker glue after peeling the stickers off.



    A bunch of Xylene in a sprayer, tons of elbow grease, rewiring, new lights, sanding, primer and painting... now fit for the Chief



    Once moved onto the new chariot, the Chief reaches a milestone of the rebuild stage with a shipment of marine grade plywood.



    Dry fitting of ply before removal and sealing.



    Extremely motivated now to complete the project I'm ordering parts and materials galore for the rebuild and the Chief starts to take shape. Fuel tank installed, foaming and pumps.



    Nautolex vinyl deck covering goes down...



    The power goes in...





    The Chief gets the headdress with new lower windshield installed and the shiny bits start going on.



    New solid aluminum dash for the SS Chronos gauges.



    Parts and pieces are streaming in on the brown trucks so I'm jumping all over the place trying to keep up. After the transom assembly then goes on the trim tabs, swim ladder, speedo tube, sensors and transducers all go on.



    The seating and interior pieces come together after some more deliveries.


    Lots of finishing touches going on.



    With 13 months behind me July 2014 the Chief rolls out of the hanger ready for some serious splash time.



    The Chief trailers like a dream and once on the water I find she drives even better than I had ever hoped.





    A short video of the Chief on the water maiden voyage. Yeah the sound is on when I'm pulling away from the dock. From no wake to a plane and a WOT run as well. I can only describe the feeling of running the new Chief as it being like a muscle boat.



    My admiral absolutely fell in love with the Chief and being on the water which is the best one can hope for after making her a weekend widow for so many months.



    I can see lots of future smiles and unexplored beaches in our future.



    Many thanks to iboats and my fellow iboaters for being there along the way!

    Last edited by Watermann; July 6th, 2017, 07:28 PM.
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