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1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

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  • 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

    Well, about 1 year ago the boat bug bit me. My brother has a 1972 Starcraft tri hull and he took my wife and kids for a day on the lake. It was late summer and there was no one on the lake the whole day! We had a entire cove to ourselves. The kids were able to water ski and, well, we just had a ball!!! A couple of months later we went camping with our trailer and my brothers boat. Again, a good time was had by all.

    So the search began. I looked at every site I could find and every style of boat that there ever was. After a bunch of research, I decided on an aluminum boat. I really like the close bow style and I really liked the older aluminum boats. I found Starcrafts and Feathercrafts to be my favorite. Then I stumbled upon a mis-advertised Feathercraft. Well long story short, a long drive later, and a 1959 Aerocraft was mine. It came with a 40hp Merc 402 and a second 402 for parts. The owner says the motor runs, but the boat leaks a little. As I was sizing up the boat, I counted 40 or so rivets with no heads on the bottom of the hull. No wonder it leaked!!! but the hull was in great shape, no dings, no dents, no really bad gouges. The electrical system was a nightmare. I didn't realize that you could use romex to wire a boat!!!!! Lots of electrical tape knots with various wires running in and out. But the boat had what my dad used to say, Good bones. I took the boat home.

    The boat sits on a 1959 Balko Bosan "T" type tilt trailer. It didn't have any lights on it or any sign of lights ever being installed.

    so my plan is as follows. Take the boat off the trailer, go through the trailer and then put the boat back on, fix all the leaks, replace the transom, replace the dash, replace the wiring and then make the old girl look good again. Once the boat is sea worthy, I want to be able to use the boat on our Phoenix Urban lakes (electric only) as well as the big lakes with the 40hp.

    Here are some pics of my starting point!!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

    a couple of more pics. Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

      That is a super cool hull and a great project. Good luck with it. Definitely consider applying Gluvit to all your rivets and seams from the inside once you have the damaged ones repaired. Good insurance against future leaks.
      2002 20' Hydra-Sports 202DC 200HP Yamaha HPDI
      1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
      Restoration thread https://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=357767

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      • #4
        Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

        Good bones = good lines. You have a great boat to restore. I look forward to seeing the progress and completion.
        http://s860.photobucket.com/albums/a...nanabert/Boat/

        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

          Nice find, that rig is a classy old piece of tin

          I have no idea what year my AeroCraft is, but it's a bit newer than yours.

          Good luck with the project!

          I agree that Gluvit is a great product on seams and rivets.
          sigpic
          '79 16' Starcraft SuperSport
          12' AeroCraft '55 Johnson 5.5hp
          Starcraft brochures thread

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          • #6
            Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

            Worked on getting the trailer all rebuilt.

            First up was a check of the wheel bearings. I pulled the bearings, all looked just fine, as did the spindles. I checked for spindle cracks etc, but it all looked fine. I cleaned and repacked the bearings. The inboard bearing seals were a whole different story!!! The were shot. the rubber lip and spring were missing from one side and I think that the other side was installed backwards!!!!!!Finding a new seal was pretty funny. Its kind of fun when the auto parts guy says "What's the vehicle" and I get to reply "A 1959 Balko...trailer that is". I had the exact measurements, so once the parts guys let me loose in the books, the seal was easy to find. Once the wheels were all put back together, it was on to the shocks. The rubber bushings were shot and one of the dust shields was pretty badly damaged from hitting the cross bar bolts. the bolts were obvious replacements and were the wrong size and installed backwards on top of it!! Thus the damage to the shocks!. The parts place was the same way with the shocks. No listing, couldn't understand extended length and compressed length. I sorted it all out, once they handed me the book!!! With the new shocks in hand I started to install them. I then noticed that the upper shock mounts were bent a little upwards on one side. I gently tapped them back into place and the mount fell right off the axle!!! I checked the other side and sure enough, it fell right off too.. Inspection found that they had been cracked for a long time. There was a lot of rust on the lower 1/2 of the mount where it attached to the axle and no rust where I had cracked them off. So I got new bolts and arc welded them in place. I shimmed the shocks out a bit from the axle, but not so much as to cause to much extra leverage on the mounts. I then replaced the cross bar bolts, which were about 1/2 way chewed through from lots of miles on the road.

            Rollers were next in line. The original rollers were 3 inches wide. The local boat shops only had 4 inch wide rollers. I used the black rubber rollers and spent some time on the belt sander taking 1/2 inch off of each side. 7 rollers total. I ground down just about 7 inches of black rubber. Never ever do this. Sanding rubber puts a really really bad black dust on every thing in the garage .I wore a respirator while working!!. A Leaf blower worked really well to blowout all the dust. The garage was once again clean and the new rollers workgreat!!

            The trailer is a tilt type and made of thick 2.5 inch OD pipe, except for the very front 5 feet of the tongue at the tilt. I noticed a small amount of bend and flex in the front of the tongue. The tongue is made of 3 inch by 1/4 inch thick "C" channel. To fix the bend and flex, I got a piece of cold rolled 2 inch by 3/8 inch "C" channel and used 1/2 inch grade 8 bolts and nuts to bolt the new "C" channel up under the original "C"channel, creating sort of a boxed in effect. The tongue no longer has any bend in it and it does not flex at all now!!

            Since the trailer had no signs of ever having lights, I welded up a couple of "shelves" on the rear of the "T". I added good old round trailerlights to the shelves. I sealed up the lights, but left the bottom hollow bolts open, just in case some water got in some how. I also built some semi custom bracket for the side marker lights and bolted them up too. I had some scrap sheet steel laying around and so I also cut and welded a new, very solid,license plate holder and its associated light. Silicone was used to seal up any and all lights. A dunk test a the neighborhood lake showed no bubbles on any of the lights.

            I wired the trailer though the tubes and up through the tongue.

            The original bunks were rotten 2x6 with some old vinyl over them. I made newbunks, a little longer and with an angled edge that matches the bottom of the boat. I sealed the wood with a mixture of fiberglass resin and acetone, then a coat of paint. A little bit of carpet from the local carpet stores trash bin (yes Iasked if it was ok!!!), some stainless staples and it was done.

            After every thing was all said and done, I called DMV and asked what I needed to get the trailer in my name. They said to bring the trailer down and bring the notarized title. I knew from prior work with the DMV that I needed to get aspecial use permit. So I had to drive down, get the permit, drive back home, hookup the trailer, go back to the DMV and then start the transfer process. I got a new plate really easy, but they didn't even ask to see the VIN or inspect the trailer at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awasted car trip and 2 bucks for the special permit, that I didn't need!!!! Iguess that's the way it goes sometimes ....LOL

            Next up dash and transom...

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            • #7
              Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

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              • #8
                Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                Very nice work on the trailer. However, those lights are looking a bit vulnerable. I don't it would take much of an off day at the ramp to cause a situation that could end up with those snapped off.
                2002 20' Hydra-Sports 202DC 200HP Yamaha HPDI
                1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
                Restoration thread https://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=357767

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                • #9
                  Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                  maybe you are right. First time doing all this.. I have launched a couple of times and they are well below the draft of the boat. but time will tell!!! LOL

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                  • #10
                    Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                    original transom was a 2x4 and 1/4 inch plywood. Transom was remade with 3/4 aruco plywood, soaked with resin and acetone mix (x3) and then two coats of rustoleum. Stainless steel fasteners replaced the original rivets.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                        also added wood to the transom shelf and to the inside. all bolts sealed with 5200.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                          dash now replaced.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

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                            • #15
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                              Re: 1959 Aerocraft aluminum runabout restoration.

                              renamed and renumbered

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