Rebuilding the Boat, One Piece at a Time

With the birth of our baby boy, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to spend working on my favorite project, a 1989 Raven 2100cc cruiser. But next week, our wedding is coming up. We’ve rented a nice house in Key Largo for the wedding week which is on the water. My plan all along was to have our boat parked behind the house ready to go at a moment’s notice.

That means spending a bunch of time getting the boat ready to go. As I said, I haven’t had a chance to fuss with the boat in a few months, much less maintain or take it out for a spin. The poor thing needs some love…

Over the last month, I toured the hardware stores of Palm Beach county and rounded up the pieces needed to convert the trailer to a bunk-type trailer. I’ll wait until the boat is in the water to make this modification, though.

I'm not a huge fan of the rollers
I’m not a huge fan of the rollers. Just look what they’re doing to the bottom of the boat!

A bunch of time was also spent purchasing “manly” tools like a circular saw and angle grinder, and assembling new seat bases and an new engine cover. Next, I carpeted the pieces and got them re-installed in the boat. The old ones were pretty rotten!

New seat bases and engine cover
New seat bases and engine cover

I towed her home, hooked up the hose, and turned the key. -click- NOTHING. SMH. Check the battery. Not dead. NOT GOOD.

I pulled the cover off the engine.

Getting this beast ready for the summer
Getting this beast ready for the summer

After a close inspection of the electric system, I decided that everything was so corroded that there couldn’t be much current getting to the starter. I pull out the tools and go to work. The first stop was the starter wiring. I went to remove the big wires to the starter, and because it was rusted solid, I broke off part of the starter solenoid.

While removing power cables, I broke the terminal right off the solenoid
While removing power cables, I broke the terminal right off the solenoid

Nice. Removed the whole starter from the engine and took it upstairs. Bench tested the starter motor – works great even though about a half-gallon of water came streaming out when I inverted it. Removed the covers, cleaned the motor well, and reassembled. Working even better now! Next, I ordered a new solenoid from Amazon. Thanks to Tina’s wonderful Amazon Prime membership, it arrived the next day. After reassembly, we have this beautiful piece:

Brand new solenoid and reconditioned (internals) for the starter motor
Brand new solenoid and reconditioned (internals) for the starter motor

Okay, bench tested it once more, and it’s working exactly as it should. Cool beans! Maybe I should grab a can of Rustoleum to get it looking nice again? Nahh, too much effort and that probably won’t really help for long.

After I invest in a gallon of dielectric grease, I’ll re-install it, clean up the terminals on the trim system wiring, and start over! Only seven days to go before the wedding week begins, so I gotta have her running solid before then! Wish me luck!

UPDATE 6/19: Got the starter re-installed and she cranks right over. Now, to hook back up fuel and fire and see what happens! I feel confident that things are going to work just fine.

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