Vintage aluminum Crestliner project

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Alumination, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    Alumination,
    Here is a picture of the back of my boat from the Crestliner catalog. It's round, just like yours, just a little wider:

    [​IMG]

    But I'm about to buy a 21' kevlar bass boat hull, mainly for the 150 on the back. Boat does 74 MPH with that 150. Not bad!

    [​IMG]

    I'm trying to decide whether to just pull the motor and dump the hull, or whether I should rebuild the boat. Not sure how far you are from VA, but it's pretty easy to get bass boat hulls around here. It seems that when I put a bass boat up for sale, a lot of guys west of here call, particularly from western NC, TN and KY.

    Let me know if you are interested in finding a hull. Boats from the late 80's have very good hull designs, and are easy to get.

    -TH
     
  2. Alumination
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

    Alumination Junior Member

    This dream of mine started when looking at Glen-L boat plans for a vintage Barrel Back wooden boat. The way the shape of the boat is made by laying strips or sheets over the bulkheads made the idea of building one more realistic. However, the more I read about it and the original hull design it became clear that I'd want to improve the hull below the water line to make it more enjoyable to actually use.
    The idea of wood is both good and bad. Easy to use but allergic to water contact. I grew up on a lake and remember a couple of wooden boats that never left the boat house or trailer due to rot issues or just being too much trouble to deal with. Surely this was due to neglect and poor maintenance but why go that route if not necessary?

    I had considered using a good bass boat hull as they have really pushed the evolution of the "pad" on a v-hull for speed and stability. However, they don't really lend themselves to a retro look and are not as stable as a tunnel hull. This was really made more evident recently watching RC boats and how fantastic a tunnel hull is in both speed and stability.

    Riveted together aluminum is so reminiscent of vintage boats and aircraft. It's light, corrosion resistant and strong. I didn't figure I'd find a donor tunnel hull to use no matter what the material so the above-the-waterline aesthetics became the priority since I'd just modify the hull below.
     
  3. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    thill Junior Member

    Today, I went to look at the bass boat pictured above. I passed on it, mainly due to the 15" of rotten leaves on the floor. Looked under a hatch, and saw fungus, and I was done.

    But interestingly, the guy had two tunnel hull river boats. He said they would run in 3" of water, and they looked like they had.

    I'm not into that kind of thing, but it looked like it might be pretty interesting to watch.

    -TH
     
  4. Alumination
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    Alumination Junior Member

    I'm talking more about the go fast type of tunnel hull / catamaran hull.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These fellers were kind enough to show what the bottom looks like.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There's a big difference between a tunnel hull and a catamaran. Those pictures above are all cats.
     
  6. Alumination
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    Alumination Junior Member

    What are the differences?
    The shallow water tunnel hulls came about after the racing tunnel hulls did so are the fast tunnels hulls now referred to as cats?

    I think Jim might disagree with that.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. 58Crestliner
    Joined: Sep 2015
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    58Crestliner Junior Member

    Safety aside, as with a resto-mod car, when you try and modernize an old vehicle to make it perform like a new one you not only devalue the vehicle, but you also rob yourself of half of the experience. Operating an unmodified vintage vehicle let's you transport yourself back in time and experience all the same quirks and glories that the folks that owned it new experienced. I am currently restoring a 58 Crestliner Voyager which is rated for twin 35hp outboards, and that's exactly what it's going to get. I can't wait to put her out on the river and just run for miles submerging myself in the performance simplicity of a vintage 50's aluminum runabout!
    I made extreme modifications to a 55 LoneStar Admiral I had. Rebuilt and reinforced the transom and splash well and hung a 63 Merc 1000 on it. Although it ran well, it wasn't overly fast and beat the hell out of you +35 mph. A semi-v hull will not run 60mph nor would you want to try. A good term to add to you boating vocabulary is "spin out" also "blow over" if you actually do somehow manage to modify your vintage hull to run faster than designed.
    Dude.. just enjoy it as it is! Get a step-hull ski boat or bass boat for the times you want a fast smooth ride. Just my opinion of course :)
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Sometimes this is true 58, but often times it's not as well. It all depends on execution and workmanship. Many resto-mods are pulling bigger bucks at auction, than a restored versions of the same car. Granted some cars you just can't resto-mod without taking a hit, for example a '70 convertible, A/C and 4 speed equipped, hemi 'Cuda wouldn't be a good choice, but a clone of the '70 'Cuda with full up modern brakes, suspension, custom interior, etc. would sell well and easily out perform the restored original.

    The same is true with boats. I regularly get beat by a local restorer who has a Hacker. In it's day is wasn't particularly remarkable and when restoration was started, it was a wreck. Only a 12" hunk of its keel is original, with everything else being new, including the V-10 Viper engine it currently has. It's valued way over what the original would have been and is a far better boat as a result.

    We do agree in that you have to be careful what you wish for. All boats run into a drag wall and longitudinal instability. You can find this easy enough by putting too big an engine on a small boat. Hopefully the worst that'll happen is, it'll chine walk and scare the crap out of them or spin out without killing anyone, but traveling at these speeds, with the wrong hull form can kill you, as a friend on mine found a few years ago.

    Alumination, a tunnel is a tunnel, a cat is a cat, there are distinct differences, though the lines have become more blurry in recent years. If you want to "improve" their under water shapes, you'll obviously need some professional help. You might do fine, if you keep the speeds modest, but once you start to push the envelop, you better have a clue, because screwing literally can kill you.
     
  9. 58Crestliner
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    58Crestliner Junior Member

    Hey PAR!
    I suppose when it comes down to it that's an accurate breakdown when it comes to value. I've seen plenty of resto-mod cars at Barrett Jackson that do seem to fetch an unseemly amount, however I still stand by my statement when it comes to the classic automobilia experience.
    Is a Hacker with a Viper engine still a Hacker? I'm not so sure. Is it more reliable and faster, surely. And I imagine it's an impressive sight to see run as well as an interesting experience to operate, but in my small opinion when the original gear, especially the engine in a boat is modernized, you've lost the soul of the craft.. with a few exceptions such as rope winder steering setups which were never ever good in powerboats. I think antique engines are just as beautiful in form and function as the boat itself and it's a shame to see them discarded or replaced rather than restored. The eventuality being the same as what befell the WWI era planes with many examples existing only in pictures.
    Personally, I'd much rather pilot the African Queen down a river with the original steam engine with all the inconveniences that would come with it, than the same hull with a V8 Mercuiser. It just wouldn't be the same experience!
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    To a purest, which you seem to lean, yeah sure, a 1965 E type with a small block Chevy is a sin, though coupled with something other than it's Lucas electrical, a much better car, every way you look at it. It's still an E type, just more reliable, faster and isn't likely to burn to the ground, from its electrics. It's not traditional and folks like you would scoff, but . . .

    It's the same with engines and boats. I have two, sequentially numbered 1960 Evinrude Larks. They've always seemed to eat condensers and have been troublesome to start. I've converted them to electronic ignition and they're foolproof, always starting on the first crank, now never a lick of difficulty. Are they still Larks, sure they are, just better. It's like trying to compare bias ply tires to radials. Maybe it's more accurate to have the damn bias plys, but if you enjoy driving the puppy, put a good set of radials on it. Screw the "soul" of the thing, make it better if you can, unless JFK screwed Marilyn on it one weekend, you're usually better off making the upgrades and leaving the purest recreations or restorations, to the museums and static displays, that'll never see the water again, because of their inherent reliability (or insurance) issues. Don't get me wrong, I love the old beasts, owning a few myself, but the ones that get used regularly are the boats (and cars) with major upgrades to make life, handling, economy, usability, steering, etc. much better.
     
  11. Alumination
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Alumination Junior Member

    I appreciate your input.
    I've learned allot since starting this thread.
    After reading Jim's book and having a few discussions with him, I have decided to build a boat from scratch.

    Got any pics of your previous mods?

    I certainly do "appreciate" vintage things, however, if the performance is lacking and we have the technology, it will aggravate me terribly not to improve upon a design. The industry I work in relies on Continuous Process Improvement and I am very fond of this practice when carried out correctly.

    A 100% authentic vintage anything would be enjoyable to me for just about one or two outings. I would get to experience how it was done back then, quickly get aggravated at the short comings and want to correct them. I'm not sure what I'll do with the 14' Crestliner, good thing aluminum won't rot if left alone for a spell.
     
  12. Alumination
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    Alumination Junior Member

    The boat I'm building will be a 20' long hull with 48" wide tunnel, 11" tall and 12" wide sponsons. It's my understanding catamarans do not take advantage of Wing In Ground Effect, tunnel hulls do.

    Essentially, balancing Center of Gravity vs Center of lift and angle of attack is the key to designing a safe and easy to drive boat. Strangely enough, very few professionally built boats do this. Most would appear to be designed to be susceptible to blow over.
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Alumination, modifying the little tinny, into a tunnel or cat is possible, but since you're starting with a lot of the bottom being the wrong shape, the only savings is the topsides and the now contiguous internal framing. I think this adds more issues than helps address.

    Second, it's clear you don't have the understanding necessary to design and engineer a high speed tunnel or cat, so what are you realistic options? You could take a correspondence course and maybe in an 18 months, you can muster up something basic. You're assumptions are incorrect about cats and for that matter tunnels and this would be solved with some education, but this is a lot of trouble, just to get a design for a fast something or other.

    It sounds like you and I are a bit alike. Hell, I have a cold air pack, low restriction exhaust, port and polish, plus some other mods, just on my garden tractor (no kidding). It was a perfectly good 46" cut MTD, with a 21 HP OHV Briggs, but here in sunny Florida, you can't leave things stock or they'll die a lonely, quick death from the heat. The first thing I did was improve the cooling systems, separating the intake air, from the "shrouded" outlet air and making a baffle to redirect this air away from the carb and intake. Next I pulled the head and eased the valve bosses, matched up the ports and polished up the chamber and exhaust side. It has a new, bigger ID exhaust pipe down to a muffler I stole off a wrecked Gold Wing. It has several other modifications, like a fuel shut off valve and another ball valve to drain the oil, so I don't make a mess in the driveway every spring. Different jetting, timing, etc. Yeah a little over the top, but it now produces in the neighborhood of 26 - 27 HP, runs 50 degrees cooler and can plow though the tall grass at the end of my property that I only mow a few times a year, without bogging down.

    My cars and boats are treated the same way, with logical upgrades to improve things as they become apparent. Sure I have a '60 Chris Craft that is mostly stock, but under the distributor cap is an electronic ignition module, that can't be seen, etc., etc., etc.

    Back to your desires. You can do well with one of several tunnel or cat designs available, making styling and cosmetic changes to suit, but reshaping the bottom of a pre '63 series testing, warped bottom (what a Crestliner is), into a modern tunnel or cat isn't reasonable or practical. Just the wrong set of shapes to start with, leaving you to guess at what the correct ones might be. You could make a reasonable guess, just with observation of others, but once speeds start to climb (30 - 40 MPH range) any errors or less than educated decisions about these shapes, will rear up and show serious issues, some very dangerous.
     
  14. Alumination
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Alumination Junior Member

    I agree, this is why I'm gonna build a hull from scratch.

    I've learned allot since starting this thread.
    After reading Jim's book and having a few discussions with him, I have decided to build a boat from scratch.


    What type of correspondence course would cover information pertinent to designing and building a fast, safe, stable and easy to drive air entrapment hull?

    Perfect example of CPI.
    Sportbike mufflers are quiet, plentiful and flow very well. No one wants them after removing for something louder. Some Kawasaki ZX9 bolt on mufflers were made of Titanium.

    Electronic ignition is a beautiful thing and should be upgraded on anything that can be.

    What available designs did you have in mind? I haven't really found any plans for this type of hull. The various Liberator, STV, Allison, Eliminator hulls don't really follow the design criteria Jim Russel has developed.
    Wing In Ground Effect doesn't start to add aerodynamic lift until 50mph plus so I'll be well into the danger zone.

    A Viper engine in a vintage wooden boat sounds wonderful. I'm trying to remember if that engine was light weight for it's power output.
     

  15. Alumination
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

    Alumination Junior Member

    I have no delusions about this project being an investment or being worth more than the sum of it's parts. I have a few friends who are good at this type of thing, we have very different brains and goals.

    I'm sure somebody somewhere has created a standard like 12" of keel must be present for it to be considered original or some other such deeply contrived computation.

    Good? One damned minute Admiral, what happened to immersing ourselves in the misery......err......simplicity of the past? What better way to experience life on the edge than with a rope and pulley steering system? Done correctly and maintained properly they can function just fine for the level of performance you are likely to achieve with vintage stuff. Maintenance is key and is also something which can be greatly improved with modern technology.

    Lucas Electrics, The Prince of Darkness, were simply misunderstood. The various components found in Triumph, MG etc. actually had maintenance intervals and things to check and adjust. Yes, electrical components. Who knew? My trust issues prevent me from owning mechanical or electrical things which possess "personality", even though I am missing out on the experience.

    I agree to a point.
    It's amazing to see older engines modified with systems like electronic ignition, modern carburetors or EFI.
    I've seen older Harley engines, Panheads, Knuckleheads, Shovelheads, updated with electronic ignition and either CV carbulators or EFI. Amazing to see and hear them run all the time as the designer intended for them to, not just for brief moments every once in awhile when all the variables happen to line up.

    This is a good example of an enjoyable vintage machine. Depending on how you intended to use it, it's performance would be just fine as is.
     
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