Flivver Rebuild

Questions about boat repairs with our resins and fiberglass: hull patches, transoms and stringers, foam, rot etc.
Matt Gent
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Flivver Rebuild

Post by Matt Gent »

The Flivver is a little boat with a lot of Florida history. It was popularized by Cypress Gardens where Corky the Clown would drive it around between acts to entertain the crowd.

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This website Creek Rat Flivvers has a ton of archival photos.

They were made by at least 4 or 5 companies over the years, in various configurations and a few lengths. The standard ones are just over 8' by 4'. I kept an eye out for one for a while, and eventually found one for free that needed a rebuild...common story among my projects!

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Transom was rotten, and the foam-filled benches were fairly well soaked. Had a few cracks and nicks all around. I stripped it down to a tub.

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The plan was to use as much scrap materials I had around from other projects. I wanted a "casting" deck to make a little storage area and maybe do some flounder gigging, and to make similar longitudinal benches for seating & flotation.

Made the transom motorboard out of two layers of Coosa BW26. Overkill, but a friend had some extra.

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The transom looked a little low to me so I made it about 1-1/4" taller and figured to cut it down until it was right. This ended up taking 3 rounds - the sponsons really do lift the center up and the prop would slip with the engine much higher than it came.



Jeff
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Jeff »

Nice project Matt!!! Jeff

TomW1
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by TomW1 »

Cool project Matt.

Tom
Restored Mirror Dinghy, Bought OD18 built by CL, Westlawn School of Yacht Design courses. LT US Navy 1970-1978

jonnymac
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by jonnymac »

I bet that thing would be crazy with a modern 25hp

Matt Gent
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Matt Gent »

I think the Suzuki 20 is a great match at under 100lb, but I'm about sworn off of Suzukis with my current luck. I'm low-key shopping for an older 2-stroke merc SeaPro25, or a Yamaha 40. 15" tiller manual start no trim, not easy to find. Need an inflatable racing motor.

For now I have the 6hp kicker from the DE25. Once the transom was in we put it in the creek for some trials. Wasn't sure if that engine would plane 2 adults, and wanted to set transom height.

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With the sponsons it floats super high, I think I could leave the plug out. Maybe even with the engine on.

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I had a pile of other projects going on (pontoon rebuild, DE updates posted elsewhere here, plus cars/house/etc) so we just played with it for a while.

Had a minor setback when I left it in the creek too long with no way to drain
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It runs about 18 with me alone, and is about as stiff as an over-cooked noodle. Marginal planing with two adults, it would sometimes get up and other times just plow around. Plenty fast with my son, and it could tow a kneeboard. I cut down the transom 3/8" at a time until it stopped cavitating.

Matt Gent
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Matt Gent »

Started chipping away over the summer. What's nice about this thing is it is so small it just stays in the garage and I work around it, and each task is a manageable scope.

Put in a big Coosa backing plate for the bow eye, may use as a dinghy on the DE.

Bulkhead and casting deck are Corecell A500 which I had leftover from the speed boat rebuilds. Glassed both sides of bulkhead up front, and the under-side of the casting deck.

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Stringer / seat sides are 1/4" Okoume, and they sit roughly on top of the inside edges of the tunnel.

The center floor portion was super floppy. They are all built like this but I wasn't happy with it; 40 yr old shell that I plan to jump waves, take big trips, and let my son loose with. So I cored the portion between the stringers with Corecell. It is perforated so you get a good indication of the bond distribution as it fills up the little holes. Works great with vacuum but I didn't bother with that here. Sat the boat down on plywood on sawhorses so the bottom was held flat and supported the weight.

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Laid in the casting deck with the glass side down. It sorta wedged itself around the perimeter, then I later filleted that and glassed the top of the deck.

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Matt Gent
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Matt Gent »

I wanted to fill in the transom extensions, if I stood in the back they would dip below the waterline. Debated a few options with friends about how to do this - didn't really want/need to core it, and the shape was twisted. I ended up spanning the area with packing tape, flipping the boat upside down, and using it as a mold. Filleted and glassed from the inside.

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It sorta worked out as planned - had good access, and the fillets laid in nicely, but the surface ended up being pretty wavy. Gotta be the least fair surface I've ever made. Just a little work to fair and finish better later.

Made 4 little bulkheads to support the seats and close off the back area. I hot-glued a couple mini-cleats to hold the seat top in the right position to be glued in.

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This is about where I'm at now. Almost structurally done, some glass on the seats + fillets, plugs in the sponsons, then some minimal fairing and paint.

We may be ready to play with it this weekend, then finish when there's time.

Matt Gent
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Matt Gent »

Not much progress on the boat...I did glass the seats, and put in a plug tube, just been playing with it every once in a while.

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Last weekend a friend and I ran our little skiffs around Jupiter Island. Its close to 40 miles round trip. We've talked about making a race event of sorts out of this, fastest one around the island with OEM 6hp engine. He won this time, as I figured out after the fact my throttle wasn't opening all the way. The race can be completed using under 1gal of fuel!

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Jeff
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by Jeff »

Nice work Matt!!!! Jeff

jonnymac
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Re: Flivver Rebuild

Post by jonnymac »

boat looks like fun! I spent a fair amount if time as a kid on those beaches.

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