How To:

How To Build Your Dream Boat From Scratch

Author: Bullbuster Team

Build Your Dream Boat From Scratch

With sportfish boats and mother ships (we have an obsession with motherships) costing millions of dollars brand new and often costing about 20% of the purchase price to maintain, one might wonder... is there a way to do this without putting down so much of your hard earned cash. 

 Well you are in luck, because there is a way to do it, but its going to consume a lot of your time.  We figured we would give you a headstart here so that you might have a few resources you may need when getting started with this process. 

The first few videos in the post are to show you a little bit about what is possible.  The rest will dive into the detail. Hopefully by the end of this article you will be ready to take on your own project boat, whether it is a 30 foot center console or a 200 foot mothership. 

Below is some footage of the Pacific Provider a kind of time share mothership that was converted from an Alaskan Crabbing boat.  This video was posted by "FishRapNews".

The Hull

Tips For Shopping For A  Fiberglass Boat

The Survey Process

This video posted by Grampian Marine talks about things that you need to keep in mind when buying an old fiberglass boats.  

One of the main points he makes is to make sure that there is no wood damage in the boat, this is something to look for when surveying your boat.  We Bullbuster Ambassador Cpt. Nicholos Gonzalez from Double Threat Charters can tell you about wood problems after his impressive project remodeling an old Hatteras to become the new Double Threat Boat.  He recommends to use  a marine surveyor and to keep in mind that the marine surveyor may overestimate the value of the boat to satisfy the client.  Having a marine survey can reduce your insurance bill!

In this video "Grampian Marine" gets out to the boat yard and shows you a little bit more detail on the boat surveying.  This time he actually shows you footage of what he was talking about before:

This video posted by "Randall Burg" talks about what a survey should look like:

Check out a boat survey being done and posted by "boatinglocal"

Remodeling The Interior Of A Boat

There is one thing that you know you are going to need to renovate when you purchase an old boat and that is its interior.  We hope we give you a good idea of what you are getting into with the interior with the selected videos below. 

Take a look at the this video posted by "Barcroft TV" of a tugboat's interior completely remodeled and turned into a home.  This goes to show you what can be made out of an old metal boat. 

This video posted by "Ryan Wetzel" shows the remodeling of a 1966 50' Hatteras.  These guys are going all out. 

How To Remodel A Galley

This youtube video posted by "Ronin51670" shows gets in depth on how to remodel the galley of a bot. 

The Engines

If you are looking into a sportfish or a mothership and looking for engines then you are in luck. You see, unlike the outboard engines that go on center consoles, older diesel engines can pretty much live forever if you keep rebuilding them.  There are plenty of places to find old diesel engines, old trucks, old buses, old boats etc.  These engines can be taken apart and rebuilt to work just like new. 

This video below posted by "Stanely D Williams" is a full length documentary on re-powering a power yacht. 

 Nowadays there are also companies that specialize in keeping these old engines alive, so you should not have a problem finding parts to rebuild an engine you find on a farm, boatyard, or even a junkyard for a fraction of the price of a new engine. 

Below Youtube  nomad couple, Technomadia rebuilds an engine from the 50's or 60's to keep their RV traveling around the country.  

Rebuilding A Diesel Engine

If you are one of those people who like to understand things before you get started, take a look the video below posted on Youtube by "Repair Manuals".This shows you how an engine works at a lot larger scale that makes it easier to understand. Keep this video in mind as you look at the rest of the content below on rebuilding an engine. 


Ok lets get started! You want to rebuild an engine to put in your dream boat right?

The engine above is a Detroit Diesel 8-71, yea this engine is going into a truck, but it can also be converted into a marine engine, there are minor modifications that you will need to turn a truck or trailer engine into a marine engine, we will get into that later.  

The Engine Block

The main skeleton of the engine above is the engine block.  Pictured below.  You can start with an engine and disassemble it like above, or you can start with components and build your way up.  

To give you an example the block below (which is already cleaned up, unlike the one above retails for about $3,200.00). 

Detroit Diesel Engine Block

Other Main Components

Like the block, these are two main components that are pretty heavy duty so you probably won't need to replace them, but you may need to get them cleaned.  Below we will talk about two important components that help you engine work, the camshaft and the Crank shaft.  The video posted by 3D_Guy_2008 shows you them in action with an invisible engine block. 

The engine below is a four stroke, unlike the engine in the video above but the general way that the Crank Shaft and cam shaft are used are similar in both engines. 

The Crank Shaft

If you want components related to the installation of a crankshaft click the link.  The crank shaft (pictured below) is the large component you saw in the video above. 

The Camshaft

If you want components related to the installation of a detroit diesel camshaft click the link.  The camshaft itself is below. 

The Blower 

The blower is shown below.  Check out this discussion on whether a blower is necessary . (We recommend a blower a for any marine application). 

Components To Rebuild A Diesel Engine That Break Often

 A Inframe Rebuild Kit

Below is a standard kit for rebuilding a Diesel Engine often times referred to a a in frame kit, that is because you are pretty much filling in the frame of the block (see all the holes in the above picture, this is what you are going to be filling and replacing with this kit). The cylinders (which are the big components in the back of the picture below which is actually an inframe kit for an 8v71 detroit diesel and the engine you see in the above video) are what contain the explosions in the engines, so they get a lot of wear and tear and like in the video above often need to be replaced. 

A kit like the one below costs between $1,600 and $2,500.00. 

Injectors & The Cylinder Head

Injectors are one of the components that often need to be replaced, these are the components that "inject fuel" for the explosion.  The injector has a nozzle that sprays mist of fuel for the diesel engines combustion.  If you would like components related to the installation of a injector click the link. 

Injectors Cost:  $115-150.00

Injector For Detroit Diesel Engine

These go into the cylinder head which sits on the top of the block. Below you can see a cylinder head.  The cylinder head has four holes (the bronze ones) where the injectors go inside.  So an 8v71 which has 8 cylinders is going to have two of these heads and a total of 8 injectors to be replaced. 

Cylinder Head Cost:  $1500-3,000 depending on the level of completion. 

Cylinder Head W/O Any Components

Cylinder Head For Detroit Diesel 8v-71

Cylinder Head With Components But Without Injectors

Now that you know a lot of the components, here is a video that shows you how to rebuild a Marine Cummins Engine by "Quepos Fishing Adventure". 

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