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Reinventing the 97 Speedster

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
I've had a 96 Challenger for a few years.. and it's lackluster performance has left me hating the thing. It's just a useless turd with the 787. So, I was going to do either one of two things.. swap it with a 951 and make it a little less boring, or find a twin engine boat.
About a year ago, a twin engine came up in St Louis.. so I picked it up. Missing the engines, electronics, hatch, just.. lots wrong. But behind all that ugly is a boat in good shape.. meaning no chips/scratches/issues in the gel coat. A pretty mint hull.
So, I finally pulled it into the shop last night and started stripping it down. I filled the 5 gallon shop vac 4 times vacuuming the crap out of the engine compartment, and started pulling everything down to an empty hull. Hope to have it stripped by the end of the week and start mocking up the new engines to even see if my idea will even fit in it. If so, the plans are:
Fullbore Stage III 1000CC, Prok setup sans a/p. Miller goodies, carbon reeds, etc.
98XPL mpems
white pipes, probably shorten the cones. Unsure on waterbox setup yet.. something custom or invisible.
155 pumps, no clue on pitch but will probably start with a few from stock 951 GTX's and go from there
I'd like to add VTS, I dunno. I've got the spare parts but may be completely pointless.
saddle tan/deep red upholstery with a tan top
Figure out the graphics and stereo from that point

The Challenger is going to be a donor for all of the missing body parts, remaining good parts pulled and then will be sunk in the bottom of a lake. Actually going to be sunk in an old quarry lake that is used for scuba training

The goal is to have it water ready by June 1st, and have all the bugs worked out and tuned by the time Smoke Show 2020 happens at Norris. Going to be a lot of work.

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alkiseadoo

Member
Messages
39
Location
Seattle
Water Crafts
1999 GTX Ltd
2001 GTX-RFI
1997 Challenger 1800
I have one with the twin 787s. I would hold on to the seat foam and wood there are a couple guys that make complete skin kits for that boat, I did a complete vinyl on mine and it looks great, and my skill level looks more junior to yours.
 

tobytd

Active Member
Messages
164
Location
Norris Lake, TN
Water Crafts
98 GTX
97 GTX
96 Polaris SLT 700 (sold)
Tell me about the smoke show. Noris lake Tennessee? I live on the lake 10 minutes off the freeway.
 

Matt Braley

Premium Member
Premium Member
Messages
7,029
Location
Niceville, Fl
Water Crafts
I can't keep up with it anymore. I've got some really cool skis!!
I have a lot of experience with 95-97 Speedsters. Going fast is what they do best. More power with larger pumps may help them cruise because normally by the time your on plane your flying. Motor mounts seem like they would be a lot of work.

I've always kept an eye out for one of the single 951 boats to work with but haven't found a deal on one yet.
 

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
I have a lot of experience with 95-97 Speedsters. Going fast is what they do best. More power with larger pumps may help them cruise because normally by the time your on plane your flying. Motor mounts seem like they would be a lot of work.

I've always kept an eye out for one of the single 951 boats to work with but haven't found a deal on one yet.
Glassing for the mounts on this boat looks like it will be an insane amount of work. I'm working on a redesign of a clunky one piece 787 swap bracket I've got laying around, will see if I end up liking it or doing glass work.

The single 951 boats do run nice, and had I not picked up this speedster so cheap I would have already swapped my challenger.
 
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DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
I have one with the twin 787s. I would hold on to the seat foam and wood there are a couple guys that make complete skin kits for that boat, I did a complete vinyl on mine and it looks great, and my skill level looks more junior to yours.
I have some good seats in the challenger that just need recovered, and can do that easy enough. But i'm not really a fan of the seats.. they are just not comfortable. So I may change some of that design around. Low priority ATM.
 

Sandman251

Well-Known Member
Messages
135
Location
grosse pointe
Here's my opinion, for what it's worth. Take both boats and part them out. Sell anything worth more than fifty bucks and take everything else to the landfill . Then, Give me $2,000 and let me kick you in the nuts as hard as I can. If you do these things I have just described you will be far, far better off.

Seriously, you have no idea what you're getting into. We're talking hundreds of hours of backbreaking labor and thousands of dollars with no guarantee of success.

If you like the 14.5 foot boats, find yourself a 97 Speedster with a rear facing keeper seat and twin 720's. If you'd like more seating and a more stable ride, move up to a 97 or 98 Challenger 1800 with twin 787s. Both of these boats are fun, fun, fun. With well-tuned motors and running gear you should expect a tremendous holeshot and around 53 mph top end. You should have no problem finding either of these boats in beautiful condition for under $5K.
Good luck.
 

chipskittles

Member
Messages
76
Location
United States
Water Crafts
97 Speedster
I am much in agreement with Sandman. Your project timeframe should be realistically extended to a couple years from now at the minimum unless you have a full team of workers and unlimited money.

I am a fully qualified expert at buying a cheap project and building it up how I want it over time, knowing full well it will cost more than just getting a newer/better whatever it is in the first place. Over the years I have learned the hard way that a project that does not run or work at all when you buy it will either A) cost infinitely more time and money than could ever be anticipated to get it going, or B) will be abandoned/parted/sold for a loss or dumped, there are no other options, ever. This can apply to almost anything.

If I were you and had all the money in hand i'd get one of the later Speedsters, i think you could get the twin 787 model up to 2004 or so, it was the LE if I remember right. Plenty of performance but simple enough to self-maintain without all the supercharger nonsense.
 

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
Oh, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I'm getting into.. I've maybe done a project or two. Maybe. And maybe I've been chatting it up with a few guys who also have done a project or two.. one currently swapping 951's into an 1800. This is why i said IF they'll fit. I know when it's worth it, and when it's not. I mean, the cost really isn't a factor, I don't have stupid money to throw at a toy but this would be so much more labor than cash. I've already got the misc. parts, just have to buy a couple top ends and crank kits to rebuild the cranks.

Now, with that said, I test fitted dummy 951's in there last night.. and while it's possible and within my wheelhouse, there's an absolute ton to cut out and glass. The mounts aren't that big of a deal, but the nail in the coffin for me is that the pump tunnels are super small. Enough that I don't believe they'll be able to properly feed the 155 pumps spinning the hopped up engines. There might be, but I don't see it. Another issue is the starboard 951 pipe needs to lay right where the steering cable goes, and there's little to no play there. So I'm just not feeling that much work, and downsizing my expectations a little bit to twin 787's. While I'll still need to do some mount work, and some other misc. crap, it'll be nothing like it would take to fit the 951's.

Pic of everything that would need cut out for the exhaust and location of steering cable
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So, for the 787 swaps, the first issue I had was that the pipes were hitting the tank, by about 4". So I take a measurement of the tank in the speedster.. 22" deep. Measure the tank in the Challenger, 16" deep. So that tank will be swapped to make room.
The next issue is the pipe fouls against the hull on port side. A quick work of a saw will take care of that, at the same time I'll be cutting the center hump for the mounts out and locate new mounts appropriately. Probably be a balls to the wall weekend project. Beyond that, basic rewire, hoses, etc.. nothing too insane.

Pic of center hump that will get a trim treatment
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For the 787's, I'll still bump compression, rebuild some cranks, pick up some pipes, Fullbore porting, and go from there.
Still a target date of 6/1.
 

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
I wasn't able to touch the boat all weekend, but did get into it last night for a couple of hours. I removed everything that was hitting, next step is to clean everything up and start making mounts.

Port side clearance for pipe and removed the old mounts
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Mounts on starboard and center removed.
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These are just rough cuts, they will be cleaned up prior to reglassing and painting.
 

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
Alright.. so, I've been cutting some more.
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And a little more
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And trimming and shimming for mounts
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and I now have the engines sitting exactly how I want them.
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At this point I've glued down the wood and have foam underneath, and now I'm waiting for some 4lb 2 part poly foam to come in from Amazon (be here Friday) to start shaping and filling. I will also complete the aluminum inserts flush into the wood. (Side note: right now the engines are aligned to perfection when I put 3/8" spacers under the mounts. I did this so I can fiberglass 3/16" - ish thick and be able to shim after final glassing.) Once I'm happy with all of the foam shaping, everything gets final glassed and painted, then the hard part is over.
 

DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
I changed it up just a little bit. I didn't like the wood, so instead I am using the 2 part foam as it's easier to work with. Make a paper/tape mold, pour foam, sand and cut to my desired liking, foam in the aluminum inserts and start glassing.
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I'm only able to do a little bit every night, so I'll pour some foam, sand it, and glass over a done portion. So right now, I'm working on port side foam shaping to clear the pipe and glassing the starboard side front and right rear mount. Once I lay glass and finish coating with resin, I shut the shop down for the night.
This way is taking a bit of time, but this will be the most difficult and longest part of the whole project and I'm being picky.
6/1/2020 will be here soon
 
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DanSquires

Well-Known Member
Messages
367
Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
A little sanding, a little glassing, a little more glassing.

First layers going down on port side mounts
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I've got just one or two more layers I'd like to do to the starboard side in cloth, and then i'll do a final cover in mat to closer match the Sea Doo original glass (not perfect, but closer)
USER_SCOPED_TEMP_DATA_MSGR_PHOTO_FOR_UPLOAD_1578445084887.jpeg

So, it's coming along. I am now to the point where I'll be pouring foam for the center mounts, using the wood that I made originally as a template to then create a mold. Overall, I think it's going well.. the rest will be a cake walk.
 
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