Hi everyone!

Just joined the forum, lots of great info and people on here! I just bought my first commander and am in the process of restoring / updating her to suit my needs. The boat is a 1970 31' flybridge express. Hull # is FXA -31 -5020N. I purchased the boat last September in Mystic, CT. Used it as is for a few trips and had it hauled for the winter. The previous owner had repowered the boat in 2011 with FWC Crusader 350 small blocks 270hp each. The hull and decks are in great shape, but the boat is a mess cosmetically and the wiring is a disaster. Nearly every main battery cable and both engine harnesses were left laying in bilge water and need to be completely replaced. 

Since this winter has been relatively warm, I've been able to get in there and do some work. I've removed all the original steering components and have all new parts on order at this time. I've also removed about 1000' of obsolete wiring! It's amazing how much can accumulate over the years. I've also removed the exhaust risers and elbows for replacement. 

I'm most likely going to be removing the flybridge and converting the boat to a hardtop express. I enjoy the view from up top, but the bridge is in serious need of structural repair and none of the gauges or switches work up there at this time. I prefer the simplicity of a single station and the extra room I'll have on the back deck without the ladder getting in the way. 

I'll update with pictures as the project comes along. 

In the meantime, here's a few pictures of the boat as is. 

Views: 969

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Good call on the flybridge - yank that junk off! Good luck and keep us posted.



Matt Cowles said:

Good call on the flybridge - yank that junk off! Good luck and keep us posted.



michael leonard wilcox said:

yup i have a 31 lose the fly bridge it looks like aftermarket



Matt Cowles said:

Good call on the flybridge - yank that junk off! Good luck and keep us posted.
Ross,
Congratulations on a great choice for a project boat . My project is a 31' 1966 that I bought in fall of 2014.
This was my solution to solving a 48 years in the making ( by Bubba )wiring issue. I eliminated all the old wiring then I used a MerCruiser harness extension for each engine. The extension has molded male/female plug ends and modern ABYC color code wires jacketed in a single black sheathing. I needed a longer extension for the stbd engine ( my helm is port side). I located the plug in a position for future repower or engine removal and cut what I needed to dress the engine. With the engine wired I plugged the ends together and routed the wire to a new terminal block at the helm then connected ignition and gauges to terminal block.
My 327F's had been redone in 1980 w/ GM 350 block I also put in electronic distributors.
I am not a engine guy so when I say "I" it was the Marina techs.
Now it's.
Simple for me to understand.
Easy for the mechanics to install.
Clean looking (no rats nest of wire).

Craig
FXA-31004-H

Hi Ross,

My flybridge punched through the roof in the last hurricane.  I have a need for some flybridge steering

components if they match up.  I have a 1970 38' Commander with cable steering on the flybridge down to the lower station.

Thanks,

Pat

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely look into that. My port harness needs to be replaced entirely, the starboard side may be salvageable. The extensions you suggested would make life much simpler.

Craig Markin said:

Ross,
Congratulations on a great choice for a project boat . My project is a 31' 1966 that I bought in fall of 2014.
This was my solution to solving a 48 years in the making ( by Bubba )wiring issue. I eliminated all the old wiring then I used a MerCruiser harness extension for each engine. The extension has molded male/female plug ends and modern ABYC color code wires jacketed in a single black sheathing. I needed a longer extension for the stbd engine ( my helm is port side). I located the plug in a position for future repower or engine removal and cut what I needed to dress the engine. With the engine wired I plugged the ends together and routed the wire to a new terminal block at the helm then connected ignition and gauges to terminal block.
My 327F's had been redone in 1980 w/ GM 350 block I also put in electronic distributors.
I am not a engine guy so when I say "I" it was the Marina techs.
Now it's.
Simple for me to understand.
Easy for the mechanics to install.
Clean looking (no rats nest of wire).

Craig
FXA-31004-H


Hi Pat,

      My boat is (was) set up with two seperate cables, one from each station, to the rudders. I'll be reusing my upper steering helm on the lower station since the lower helm currently has no gears in the helm unit itself. Sorry I cant be of much help there.
Pat Stone said:

Hi Ross,

My flybridge punched through the roof in the last hurricane.  I have a need for some flybridge steering

components if they match up.  I have a 1970 38' Commander with cable steering on the flybridge down to the lower station.

Thanks,

Pat

Hi,, I also have a 31 commander (1972) I have pulled the frozen 350's out and rebuilt them. Replacing all the wood supports for the bridge,,,,, My fly bridge is gone now too.. Nice to be able to lock the back doors.    When the bridge was removed I just went snip snip with the wiring.. I have a feeling that my new engines are not gonna start right up. I have some electrical diagrams that are almost completely unreadable. I think even the temp senders and oil press senders are different part numbers depending on single control and dual,,,The wiring for this boat looks like a masterpiece under the dash, Not so much everywhere else..I took the dual controls off for the steering/trans/throttle...I guess a call to the mariners museum is in order to get some readable diagrams,,,,,

Congratulations Ross.  I agree that losing the fly bridge is no loss with this model.  Best of luck with her.  If she's in salt water,  remember that risers and manifolds are only good for about 4 years before needing replacement.  Always consider the safety factor of new wiring throughout.  One less thing to go wrong.  The 31 is just about my favorite Commander Model.   Please keep us posted! 

if it was me...I'd lose the flybridge and put 2-3 full size solar panels on the hardtop..

I found it cheaper and easier just to fire up an engine for abit;) Really 2 good batteries will last all weekend.

Steve said:

if it was me...I'd lose the flybridge and put 2-3 full size solar panels on the hardtop..

What timing on this topic. I have owned my 1969 31 commander since 1995. I made a wiring mistake this week after removing battery and alternator to access thru hull petcock valve.(replaced it). Also replaced raw water impellers and fuel filters. Took boat for a test run and all seemed well until I lost power in starboard engine and my wire noticed smoke. I tossed my anchor out, my wife grabbed life jackets and the dog and I instructed her to go up to the bow. I slowly opened the hatch and was hit with toxic smoke. No flames, I saw the wire harness melting. I pulled my shirt over my nose and disconnected the battery leads. I stayed put for awhile and all seemed safe to motor back up the Anclote river. we keep the hatch open and was still seeing some smoke, I again threw the anchor and quickly removed the helm cover to find the short ran all the way up the neutral  buss bar. I disconnected the port battery and had to call Boat US to tow ups back to the dock. This all happened because I had not Marked wires to battery RED OR Black. A loose neutral wire ended up on a positive post when reinstalling battery. Shame on me. I share this story so It may never be repeated to any of you. So now I will rewire both engines starting today. Also will add a battery shut off switch ( why I went 22 years without I don't know). 

 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Club News

Photo Contest Winner!

See more details in this forum post.

A photo album with all contributions is displayed below in or Photo Album section.

__________________________________________

Commander Styling Story

© 2017   Created by CCCC Webmaster.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service