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. 

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Glad you guys are safe! I had smoke billowing out of my port engine year before last..The factory battery fires were tan for both positive and Negative! Had them on backwards and fried my brand new alternator! Needless to say, I replaced a ton of wiring also. It really is a simple task yet it adds to the safety factir bit time.

I have a update. As I was replacing burned wires I found out that the positive battery cable to the starboard  starter was touching the back end of the exhaust housing and welded. This created the the wire harness neutral burned out. I feel somewhat better that it was not a crossed wire at battery. Going down for another full day of wire replacement. Was a job I wanted to do anyway. 

Just finished replacing 50 year old main engine harness's. I found so much unused wiring down there, All that was required was the heavy 8 gauge red wire - a brown starter solenoid- and a blue coil wire. replaced all battery wires and added sheathing and shut offs. Something I always wanted to do over the years is now done. Also replace neutral wires to both engines.


So, Here's an update on the project: 

Flybridge is off! It was a very labor intensive affair as I wanted to keep the flybridge in tact and remove it in 1 piece. I couldn't bring myself to cut it up which would have been way easier. New steering is being installed at the moment, new helm and cable are in, but the tie bar forks I ordered are the wrong size and I'm currently trying to figure out a solution to that as we speak. Props are out for reconditioning as well.

I have a few questions that I'd appreciate any input on if possible:

First, My boat did not come with helm seats or hardware in the lower station, Any suggestions as to wear I could find a set of original seats and hardware? I did see that garelick makes a similar style seat, but I'd prefer original. Or is there a better option since I'm starting with a blank slate anyway?

Also, I'm concerned about prop size. The boat was re-powered with 270hp crusader 5.7's, the props that are on the boat are 16x16 3 blade with no cup. Not sure what was stock, but does this sound appropriate for the power that I have? When we ran the boat last season before pulling it out I could only get around 3,800 rpm port and 3,600rpm starboard, but the carburetors were in need of rebuilding and the bottom was dirty and the props were dinged and dented on both sides so those numbers are not an accurate gauge. 

Thanks in advance for any help!

I plan on having the boat ready for the water by mid may and will add more pics and updates as the work progresses.

I think the Garelick seats would be a good choice. They mount the same way.. just as an fyi, I sold my used original seats to someone with a catalina. Shipping them the cheapest way possible cost the buyer $220ish dollars! They are big and HEAVY.Shipping was about as much as I sold the seats for. Something to consider cost wise.

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