Boat Makeover

Boat Makeover: Doug Bear’s total overhaul

Because my 1993 Stratos 285 Pro XL did not originally have a recessed trolling motor tray, I decided to install one. I located the midline of the boat and centered the self-made template on the deck to start this project. Slight adjustments were made to ensure correct placement when using my pedestal seat, which would help maintain my posture when using the trolling motor in rough water.</p>
Photo: Doug Bear - Because my 1993 Stratos 285 Pro XL did not originally have a recessed trolling motor tray, I decided to install one. I located the midline of the boat and centered the self-made template on the deck to start this project. Slight adjustments were made to ensure correct placement when using my pedestal seat, which would help maintain my posture when using the trolling motor in rough water.
After cutting out the template, I closely examined inside the bow of the boat to make sure no debris was present that could clog the mechanical pumps. Upon finding a few pieces of foam, I used a shop vac to ensure everything was cleaned up.
Photo: Doug Bear - After cutting out the template, I closely examined inside the bow of the boat to make sure no debris was present that could clog the mechanical pumps. Upon finding a few pieces of foam, I used a shop vac to ensure everything was cleaned up.
Success! The template I created for the recessed trolling motor was perfect! Now it is time to remove the tray and get to work on applying carpet throughout the rest of the boat.</p> <p>I procured the carpet for my bass boat renovation on bassboatseats.com. While on this website, you may request carpet samples for colors and various weights. I chose 24-ounce gunmetal gray for my carpet color and decided to purchase 18 feet; which would be extra should I mess up anywhere along this project.
Photo: Doug Bear - Success! The template I created for the recessed trolling motor was perfect! Now it is time to remove the tray and get to work on applying carpet throughout the rest of the boat. I procured the carpet for my bass boat renovation on bassboatseats.com. While on this website, you may request carpet samples for colors and various weights. I chose 24-ounce gunmetal gray for my carpet color and decided to purchase 18 feet; which would be extra should I mess up anywhere along this project.
The first renovation step was removing the boat lids, seat platform and floor carpet. Luckily, I was able to remove the carpet on the floor in nearly one piece to serve as a replacement template.
Photo: Doug Bear - The first renovation step was removing the boat lids, seat platform and floor carpet. Luckily, I was able to remove the carpet on the floor in nearly one piece to serve as a replacement template.
Here is the tool of choice for many hours of work – a four-inch scraper that I purchased at a local hardware store and two gallons of acetone. I was able to use a pair of pliers to remove the old carpet from the lids and then began scraping all the old adhesive from the lids. While this is a time-consuming step, it is a very important step to ensure proper adherence of the new carpet to the lids for many years to come.
Photo: Doug Bear - Here is the tool of choice for many hours of work – a four-inch scraper that I purchased at a local hardware store and two gallons of acetone. I was able to use a pair of pliers to remove the old carpet from the lids and then began scraping all the old adhesive from the lids. While this is a time-consuming step, it is a very important step to ensure proper adherence of the new carpet to the lids for many years to come.
All of the rear deck lids have been scraped, cleaned and ready for new carpet. While this picture is simple, it represents a lot of elbow grease.
Photo: Doug Bear - All of the rear deck lids have been scraped, cleaned and ready for new carpet. While this picture is simple, it represents a lot of elbow grease.
Upon removal of all the rear deck lids, it was time to clean and buff the fiberglass. But first, I needed to remove the carpet on the back deck and clean with acetone.
Photo: Doug Bear - Upon removal of all the rear deck lids, it was time to clean and buff the fiberglass. But first, I needed to remove the carpet on the back deck and clean with acetone.
Additional items I added to the bass boat were an 8-foot KeelGuard Hull Protector, Stainless Steel Bow Guard, new 4-inch poly bow roller and a new winch strap.
Photo: Doug Bear - Additional items I added to the bass boat were an 8-foot KeelGuard Hull Protector, Stainless Steel Bow Guard, new 4-inch poly bow roller and a new winch strap.
Unfortunately, my boat did not have a windshield when I purchased it, but I was able to find a Stratos 285 Pro XL windshield at www.ecemarineproducts.com.
Photo: Doug Bear - Unfortunately, my boat did not have a windshield when I purchased it, but I was able to find a Stratos 285 Pro XL windshield at www.ecemarineproducts.com.
In order to clean off the old adhesive residue from the port side rod area, I made sure to protect the fiberglass by taping off the area before using acetone.
Photo: Doug Bear - In order to clean off the old adhesive residue from the port side rod area, I made sure to protect the fiberglass by taping off the area before using acetone.
After a bit of work, the port side rod area has been completely cleaned and is ready for new carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - After a bit of work, the port side rod area has been completely cleaned and is ready for new carpet.
Before applying adhesive and new carpet to every lid, it was dry fitted to make any adjustments. To determine the proper amount of carpet to cut for the lid, it is easiest to trace around the outside edge of the lid and add a couple extra inches. This allows a sufficient amount of carpet to adhere to the outer and inner edge of the lid.
Photo: Doug Bear - Before applying adhesive and new carpet to every lid, it was dry fitted to make any adjustments. To determine the proper amount of carpet to cut for the lid, it is easiest to trace around the outside edge of the lid and add a couple extra inches. This allows a sufficient amount of carpet to adhere to the outer and inner edge of the lid.
Here is the correct amount of adhesive to apply with a trowel to the lid for the new carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - Here is the correct amount of adhesive to apply with a trowel to the lid for the new carpet.
After applying adhesive to the top of the lid, I flipped it over to adhere to the new carpet. Next, I applied adhesive to the carpet tabs to fold over the lid edges and clamped with wood shims and other thin boards. Anything of measurable weight in a garage or around the house was used to ensure proper adherence. Also, to reach the optimal temperature range to apply carpet adhesive within a Midwestern garage during winter requires a few halogen lights and occasionally a heating gun.
Photo: Doug Bear - After applying adhesive to the top of the lid, I flipped it over to adhere to the new carpet. Next, I applied adhesive to the carpet tabs to fold over the lid edges and clamped with wood shims and other thin boards. Anything of measurable weight in a garage or around the house was used to ensure proper adherence. Also, to reach the optimal temperature range to apply carpet adhesive within a Midwestern garage during winter requires a few halogen lights and occasionally a heating gun.
While some of newly carpeted lids were drying, I started working on the rest of the boat, including the front deck.
Photo: Doug Bear - While some of newly carpeted lids were drying, I started working on the rest of the boat, including the front deck.
To ensure that all surfaces were clean before applying adhesive, I used a little elbow grease and soapy water to clean the deck.
Photo: Doug Bear - To ensure that all surfaces were clean before applying adhesive, I used a little elbow grease and soapy water to clean the deck.
Since the front deck had previously had the carpet removed, I had to create a new template using construction paper. Then, I used the template to transpose the shape on the new carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - Since the front deck had previously had the carpet removed, I had to create a new template using construction paper. Then, I used the template to transpose the shape on the new carpet.
Every lid was thoroughly clamped on every edge to ensure solid contact.
Photo: Doug Bear - Every lid was thoroughly clamped on every edge to ensure solid contact.
Oh, and anything available in the garage was used for weight when recarpeting the boat lids.
Photo: Doug Bear - Oh, and anything available in the garage was used for weight when recarpeting the boat lids.
The next step of the renovation process was to recarpet the seat deck. Upon removing the old carpet, the deck needed to be thoroughly scraped.
Photo: Doug Bear - The next step of the renovation process was to recarpet the seat deck. Upon removing the old carpet, the deck needed to be thoroughly scraped.
The scraping process took a while to ensure that the new carpet would correctly adhere.
Photo: Doug Bear - The scraping process took a while to ensure that the new carpet would correctly adhere.
After removing the old carpet adhesive with acetone, mark the hole locations on the bottom side of the lid to make it easier to reattach the lid hinge later. A Sharpie marker and hole punch are two of the most convenient ways to save yourself a little frustration later!
Photo: Doug Bear - After removing the old carpet adhesive with acetone, mark the hole locations on the bottom side of the lid to make it easier to reattach the lid hinge later. A Sharpie marker and hole punch are two of the most convenient ways to save yourself a little frustration later!
When reapplying carpet to lids with a curved edge, it was important to make small notches to ensure in the carpet lapped correctly.
Photo: Doug Bear - When reapplying carpet to lids with a curved edge, it was important to make small notches to ensure in the carpet lapped correctly.
Next, it was time to apply adhesive and clamp in place. Okay, maybe I do have enough clamps for this lid, but it worked perfectly.
Photo: Doug Bear - Next, it was time to apply adhesive and clamp in place. Okay, maybe I do have enough clamps for this lid, but it worked perfectly.
While many of the lids were drying, it was time to bring back the shine on the rest of the fiberglass boat. I spent numerous hours applying Meguiars One-Step Compound and Cleaner Wax to the fiberglass with a 7-inch electric polishing machine. To work on the underside of the boat, I used a mechanic’s creeper to reach all the way under the boat while on the trailer. Buffing out the fiberglass required a lot of elbow grease, but it sure restores its original shine.
Photo: Doug Bear - While many of the lids were drying, it was time to bring back the shine on the rest of the fiberglass boat. I spent numerous hours applying Meguiars One-Step Compound and Cleaner Wax to the fiberglass with a 7-inch electric polishing machine. To work on the underside of the boat, I used a mechanic’s creeper to reach all the way under the boat while on the trailer. Buffing out the fiberglass required a lot of elbow grease, but it sure restores its original shine.
Now it was time to apply the carpet to the front deck of the boat, where I plan to spend many hours during future fishing seasons. I started by taping off my active work area and covering the seat pedestal location. To temporarily hold up the recessed trolling motor tray from the deck, I used a piece of PVC pipe laying around my garage.
Photo: Doug Bear - Now it was time to apply the carpet to the front deck of the boat, where I plan to spend many hours during future fishing seasons. I started by taping off my active work area and covering the seat pedestal location. To temporarily hold up the recessed trolling motor tray from the deck, I used a piece of PVC pipe laying around my garage.
My back deck only had to have a small piece of carpet applied. After applying adhesive to the new carpet, I placed an inch board between the lockers to ensure proper adherence.
Photo: Doug Bear - My back deck only had to have a small piece of carpet applied. After applying adhesive to the new carpet, I placed an inch board between the lockers to ensure proper adherence.
The rear locker lids were set back in place to ensure the correct bonding of carpet to the middle fiberglass section.
Photo: Doug Bear - The rear locker lids were set back in place to ensure the correct bonding of carpet to the middle fiberglass section.
Next, I applied adhesive all over the area of the front deck and rolled out the new carpet. I cut out the section of carpet for the recessed trolling motor tray and put it back in place along with inserting 1-inch boards on the back edge of carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - Next, I applied adhesive all over the area of the front deck and rolled out the new carpet. I cut out the section of carpet for the recessed trolling motor tray and put it back in place along with inserting 1-inch boards on the back edge of carpet.
The new front deck lids were set in place to hold the newly applied front deck carpet. Notice the front deck lids do not have the latch hole cut out yet. Also, all of the inner lid guards were reattached later with contact adhesive and clamped in place in all the locker compartments.
Photo: Doug Bear - The new front deck lids were set in place to hold the newly applied front deck carpet. Notice the front deck lids do not have the latch hole cut out yet. Also, all of the inner lid guards were reattached later with contact adhesive and clamped in place in all the locker compartments.
So, before reattaching the lids to the deck, I used a utility knife to cut the carpet covering the latch hole. The easiest way I found was to flip over the lid and cut the carpet from the inside out on a wooden block.
Photo: Doug Bear - So, before reattaching the lids to the deck, I used a utility knife to cut the carpet covering the latch hole. The easiest way I found was to flip over the lid and cut the carpet from the inside out on a wooden block.
Here is the newly finished front deck of my Stratos 285 Pro XL bass boat.
Photo: Doug Bear - Here is the newly finished front deck of my Stratos 285 Pro XL bass boat.
However, there is still a few more places that I need to apply new carpet. One area includes the port side rod area for my fishing partners. I taped off the active area and applied the carpet adhesive. Then, I applied the carpet and let dry.
Photo: Doug Bear - However, there is still a few more places that I need to apply new carpet. One area includes the port side rod area for my fishing partners. I taped off the active area and applied the carpet adhesive. Then, I applied the carpet and let dry.
While a couple areas of the boat were drying, I began working on the seat deck. Since the previous owner spent many hours catching fish and successfully putting bass in the livewell, I figured it was time to reinforce a weak area in the fiberglass. After three layers of fiberglass was applied to the area of concern and sanded in between each layer with 150-grit sandpaper, it was strong and sturdy enough to hold an angler. During the process of laying multiple layers of fiberglass and waiting for them to dry, new lid compression shocks were reattached to the boat and locker lids on the front deck.
Photo: Doug Bear - While a couple areas of the boat were drying, I began working on the seat deck. Since the previous owner spent many hours catching fish and successfully putting bass in the livewell, I figured it was time to reinforce a weak area in the fiberglass. After three layers of fiberglass was applied to the area of concern and sanded in between each layer with 150-grit sandpaper, it was strong and sturdy enough to hold an angler. During the process of laying multiple layers of fiberglass and waiting for them to dry, new lid compression shocks were reattached to the boat and locker lids on the front deck.
Next, it was time to apply adhesive and get ready to roll out the carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - Next, it was time to apply adhesive and get ready to roll out the carpet.
As you can see, I made sure to clamp every carpet edge and apply enough weight to ensure that the new carpet would stay for years to come.
Photo: Doug Bear - As you can see, I made sure to clamp every carpet edge and apply enough weight to ensure that the new carpet would stay for years to come.
After the port side rod area had dried, I added a Velcro strap to hold fishing rods when traveling on the water.
Photo: Doug Bear - After the port side rod area had dried, I added a Velcro strap to hold fishing rods when traveling on the water.
 Now it was time to apply the final piece of carpet to the boat. After taping off the active area to prevent adhesive from getting all over the fiberglass, I started applying adhesive only under the console. When this area was covered, it was time to move to the center of the boat.
Photo: Doug Bear - Now it was time to apply the final piece of carpet to the boat. After taping off the active area to prevent adhesive from getting all over the fiberglass, I started applying adhesive only under the console. When this area was covered, it was time to move to the center of the boat.
After getting all the areas of the main floor covered, the carpet was rolled out and weight added to allow it to dry.
Photo: Doug Bear - After getting all the areas of the main floor covered, the carpet was rolled out and weight added to allow it to dry.
One addition that I made was an organizer. Since this was not a new bass boat, I decided to make it as functional as a new one with a small purchase from Rapala and attached to the console where it would be easily accessible when fishing. It holds needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hook remover and braid scissors. Since I do not want to lose any tools overboard while fishing, I added small floats to prevent that.
Photo: Doug Bear - One addition that I made was an organizer. Since this was not a new bass boat, I decided to make it as functional as a new one with a small purchase from Rapala and attached to the console where it would be easily accessible when fishing. It holds needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hook remover and braid scissors. Since I do not want to lose any tools overboard while fishing, I added small floats to prevent that.
Lastly, I reattached the boat seats to the seat deck and added a bump board. The area selected would be out of the way, but easily accessible when needed to measure a fish.
Photo: Doug Bear - Lastly, I reattached the boat seats to the seat deck and added a bump board. The area selected would be out of the way, but easily accessible when needed to measure a fish.
One final touch that I made was to apply carpet trim to the visible edges of the boat. However, applying trim in the Midwest during the middle of winter requires heat lamps and a heat gun.
Photo: Doug Bear - One final touch that I made was to apply carpet trim to the visible edges of the boat. However, applying trim in the Midwest during the middle of winter requires heat lamps and a heat gun.
As you can see with the newly applied carpet trim, it is starting to look like a nearly new boat…
Photo: Doug Bear - As you can see with the newly applied carpet trim, it is starting to look like a nearly new boat…
Just a few more important things to add…
Photo: Doug Bear - Just a few more important things to add…
While some of the new bass boats have lure holders, I was able to find 18-inch magnetic holders at Harbor Freight. I drilled two small holes in the middle support of the lids and riveted them in place. It works just like the new T-H products too.
Photo: Doug Bear - While some of the new bass boats have lure holders, I was able to find 18-inch magnetic holders at Harbor Freight. I drilled two small holes in the middle support of the lids and riveted them in place. It works just like the new T-H products too.
Also, I added a small organizer on the port side rod locker to hold markers or other miscellaneous tackle while on the water.
Photo: Doug Bear - Also, I added a small organizer on the port side rod locker to hold markers or other miscellaneous tackle while on the water.
One idea that came to mind after the seat deck was put back in the boat was to add a bungee strap to hold my buoy markers. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a drill in the correct place to drill two holes, so I removed the seat deck again to add this feature. Now when I am graphing fish on my graphs, I can quickly grab a marker and drop overboard. This area is also out of the way and mostly unusable space in boats.
Photo: Doug Bear - One idea that came to mind after the seat deck was put back in the boat was to add a bungee strap to hold my buoy markers. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a drill in the correct place to drill two holes, so I removed the seat deck again to add this feature. Now when I am graphing fish on my graphs, I can quickly grab a marker and drop overboard. This area is also out of the way and mostly unusable space in boats.
Well, I couldn’t leave good enough alone…as many (Stratos) boat owners know, there is a gap in these years of boats that many owners have added their own modifications for more storage. So, here is my modification…
Photo: Doug Bear - Well, I couldn’t leave good enough alone…as many (Stratos) boat owners know, there is a gap in these years of boats that many owners have added their own modifications for more storage. So, here is my modification…
I reinforced the starboard side with three pieces of plywood and screwed them together. These three boards were attached to the fiberglass with four metal brackets. The area in front of the console was the perfect size to add a removable Coleman cooler.
Photo: Doug Bear - I reinforced the starboard side with three pieces of plywood and screwed them together. These three boards were attached to the fiberglass with four metal brackets. The area in front of the console was the perfect size to add a removable Coleman cooler.
 A few other boards and supports were added to enlarge the front casting deck on the boat.
Photo: Doug Bear - A few other boards and supports were added to enlarge the front casting deck on the boat.
With the necessary strength needed to support my weight and to match the other rod lockers height, two additional 2x12 boards were used on the addition. I used a jig saw to cut one corner of the board to have adequate room around the console and add new carpet.
Photo: Doug Bear - With the necessary strength needed to support my weight and to match the other rod lockers height, two additional 2x12 boards were used on the addition. I used a jig saw to cut one corner of the board to have adequate room around the console and add new carpet.
Here is the new front deck addition with a removable cooler and waterproof tote under the middle deck.
Photo: Doug Bear - Here is the new front deck addition with a removable cooler and waterproof tote under the middle deck.
The back deck is completed and vacuumed.
Photo: Doug Bear - The back deck is completed and vacuumed.
It is time to hook-up the new engine to the transom. This process required a hoist and a few extra hands to attach the barely used 2007 Mercury motor.
Photo: Doug Bear - It is time to hook-up the new engine to the transom. This process required a hoist and a few extra hands to attach the barely used 2007 Mercury motor.
I was able to re-use the original steering cables on my boat when I attached to the used motor.
Photo: Doug Bear - I was able to re-use the original steering cables on my boat when I attached to the used motor.
The only adjustments that were necessary were a longer throttle cable and steering bracket attachment, which were purchased online and delivered within a week.
Photo: Doug Bear - The only adjustments that were necessary were a longer throttle cable and steering bracket attachment, which were purchased online and delivered within a week.
The boat originally had an Evinrude engine, but with changing to an EFI FourStroke Mercury motor, there were a few adjustments necessary for the wiring harness. Luckily my brother is an auto mechanic and is well versed in wiring schematics to make this renovation possible.
Photo: Doug Bear - The boat originally had an Evinrude engine, but with changing to an EFI FourStroke Mercury motor, there were a few adjustments necessary for the wiring harness. Luckily my brother is an auto mechanic and is well versed in wiring schematics to make this renovation possible.
My boat is finally ready for its first trip to the lake.
Photo: Doug Bear - My boat is finally ready for its first trip to the lake.
Green masking tape was applied to the garage floor outside of each tire location to help in the future when backing the boat. It feels great to finally have this boat renovation completed, and the boat is ready for any friends who want to go fishing.
Photo: Doug Bear - Green masking tape was applied to the garage floor outside of each tire location to help in the future when backing the boat. It feels great to finally have this boat renovation completed, and the boat is ready for any friends who want to go fishing.
Perfect.
Photo: Doug Bear - Perfect.