Riviera’s 2010 Pre-Season Inspection

Our Chris-Craft Riviera has been home almost 3 weeks and things are looking good this year.
Last year at the end of the season, we were taking on lots of water (from the rudder’s packing). Plus the 2009 preseason inspection was frightening to say the least…

West System bottoms can have unexpected problems with water trapped in the wood!

Our biggest concern this year was the integrity of the bottom and the packings for the rudder and the shaft logs. The shaft-log packing wasn’t a major concern because of its accessibility and the fact that it’s been re-packed a few years ago. The packing for the rudder was hopefully the cause of last year’s water problems — not something with the bottom.

First was accessing the rudder-log…
(which still contains the original flax packing)

The fuel tank and filler-tube.
The fuel tank’s fill-tube removed.
Filler-tube and it’s parts…
Not being sure whether the fuel tank would fit out the hatch nor wanting to take any chances damaging the deck, I opted to remove the fuel tank through the starboard side along the engine and out the backseat.
With the fuel tank removed, accessing the rudder assembly was possible. Simply removing the control arm allowed the rudder to fall out as the packing was that bad… To facilitate re-installation, I had a couple 2 1/4″ wrenches cut out of 1/4″ stainless steel.
Since I’m changing the rudder-log’s flax packing, I may as well change the shaft-log’s also.

So first, pulled the shaft
and removed the coupling…

…and the shaft-log apart

The other major concern this year was the condition of the bottom. It’s integrity is of utmost importance and with last year’s discovery has been on my mind ever since…

What about future boating? – restore our GarWood

Where? – addition to the garage

Time frame? – a couple years plus 1 extra in-case? (2013)

Can we get 3 more years from our Riviera’s bottom?

We began by cleaning the bilge with a dry brush, plastic putty knife, and vacuum cleaner. Once most of the loose debris was gone, some TPS was mixed up and used to further clean the bilge. We used one rag to scrub away the grim and another to wipe and dry. New rags were rotated in as necessary to keep from getting any setting water in the bilge.

Three small spots were found on the port side beneath the backseat and floor area. Each spot was near old screw holes used during assembly of the West System bottom merely 12 years ago in 1998.
I wiped out the section to be worked on with denatured alcohol and started investigating the soft spots with an awl and discovered the compromised wood to be fairly localized. Two of the spots only seemed to affect a single layer of the plywood, but the other went through 2 layers and softened the third layer.

All in all, we have only spent around 30 hrs investigating to this point, but we’re feeling good about everything so far. Hopefully, we’ll be able to maintain our Chris-Craft until our GarWood get her restoration (starting this fall?).

2 Responses to “Riviera’s 2010 Pre-Season Inspection”

  1. Oldboatguy says:

    It looks pretty good to me. Should last 3 or 4 more years.

  2. Mike Sindel says:

    Looks can be deceiving with West bottoms…

    Everything looked good last year when the Rivi came out of storage, but a little poking around found a basketball sized spot of rot. This was in May and the hole took 600 hrs to repair… (I actually found myself lucky to be laid-off and have the time during most of the repair.)

    Anyways, we are all good this year…

    …and, just hours from launch!

    See ya on the water, I’ll make waves…

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