Fix'n a Vixen  Part I
By Scott Hraska

It all started a long time ago when I was about 10yrs old. My dad would always tell me stories about the days of his HydroStream.  He had a vector with a V6 175hp Merc, which was the biggest engine made back then.  After all the stories about his HydroStream, I told myself that my first boat would definitely be a HydroStream.  From age 14 until now, age 16, I looked on ebay VixenRebuild5.jpg (70253 bytes)almost everyday hoping to find a 14-15ft HydroStream.  I wanted something small because I knew I wouldn’t have the money for a high HP engine.  I finally found the HydroStream Vixen on ebay for sale.  I begged my mom to let me buy it for $1500 and I would pay her back because I have a job.VixenRebuild4.jpg (64040 bytes) She kept saying “no”, so I asked my father.  Now he’s thinking “cool a new toy” but he said he would have to talk to mom about it.  Finally they let me bid on the boat, HURRAY ~ I won the auction for $1500, which included the Vixen (14ft) a 40hp 1978 Merc. and a trailer.  It seemed too good to be true.  A few weeks later we drive to Mass. to pick up the boat and all went well - well, other then the fact that the steering was frozen so we couldn’t “test drive” the boat.

 After we got the boat we couldn’t put it in the water because a week or two later my grandfather passed away.  So it was about 3 weeks after we got the boat that we finally put it in VixenRebuild1.jpg (57056 bytes) the water for its first run.  I was really excited, but that soon turned into anger.  Once the engine was in the water and the exhaust was under water you could hear a banging in the engine.  We looked at everything and it looked fine, until we shut the engine down.  My uncle grabbed the flywheel and moved it up and down about 1 ½ inches.  He turned to me and said, “unless you want to blow the engine, put the boat on the trailer”.  Well it turns out the whole block was completely shot, the bolts on the roller bearings were different colors from the heat and it was basically junk. After hearing about my misfortune, my uncle Bill asked my dad if it was ok for him to give us his 70hp Johnson/Evinrude.  My dad agreed.  Now I’m really excited because I just got a 70HP engine for the HydroStream and now it would go fast!

After inspecting the boat I found a crack that went all the way though the hull.  The previous owner sealed it with silicone so it wouldn’t leak.  Well, after one rough outing the crack started to let water into the boat.  My father and I decided to fix the crack and not take the risk of it spreading.  Once we got the boat home and in the driveway I started ripping everything out of the boat.  First was the bench seat, then the throttle box, steering, all the wiring and gauges, theVixenRebuild6.jpg (84405 bytes) steering, and finally the engine.  Ok, no big deal, we would just fiberglass the crack on both sides and be back in the water in 2 weeks.  Boy was I wrong!  After removing the rear floor of the boat I saw some fiberglass missing and some more fiberglass falling off of the 2 stringers in the boat. First, we were just going to fiberglass over them until we saw how rotted and water logged they were.  After cutting out the phase one0007.jpg (74172 bytes) front floor (which was rotted as well) I saw the fronts of the stringers were completely rotted as well. Then I moved on to the bench seat.  I cut a hole in the middle to see what was in there and I found another pile of rotted and falling apart wood.  Within a week I had removed both stringers, the box that the bench seat got screwed into, and both floors.  Thankfully the boat had no balsa core so that was one thing Iphase one cont.0004.jpg (66400 bytes) didn’t have to worry about.  I asked Ronnie to come over and see how we were doing.  When he came we had all the paint grinded out on the inside of the boat.  I asked him to check the transom for me (I wasn’t sure if it needed to be replaced or not) and he got a small screwdriver out and started picking wood chips out of the transom.  Ronnie told me that if I didn’t replace the transom now I would have to in probably a year or two.  The next day I went outside and ripped the transom out.  I left the outer fiberglass layer to make it a little easier to replace the transom.  Also, when Ronnie was over he asked us if we hydrostream repair (done grinding)0006.jpg (69345 bytes) were thinking of converting to center steer.  My father was a little against the idea but eventually came around to liking it.  We are hoping that it will cure the “chine walking” problem I was having with just me alone in the boat.  Finally, Ronnie suggested that we cut out thehydrostream repair (done grinding)0005.jpg (59171 bytes) splashwell and just fiberglass a nice concave over it to further strengthen the transom.  One thing I loved about this idea was that there was more room to move the battery and gas tank towards the back of the boat.  So once again we got out the saw and cut the splashwell out.

By now we were starting to realize this would take A LOT more time then just the 2 weeks to only repair that little crack, which was now the least of our concerns.  In the next part I'll have the story and pictures of the fiberglass work I had to do on the inside and outside.


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This section features articles written by you guys.  Submit whatever you would like - as long as it applies to HydroStreams, motors, trailers, or towing vehicles.  Please send it to me in a form where I can just insert it into this page (some kind of Word processing document would be good).  It would be a good idea to check with me first to make sure nobody else is working on the same topic.  Everyone please consider writing an article and sharing some information that will help out your fellow Streamers.


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