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#4727866 - 04/15/18 02:28 PM 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
I recently found one of these tucked away indoors. Original owner, needs a good cleaning but looks to be in very good shape. Passed the solid floor and transom test. I looked in the ski locker and the floor is solid in there as well. I don't think it was used very much, and always kept indoors and dry. It has the original snap-on mooring cover that's in great shape. I think there's a bimini for it too.

It has a Mercruiser 140 and Alpha One drive. I don't think the boat has been ran in the last 5 years. The trailer looks OK from what I can tell. The tires are dryrotted and are original from what I can tell by talking to the owner.

Anyone familiar with these? I'm having a hard time finding owners manuals or really anything about these boats. On the inside there's a plaque that says "Designed by Art Carlson CSS Contemporary Sport Series."

I'll get some pictures when the weather warms up.

It looks just like the top boat in this picture, except the hull is pink? or faded red/maroon, along with the interior (red and pink, red carpet)



Thanks in advance for any help.

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#4727889 - 04/15/18 03:02 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5460
Loc: South Florida
Bust out another thousand (in that boats case, bust out several thousand for repairs)
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#4727891 - 04/15/18 03:07 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
if i spent that much in maintenace itd have a new engine and outdrive...

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#4727895 - 04/15/18 03:10 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
BigCahuna Offline


Registered: 09/29/09
Posts: 2128
Loc: Deep in the heart of Jersey
Be willing to bet you will need batteries, a carb rebuild, and you might have to deal with 50 gallons of rotten gas. Beside's the usual oil filter and out drive service. Boats floors with carpeting are prone to rotting out, being the wood never gets air dried enough. And carpeting might be alot harder to clean if used for fishing. Might be fun for water sking tho. Compounding the hull should bring it back to life. Trailer wheels, or just the tires are pretty cheap. A weekend or two of a little elbow grease will get er done.,,,


Edited by BigCahuna (04/15/18 03:11 PM)

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#4727909 - 04/15/18 03:29 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5460
Loc: South Florida
Do the manifolds need replaced on these 4 cyl inboards like they do on the V8's every 5 years?
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#4727923 - 04/15/18 03:39 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20251
Loc: Upstate NY
First without spending a ton of money you need to get an idea if the block is cracked. See what is in the block, antifreeze would be good. Look at the freeze plugs.

Get the carb rebuilt (Tredwell Carb in in NY). Change the oil & rotor, dist cap, plugs and start it up and check again for block damage from freezing.

Get the 3 bellows replaced along with lower shift cable. Change the water pump impeller in the outdrive. Maybe replace the trim sensor and trim limit switch while the outdrive is off to replace the bellows. Pull the prop and have it repaired if it's damaged. Grease prop shaft. Grease zerks.

Hold off on the trailer tires as long as they hold air until the engine and out drive are checked out.

Drain the gas, add a gallon of alcohol let it sit for a few days, flush with a gallon of gas. Buy a few gas filters and keep a spare in boat. There maybe a 2nd gas filter at the carb.

I think that engine has an odd ball alternator.

You are close to $1000 for outdrive maintenance. I would get someone to do the bellows. If they fail, boat sinks.

If things look good, move on to trailer. Maybe LED lights. Check bearings. Replace the tires.


Edited by Donald (04/15/18 03:46 PM)
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#4727934 - 04/15/18 03:48 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
I know it was winterized before stoage, the bellows were also done (5 years ago though). Not sure what the deal is with the gas but it's likely bad even if it was treated before storage.

I was going to just run it (assuming it starts) and then change the fluids after. I'll try to get some pics because it is in much better shape than most would like to believe, especially for an 86. The main thing is the fact that it's been sitting for so long.

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#4727984 - 04/15/18 04:37 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20251
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: oilpsi2high
if i spent that much in maintenace itd have a new engine and outdrive...


Anything to do with boats is expensive.
_________________________
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)


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#4727993 - 04/15/18 04:41 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20251
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: oilpsi2high
I know it was winterized before stoage, the bellows were also done (5 years ago though). Not sure what the deal is with the gas but it's likely bad even if it was treated before storage.

I was going to just run it (assuming it starts) and then change the fluids after. I'll try to get some pics because it is in much better shape than most would like to believe, especially for an 86. The main thing is the fact that it's been sitting for so long.


Was the boat stored with outdrive up or down. Bellows get replaced by age, between 5 and 7 years.

The outdrive should be pulled and u-joints greased. Water pump impeller should be replaced. Outdrive gear oil changed.
_________________________
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2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)


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#4728002 - 04/15/18 04:46 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20251
Loc: Upstate NY
Even if things look good, assume prev maint was not done correctly.

If you are new to boating, remember there are USCG required items to be on board. Suggest a fixed or handheld VHF radio. Cell phone does not replace a VHF radio.
_________________________
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
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#4728003 - 04/15/18 04:48 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: Donald]
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
Originally Posted By: Donald
Originally Posted By: oilpsi2high
if i spent that much in maintenace itd have a new engine and outdrive...


Anything to do with boats is expensive.


Expensive is a relative term. I know people who have 16' aluminum boats who spend $ 50 in maintenance and buy 5 gallons of gas a year to fish all season long. There are also 26' cabin cruisers that cost $ 300 a day in fuel alone to go from one end of the lake to another. It all depends on the boat.

There's no way it is going to cost $ 1,000 to do bellows and change drive oil, even if you pay someone to do that. A bellow kit is $ 120 and a few quarts of quicksilver are $ 20.

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#4728009 - 04/15/18 04:58 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10580
Loc: Idaho
A boat is a hole in the water in which you throw money.
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#4728024 - 04/15/18 05:15 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
Yeah and cars are carts in the driveway, usually bank-owned, in which you throw money.

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#4728029 - 04/15/18 05:16 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
tomcat27 Offline


Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 3541
Loc: Chicago, IL
boats are fun. period. I've owned multiple. I currently have two: 1988 Bayliner that I bought new; and the 2005 Starcraft. The Bayliner has been great - I do all that maintenance myself - although it is an outboard.
Starcraft is a fun company - I met a few of their people when I worked in the industry.
Donald has given some pretty good advice; I had some bellows leak a little (11 year old boat, not the Starcraft); had a fuel pump fail (stupid internally-painted Volvo two stage pump). other than that my maintenance costs have not been bad.

Some time with a GOOD buffer should clean up the color on the gelcoat. ( I had to use a body shop quality dewalt with rubbing compound)
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#4728043 - 04/15/18 05:26 PM Re: 1986 Starcraft CSS 181B Boat [Re: oilpsi2high]
oilpsi2high Offline


Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1248
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
Keep in mind this will be a project more than anything else. I also live 5 miles from a state launch.

I'll probably get one of those trolling motors that mount to the outdrive to use for fishing, and as a backup in case the 3.0 decides not to run.

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