Advice on an old Chivers Thunderbird

Hey all,

 

Looking to buy my first boat and i've seen a few of the mid 70's Thunderbirds around these days for a very decent price.

My concern of course is the structural & outboard integrity because a cheap boat can become a money pit instantly.

 

I've heard the chivers thunderbirds are a great offshore boat for all sorts of conditions even if the old ones wont be winning any beauty awards.

My question is:

Buying a fibreglass hull that old are they quality enough to be reliable still?

Secondly i'd still want to check the Hull & Outboard, can someone recommend a good priced marine tech who can do this before you buy one?

 

 

Appreciate any assistance


catchalittle's picture

Posts: 1781

Date Joined: 04/09/08

I thought the thunderbirds

Thu, 2013-08-08 22:34

I thought the thunderbirds had a inboard well at least the old mans did and he was the first to get one before they were supplied to the harbour and lights guys years ago

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Nathan

Doooma's picture

Posts: 710

Date Joined: 05/12/09

If you want an inboard, maybe

Fri, 2013-08-09 06:15

If you want an inboard, maybe take a look at the Penguin Ultimate Walkaround boats,  they look like a decent tub also but with the walkaround deck!

pelagicyachts's picture

Posts: 323

Date Joined: 23/02/11

mate the Chivers

Fri, 2013-08-09 08:03

mate
the Chivers thunderbirds are a real solid little boat and if you find one in reasonable condition it will be a great platform for you to get into boating, something that old is bound to have some faults but at current prices (couple of cheap one around at the moment) you have to expect that -Prob the most obvious thing to check on a boat that old with an outboard is the transom (water ingress)....... transom repairs can be expensive!

jdog1980's picture

Posts: 27

Date Joined: 20/06/10

As someone that owns an old

Fri, 2013-08-09 13:21

As someone that owns an old chivers, mate if you find one good nick you wont be dissapointed. They were built when fibrglass was cheap so they put plenty of it in. If you have good gelcoat it will last for ever, much longer than the new glass boats.

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

Great to hear Thanks for the

Fri, 2013-08-09 15:43

Great to hear

Thanks for the input all, hope the inspection comes out well for the transom/hull/motor

Posts: 1016

Date Joined: 03/03/09

Mate has a 71 model

Sat, 2013-08-10 08:38

 And it is as solid as the day it was built - absolute brick shithouse and a flaming good sea boat as well, very dry  

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

I ended up buying a Mark V,

Mon, 2013-08-12 12:40

I ended up buying a Mark V, the hull looks fantastic and solid.

There's cosmetic tlc required but that's the be expected of it's age, but overall the condition of the boat I'm extremely happy.

Next of course is learning it in the water.

I know all boats handle differently in the water, but can an ex-thunderbird owner let me know how it planes in a bit of chop? Does it carve through it?

Would love to hear from someone about the ins and outs.

Have some other questions, the Trim gauge isn't working and the battery voltage meter (it's had an isolator installed for dual batteries which is probably related)

Posts: 1016

Date Joined: 03/03/09

TRIM WIRES

Mon, 2013-08-12 19:11

 Were and are a common problem (assume Mercruiser engine) the other thing to watch out for is the manifold - my mate got so sick of changing them had one fabricated out of stainless by a mate of his and it is going strong years later

Check the wires near the leg - corroded through? 

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Date Joined: 03/03/09

deleted

Mon, 2013-08-12 19:12

 Double post 

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

It's a Johnson 115, probably

Mon, 2013-08-12 22:59

It's a Johnson 115, probably the original

Luckily still in great shape and serviced regularly, but its something i've prepared myself i'll have to replace in the not too distant future

 

Once I get a bit of daylight when i'm not working i'll check that wiring near the leg closely

Walfootrot's picture

Posts: 510

Date Joined: 23/07/12

You may want to look at

Wed, 2013-08-14 07:50

You may want to look at repacing the Johnson now and save costs. ( take its a 2 banger )

1, they use a hell of a lot of fuel.

2, why spend money fixing trim, gauges etc when you are looking at replacement,

3, its a johnson ( hate them lol )

4, you may need to raise the transom to fit a new motor, or get a short leg as the older boats have a lower mounting on the transom

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More drum lines, kill the bloody sharks!

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

Thanks Wal, at the moment I

Wed, 2013-08-14 09:30

Thanks Wal,

at the moment I want to be comfortable with the workings of the motor in case something happens on the water, and I want to be somewhat sure I've got it in a working condition.

The replacement motor will come but I have to convince my accountant (aka Wife) to splash out on a new motor when having just gotten the boat.

I'll use this outboard for the first season of fishing and then line up probably a 115 - 130 Yammy

Doooma's picture

Posts: 710

Date Joined: 05/12/09

here's an outboard for ya!!

Wed, 2013-08-14 10:54

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/booragoon/motorboats-powerboats/130h-p-yamaha-2-st-20-low-hours/1025634771

 

20" shaft so you may want to be quick!!!  Bloody hard to get 2nd hand now... I struggled to find one for my old Chivers and in the end, sold the boat before I found one..

Tradewind's picture

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Date Joined: 18/09/12

20" shaft would be perfect

Wed, 2013-08-14 11:20

20" shaft would be perfect for the low transom on the Thunderbirds wouldn't it?

Doooma's picture

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Date Joined: 05/12/09

My old Chivers pursuit was

Wed, 2013-08-14 11:26

My old Chivers pursuit was 20"... not sure about Thunderbox... (bird) ;-)    Well, there's a name for your boat!!!  lol

HoWhat length is the thunderbird?  You dont want to be too underpowered as they are heavy glass...  My pursuit was 17 foot ish and a 115 would have been good for that...

Walfootrot's picture

Posts: 510

Date Joined: 23/07/12

It is a 2 stroke.....

Wed, 2013-08-14 11:27

It is a 2 stroke.....

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More drum lines, kill the bloody sharks!

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

It's an 18ft, the Mark

Wed, 2013-08-14 11:39

It's an 18ft, the Mark V

They came originally with a 115hp which seems to be a good fit to weight ratio.

I'm pretty sure a 130 would do well to give it a bit more pickup and might pay off in fuel economy

I'll probably go a 4 stroke and do some research about which has reasonable fuel consumption

Tradewind's picture

Posts: 616

Date Joined: 18/09/12

Looking at it, my choice

Wed, 2013-08-14 12:59

Looking at it, my choice would probably be the Suzuki DF115 for performance and fuel efficiency

The big question will be, is it worth hanging onto the Thunderbird to repower it with such an investment

She's solid and kept well but the vanity side of me thinks about flashier looking boats ;)

Walfootrot's picture

Posts: 510

Date Joined: 23/07/12

IMO, its hard to go past the

Wed, 2013-08-14 13:17

IMO, its hard to go past the older hulls for ride, Pacemakers, Swiftcraft etc,etc solid boats and great for fishing and if the weather turns bad, I would rather be in a swifty that some of the newer boats.

I am running a swiftcraft explorer 18' with a 115 optimax, great sea boat. also doing up a 24' swiftcraft sportsman, new moter going on this soon.

It realy depends what your after, a show pony ( flash boat with all the wank factor ) or a reliable older boat with a new motor.

It starts with the motor, then GPS, Sounder $$$$$$

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More drum lines, kill the bloody sharks!

Posts: 895

Date Joined: 25/05/09

 I got a chivers mark fve n

Wed, 2013-08-14 16:22

 I got a chivers mark fve n its fkin grEat on the water nice solid hull gets on the plane easy. , an can take some heavy seas. I got a 130 merc inboard out board. Cosmetic wise our hull an paint etc was is really good nic . With just a few nics n nacs replaced . Mind you we took the 120hp it had in it out n put a brand newy in her . We also took the captains chairs out take up to much room. 

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living is fishing

Posts: 1885

Date Joined: 03/03/10

mate of mine

Wed, 2013-08-14 16:54

a mate of mine had 1 back in the 80s in karratha he ditched his mercriuser and shoe horned of all things a Leyland p76 engine into it was scary fast and he only knew two speeds flat out and stopped it was a great boat