1987 Mako 231 Restoration

  • Some may have noticed I've been absent from thr forum for several months, fact is I haven't done any diving in far too long and unfortunately won't get to do any for several more months.


    Last January I had the opportunity to buy a boat I had had my eye on for quite some time. It was parked next to a friend's house and always caught my eye. When I finally was able to speak to the owner I got the entire backstory on the boat, here it goes: In 1987 Mr. Mardene went down to the Mako facility in Miami and placed an order for a Tuppen's tournament edition Mako 231. A very nice boat with all the frills, a 225hp Evinrude outboard, and aluminum trailer for the price of ~26k (this number always makes me laugh when compared to boats today). Mr. Mardene, an electrician, decided to name the boat the "Sea Phase" and had a painter come out and lay it on thick in brown and tan with brick red border paint. He used the boat for personal and charter use for 9 years. In 1996 the boat was parked on its trailer in front of his house where it would remain until January of 2013. Mr. Mardene passed away from health complications in November of 2012, at which time his widow decided it was time to sell his beloved boat and fishing equipment to help offset funeral costs. She spread the word around the neighborhood that if anyone knew someone who might be interested to pass her number along and to get in touch with her. This is where I come in.


    My good friend Eric, neighbor to the Mardene family, calls me up and says the Mako is up for sale and tells me that I should try to schedule a time to perform an inspection. This is when I discover that the boat has been sitting for ~16 years. It was obvious it hadn't been used in quite some time but I never expected that. It had typical abandoned boat attributes such as flat tires, rusty trailer, and tattered cover. But upon removing the cover I discovered how pristine the boat was, original and unmolested. Sure it was covered in several pounds of cat hair from all of the neighbor cats but I could see through that. Further inspection revealed that the Florida heat had taken its toll. Anything plastic or rubber would crumble when touched, and the transom made a hollow thump sound when tapped with a fist. Removal of the engine cowl revealed a toothless flywheel, corrosion had destroyed everything metallic. Based on my findings I make a fair offer considering it will need a restoration involving no less than new wiring, hoses, transom and powerplant.


    A month goes by before I get a response from Mrs. Mardene. She has agreed to my offer and to save herself the extra hassle would like to include all of the old electronics (loran c :laughing3:)and fishing gear. I arrive at her house and inspect the trailer in preparation to tow it home, or so I thought. A quick Aaron Rodgers-esque discount double check reveals that the trailer isn't road worthy. I immediately inform her that I will need more than just tires to get it out of her yard. I placed several calls to find new axles, tires, tongue, lights and wiring. A week later I have arranged to spend a weekend rebuilding the trailer and removing her 25 year old yard decoration. And so begins the project and restoration. First order of business it to get the trailer jacked up and safely placed on jackstands. Then the wheels come off and I proceed to mount and balance 4 new radial tires at work. Back in the driveway I use a breaker bar and several wrenches to just break the suspension bolts off of the trailer frame. With everything out of the way and nothing but bare aluminum I-beam I can now locate and mount the new torsion axles, hubs, and eventually the wheels. Moving to the tongue of the trailer I just need to install something that can get me home, I can and will add brakes later on, but for now I just want to be out of her driveway. With the help of some basic stick on lights I can now tow her home where the real fun will begin.


    At this point, Jan 2013, the boat is movable and has been stored. I still have my Proline and the urge to fish/dive really cuts into progress on the Mako. Really cuts into it as in nothing gets done for several months. I am now paying to store 2 boats, one of which I use regularly and the other which is unusable. Frustrated by shelling out 285/month in storage fees I get a wild hair and decide to cut into the Mako and get to work on the transom. I set aside a weekend and remove the old seized outboard. Remove the aluminum transom cap and get out the electric chainsaw, circular saw, and air powered die grinder. As the sun sets I peel away the outer transom skin to reveal lots and lots of paper mache. It's bad and worse than I expected... I lose my mojo and the Mako gets parked for several more months while I enjoy my Proline and ignore the looming project.


    Fast forward to earlier this year. The Proline is becoming more and more of a marginal fishing machine and I want more and more to sell it and start/finish the Mako. I post the craigslist ad and make up a couple for sale ads on several forums and just kind of wait. I figure tax season will roll around and somebody will be in the market. Voila! I have a buyer lined up the inspection and seatrial go well. I'm ready to deliver the boat the following week and sign the title over pending they have the cash. So now it's Tuesday night and I've been requested to deliver the boat to Hollywood Wednesday morning. I have all of the paperwork gathered up and all of the boating accessories packed for the new owner. I decide I'm going to go out with a couple friends for a little bit of a celebration. 9PM and I get a text: "I'm sorry Mike but due to a pending IRS investigation I will no longer be able to buy your boat tomorrow." :frustrated1: Long story shortened, I reposted all of the for sale ads and low and behold a buyer comes along and I get what I'm looking to make out of it. I can't be happier and am now forced to work on the Mako, no more procrastinating or putting it off for fishing.


    Back to digging out the transom, removing all the old wiring, and basically stripping the boat down to the fiberglass hull. I did pressure test the tank and it held 5 PSI for several hours. Good enough for me! It did however need to be cleaned out and pumped dry. A quick google search revealed that homemade tank cleaner fuel treatment was cheap and easy after a trip to Home Depot. Total cleaner yield was 5 gallons... after a month of towing the boat back and forth to the house to work on it on weekends I pumped out 47 gallons of funky gooey 16 year old gasoline. :@ YUCK! I can however say that the tank is clean and a second pressure test gave me the same results as before (I became concerned that gelled gas may have been plugging pinholes in the tank). Many hours were spent at night on the web researching and ordering new pieces and parts to get the job done. My USPS, UPS, and Fedex guy are all on a first name basis now. some days I would have 1-2 packages, other days all three carriers would deliver multiple packages. I've enjoyed this christmas-like couple of months and lots of progress has been made as a result.


    Now for a quick backstory on me. After high school I enrolled in college in pursuit of a career in Air Traffic Control. I'll skip the boring college BS and just fast forward to my graduation in 2009. Fast forward again to the present day and I have finally gotten a job offer and class date at the FAA academy in Oklahoma City, OK. That's right, just as I'm nearing completion of the Mako and ready to get back on the water, I will have to pack up and move halfway across the country. The good news is that I will only be gone for 3 months and then have a job waiting in Miami (assuming I pass the academy). My dad has agreed to continue work on the Mako as he has been involved every step of the way.


    Back to the boat, I completely rewired the entire thing and installed all new electronics. I have removed almost all of teak items from the boat and replaced them with black starboard. The transom is nearing completion but will not be done before my move. I opted to add an engine bracket and picked that up on Friday from A&J Marine in Miami. The last key component required to finish the boat is an outboard and I am happy to say that Saturday morning, pending seatrial and every mechanical test I can perform, I will be bringing home a 2010 mercury optimax 250 pro xs with all rigging, guages, and prop. I hit the road on Monday or Tuesday for Oklahoma and begin class on the 23rd. My dad hopes to finish the boat while I am gone and as much as I would like that I almost hope that he doesn't just so that I can be here to finish it up and drop it in the water for the first time since 1996. Now for the pictures:


    Preparing to rebuild the trailer, my dad has helped every step of the way









    Ready to go home




    Cleanup begins




    Engine removed and transom tear out














    Wings being added to incorporate a folding transom door




    The door up and down



  • The fenders didn't fit in the original location after swapping to torsion axles, after a couples hours and some ingenuity



    Wiring, electronics and interior









    Garmin (before the switches were installed)




    Old switch panel turned into a fire extinguisher holder because of the relocated switches



    Bow rail removed




    Crows nest is in the works but its still in pieces in the garage, I'm trying to replicate the original Mako design



    The bracket





    The bracket will look similar to this once mounted and with the transom door folded down should allow for ample access for diving


  • Nice work. A satisfying project no-doubt.

    "Whiskey don't make liars, it just makes fools. So, I didn't mean to say it, but I meant what I said."
    -James McMurtry

  • That bracket/swim platform is going to be amazing. I love the ease of getting in and out of the water on those.
    One of the best ideas I have seen was a short rope with a brass clip on it for holding a bucket on the swim platform. When I asked about what it was for the captain told me to put weight belts so no one scrapes up the boat pulling themselves up and on board.

    i like to spear fish

  • I have always loved the lines of the old Mako boats. Great story and great restoration. Good luck with the FAA. I retired from the FAA as an aviation safety inspector but started work as airways technician taking care of all the navigation equipment air traffic uses in their job. In Panama then Montana.


    Good luck and be prepared to really apply yourself - tough school..  :thumbsup2:

  • Those 231 makos ride beautifully, you'll love the bracket also changes the handling of the boat completely

  • Coming along beautifully! How was ATC school? Working ATC at center, Tracon or Tower? Can't wait to see final project :thumbsup2:

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