A rare 1969 Leisure Craft houseboat

by Sandra in Tennessee

A rare 1969 Leisure Craft houseboat by James E Cron

A rare 1969 Leisure Craft houseboat by James E Cron

I have purchased a 1969 " drifter style " houseboat. She is a Leisure Craft. The name plate includes "Jising Houseboats by James E. Cron , Gallatin TN."


She is moored without shore power and I don't know if there is a bilge pump in the forward section of the hull. I can access the hull at the stern where the motor is located.

The forward section I cannot locate an opening to access it? The stairs at the bow slides out, however that whole section is a storage area with no way to get beneath it.

There doesn't seem to be an access in the head for the hull either. The wiring from the wheel has been "augmented".
Someone has carpeted over the original vinyl, and short of tearing all the carpeting out, I'd rather yell HELP !

Does someone out there know where I can access the hull's bottom for a new 12v bilge pump install? ANY information on this boat / builder / an owners manual / research links - would be so greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Sandra in TN.




Advertise Houseboat Business Advertising
You can advertise here for pennies a day!
Are you a boating related business and want to
increase sales and profits with targeted traffic?
Act now to get our 1/2 price sale, limited offer





Reply - Answer


Well Sandra, congratulations on your purchase and I am sure that slowly but surely, all your questions and issues will work out.

In regards to accessing the forward bilge area on your Leisure Craft, I am not sure where the access panel is, OR if you will have to create a new opening.

I'm sure that someone who is very familiar with this extremely rare model will be replying shortly with more detailed information.


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about any LeisureCraft houseboat experiences and tips.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

More Information



Free Bonus Offer

To show our deep appreciation to all of our readers and visitors, here is the link to our free houseboat magazine, the INSIDER. Go ahead click the book and sign-up, it's free and filled with great articles, tips, information and website updates.

free Houseboat Magazine - The Houseboat Insider


Comments for A rare 1969 Leisure Craft houseboat

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Anodes
by: Tim Rider

David Cron, yes the price does seem pretty high, I only know what they told me. A couple of houseboats in the same marina are really huge, and I wonder if that is the price for them or if they just charge the same price for everyone. I have been watching a lot of videos on YouTube related to houseboats, and the prices they mention for pulling one out of the water are much less. One that I recall was $600. I will question them again on it when I get a chance.

I think I located the black water tank (which I previously thought was the fresh water tank.) It is a steel tank under the bottom bunk on the portside in the hallway connecting the kitchen with the bedroom. There is a "waste" port just outside on the other side of the wall and a pipe that goes under the floor toward the toilet. There is also a pump which may be a grinder of some sort. I don't think the tank is leaking, but it is quite rusty, and for the price of a poly one, I would just replace it along with the pump just to be safe. The toilet has an electric unit on the top and that appears to be faulty. It probably needs replacing as well.

I was also concerned about the condition and accessibility of the propane line. I discovered that it is a steel pipe that runs along the back and up the portside walkway and into the wall where the range is. It appears to be in good condition, and easy to replace if there ever was a problem.

The guy that runs the marina said there are anodes that can be hung over the side on ropes. He suggested two on each side. I thought that was interesting.

The only sticking point now is that the marina requires at least a minimal insurance liability policy ($100,000) to cover damage to the dock and other boats. I have no plans of going anywhere with it, and the likelihood of it damaging the dock is about zero. Still, the agent they referred me to is having a hard time with the steel hull. It's still up in the air on that.

Thanks again for your response, have a great day!

Tim

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
1969 drifter houseboat
by: david cron

anode placement; all that i have seen were always under the boat in the water.
the 1500 price to pull and then put the boat back in the water, along with 1500 inspection fee seems a little high. since all three prices are 1500 that also seems odd??

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
69 Drifter
by: Tim Rider

David Cron, thank you so much for your response, you presented a wealth of information that will be extremely helpful! The next time I am at the marina I will check out the specific things you mentioned.

In your comment to Benji, it sounded like there are only 6" between the floor and the bottom of the boat. It doesn't seem like there would be room for a black water tank under the floor unless it was very small. I'm hoping it is plumbed to the back where there is an access hatch on both sides.

They told me the engine was a 6 cylinder 160 horse, but that may be incorrect. That is not a priority right now, though.

I am also glad to hear that the propane line is not under the floor, so it can be more easily replaced if necessary. It sounds like the boat was built to be as serviceable as possible.

I am wondering if new anodes can be put on the inside of the hull so it doesn't have to be pulled out of the water, since they get consumed over time. At some point I would have the bottom redone, but they want $1,500 to pull it out, $1,500 to inspect it, and $1,500 put it back in. That doesn't include any work that would be done on it. Hopefully it will hold up until I can afford that.

Thanks again for all of your help!!

Take care,

Tim


Rating
starstarstarstarstar
1969 drifter houseboat
by: david cron

hello tim; you mentioned you have purchased a 1969 drifter. my dad sold the drifter part in the mid sixties and started building leisure craft.
the construction of your boat probably is the same as earlier drifter models and the leisure crafts. i only remember one boat we built that required holding tanks, i do not remember where this boat was sold. your boat was probably retro fitted with a holding tank. there were no regulations back then the "black water" was treated with a chlorinator, then exited through a stand pipe welded into the bottom of the boat. the majority if not all houseboats used this system during this time.
my dad recommended cleaning and refinishing the bottoms every five years. there should be cathodes attached to the keels, this will help reducing electrolysis. when cleaning we would scrape and clean out the pitting caused by electrolysis. if the pitting was very deep we would weld up this area. the paint we used for many years was made by pettit. pettit held up fairly well. the better paint we began using was from gilman, this was a family owned company in chattanooga, tn. there paints were far superior to what we had been using. not sure if either of the companies are still around. paint and coating technology has come a long way since your boat was built.
a propane cook top should be okay, remember to open a window or something for venting. the gas line should not be run under the floor. the line may be routed in the wall if on the left side of the cabin. all of the controls and wiring and maybe the gas line are routed on the right side (steering wheel side) inside a wooden channel mounted to the wall. if the gas line crosses over to the left side it may be routed along one of the ceiling rafters and covered with a piece of trim.
the wall construction; the outside wall is 1/2 in. marine plywood with aluminum bonded to the outside. the window openings are surrounded by 3/4 pine strips and also strips located in various places in the wall. then the interior paneling was attached.
the engine; we used mercruiser exclusive, i do not remember installing any other brand. drifter may have used either volvo or mercruiser. i do remember seeing quite a few of the drifters with volvos. if it is a mercruiser and a four cylinder, this would be a 120 or 140 hp engine. this is a chevrolet engine used in early model chevy II novas.
glad to see these old boats surviving, hopes this helps. i will do my best to answer any concerns you have.
david cron

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
69 Drifter
by: Tim Rider

David Cron, I am in the process of purchasing a '69 Drifter, and cannot say how cool it is to find someone on here connected with the original builder!

The seller bought it two years ago for a project and never got to it, and now lives out of state. The prior owner, a handicapped woman who lived in it for several years, lives a few slips away. He only knows what she told him two years ago.

He says the engine is dead (which could be anything from "won't start" to "seized up") and it needs a black water tank. The bottom was redone 7 years ago (whatever that means.) While it might be nice to address the engine some time in the future, for right now it would just be a place to live. It doesn't list at all, so there probably aren't any leaks for now, anyway. There is no smell from the black water tank, but maybe it's just been too long and it has dissipated.

I am wondering how difficult it would be to find the right tank and how much of a job it is to get to it, since I would do it myself if possible.

The harbormaster suggested converting to an electric range/oven, but they're pretty pricey, so I'm wondering if it would be better to just replace the propane line coming in from the hookup on the aft deck since I have no idea what shape it's in. There again, I don't know how much of a job that would be if it runs under the floor and is fastened in a few places.

Other than that, it's in pretty good shape. I would probably convert the sleeper berths between the galley and the stateroom to storage, since the extra bed space isn't needed and closet space would be more useful.

It would also be nice to renovate the galley/salon area, since the flooring has shrunk opening up small gaps and the area could use updating. Flooring is easy to find, but I would like to find a good source for some teak or mahogany for a warm dark wood effect (Walls, cabinets, etc.)

The marina is only about 3 miles from where my daughter and son-in-law live. I had casually mentioned the ad I saw to them, and I think they got more excited about it than I did (I'm a little cautious about buying a hole in the water to pour money into.) The slip fee is half of what I now pay in rent, so if I don't get in too deep, it could work out. The owner is way behind in slip fees, so I was able to get him from $3,500 down to $2,500.

By the way, my son-in-law's last name is Cronn. I may have to have some fun with that, since I have to bust on him as much as I can (just to keep up.)

Any insights you can provide on the above issues would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks, Tim


Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Supporting boat
by: David Cron

I would not recommend supporting the boat by the
walks on the outside of the hull. We supported boats by setting steel 55 gallon drums underneath the boat.

We would put a piece of wood between the boat and the drum, usually would support along the outer edge where bottom and side are formed.

Hope this helps, Thank you, David Cron

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
hull repair
by: Benji Rutland

Is the walk way around the outside of the boat strong enough to support the hull by jack stands to do hull repair?

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Rear section repair
by: David Cron

You should Google search steel fabricators in Orangeburg, SC as there appears to be several in your area. Ask the ones that are not interested in doing the repairs if maybe they can recommend someone, or maybe one of the fabricators can do side work after hours.


Note: when you do find someone, ask if they have performed work on boats. Be sure they understand not to leave any holes in their welds.

We arc/stick welded everything, the welds below the water line, we clean the flux from the weld using a wire cup brush on a hand held grinder.

Inspect the weld, then weld up any holes, clean and inspect again. No matter how good the person doing the welding, there will be holes in the welds.

Hope this helps, David

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Help with hull repair
by: Benji Rutland

I need the hull of my 1969 Leisure Craft repaired. The rear of the hull needs to be replated or replaced. I can't seem to find anyone in my area that is willing to tackle the job. I'm in Orangeburg SC.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Metal thickness
by: david cron

The metal thickness is 1/8" inch.


Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Steel hull repair
by: Benji Rutland

Thanks David for the response. I do have bad rust in the last half of the hull. I'm thinking about getting a reputable welder to replate the underside of the boat. any advise on metal thickness?

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Under floor
by: David Cron

Hello Benji; the floor of your boat is 1/2 inch plywood screwed to a formed steel "c" channel. The channels are tack welded to the bottom of the hull and the ends are welded to the sides. They are approx 6 in. tall with a 1-1/2 in. lip, spaced 16 inches apart from front to rear bulkhead.

If you look under the front deck there should be some of the channels exposed, this may help you understand better how they are made. My dimensions may not be exact but should be close, memory not that great.

There should be enough room between the floor and the bottom of the boat where it would be easy to see. After the hulls were assembled the metal was acid cleaned to etch the metal, then primed and painted inside and out. Of course this was done in 1969.

Hope this helps, David Cron

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
1969 leisure craft hull design
by: Benji Rutland

I too own a 1969 Leisure Craft houseboat. I'm concerned about rust on the inside hull. I would like to drill some holes in the floor so I can stick a bore scope down under it and look around.

But I'm not sure how the hull is designed under the wooden floor. Any help or references to resources would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Benji

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
1969 Leisure Craft
by: David Cron

I am the son of James Cron, the builder of your boat. Great to see some of them surviving. I will do my best to answer your concerns.

The boats originally were not equipped with bilge pumps, unless ordered by the customer. To access the front area under the front deck, the step inside the front door, you should be able to slide the step to the side then pull the step away from the wall.

This should be open to all of the area under the front deck, which was considered a storage area. If there is a steel bulkhead behind the step then there should have been a hatch in the front deck.

The hatch would have been located under one of the front windows, if there is no hatch, at some point someone may have blocked it off.

We started building boats with water tight compartments in the front and rear. This is why I mentioned a steel bulkhead behind the step.

The engine controls and wiring would be routed down the right side (pilot side) wall. This would be inside of a channel made of wood and attached to the wall, it goes to the rear and routed through a tube welded in the upper right hand corner of the rear bulkhead of the engine compartment.

Some of the wiring is routed along the upper corners of the wall and roof. The roof rafters will have notches cut in them where the wires are routed through.

There should be a removable wood panel, possibly close to the floor, on the steering wheel mount panel, also where the gauges are located, this panel should raise up. There should be a fuse panel behind the removable wood panel.

I hope this helps, David Cron


Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Houseboat Owners Manuals.


Continue Reading Our Popular Pages

Our collection of houseboat ebooks

Ebook Boats Collection on Houseboat Books

We just love houseboats, do you?
Join our monthly HB Insider for free