RESTORED! 1979 TX-20 YOUNGBLOOD TUNNEL
Steven Smith - Atlanta, TX
This restoration dedicated in memory of John E. Sullivan
Hardware designs inspired years ago by Jim Youngblood & J.D. Simms
Thanks to friends that made a difference:
Scott Seastrum, Larry "Chop" Helms, Robbie Barrett, Stuart Smith, Nelton Humphries
Restoration of my TX-20 during the Winter of 2004 & Spring of 2005.
When I re-discovered the old hull of my late boat buddy John Sullivan
it was outdoors partially covered by a shed and literally had a squirrel
nesting in the left sponson and bird nest in the right header.
Over the years the clear gelcoat had deteriorated and someone applied auto
clear. This later turned yellow and was pealing The yellowed clear gave the
silver flake a champagne color. The balsa floor in the passenger compartment
was covered with a fake floor and black carpet glued in. Either side of the engine
had shellac applied that over time turned chocolate brown. So,the boat was
completely stripped including the carpet, fake floor, shellac, and automotive clear
The total interior of the boat was sanded four times in preparation of refinishing.
The trailer was very rough. It was originally silver and over time it had been painted
blue, then a reddish brown paint that looked similiar to red primer. The restoration
began by completely stripping all the hardware, interior, steering, etc. down to a bare
hull and then sliding the boat off the trailer.
The restoration continued by completely stripping the trailer and taking it to 3P Industries
in Tyler, Texas for powder coating. After I stripped the fiberglass fenders down to the
original gelcoat, Royce Heldt at Dellinger Paint and Body repaired the damaged areas
and then applied a fresh silver urethane to them. Upon receipt of all the trailer components
Stuart Smith, Nelton Humphries and myself reassembled the trailer that included new bearings
and seals, new lights, new wiring, new bunks and carpet and new wheels and tires.
While the trailer was being refinished, Larry "Chop" Helms and myself began work on the
transom cover and the pump rebuild. This included fabricating the transom cover and a
complete disassembly of the pump replacing all seals, bearings and bushings along
with some unmentioned pump modifications and reassembly.
After the trailer was reassembled the bare hull was taken to my old friend Scott Seastrum
at Scott's Marine and Welding in Hot Springs, AR. Scott replaced the kickboard, filled the
filled the dash that had a terrible layout way back in '79 and a factory defect in the deck
was repaired along with various extra holes in the boat. The boat colors and graphics
were STILL the ORIGINAL in gelcoat. Scott brought the original scheme back to it's
original beauty by carefully sanding to the original gel and then applying fresh new
clear gelcoat to the complete hull, inside and out. After application Scott sanded the
gelcoat again and then buffed to a bright smooth luster to bring the hull back to as
close to the original finish as possible. As mentioned, the hull remains in the original
metalflake gelcoat colors as it came from the factory. Scott buffed the clear gelcoat
to a smoother finish than I knew you could get. Thanks Scott for your hard work!
OK, Now it was my turn again. While the hull was gone to Scott's, I continued to fabricate
new parts for the boat. Upon return of the hull I began to trial fit the parts that included
new steering with extension, wheel and adapter, seat mounts front and rear, new battery
box, pump brace, drive shaft, drive shaft cover, rails, mounts and ride plate. Each of
these parts were trial fitted to the boat for proper fit. As parts were completed, I took
them to Don and Steve Knutsen at D&K Industries in Marshall, TX for powder coating.
D&K coated all the boat hardware including the jetpump and various engine parts. They
also sandblasted and applied a ceramic coating to the headers.
AND FINALLY! After all the long hours of hard work the complete rig was ready and on time for it's
July 4th debut at Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma!!!
If you are interested in contributing comments, pictures or other information to this page, feel free to e-mail Gearhead@smithtex.com