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Old 02-09-2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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Default Mark Twain boats - how well built?

Hi, new to the forum, looks like a good place to hang out!

I recently bought a 1985 Mark twain 19' BR (190 BR model) with a 200hp Mercruiser. I've found some info on this brand searching google but not too much. Does anyone know what level of quality build these were considered "in the day"? Seems like it's decent quality to me for an old boat, but it was well-maintained.

Any opinions on Mark Twain Boats? thx.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:56 PM   #2
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Default Just Bought a 1987 Mark Twain 23.5 Footer and Love It!

To answer your question about how good a boat is a Mark Twain . . .

The boats were built in Frankfort, Illinois in the 1980s to early 1990s. Another boat manufacturer took over their plant in Frankfort in 1991, so they were obviously out of business by then.

From what I have researched myself--which, by the way, seems to be little out there about these boats--they are well built, heavy duty boats quite stable in rough seas.

It seems the cheaper made and cheaper priced Bayliner and Glasstron boats companies forced them to close their doors because their focus was on quality as well as performance and built to last.

Now, from a personal standpoint, and now a Mark Twain boat owner, I can tell you I found a soft spot in the cuddy cabin after having the boat only one weekend.

However, this is of no fault of the builders. I looked at many boats before I bought this one; and frankly, older boats tend to have been neglected without properly covering them at times. Therefore rain water gets in the cabin, drains to the lower hull cavity and forces moisture to rise and soften the marine plywood.

Today boats are completely fiberglassed on both sides of the cabin floor and thereby protecting them against rotting.

I have already cut out the bath section of the floor and found the hull quite sound and strong, something that surprised me for a boat built in 1987! Only one very small spot on one of the stringers had also rotted partial down from its surface, maybe two inches long and about inch deep. I cleaned it completely out as a denist would a bad cavity. I filled it with "Kitty Hair," a concoction of fiberglass fibers and resin in quart can. You mix a hardener with it and the stringer, or any area you want to fix becomes like new and hard as a rock!

I was turned on to this fix by a young mechanic at the marina where I have my boat moored.

This week I will cut the replacement hardwood, void free, 1/2" plywood and boat every inch of it in at least two layers of resin and fiberglass, then adhere it to hull with resin and hardener, then fiberglass the seams and surface a few more times to found a perfect cabin floor. Sanding with two grades of sandpaper will bring it to a smooth finish. Then I can paint it with an anti-skid marine epoxy deck paint.

If you like, we can exchange ideas and sources while getting our Mark Twains back to like new condition.

Btw, the engine, electronics, and outdrive all work perfectly. The previous owner also had just put in a new $500 shifter assembly. Frankly, I stole this boat for only $1400. It has a stove, sink and full head, all working.

Best regards,

Dick Pino
Bethpage, NY
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #3
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I am getting a 1971 18' MT this weekend. Needs cosmetic work but I could use info that may be available out there.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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I drained Merc out drive and out came very dark cocoa. The 4 o-rings were probably OEm from 1971.
Let is drain overnight then refilled the drive from the bottom up. No metal was found in the gear oil.

Greased all 4 Zerk fittings.

Removed the prop and cleaned up the thrust washers.. Polished the spline shaft, preased it up and reassembled.

Engine is a "Chevy" Mercruiser 4 cyl 120. Starts and runs well so far. Raritan Bay Sea Trials in a few weeks.

The seats and carpet were removed and of course the deck was soft in a few places. One stringer was bad and I repaired that. I cut out 20 sq. ft. of deck and went over it with 32 sq. ft. of 1/2" plywood.
Brass screws #10 x 1" secured the perimeter to the original deck and #10 x 2 1/2 were screwed into the stringers. 3m5200 bedded the entire perimeter and vertical edges of the plywood.

A 6oz fiberglass mat with epoxy resin will be laid in this weekend. The deck
finish will be Marine Rust O Leum.

So a big thank you to this forum for all the "How To" posts.

Watch for SUM ' R SLED coming down the ramps in Keyport later this month.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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I should have proof read this - sorry for the typos.
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