350 Express Cruiser

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Stuart Morton, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Stuart Morton

    Stuart Morton New Member

    18
    Oct 23, 2018
    Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma
    1991 Sea Ray 350 Express Cruiser
    TWIN 454 V DRIVE MERCRUISER
    My apologies if there's already a thread for the 350EC, I couldn't find any. We just bought a 91 350EC at the end of last season and are really looking forward to this one. I'm curious what others have done with theirs and upgrades they have performed. We boat on lake Eufaula in Oklahoma. We previously owned a 2000 310 Riker which was a good boat but I was wanting inboards and the 350 is a little bigger. FB_IMG_1540087302471.jpg
     
  2. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    Congratulations, Stewart, on your purchase of one of the best boats ever constructed. Even better that you have a 350 vs. the identical 370 of later years as you will be saving money on every haulout and bottom paint job for the duration of your ownership. The boat is the perfect size, both big and roomy enough to be very comfortable for a couple, but small enough to singlehand if necessary. I note your information shows V-drives, but you do have straight drives, with their better weight distribution and far easier service than the sister Sundancer boats (although we are absent the clutter catcher second berth below the cockpit, we are compensated by a much better helm layout.) Back in the day I did look at newer versions of the 370, but was unimpressed by the increased use of curved aesthetics in the cabin, which utterly destroyed the onboard storage capacity. In particular, changing the curtain divider in our boats with a hard wall with door to the forward V-berth completely ruined the airiness of of the cabin you now enjoy.

    Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Dave, and I am a 27 year owner of a ‘90 350EC. Unfortunately, due to medical issues my wife is no longer able to physically share the boating experience with me, so I’ve just listed my treasure for sale. They say the happiest days of boat ownership is the day you buy and the day you sell. I can assure you that this is not the case for me, I am quite depressed having to do this.

    I saw your post about a month ago, and as I have been preparing the boat for it’s next custodian (read cleaning the heck out of her, fixing a few things I hadn’t got around to, and removing years of accumulated stuff,) I’ve documented a number of improvements I’ve made over the years. Due to several of these being implemented many years ago, I cannot assure you that the items I used are still available, but the ideas are certainly suitable for your adoption.

    You will enjoy her. Again, a true bright spot in Sport Yacht history.

    P.S. I scanned the owner's manual before leaving it on the boat for the next owner, if you need a copy just message me with your email.
     
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  3. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00979.jpg

    I replaced the original ferroresonant charger with a smart charger. It is much easier on the batteries. I live in the Phoenix area, and my boat is in San Diego. As such, it could be several months between visits to the boat. I got tired of boiled dry batteries, so this was a welcome improvement. This was sourced at West Marine, it is a Mastervolt model.
     
    Stuart Morton likes this.
  4. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00983.jpg DSC00996.jpg DSC00999.jpg

    The engines, AC and generator raw water inlets were fitted with fresh water flush inlets. The AC and generator are fitted with ball valves, check valves (in case the ball valves are accidentally left open, and quick hose connects. The engine inlets are fitted with commercially available replacement caps on the filters which have a ball valve (and added quick connect fitting.) The fittings are above the waterline, so I did not add a check valve.

    Also, the vacuflush pump was remounted on rubber isolation mounts to reduce the volume (more on this later.) Not shown is the vent filter for the vacuflush. I drilled and tapped a hole in the top for a 1/2 or 3/4 (can't remember) PVC pipe plug. Instead of paying sealand's exorbitant price for a replacement filter, I dump the charcoal and replace with activated charcoal from an aquarium supply store for a few bucks. Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019 at 2:17 AM
    Stuart Morton likes this.
  5. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00988.jpg

    When the water heater failed, I found a drop in (nearly) replacement with a stainless steel cabinet at West Marine. I had to re-plumb the engine heat slightly, but no big deal. Looks much nicer than the original.
     
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  6. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00989.jpg

    I put a "goldenrod" heater in the port hanging locker to keep clothing from getting mildew or mold. It simply plugs into the outlet in front of the locker door.
     
  7. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00990.jpg DSC00991.jpg

    Stepping on the shower door track in the middle of the night is pretty painful. I added this piece of wood (stained and polyed to match the cherry trim in the boat) to sit on top of the track. I routed out (or dado'd out, can't remember) a slot for the track. Just pick it up to close the door and take a shower (I rarely ever showered in the boat though.) Also, the carpet in the head is a couple of standard bath mats that the the edging was removed, mat cut to shape, and edging re-sewed. They are washable.
     
  8. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00992.jpg

    If you leave the head system powered up overnight, you will find that the vacuum leaks down and the pump will cycle (not as loud if isolation mounted, but still loud enough to wake me.) I added a switch to cut power to the pump when not needed. The way this get used is to switch on the vacuum, do your business, flush, and switch off. Also, most of the incandescent indicators in the boat have been replaced with the LED upgrades (all these in the head have.) The original bulbs would burn out over time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019 at 11:09 PM
  9. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00993.jpg

    Faucet replaced with a stainless steel version. The soap holder was replaced with a commercial teak version that holds a softsoap pump. It took me years to figure this out, but if you drill a small hole in the bottle at the top by the cap, it won't push out soap due to thermal cycling if you forget to lock the pump down when leaving for a few months. The cupholder/ toothbrush holder I made from teak to replace the chrome/pot metal one that came with the boat.
     
    Stuart Morton likes this.
  10. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00994.jpg

    This is a bait tank / washdown pump I added. It's on the port side aft and the outlet is just beside the rear bench seat (which is removable if you want to go fishing.) The epoxy coated 2x4's with eyescrews were used for storing a rollup inflatable. The outboard was stored just forward of the engines on a mount I removed years ago, so no picture.
     
  11. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC00998.jpg

    A little hard to see here, but just to the left of the right-most filter (generator filter) is a shutoff valve. I always run the carburetors dry before leaving the boat, so they don't get gummed up with gas residue. This valve lets me do that for the generator. You need to cut the fresh water flush as the engine or generator is stumbling to a stop, but it's not difficult.
     
  12. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01000.jpg

    I made a lot of covers for things during my tenure. The big acrylic cover over the gauges kept them from fading over time. The Garmin unit is brand new, the original Chartlink plotter failed last year. I just put the new one for the next guy/gal, I have no idea how to use it (though I downloaded and printed the manual for him/her.) The Northstar loran still works, though no signal right now (homeland security wants to bring it back.) The chartplotter was run by the loran when I got the boat, but I added a handheld GPS (one of the first) to drive it. The GPS was located on the triangular area below the loran, but 26 years ago I knew it wasn't the final solution, so I didn't drill one of the mounting holes. Why? So when I upgraded (finally) I could put in the cupholder you see there in the picture. That's thinking pretty far ahead! The stick on cupholder to the right kept me going through the years though.
     
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  13. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01001.jpg

    Don't forget to turn off your bilge lights. This indicator that I added is one of four on the boat that are still of the original incandescent type. I left 4 new LED ones for the new owner to replace them with. These are the only 12V incandescent bulbs left on the boat. Everything else is LED or fluorescent (more later.)
     
  14. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01002.jpg DSC01003.jpg DSC01004.jpg

    In 1990, if you opted for a stereo or VHS player, they were mounted in a wood panel that covered this opening. The stereo, TV and VHS were removed (stolen) before I purchased the boat. I installed a TV with VHS player on the swivel mount where the original TV was (I had to slightly shave the opening to get it to fit.) Where the VHS was, I rebuilt the area to match the electrical panel above the stove. I built the recessed panel to hold a stereo, battery monitor, and CD holder. I had an acrylic panel made to fit, sourcing the matching mounting hardware from my Sea Ray dealer. I made a clear acrylic latch to hold the panel up if desired. Later I added the WIFI booster in the radar arch (since abandoned, Verizon hotspot works much better than my marina's wifi) and when I put a better TV antenna in I put the power/cable switch here. The original cable input functionality is still maintained. The TV/VCR has been replaced as you will soon see.

    I hand made stainless hold-up supports for the two compartments that are on either side of the stereo. It is much easier to access the contents that way (we kept china to the left, book like things to the right.) I used similar commercially available support on the forward mirror access to the rope locker.
     
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  15. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01009.jpg DSC01010.jpg DSC01011.jpg DSC01012.jpg

    This is a major improvement. I found a TV/DVD that barely fit in the cabinet where the TV is located (once I installed a recessed power outlet.) I built a mount using part of a TV wall mount, laminated particle board (like all the stuff in the boat) and a couple of ball bearing drawer slides. It swivels so you can watch it in bed, or from the dining table. I divided off the locker space to give additional storage space. Certainly one of the most clever things I did.
     
    Stuart Morton likes this.
  16. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01006.jpg

    Acrylic divider I made for the silverware. I made another rack in the cabinet above and to the right for plasticware (sorry, no pic.)
     
  17. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01007.jpg DSC01008.jpg

    The second time the front panel of the icemaker developed rust (I refinished it once) I replaced it with the U-Line stainless steel version. A little ugly, but still fully functional the original still makes ice for me on my back patio. On both the first, and this one, I added a switch (shown above) in series with the water solenoid. This allows me when leaving to shut the water off, then get the icemaker to cycle (by moving ice and allowing the sense arm to go down,) removing any water from the ice freezing chamber, which prevents algae or mold growth. Again, my boating is very intermittent, so preventing any issues from developing while I am away was important for me.
     
  18. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01014.jpg DSC01015.jpg DSC01016.jpg

    I upgraded all the lighting fixtures. The 12V fixtures (originally halogen) are all now LED, the ones in the V-berth have switches so they can be turned off (important for watching the TV from the berth since one of them is near the TV, but also nice for switching off the lights at the forward bulkhead when done reading.) Over the sink, the recessed fluorescent fixture was abandoned, and power was wired over to the stylish halogen fixture. For at-anchor operation without generator, I added a new 12V fluorescent fixture in the recessed area, wired to the same switch that operates the fluorescent fixture under the cabinet to the right of the microwave. These fixtures are much nicer looking than the original plastic ones that came with the boat.
     
    Stuart Morton likes this.
  19. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01018.jpg

    See that key switch under the head breaker, it locks out the holding tank macerator discharge, satisfying the requirement for having the discharge port locked off in no-discharge areas (I may have been the first person to ever do this.)
     
  20. desertdave

    desertdave Member

    37
    Dec 20, 2013
    San Diego
    1990 350 EC
    7.4L bluewater inboards
    DSC01019.jpg

    I changed this outlet to one that includes USB charging ports. Highly recommended. This is a Leviton unit, the odd colors (like grey) are available by mail order.
     

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