Wahoo! OEM replacement fuel tanks

tankHere’s some great info on where to get OEM replacement fuel tanks for Wahoo!s, passed along by site subscriber Dan Rhodes. Thanks Dan!

I have a 1988 18.50 Offshore. I  just got off the phone with RDS fabricators in Perry Florida and ordered my new 45 gallon aluminum tank! RDS is the same company who made the original tanks, formally AFP, Aluminum Fabricated Products. The tank I ordered is the exact spec tank for my model, down to the location of the fill inlet, vent tube, fuel gauge, and fuel suction. The model # for those of you who cannot read your original labels is 317-45A-AF.

RDS’s web site is www.rdsaluminum.com

Source for Wahoo! windshields

Doing some incidental searching I found another source for retro Wahoo! parts. UDP Plastics in Davie, Florida makes replacement windshields for Wahoo!s.

Their list of Wahoo! windshield molds includes:

  • 1987 18 1/2 ft. Wahoo Offshore
  • 1988 16 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1988 16 ft. Wahoo CC
  • 1988 18 1/2 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1989 18 1/2 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1990 18 1/2 ft. Wahoo Offshore
  • 1991 18 1/2 ft Wahoo
  • 1992 16 ft. Wahoo CC
  • 1993 1850 Wahoo Offshore

For other years/models, their site says, ” Could not find your windshield in our stock mold search? No problem, we can make you a new one whether you have the old one or not!”

Here’s a link: http://www.updplastics.com/wahoo%20boats.htm

Doel-fin magic

Last year I replaced the ancient 1981 Evinrude 50 that came with my Wahoo! 16.2 with a more powerful and reliable 1995 3 cylinder Johnson 50. After the Evinrude, which was hard to start and tended to stall in idle, it was nice to have an engine that started first or second turn of the key every time.  But even with the newer engine I still wasn’t happy with how long it took to get my Wahoo! up on a plane. It took too much throttle to get the nose down. And then once it did come down often the boat was going too fast for conditions (lotsa rocks in Boston Harbor).

So I wanted to be able to plane more quickly, with less throttle, and at lower speeds.  And I wanted to do it without having to increase horsepower. Following the recommendation of a friend, this spring I looked into adding a hydrofoil to the engine. Researching online I found plenty of back and forth on message boards about the relative merits of hydrofoils.

The cons:

  • They reduce overall speed.
  • They weaken the cavition plate, increasing the chance of breakage.
  • They increase drag and decrease fuel efficiency.
  • They catch weeds.
  • Trim tabs are a better solution.

The pros:

  • They will allow you to plane more quickly and at lower speeds.
  • They reduce porpoising and improve handling.
  • The effect on overall speed is minimal or non-existent.
  • They improve fuel efficiency.

And the qualified statements:

  • It depends on the boat. On some they make a difference, on others they don’t. Generally they’re better suited to smaller craft.


Shopping around I found quite a few makes/models to choose from, with prices ranging from $40 to $150. While most hydrofoils require drilling holes in the engine’s cavitation plate (so you can bolt it on), a few of the more expensive models advertised themselves as clamp on/no drilling required. That had some appeal until I read the customer reviews which were generally not favorable.

In the end I opted for Doel-fins, one of the earliest, simplest, and most affordable outboard hydrofoils. I didn’t even have to pay the $40 they cost since I  was able to scavenge a set off a boat that that had washed ashore on a local beach and was abandoned by its owner. Installation was easy. It took less than half an hour and drilling holes in the cavitation plates was not the big deal I feared it might be.

Three months of boating later and the verdict is in: What a difference!!!  I don’t have exact numbers but I would guess that with the Doel-fins my Wahoo! now achieves a plane at 40% less throttle than it took before. And it now planes at speeds as low as 10-12 mph. The ride and handling are smoother, with nice easy turns and a big reduction in porpoising. And my guess (though I don’t know for sure) is that with the faster planing I’m saving quite a bit of gas.

All in all, couldn’t be happier.  :-D



A Shipping Vent

I do a lot of my boat supply shopping online. Sometimes the orders are large but often I just need something small. As was the case the other night when I went looking for a nylon replacement vent for my fuel tank. Now when placing a small order online, it drives me nuts to get to checkout only to discover an exorbitant shipping fee. This is what happened the other night. It seemed like site after site wanted $10 to ship this $4 part.

So I decided to do a comparison of shipping rates. I searched for the same item on a dozen or so large boating supply web sites. (If a site didn’t have the exact item, I chose a similarly priced one so I could still compare their shipping rates.)

What I found was  a range in shipping fees from free shipping (Overtons) to $16.18 from Go2 Marine ($11.18 shipping + a $5 small order handling fee).  And Go2 Marine might not have been the highest: While Boat Owners Warehouse stated on their shopping cart there would be an $8 handling fee, I never got the actual shipping cost as the site would not show it until I entered my credit card info first (somethingI declined to do).

One other thing I dislike when shopping online: having to gp through checkout before you can find out what the shipping fee is. Fortunately, many sites include a calculator that lets you see the estimated shipping as soon as you put an item in your cart. Just punch in a state and zip code. Others though make you fill out all of your personal information first. And Boat Owners Warehouse, unbelievably, also wanted my credit card number before it would quote a shipping fee.


Site Cost to Ship Cheapest Shipping Method Site Has Calculator? Notes
Overtons 0 UPS Ground Yes Free shipping. Did not carry the specific item.
IBoats 3.59 USPS First Class Yes
Discount Marine Supplies 5.99 USPS Priority Yes
Jamestown Distributors 6.00 USPS Priority Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Boaters World 6.95 USPS Priority Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Boat Owners Warehouse 8.00+Shipping No Did not get shipping method/cost as site would not reveal without first getting credit card info.
Boat Mania 9.30 UPS Ground Yes
Wholesale Marine 9.80 Fedex Ground No
West Marine 9.95 USPS Priority No Did not carry the specific item.
Boaters Marine Supply 9.95 UPS Ground No Did not carry the specific item.
JMS Online 10.91 UPS Ground Yes
BoatFix 12.01 UPS Ground Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Go2 Marine 16.18 UPS Ground Yes 11.18 for shipping plus $5 small order fee.


Replacement Wahoo! decals

Completely by accident tonight I came across a web store that sells replacement Wahoo! decals–the decals that came on the port and starboard sides of every Wahoo! near the stern. Until I found these it hadn’t even occurred to me that the decals might still exist for purchase. A little Googling turned up a second site selling them. I didn’t find any others although there might be at least a few more.

So if the decals  on your Wahoo! are faded, peeling, or otherwise messed up, replacements are available. How cool is that? Prices ranged from $40 to $60 for a pair.

Two sources: