Baja .38 Special Yanmar Diesel 2017-02-02T22:56:08+00:00

Project Description

Baja .38 Special Yanmar Diesel

This Baja 38 has been the project boat for Nordic Yacht Works for quite some time now. The boat itself is a very rare factory diesel version of one of the most popular models Baja ever built, the .38 Special. Instead of the traditional Mercruiser big block V8’s, this boat is fitted with a pair of Yanmar Turbo Diesels producing over 600 horsepower combined. It can reach almost the same top speeds as the gasoline powered boats, but at the same time it offers fuel efficiency unheard of for a boat like this. The boat is fully optioned with pretty much everything, that was available for these boats and what it didn’t have, has been added. Not many 38 foot offshore boats come with twin turbo diesel power, diesel generator, air conditioning and heat, vacuflush head with a holding tank and a dock side pump out + macerator, hot and cold pressure water, power bolster seats, U-shape back seat, a wet bar entertainment center with a built in ice maker / freezer, compact galley with a fridge, ceramic cook top, microwave oven and a good size sink, flat screen TV and a DVD, upgraded stereo system with JL Audio speakers and JBL amps, upgraded LED lights throughout the boat, Side Power bow thruster, remote controlled Blue Sea battery switches etc etc. Below are some before and after pictures along with brief descriptions of the work done. If you’re looking at improving the looks and functionality of your existing boat, give us a call.

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The exterior of the Baja .38 Special was overall in good shape. The minor dullness caused by the sun buffed out very well and brought back the shine on the original gelcoat. As the boat was to be used for promotions, we added a custom company logo 3M wrap on the hull sides and changed the graphics to more modern looking. 3M wraps are very durable and offer an excellent solution to change the appearance of a boat. The cost is more affordable compared to a paint job and a wrap can easily be removed unlike a permanent paint job.

The plastic and rubber on the original rub rail had seen its better days, so it was replaced with a semi rigid white rub rail with a stainless steel insert. A hole was cut in the bow of the boat near the keel to install a tube for the Side Power bow thruster. Deflector spoilers were laminated in front of the tube to eliminate potential water flow inside the tube during higher speeds.

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The cockpit of the Baja got a complete overhaul. The original vinyl wasn’t t00 bad yet, but it had some discoloring and the colors were very dated. During the removal process we found out, that some of the wood used with the original upholstery was starting to rot. At that time, the boat was already more than 10 years old, so finding the upholstery wood starting to deteriorate wasn’t a surprise. As all the structure needed to be replaced anyways, we decided to use composite materials and do a brand new “no wood” construction. All the foam was also replaced and instead of traditional foam, everything was replaced with “dri-fast” foam, which does not absorb water. The shape of the back seat was modified to add more bolster for a better support. Also the engine hatch and the side upholstery panels were modified to add stainless steel cup holders with LED lights. Additional courtesy LED lights were added as originally the boat only had two lights for the whole cockpit. Also the exterior speakers and subwoofers were all replaced using JL Audio equipment. A custom flush kit port was added to the side storage locker to allow engine flushing with a single hose hook up.

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The dash also received a facelift. The original Gaffrig gauges were all replaced with new Livorsi gauges. To give the captain more information about the engine and drive health, we added gauges for turbo boost, EGT (exhaust gas temperature) and the Bravo One drive gear lube temperature. The speedometer was replaced with a Garmin touch screen MFD display with a custom Livorsi bezel to match the new gauges. A water proof stereo remote was added to control the inside mounted Clarion head unit. All accessory switch actuators were replaced with new ones. A bow thruster joystick was also added to the helm. Due to the reconfiguration of the dash set up, new custom made aluminum dash panels were fabricated and covered with brushed stainless steel marine vinyl. The new dash is very functional and all the needed information is easy to see.

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The cabin remake was probably the most labor intensive part of the whole refit project with this Baja. Again, the interior wasn’t too bad, but the headliner had been installed with glued on velcro strips and the age had caused it to start coming down from a few spots. Also the overall feeling in the cabin was quite cold as the colors were mostly white with very little warmth. Instead of just replacing the headliner, the whole cabin was completely gutted down to bare fiberglass. The headliner and the hull liner, all cabinetry, the carpet etc were all removed to have a clean starting point. All the old glue and foam was scraped off the hull sides to leave a bare fiberglass surface to start with.

A new thick carpet was installed to cover all the areas originally covered with carpet. The new, plush carpet alone made a huge difference on the feel of the cabin. The previously white vinyl covered hull sides were covered with foam backed ultra suede and the same material was used also on the headliner, which now got installed with a screw on track system. The tracks create a drum tight fit on the headliner fabric and the seams are 100% straight. The seats and seat backs were reupholstered using ultra leather and the same ultra suede as on the hull sides.

The original cabinetry had bright white formica surfacing. As an experiment we decided to try and use the 3M Dinoc vinyl, which is also widely used on cruise ships as wall covering material. The cabinetry was disassembled to individual pieces, which were then covered with the wood grain 3M Dinoc. After the cabinetry pieces were all covered, the units were reassembled inside the boat and fastened back to their original places. So far the material has proven it self very durable. As a final touch, all the interior lighting was replaced with warm white LED light fixtures.

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The engine room was among the last things to be touched as everything was running perfect. Finally the typical steering shaft seal leak on the transom assemblies surfaced and instead of doing the repair without pulling the engines, we decided to upgrade the engine room and inspect everything just due to the age of the boat. Both of the Yanmars were pulled for cleanup and repainting and all new hoses and clamps. The old transom assemblies were removed and replaced with brand new Mercruiser Bravo SeaCore units for added salt water protection. At the same time the K-plane trim tabs were removed for inspection. Every single hose and hose clamp was replaced in the engine room and only solid band 316 Stainless hose clamps were used as replacements. The whole engine room was thoroughly cleaned and then painted with white bilge paint. Due to the easy access, the bilge pump and float was replaced, all new C33 control cables for everything, new LED lights for the engine room, new corrugated single piece exhaust hose was installed for the generator, the generator received all new hoses and clamps. The engines were painted Cummins white to easily detect possible leaks in the future. Both engines also received new HD Diesel engine couplers. After the engines were installed, the exhaust was replaced from the turbo back with a brand new OEM matching system from Stainless Marine. The original Stainless Marine risers lasted for 15 years in salt water without a leak or visible damage. That says something about the quality and fresh water flushing after each use. Bravo I drives were inspected and resealed prior to reinstall. Careful alignment ensured vibration free running.

Project Details

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