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1980(39)s Command Bridge?-gctid816131

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    1980(39)s Command Bridge?-gctid816131

    Hello Everyone. Great forum here. Long story short I'm looking to move to the salt and get a cabin cruiser. Ive been looking at Baylineer Command bridges from the 80's on craigslist that are in the cheap range. I like the look of the boat, the single screw for economy, and the amount of berths inside on the 28's. We want something to weekend on and fish from in the ocean when its calmish. Slip and drydock are over 3000 so I'm looking to keep costs down. Like to be able to bay fish as well and thought the IO would let us do that. Ive seen these boats beached on sandbars (on purpose) in pictures. Not sure how people do that..Seems pretty damn big for that. Anyway..has anyone noticed pitfalls with these boats of that age? Ive seen a few leaky gas tanks and having to cut half the boat apart on the forum. Ive gutted down to the hull and redid and old 18ft renken. Wasn't too bad. But these boats seem so much more involved I don't know if I could handle a full rebuild. Ill have enough of a learning curve learning mechanical stuff on an IO. Only ever worked on outboards. Any input welcomed. Thx

    From the shopping I did, there was a marked change (improvement IMHO) right around the mid-1980s. The earlier models (2450 and 2750) had an 8 ft beam to keep it trailerable, and had a reputation for being tippy. The later models (2560/2556, and 2850/2858/288) had wider beams, more weight, or both, mitigating the tippy factor. The 2560/2556 (same boat basically - the 2560 was designated a Trophy for one year, then branded a Ciera and given the 2556 number) have a 9' 6" beam making it just barely trailerable (~5800 lbs dry). The 2850 is 10' with weight increasing as the years go on. I have the 2556 and 9' 6" beam is harrowing enough trailering.

    The earlier 2850 and 2858 seem to have a galley and head down (near the V-berth) arrangement, with a bench seat behind the helm. The later 2858 and 288 move the galley up behind the lower helm. You lose the bench seat, but the dinette becomes bigger. I personally prefer the newer layout (similar to the 2556) but keep an eye out for both and decide for yourself.

    The size comparisons I did said most of the extra 3 ft of the 2858 vs 2556 went into extending the galley counter and dinette. On the 2556, if you raise the lower helm seat, it is flush against the sink leaving no counter space, just sink and stove. On the 2858 there's some counter space along with the sink and stove. The refrigerator on the 2556 is underneath the front dinette seat. On the 2858 it starts there, but in later years it migrates to the galley side.

    There's also additional seating in the 2858 flybridge (typically a bench behind or in front of the helm seat, vs a single row on the 2556). And there's more headroom. If you're vain, a standing height bimini on the flybridge of the 2858 looks fine, while it looks stupid on the 2556 (too tall). I'm actually a little disappointed with how long the 2556 really is (since storage and slip fees are based on real length). My 2556 with bow pulpit and swim step tapes out at over 30 feet, making it almost the same length as a 2858.

    The cockpits seem to be about the same size; the 2556's may even be slightly bigger (see above about same length). I measured the 2556 at 8 ft wide and 7 ft long (interior dimensions). I forgot to measure the 2858's cockpit but it seems a little shorter in pics - maybe an owner can chime in. The engine access hatches are also different. On the 2556 it's a single large flat hatch towards the stern, with a small storage/fish locker hatch close to the cabin door. The 2858 has a large central engine access hatch which spans nearly the full length of the cockpit, with two smaller lockers to the sides. Hence my suspicion the 2556's cockpit is bigger since these boats had the same engines as options.

    The 2556 and early 2858 have a transom which runs the full breadth. The later 2858 and 288 transoms add a door. And at some year the 2858 cabin door switches from swinging open to sliding open. That's huge IMHO as it saves a tremendous amount of cockpit space since the swing door doesn't sit flat when open all the way.

    The 2556 has a 18 degree deadrise. The 2858 is I believe 17 degrees. Both are relatively steep, which helps seakeeping (more comfortable ride), but the tradeoff is worse fuel efficiency. Most 2556 owners (with carbeurated engines) report 1.8-2.0 MPG (statute miles). Mine has a newer EFI engine and my preliminary measurements say about 2.3-2.4 MPG. I've heard the 2858 is down around 1.5 MPG or worse. Don't quote me on that - might've just been the 2556 owners trying to talk me into buying their boat. I'm sure some 2858 owners will chime in. The older models were lighter so will do better. The newer models come with EFI engines so will do better. The deadrise angles also make it very unlikely you'll successfully beach it on a sand bar; unless you're ok with the boat tipped over like a heeling sailboat.

    I opted to look for a 1990s boat instead of 1980s. The 1970s and 1980s Bayliner didn't have the best reputation. But they were acquired in 1986 by Brunswick, which is one of the biggest recreational boat-building conglomerates out there, including many well-respected brands like Boston Whaler and Sea Ray. My theory was that they'd standardize production QA somewhat, and it would take a few years for this to full affect Bayliner's production line. Which meant 1990 on. I've no idea if that's true, that was just my reasoning.

    Fuel tank is the major issue I've read about (mine is still on its original tank without leaks, knock on wood). And yes replacing it is major surgery. On the 2556 you have to remove the engine, cut out the half-bulkhead holding in the tank, cut up half the cabin floor so you can lift the tank slightly, then slide the tank aft so you can lift it out the engine hatch. The 2858 has a similar layout so I imagine its procedure is similar. You should have the PDS (primary drive shaft) bearings inspected and replaced if worn. I've also seen some scattered reports of water intrusion into the plywood reinforcing the transom, especially at the hole for the stern drive, causing it to rot out. The hull itself is supposedly solid fiberglass. The original thru-hulls are plastic, and probably brittle or cracked with age, so plan on replacing those.

    The only other issue I've encountered is mostly fit and finish. Bayliners are budget boats, so I haven't been really impressed with the quality of components or workmanship. The biggest problem that comes from that is accessibility. They did not design these boats to be taken apart again after building them. The fuel tank is the best example. Wiring is another - unless you strip down the boat it's going to be a PITA to replace or pull new wires.
    1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2