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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 03 May 2011, 11:36 

Joined: 30 Apr 2011, 03:43
Posts: 3
First, My name is Greg, I am new to the forum and looking to pick up a cheap boat to fix up. I recently found a nice 14' deep V boat. However, the previous owner left a battery inside the boat up to the front that leaked acid which resulted in 6-7 small holes (approx. size of an eraser on a pencil). At this time, I am hagling on the price but it looks like it is going to be $225. I spoke with a repair shop that is quoting a rough quote of $200 to do the repair. I guess my question is, do I try to repair the boat myself, or should I pay the money and have a repair shop fix it. If I do the repair myself, what is the best meathod recommended?


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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 03 May 2011, 14:09 

Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 20:44
Posts: 117
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horsesoldier03 wrote:
First, My name is Greg, I am new to the forum and looking to pick up a cheap boat to fix up. I recently found a nice 14' deep V boat. However, the previous owner left a battery inside the boat up to the front that leaked acid which resulted in 6-7 small holes (approx. size of an eraser on a pencil). At this time, I am hagling on the price but it looks like it is going to be $225. I spoke with a repair shop that is quoting a rough quote of $200 to do the repair. I guess my question is, do I try to repair the boat myself, or should I pay the money and have a repair shop fix it. If I do the repair myself, what is the best meathod recommended?



Hello Greg, and welcome to the site. Perhaps you can post a picture of the holes you are referring to so we can see what's going on?

In my experience, with a similar problem I discovered about a half dozen holes due to salt water corrosion. I paid a welder $100 to tig weld several holes and a 6 - 8" seam on the transom. Even after this I found 3 other holes that I decided to just fill with some epoxy putty and then sealed ever weld, repair spot, rivet (new and old) and putty spot with gluvit epoxy resin (on both sides). On top of this is 2 - 3 coats of paint. I think it will be a long time before any of those problem areas are a problem again.

I find that I felt more comfortable knowing the larger holes were welded. I didn't feel as comfortable with the holes sealed with epoxy putty/resin but after a couple of rough trips and no leakage, I felt better about it. You may want search a little more for another welder or shop to see if they can do better on the price. Maybe even call a trade school or high school to see if their welding shop would want to patch the holes for you as part of a class or something.

If you were intending to power the boat by outboard, I think I would feel more comfortable knowing they were welded. If you were doing electric only then the epoxy putty and resin may be all you need. Either way, make sure you have a working bilge pump. :D


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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 03 May 2011, 14:58 
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011, 12:57
Posts: 482
Location: NE,Ohio
WELDING IT WILL DEFINATELY GIVE YOU PEACE OF MIND THAT ITS FIXED I WOULD STILL GIVE IT A GOOD PAINT JOB JUST TO MAKE SURE ITS SEALED UP TIGHT GOOD LUCK, AND WELCOME TO THE SITE



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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 03 May 2011, 16:17 

Joined: 20 Apr 2011, 15:54
Posts: 34
Location: Imperial, CA
without seeing the area you are talking about, it's hard to say what's best.....but I'm betting that the holes are just the worst and most visible part of a larger problem area....even though there may not be any other holes, I would guess that the acid at least etched a sizeable area and at worst etched it to a point that WILL be an issue eventually....If there are any spots that are corroded or scaly, that would/could be a problem.....Take an awl or an ice pick and poke around the area, you might find the aluminum is soft, or flaky and maybe even poke some more holes with relatively little pressure....I would have an experienced welder look at the area and get their recommendation....Welding aluminum, while not that difficult, does require some specialized tools and some pretty good fabrication skills....You can cheap-out on some things, but the integrity of the hull shouldn't be one of them.....just sayin'...


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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 03 May 2011, 17:22 

Joined: 30 Apr 2011, 03:43
Posts: 3
Unfortunately at this time I dont have pics of the holes. It is another guys boat that I am looking at buying. While I am wanting to take on the project, I have my suspicions that the holes that I see maybe the smaller part of the problem as stated by charlietuna. Pretty much I am trying to determine if this boat is repairable. I am begining to think that I would probably be better off locating another boat that is a better fixer up project.


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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 04 May 2011, 09:48 

Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 20:44
Posts: 117
Location: .....
horsesoldier03 wrote:
Unfortunately at this time I dont have pics of the holes. It is another guys boat that I am looking at buying. While I am wanting to take on the project, I have my suspicions that the holes that I see maybe the smaller part of the problem as stated by charlietuna. Pretty much I am trying to determine if this boat is repairable. I am begining to think that I would probably be better off locating another boat that is a better fixer up project.


Charlietuna made a very excellent point. Good luck with your search!


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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2011, 11:02 
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Joined: 29 Apr 2009, 14:03
Posts: 1380
Location: Hagerstown MD
Where are you located?

Depending on where it's damaged, the amount of damage and the size of the patch it may still be a really good deal...

More info.

If it's a bare spot I'd neutralize the acid and just weld or epoxy a patch panel over the damage from the outside. If there are ribs or strakes of rivets you'll have to deal with those too.

Jamie



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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 15 Nov 2011, 06:41 

Joined: 17 Dec 2010, 05:54
Posts: 859
Location: OMAHA NE
charlietuna wrote:
without seeing the area you are talking about, it's hard to say what's best.....but I'm betting that the holes are just the worst and most visible part of a larger problem area....even though there may not be any other holes, I would guess that the acid at least etched a sizeable area and at worst etched it to a point that WILL be an issue eventually....If there are any spots that are corroded or scaly, that would/could be a problem.....Take an awl or an ice pick and poke around the area, you might find the aluminum is soft, or flaky and maybe even poke some more holes with relatively little pressure....I would have an experienced welder look at the area and get their recommendation....Welding aluminum, while not that difficult, does require some specialized tools and some pretty good fabrication skills....You can cheap-out on some things, but the integrity of the hull shouldn't be one of them.....just sayin'...


welding aluminum'' while not that difficult" ? im assuming you are not a welder because i am and let me just say that if you have no experience DO NOT TRY TO WELD IT as you will more than likely make matters worse, running a tig takes lots of practice and aluminum is nothing like welding steel or stainless. i also have to disagree with ranchero50 suggesting patching the hull from the outside, if you do and you have a transducer mounted on your transom it will disrupt its ability to work properly for the same reason they tell you to not mount it behind rivets or strakes. and i know this will sound crazy coming from a welder but when i removed my flotation boxes in the stern of my boat i filled 6 holes where rivets were removed with JB weld(marine type) by making a ball and pushing it through so there was a bump bigger than a rivet and sanded them almost smooth when it dried and that was 3 months or so ago and they didnt leak a drop. could i have welded it, yes but i wanted to replace the rivets and did not have any at the time and i wanted to fish right away.

on a side note im not saying the other 2 suggestions would not work and in no way am saying they are wrong, just giving my opinion and dont mean to ruffle any feathers.......



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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 15 Nov 2011, 10:02 
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Joined: 05 May 2011, 16:35
Posts: 156
Location: Texas City, Texas
Greg, Don't pay the $200.00. That is way too much for this repair. Search around your area for a local welder to do it, theres alot of guys who do small welding jobs out of their garages. Check craigslist, some guys advertise on there for their services. Just make sure the guy can handle the job without making it worse. I'd charge a case of beer for this job myself.



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 Post subject: Aluminum Boat Repair
PostPosted: 15 Nov 2011, 10:07 
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 08:48
Posts: 1749
Location: N.E. SC coast
I see a lot of boats with corrosion holes in my line of work. And while it's not difficult for an experienced welder to weld aluminum, dealing with corroded aluminum is another matter entirely. You often have to drill or grind out the corrosion hole to a larger size, to remove the bad aluminum, and get into some good material, as oxidized aluminum does NOT weld worth a crap.

You should definitely investigate the entire area where corrosion is suspected, check it with an ice pick or an awl, as suggested. Chances are you will find a few other soft spots that are on the verge of going all the way through.

While welding is always the preferred method of repair, you can also use 5200 to repair those areas. (I don't suggest JB weld, or any similar product, as it is not flexible when cured, and vibration, impact, or flexing will cause it to crack, and fall off the repaired area) You need to wire wheel the affected area, then, clean it with phosphoric acid, then rinse it down, dry it, and wipe down with a degreaser before applying the 5200, for maximum bond strength.

Having said all that, if someone brought a boat to me with 6 pinholes in it, as long as it was just those holes and nothing else, they'd be looking at a price between 40-60 dollars.



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