1540 Alumacraft Jon boat build. My First Tin boat...

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justind1407

Active member
Joined
May 9, 2023
Messages
34
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LOCATION
Dahlonega GA
Earlier this year I convinced my wife we needed a Jon boat to beat around in and take out to the local lakes & rivers this summer. I live in North GA about 15 min from Lake Lanier. I stumbled upon this package in South Carolina while browsing Facebook and have been building it out on and off for about 5 months now between my kids baseball/basketball/volleyball tournaments. It's been a slow build but has come out much nicer than I initially anticipated. I'll start off by saying I'm an Engineer at a sheet metal shop who specializes in aluminum so I designed & fabricated made most everything you will see here but have no intent to sell anything.

2010 Alumacraft 1540
2010 Honda 20hp 4 stroke short shaft
2010 McClain 14' - 17' Trailer. It appears to be one that can be purchased from Academy.com
 

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First order of business was to clean out the dead leaves and get the title work straightened out before sinking any money into the boat. In Georgia, boat registrations are all digital now but after a little back and forth I was able to get that sorted out and registered in my name. After I received the green light I went about fabricating a platform to mount a bow tolling motor. Here you can see the first take on a bow cap and rear gas tank cover.
 

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After finding the contour of the front bow I decided to extend one side of the cover so the entire trolling motor would sit flat. I also took a stab at fabricating some dry hatches as well as recessed in some stainless seat bases. The front bow cover was tig welded to the gunnel rail all around and is now super solid. All of this metal work was done with 1/8" aluminum. You can see the front bow cover has a removable cover so I can access the front bow hook and later recess some nav lights.
 

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Now that the bow and the middle seat were done I added a few more storage hatches to the rear deck. When I removed the foam in the middle seat I made a huge mess with a reciprocating saw. This time I poured acetone over the Styrofoam and it ate right thru making it a much less messy job. A side console was fab'd with dry hatch to mount a small fish finder and house the electronics. This one took a few attempts to get correct.
 

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By this time it was already mid April and I have yet to take the boat and try it out in the water. I knew the temperatures were great so I ordered up a couple sheets of Hydroturf from TBN and went about installing them on the front/middle/rear of the boat. Install went great and I'm happy with the quality. At this point the boat was 100% constructed of aluminum or stainless and felt fairly light in my opinion. The Honda 20hp that came with the boat started right up and ran like a top all day. I decided to get out my phone and do a speed test using one of those downloadable speed apps and with only myself and a very light tackle loadout the boat was pushing 29mph. Very respectable numbers based on what I've been reading here. The Honda is also still running the factor 4 blade 9 1/4 x 10 pitch aluminum prop.
 

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After finding a trolling motor the bug for a front casting deck got the best of me so that was the next project. This was fabricated using 1 1/2" square aluminum tubing in 1/8" wall. Pink 1/2" Insulation board from Home Depot was stacked up 3 layers high and a final sheet of .080" aluminum was riveted to the floor. 1 last sheet of Hydroturf was needed to cover this new casting deck.
 

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Finally we took it out to the river. At first I was a little apprehensive on adding the casting deck but everyone has had a blast and the effort was worth it.

On the last trip out we had two adults, two kids, and our black lab, a full cooler, plus the new casting deck. I didn't record the top speed but I could tell it wasn't near as fast as when I recorded it on my solo run. My guess is around 20 mph. After that trip I ordered a tach from amazon to try out and see where the RPM's are with the fully loaded rig to determine if I should swap props for occasions where were all out together.
 

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After browsing the local Facebook Marketplace again I stumbled upon a 2018 Tohatsu 20hp 4 stroke that's fuel injected. The seller was asking way to little for it and I couldn't convince myself not to buy it so now here I am with two 20hp 4 strokes. What's everyone's opinion on the two motors? I will likely try them both and sell the other.

- 2010 Honda 20hp BF20D carbureted 4 stroke, manual start, manual tilt

- 2018 Tohatsu 20hp MFS20E fuel injected 4 stroke, manual start, manual tilt
 

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All things being equal, I would lean towards EFI. Again, all things being equal, your choice is a 6 vs a 14 year old motor. Of course, how they compare in use is the ultimate decider.

A third option is the get another boat for the Tohatsu. Haha.
Haha I thought about another boat. That wouldn't go over well with the wife.
 
Nice work, boat came out great.

You know you could always have a fishing boat and a "taking the family out on the water for fun" boat . . .

You've already got the more expensive part...the motor!
 
Nice work, boat came out great.

You know you could always have a fishing boat and a "taking the family out on the water for fun" boat . . .

You've already got the more expensive part...the motor!

Thats right! I might convince her she needs her own boat :ROFLMAO:
 
Great job there 👍, I was going to recommend a floor over the ribs but looks like you took care of that.

You bet! I wanted to take it out a couple of times to ensure there were no leaky rivets prior to sealing her up.
 
Earlier this year I convinced my wife we needed a Jon boat to beat around in and take out to the local lakes & rivers this summer. I live in North GA about 15 min from Lake Lanier. I stumbled upon this package in South Carolina while browsing Facebook and have been building it out on and off for about 5 months now between my kids baseball/basketball/volleyball tournaments. It's been a slow build but has come out much nicer than I initially anticipated. I'll start off by saying I'm an Engineer at a sheet metal shop who specializes in aluminum so I designed & fabricated made most everything you will see here but have no intent to sell anything.

2010 Alumacraft 1540
2010 Honda 20hp 4 stroke short shaft
2010 McClain 14' - 17' Trailer. It appears to be one that can be purchased from Academy.com
That's a fish catcher!!
 
I'd be trying out the Tohatsu.
It looks like the trailer is not set up right. I think the boat needs to move forward. What's the tongue weight?
 
I'd be trying out the Tohatsu.
It looks like the trailer is not set up right. I think the boat needs to move forward. What's the tongue weight?
Your absolutely right here. I need to move the trailer bunks up about 12"-18" to add some more tongue weight. This will also help me to run a transom saver to the outboard.
 
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