Keel leak on 16ft Bayrunner

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Chivo707

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So for the past few months I’ve been trying to seal a leak that is somewhere under the keel and the hull or the floor support and the hull. I tried sealing the keel completely using Alumbond, JB weld, and Lexel with no success. I’ve now decided that welding the keel shut might be the next best thing. Not sure if the keel should be welded shut since it didn’t come like that from factory. Would this be ok? I got an estimate around $1300 to weld it shut but think that maybe I can instead try to cut the floor supports open to try to expose the cracked weld underneath?BC09680E-99E0-4C8E-8721-8C645657857F.jpeg

I would greatly appreciate any feedback on how to go about this. Thank you.
 

LDUBS

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Nice boat. I'm guessing it a Valco Bayrunner? I'm sure you already know Valco was taken over by Klamath (located in Fairfield) some time ago. I wonder if calling them would be worthwhile? Wouldn't hurt I guess. Might be an old timer there that could shed some light on the problem.

I have no special knowledge but would be hesitant about cutting into the framing. Since the floor is off, could you float the boat and look for where water is entering? You might be able to at least narrow down the suspect area.
 

Chivo707

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Nice boat. I'm guessing it a Valco Bayrunner? I'm sure you already know Valco was taken over by Klamath (located in Fairfield) some time ago. I wonder if calling them would be worthwhile? Wouldn't hurt I guess. Might be an old timer there that could shed some light on the problem.

I have no special knowledge but would be hesitant about cutting into the framing. Since the floor is off, could you float the boat and look for where water is entering? You might be able to at least narrow down the suspect area.
Thank you and thanks for the suggestion. The hull is registered under Hull Inc and is a 1993. If cutting into the supports is the best option then yes, I’ll take it to my nearest boat launch and run a leak test. Last I remember it leaked from under 2 different supports.
 

airshot

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What about a thorough cleaning then flood the bottom with a sealer ?? A popular one is gluvit and there are a few others. I have found a clear sealant made for roofs. Goes on like paint, milky white then drys clear, stuff is tough, been on my jon boat for over 5 years. Got to be easier and cheaper than welding and cutting it apart.
 

thill

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I would hesitate to weld. Often, the welded area will be more brittle and prone to cracking later.

Are there rivets through the supports? Could a rivet be corroded under the head? How bad is the leak? A gallon an hour or more?

My bro in law's boat always leaked. Upon looking closely, it had a number of leaks, but we couldn't pinpoint them, water just kind of appeared, so I talked him into bring the boat to my shop.

We used a sharp chisel and popped the heads off any rivets that had corrosion around them, punched them through, inserted new solid rivets and bucked them tight. After getting all the obvious ones, he and my nephew bucked all the other rivets, starting from the back to the front. While doing this, a few heads popped off, as they were corroded underneath, so they got replaced.

It took maybe 2 hours to get every rivet done, as there were many. Back on the lake, we held our breath, as nothing had worked in the past, but not a single drop of water has ever come in since. 100% success!

Since your floor is already up, I recommend this. You will need a 2nd person, but it's worth the effort. If not, I agree that using Gluvit or some other sealer down in the keel area may be your next best bet.

I hope you find it. Leaks, even small ones are annoying and are a confidence breaker. Once they are gone, you feel much better about the boat.
 

Chivo707

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Thanks for all the replies so far. I removed the flooring again and I’m preparing the boat for a leak test. Looking at how the boat was constructed, I believe it’s going to be either a cracked weld from the floor support but I don’t see any cracks on the outside of the welds. Could it be cracked along the inside of the weld that happens to be under the floor support? Also, would it be best to cut open the floor support to find the crack OR cut open the keel in sections/remove the keel completely?
 

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DaleH

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LDUBS

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If you don't ming my asking, what are you seeing to conclude the leak is somewhere under the keel extrusion? Is water in the bilge after a day in the water? Do you see it dripping from along the keel?

I like Dale's approach to remove the keel and do the repair(s), but of course yours is welded. I would just want to be sure that is the problem area before doing that.
 

Chivo707

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If you don't ming my asking, what are you seeing to conclude the leak is somewhere under the keel extrusion? Is water in the bilge after a day in the water? Do you see it dripping from along the keel?

I like Dale's approach to remove the keel and do the repair(s), but of course yours is welded. I would just want to be sure that is the problem area before doing that.
When I fill the boater with water, it consistently drips out from the keel. Also, the last time I leak tested the boat, I saw water coming in from under the floor supports.
 

airshot

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A good thorough cleaning and flood the bottom with gluvit sounds much easier and would probably last longer than you will own it. However, it is your boat, feel free to put as much time, expense and effort as you like.
 

Chivo707

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A good thorough cleaning and flood the bottom with gluvit sounds much easier and would probably last longer than you will own it. However, it is your boat, feel free to put as much time, expense and effort as you like.
I like sound of that. But would I need to remove the paint where I’ll be applying the gluvit?
 

DaleH

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I like sound of that. But would I need to remove the paint where I’ll be applying the gluvit?
At least scuff it up well ... but I'd use West Sytems G-Flex 650 as it is a flexible epoxy. Search on my name and that product here, as I've posted a ton of tutorials on using it. NOTE it must be top-coated to protect it against UV. A $23 or less kit of it would do that keel and then some!
 

airshot

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I like sound of that. But would I need to remove the paint where I’ll be applying the gluvit?
Not neccesarily, if the paint is bonded well you will be fine, a really good pressure washer and strong cleaner like simple green full strength will remove any that is loose !! As mentioned there are other products as well to seal up any leaks. The gluvit is thin and runs into tiny cracks and seams. I have used a product called " leak stopper" that dries clear and is tuff stuff, but thicker than gluvit. It is painted on with a brush and leaves a sturdy plastic type of coating. I know there are othe products out there that could seal your hull without taking it apart or welding. Welding is ok for thicker materials but does make the material brittle and proun to cracking under stress. Rivets are easy to replace when they become corroded or retightened if loose. If you cant get at them then use a good sealer to stop the leaks.
On my 12' jon boat, the ribs molded into the bottom were actually worn thru, small slits were created in the aluminum ribs which leaked along with numerous rivets. I used numerous coatings of the " leak stopper" both inside and out of the ribs until I had a good build up of the material in the cracks on the ribs. Top coated with good enamal paint. That was 6 years back, it still gets dragged over sand and rocks, the paint has worn away but the leak stopper is still there and the boat has not leaked one drop in these past 6 years !!! Unless you have structural issues that need addressed, I would just clean then seal....then go have fun !!
 

LDUBS

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When I fill the boater with water, it consistently drips out from the keel. Also, the last time I leak tested the boat, I saw water coming in from under the floor supports.
Thanks Chivo. I was hoping you might be able to pinpoint the leak(s) so as to focus on the problem areas. I'm sure you already thought of that.
 

Chivo707

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Update: I believe I finally found the leak! Looks to be pitting under the floor support. I was thinking I could use some Alumbond as a filler since I have it on hand but open to suggestions. Now I’m not sure if this is weldable due to the pitting?
 

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MrMike916

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I have a 18' 1988 bayrunner that has a similar leaking problem. It seems the previous owner tried welding the keel guard along the sides but there were a few gaps where water is still coming in. I have been thinking that the keel was likely cracked under the guard and have been saving money for this repair, but I do have the rear flooring out and may as well get the ramp to check if its from the rear supports. I personally called the Klamath dealership/manufacturer in Fairfield and told them my issues but they just referred me to a different shop entirely. I will post more information if I am able to learn anything from my visit to the ramp.
 

Chivo707

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I have a 18' 1988 bayrunner that has a similar leaking problem. It seems the previous owner tried welding the keel guard along the sides but there were a few gaps where water is still coming in. I have been thinking that the keel was likely cracked under the guard and have been saving money for this repair, but I do have the rear flooring out and may as well get the ramp to check if its from the rear supports. I personally called the Klamath dealership/manufacturer in Fairfield and told them my issues but they just referred me to a different shop entirely. I will post more information if I am able to learn anything from my visit to the ramp.
Well Mike if your boat is anything like mine then you will find that there is thick salt build up under the floor supports. I had another small leak on the opposite side of the support I posted earlier so I cut a small section away, cleaned, and sealed it with epoxy.

I went out for another test and found yet another hole somewhere in the stern so I got to cutting. I got my cut off tool and removed a bracket that was full of salt that was causing major pitting. After cleaning, I found 2 more holes and that is where I’m currently at. I plan to fill those 2 holes with Alumbond and (per the advice above) gluvit the rest. I don’t plan to put that support bracket back on because 1. It going to cause salt buildup again, and 2. It gives me a good location to mount my pump. I will update once I get everything all fixed up. In the meantime I’m hoping someone can chime in and tell me if that bracket is necessary (structural). Thanks
 

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cyclops2

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I would wipe all the corroded places with Acetone . Then a VERY LIGHT sanding to remove all loose and weak edges. Put a piece of duct tape on the OUTSIDE only to prevent any INSIDE goop from running thru. Then small pieces of cut up Aluminum glued on the inside surfaces. You or a experienced hull shop can pick what sealer to use.
 

cyclops2

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Your boat is a excellent reason why Aluminum hulls..........should never..............Be used in salt or brackish water. Those trapped pockets are death.

Any material except Aluminum.. I would patch it up & sell it.
 
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