Poor Rib Drainage in 14' Starcraft Seafarer - Solutions?

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Makaw

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Location
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LOCATION
Michigan
I'm newer to the forum but have extracted loads of helpful information from TinBoats already, so first, a general thank you for everyone that has contributed with photos, build details, restoration information, etc.! I've begun work on working on my late grandfather's 1970's (not sure of exact year) Starcraft 14' Seafarer. This was the first boat that I fished out of ~30 years ago, and I'm honored to have just been gifted it by my aunt and uncle that no longer use it. I plan to extend its life by many, many years.

Adequate water flow through the ribs has always been an issue, because the rib flares that (in theory) should allow water to flow through them, clog with the smallest amount of debris, effectively creating multiple pooling areas that must be drained individually. I've pressure washed the boat several times now, with emphasis to try and blow the 40+ years of sand, dirt and debris out of the ribs. That has certainly helped, but I still foresee issues moving forward to try and keep the hull perfect clean. As I'll likely be decking the boat to some extent, I foresee an extra hassle of clearing any pooled water where access is more difficult. Ideally, these rib drains would be larger, but I'm extremely reluctant to try and open them because 1. It seems like a lot of work and 2. I'm concerned about negatively-effecting the structural integrity of the hull.

Is this just something I need to live with? Or has anyone found helpful solutions to similar problems? Thanks

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I've used pressure washer, compressed air and shop vac to blow and suck through the ribs. I used a flexible butter knife to clear the limber holes under the ribs. Once the floor is in less debris will block the limber holes.
 
lckstckn2smknbrls said:
I've used pressure washer, compressed air and shop vac to blow and suck through the ribs. I used a flexible butter knife to clear the limber holes under the ribs. Once the floor is in less debris will block the limber holes.

Thanks for the info. It won't have a full deck, at least for the foreseeable future, so I still anticipate clogs, but it sounds like a periodic cleaning is about the best option. Great idea about the forced air/vac combo and butter knife, I'll definitely be trying that!
 
I know what you are speaking of. This is a concern of mine as I am contemplating a remodel of a '67 Rich-line model 15 myself. I have been lurking upon another boating site on Facebook called TinyBoatNation. Their suggestion is to install a sub floor above the ribs and take the seats out of the boat altogether. I haven't decided what to do yet or just how I will arrange everything I'm still contemplating it. The reference could help you decide yourself or just confuse you as it has confused me, because I don't want to remove the seats. You don't seem to have seats to concern yourself with so my suggestion is to take a look at their videos on Youtube.
 
MoparMark said:
I know what you are speaking of. This is a concern of mine as I am contemplating a remodel of a '67 Rich-line model 15 myself. I have been lurking upon another boating site on Facebook called TinyBoatNation. Their suggestion is to install a sub floor above the ribs and take the seats out of the boat altogether. I haven't decided what to do yet or just how I will arrange everything I'm still contemplating it. The reference could help you decide yourself or just confuse you as it has confused me, because I don't want to remove the seats. You don't seem to have seats to concern yourself with so my suggestion is to take a look at their videos on Youtube.

Thanks, I’ll check into that FB group. I am actually using the mid and aft bench seats. The boat was gutted in the photo for cleaning. My original plan was to run bow and stern casting decks with a central subfloor, but due to weight concerns I’ll probably be changing that. For the time being I’ll be running a bow casting deck with the rest of the boat original - bench seats and exposed hull.
 
A few things you can do ...

You can force some kind of thicker metal tool/piece between the hull bottom and the rib to open the limber opening a little wider.

I also keep a stainless steel (SS, by Stanley) hacksaw blade in my boat and I use it to clean them out whenever clogged, works slick! If new, maybe dull the teeth a bit on a belt sander, but somebody gave me an old used one and it works fantastic!
 
DaleH said:
A few things you can do ...

You can force some kind of thicker metal tool/piece between the hull bottom and the rib to open the limber opening a little wider.

I also keep a stainless steel (SS, by Stanley) hacksaw blade in my boat and I use it to clean them out whenever clogged, works slick! If new, maybe dull the teeth a bit on a belt sander, but somebody gave me an old used one and it works fantastic!

Thanks DaleH! I was worried that even attempting to expand the limbers might cause damage, so that might be something I try. Both the hacksaw blade and old butter knife idea (mentioned above) seem like very practical tips to help clear debris.
 
If you try to drive something between the hull metal and the crossbrace to expand the hole, the braces are usually pretty stiff and you'll only cause a bulge in the hull metal. I think the most practical way would be to build a tool that would let you stretch the brace. I tried to make a diagram with my limited ability on Paint......

You would need a fairly heavy length of steel rod and bend a "hook" in the end to slide under the limber hole. Use unthreaded rod - the threads create a weak spot at the bend. Thread the upper end to accept a nut and just tighten the nut to pull up on the crossbrace. Hope this makes sense. You may need to harden the rod after bending. Easy enuf, but see how it does 1st.
 

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gogittum said:
If you try to drive something between the hull metal and the crossbrace to expand the hole, the braces are usually pretty stiff and you'll only cause a bulge in the hull metal. I think the most practical way would be to build a tool that would let you stretch the brace. I tried to make a diagram with my limited ability on Paint......

You would need a fairly heavy length of steel rod and bend a "hook" in the end to slide under the limber hole. Use unthreaded rod - the threads create a weak spot at the bend. Thread the upper end to accept a nut and just tighten the nut to pull up on the crossbrace. Hope this makes sense. You may need to harden the rod after bending. Easy enuf, but see how it does 1st.


Neat idea. One thing has me scratching my head. If there is enough space to get a hook that substantial under the cross brace, then drainage shouldn't be a problem. I'm know I'm missing something (won't be the first time).
 
All boats are probl'ly different but if there's room for anything, get it under there and make a start, then go bigger.....or use a piece of flat stock to start with. Thinking further, I mentioned hardening the metal, which is simple enuf, but I think if you made the portion to go under the rib longer to go all the way under the rib and curve the end up slightly, the bottom of the boat would prevent it bending straight again. You could put enormous force against it....possibly to the point of ripping the rib loose. Proper shaping and positioning of the pulling block could prevent that, I think - concentrate the force in a narrow band.

Just picturing in my mind....I wonder if a small gear puller's jaws could be shaped to fit ??.... Use a socket with shims under to push against. Hmmm....??....or even custom jaws made to fit under the rib, similar to above....?? Simple enuf - just flat stock. Maybe a large old junk socket or similar with open side cut with a cutoff wheel to shape over the rib....??....or end cap from a large piece of pipe.

I had a restaurant service business for many years and took care of "anything" in a restaurant....or bar....or convenience store - from refrigerators and freezers to boilers, ventilation, cooking equipment, both propane & natural gas and electric and on and on and on. Almost every day I'd be called on to get creative on the spot with "something" to get a place in business again. A busy restaurant with a broken deep fryer or stove is a desperate outfit. Either make a part on the spot or cobble something up to make it work while waiting for proper parts. My truck was a rolling tool shop/parts house, jammed with stuff. I absolutely loved it and never, ever, had a slow or boring day.....Keeps you on your toes.
 
Laying in bed this morning, half asleep and dozing, got to cogitating on this and came up with the thought - a lot will depend on which alloy the builder used on those ribs. If they are 6061T6, you're in trouble. That stuff is as hard as rock and may tear or break before bending. That would be very bad. I doubt it would be 6061, but you never know - keep an eye on it when you put pressure on.
 
For some reason this has stuck in my mind. A bit ago, I was in my shop and glanced at a tool board....my eye lingered on these small vice grips.....



I wonder if something like this would fit at least partly in that limber hole ?? Clamp it down and lift up....??....just might bend that metal some and would certainly tell you if it Could be bent. Food for thought ??
 

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Why not just cut slots in the ribs just above the flange? An oscillating tool could do that no problem. Wear ear plugs though.
 
You could use J hooks and a piece of pipe to effectively lift up on the rib, or could try a tapered conical wedge to open the hole up.
 
Cutting slots in the ribs would create stress point for cracks to develop. Driving wedges in would bulge the bottom out and leave bumps in the planing surface. It's almost a certainty that the ribs are harder and stiffer than the bottom.
 
For the sake of adding a more detailed follow-up to this topic, I’ve been meaning to post some measurements and detailed photos of the limber design in my Starcraft. Haven’t been able to get to it yet...but will try this weekend.
 
The ribs seem pretty important to me. The center of the rib seems like the most important part of the rib since it's subject to the most stress. If it was my boat, and I relied on it to keep me from sinking, I would not cut or bend the ribs - especially right in the middle.

If I was installing a flat floor, I would be comfortable adding some rib reinforcement/floor support to the rib and maybe opening up the drains after that was done. The design of the reinforcing would have to consider all of the different loads the ribs help to resist. If I felt the reinforcing was substantial enough and the attachment to the existing ribs was robust enough.

That's a significant project. I would more likely spend the money on a different hull if I couldn't live with what I had.
 

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