Western W-17 Rebuild advice needed and build thread

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Whidbeyboater

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LOCATION
Whidbey Island WA
I picked up a Western, Shasta Aluminum Product W17 side console boat a few weeks back. Boat was forfeited during a divorce and sat in this lady's yard since 2009 rotting away. Luckily all of the aluminum is in near perfect shape and its on a nice shur lander trailer and 60 hp Johnson. I believe the boat is a 1985.

I will post up some pics and keep folks updated on the build.

So far I have removed everything out of the boat, pressure washed and cleaned everything up. Cut out the old dotted transom and made a new transom and floor boards out of 1/2" and 3/4" MDO Plywood with 2 coats of epoxy.

I am currently working on framing out a bow hatch and some storage in the stern, Getting the interior painted, and getting the transom back in and having my welder buddy weld the new supports in where I cut the old stuff out. It is going quite well and I have gotten a lot of great info lurking on this site.

Bout will be used on the Puget Sound for fishing and crabbing and some local lakes.

Right now I have 2 major questions.

1. Is it okay if my deck in the stern extends all the way back to the transom? I plan on essentially having the deck be a big rectangle with a section cut out right in front of the main outboard to access the "splash well" I guess you would call it. But on either side of the outboard the stern deck would extend all the way back to the transom. Under the deck would be storage and floatation foam. I would basically have foam against the transom on both sides. My concern would be that I wouldn't have easy access to the transom for inspection and having foam up against the transom could cause water to get trapped and rot my transom. I feel like I have seen a lot of boats with a deck on the stern but a lot of these seem to be designed that way and have a splash well that extends the length of the transom above the deck. My currant plan is to just do my best to leave an air gap between my floatation foam and transom to allow for air flow.

2. Flotation foam. I have read a lot on this and I think I have a reasonable plan. I want to use pour foam where possible because the hull is pretty thin and just working on it it my shop it rings like a bell. I know it will never ride like a glass boat but my hope is to add some 4 lb pour foam around the sides of the hull to add some rigidity and sound dampening. I plan on using the pink foam boards to fill as much of the areas below the floor / below the waterline as possible while keeping a good channel for bilge flow. Then lay the boat on its side and fill the sides of the hull and bow with pour foam. Anyone ever done this before? I feel like if I keep the pour foam limited to the sides of the hull were it will only see water from splashes, rain, and washing and never bilge water I can keep it from soaking up water. I have debated drilling holes in the low points of the pour foam to allow for drainage in case they do get water in them. Not sure if this would even work.

Any ideas would be appreciated. I will add some pictures and updates later.
 
I'll be following your build just to increase my own knowledge. Looks like a cool project.

My one input so far regards the fuel tank. Does the boat already have an integral fuel tank? I'm not familiar with your hull, at all, and I don't see a tank. If you're enclosing everything below that deck, you'll need to account for ventilation of the cavity that contains the fuel tank.

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
 
A few more. The hull had a bit of a hook to it that the previous owner filled with some sort of filler material that was cracking off. I removed all that and pounded the hull back into shape and used some G-Flex epoxy to fill a few low points. Will be adding some reinforcements in from the transom to help support the back of the hull to keep it from hooking again.
 

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I'll be following your build just to increase my own knowledge. Looks like a cool project.

My one input so far regards the fuel tank. Does the boat already have an integral fuel tank? I'm not familiar with your hull, at all, and I don't see a tank. If you're enclosing everything below that deck, you'll need to account for ventilation of the cavity that contains the fuel tank.

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
I will be using a removable / portable gas tank probably a 12 gallon in that center compartment under the stern deck. I will have a hatch that opens for access and will have some vents that open into to the splash well right in front of the outboard.
 
Nice boat you have there, built for salt water or big water. I like the idea of pouring the foam in the sides and keeping it out of the lower water prone areas. As far as the splash well goes, you want to have a low spot where water will drain out, if you back-down into a wave accidentally. The low spot should drain overboard quickly, in the event you are caught in bad weather. That boat looks like a typical PNW rig, the kicker is a dead giveaway.
 
That is a very solid looking structure. Was the boat already gutted when you got it?

Regarding your question, yes, your rear deck can (And I would say, SHOULD) go to the transom. Is there an aluminum splash-well that goes above that center transom area? Are there 1" drain holes going through the transom up high, which would indicate that there had been a splashwell there before?

Could you post a picture looking directly at your transom?

Even if there wasn't one originally, you might want to fabricate one. (I definitely would!) Puget sound can get choppy, and you don't want to rely on a bilge pump for nusance water splasing in.

I reworked a boat last summer, and the little 4" splash well works GREAT when we go out in the Bay to fish. Also, capping the inside TOP of the transom keeps water from going down and soaking into the transom, and gives you something to seal against. Here is a pic:

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The splash well is only a few inches deep, maybe 4", but when holding in heavy chop, water that splashes in goes directly out. Have not gotten any water in my bilge yet, so far!

Also, the inside capping of the transom only goes down to just below the deck I made, then turns horizontal with a 1.5" lip, so the deck rests on it, along with resting on the transom stiffeners below and the sides of the boat. Air can get to the whole transom from below, so it will never stay wet if it ever gets wet.

I left the front of the deck open for ventilation, and as a place to slide tackle bags, throws and other stuff to keep the floor clear when fishing. Besides working well as a casting platform when inshore fishing, it works great as seating when underway, especially when it's rough out.
 
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I think you have very good thinking about your plans for the boat.

Did you have hook @ the back of the hull, or did you have rocker? Did you beat it out from the inside (hook) or the outside? (Rocker)

Some aluminum boats are made with a bit of rocker in the back, and that often makes it ride lighter, but from what I have seen, hook is usually caused either by poor trailer design, (trailer rollers that sit on areas that are not well supported OR bunks that stop short of the transom) or they can happen from hitting rocks or sand when going downriver. Any indication of either cause? Hopefully, you didn't beat out designed rocker, but if you did, it should still be just fine.

That boat has a lot of support structure in the middle, but it doesn't seem to have much at all in the area you pounded out. That would be of some concern to me. Your trailer design will matter a lot to prevent the hook from coming back.

I would NOT use a roller trailer on that hull for just that reason. You want a bunk trailer with bunks that extend at least a few inches PAST the transom when fully loaded.

If the trailer has rollers, I would pull them and convert it to a bunk trailer. If it was a bunk trailer, I would look to see if the old bunks were thin and flexing, causing the hook. I always like 2x6 bunks over 2x4, if possible.
 
I was just trying to look at the transom again from the pics with the motor on and from the inside...
  • Is that a dent across the bottom of the transom from motor weight pushing in, or is that part of the transom design? Pics?
  • On the inside, were you able to wire brush or otherwise clean up the corroded looking areas of the inside of the transom skin? (I'm guessing you did, looking at the rest of your work) Purple power full-strength is good tor remove that stuff, as is AlumaBright or other stronger cleaners.
  • Once cleaned well and rinsed thoroughly, that would be a good area to either seal with aluminum primer and paint before you put the transom wood back in, or seal with epoxy to prevent pitting and corrosion. If that wasn't done, I would pop the transom wood out, seal the metal well, and put it back in.
  • What kind of transom/deck wood is that? That isn't MDF is it? Or are those just templates? As you may know, MDF is not stable around water, no matter how you seal it up. There is a compressed fiberglass board that looks similar to MDF, but is very solid, but hard to find. Coosa Bluewater is similar, but is typically black/charcoal in color.
These are just a few thoughts from looking at your pics. Looks like you are doing a great job and will get it done quickly.
 
That is a very solid looking structure. Was the boat already gutted when you got it?

Regarding your question, yes, your rear deck can (And I would say, SHOULD) go to the transom. Is there an aluminum splash-well that goes above that center transom area? Are there 1" drain holes going through the transom up high, which would indicate that there had been a splashwell there before?

Could you post a picture looking directly at your transom?

Even if there wasn't one originally, you might want to fabricate one. (I definitely would!) Puget sound can get choppy, and you don't want to rely on a bilge pump for nusance water splasing in.

I reworked a boat last summer, and the little 4" splash well works GREAT when we go out in the Bay to fish. Also, capping the inside TOP of the transom keeps water from going down and soaking into the transom, and gives you something to seal against. Here is a pic:

View attachment 119777
View attachment 119778
The splash well is only a few inches deep, maybe 4", but when holding in heavy chop, water that splashes in goes directly out. Have not gotten any water in my bilge yet, so far!

Also, the inside capping of the transom only goes down to just below the deck I made, then turns horizontal with a 1.5" lip, so the deck rests on it, along with resting on the transom stiffeners below and the sides of the boat. Air can get to the whole transom from below, so it will never stay wet if it ever gets wet.

I left the front of the deck open for ventilation, and as a place to slide tackle bags, throws and other stuff to keep the floor clear when fishing. Besides working well as a casting platform when inshore fishing, it works great as seating when underway, especially when it's rough out.
Thanks for the idea and picture on the splash well. I will have to do some thinking on how to do this but this makes perfect sense. This boat definitely never had anything like this on the the transom has no drainage holes.

As for some of the other questions it definitely had a hook to the hull that looked to me to be from the heavy engine and kicker set up with no support. I pounded out the hook dents from the inside. I will be adding in some sort of support structure once the transom of back in for good.

The wood that looks like MDF is MDO board. It’s a thermoset resin board they commonly use for signs and concrete forms. Based on what I found it is more water resistant than marine ply and similar strength. The transom is a 3/4 and 1/2 epoxied together coated with 2 layers of epoxy. Floors are the same material coated with epoxy.


I will post up some more pics in a few days. Working to prep and paint the interior and finish my framing so I can start installing the floors and getting things back together.
 
That is a cool boat and it's great you are bringing it back to life! A great place to boat on Whidbey Island too! I was born and raised in Mt. Vernon and we are a big navy family, I recall going to air shows at the NAS and clam digging in Penn cove back when I was 12 years old or younger. I've launched many times at Coronet bay and fished the San Juan's a ton. Do you plan on salmon fishing with the boat? I have a buddy who did darn good last month on blackmouth in an opener off of Everett.

Keep up the good work on the boat and post more pics.
 
That is a cool boat and it's great you are bringing it back to life! A great place to boat on Whidbey Island too! I was born and raised in Mt. Vernon and we are a big navy family, I recall going to air shows at the NAS and clam digging in Penn cove back when I was 12 years old or younger. I've launched many times at Coronet bay and fished the San Juan's a ton. Do you plan on salmon fishing with the boat? I have a buddy who did darn good last month on blackmouth in an opener off of Everett.

Keep up the good work on the boat and post more pics.
Yeah I grew up on the south end of Whidbey. Live south of Seattle now but looking to get back to Whidbey full time soon.

I’ll be doing a little bit of everything with this boat. Lots of crabbing and salmon. Would like to get more into shrimping and bottom fishing. Also want to try some boat in camping and hunting. Goal it to have it in good working condition by the 4th of July this summer.
 
Thanks for the idea and picture on the splash well. I will have to do some thinking on how to do this but this makes perfect sense. This boat definitely never had anything like this on the the transom has no drainage holes.

As for some of the other questions it definitely had a hook to the hull that looked to me to be from the heavy engine and kicker set up with no support. I pounded out the hook dents from the inside. I will be adding in some sort of support structure once the transom of back in for good.

The wood that looks like MDF is MDO board. It’s a thermoset resin board they commonly use for signs and concrete forms. Based on what I found it is more water resistant than marine ply and similar strength. The transom is a 3/4 and 1/2 epoxied together coated with 2 layers of epoxy. Floors are the same material coated with epoxy.


I will post up some more pics in a few days. Working to prep and paint the interior and finish my framing so I can start installing the floors and getting things back together.
It's not hard to make a splash tray. Doesn't have to be big or very deep, it just needs to funnel water back out. You can fabricate one using solid rivets or MIG or TIG it together. Use 1" drain tubes through the transom with lots of sealant before you flare the ends.

Definitely skin the inside top of the transom, if you can. Sign material is good stuff, if you can find some, or you can just buy it new.

Definitely change the trailer to support the TRANSOM directly to prevent the hook from coming back. I don't know that I would add anything to the hull, but if you do, use solid rivets.

How does that strong-looking H-support connect to the transom? I can't see much in the pics, but I don't see any flanges to bolt or screw through. I would add some 1/8-1/4" thick angle aluminum to the vertical ends, maybe 2"x2" in profile, and tie it all together. If connected well, it should do its job with no further support needed back there.

MDO is (y) (y) (y) Very hard to find around here.

Very nice work so far.
 
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It's not hard to make a splash tray. Doesn't have to be big or very deep, it just needs to funnel water back out. You can fabricate one using solid rivets or MIG or TIG it together. Use 1" drain tubes through the transom with lots of sealant before you flare the ends.

Definitely skin the inside top of the transom, if you can. Sign material is good stuff, if you can find some, or you can just buy it new.

Definitely change the trailer to support the TRANSOM directly to prevent the hook from coming back. I don't know that I would add anything to the hull, but if you do, use solid rivets.

How does that strong-looking H-support connect to the transom? I can't see much in the pics, but I don't see any flanges to bolt or screw through. I would add some 1/8-1/4" thick angle aluminum to the vertical ends, maybe 2"x2" in profile, and tie it all together. If connected well, it should do its job with no further support needed back there.

MDO is (y) (y) (y) Very hard to find around here.

Very nice work so far.
I cut all of the transom support structure out in order to get the old transom out. I will be making some new structure and having it welded up once I get the transom back in.

The inside surface of the transom has some pitting. Not too bad in my opinion. Looks like water got in around some of the fasteners and ate at the surface. No pitting around the perimeter and where it attaches to the hull so I am thinking it would be structurally sound. I am thinking about coating the entire inside surface of the transom G-Flex epoxy, then sand down flush to fill all of the pitting and corroded spots. Then paint before installing the transom back in. This should help keep any future corrosion to a minimum. Plus I plan to seal all of my through transom fasteners pretty well so I hopefully wont be trapping any water in there in the future.

I have been thinking a lot about the splash tray and looking at more pictures. I am planning on just installing my rear deck and use it as is for a little while and eventually build a splash well that side on top of my rear deck and extends up a bit higher than the transom to add a little extra protection against a wave from the rear. I was originally thinking I would have the bile area in the back completely open and accessible for the plug and bilge and inspection but my buddy talked some sense into me. He said most new boats have the plug installed from the outside and have minimal to no access to the bilge. So keeping my rear deck all one big sheet with a splash well on top and small access panel to inspect / maintain my bilge pump is probably the ideal set up and close to what you would find on a new aluminum boat.


Got a bunch or wire wheel clean up done this weekend along with riveting some more support structure in. Cut the top caps for the skinny side pieces out of 3/4 MDO. Finally got my 316 SS staples so I should be starting wrapping my floorboards in my flooring vinyl this week. The big milestone I am trying to hit is getting the rest of the riveting and fab work done (with exception of the transom work) and getting all on the painted surfaces sanded down and prepped for paint. Once I have all that down I can pull it out of the shop and give it one last pressure wash and scrub down before pulling in back into the shop and start with re-assembly. Foam, Floors, Transom, Console, Etc. Should start looking more like a finished boat. If all get well it should be ready to test in the water by early May. Not a lot to share with pictures. Will probably post up some progress pics later this week.
 

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I have to ask. Comparing two of your original pics, the depth if the rear deck area looks a lot smaller on image 5991 than it does on image 5976. See the white arrows below. Probably just my eyes and I think I know the answer, but are they the same size?


Before.jpgAfter.jpg
 
I have to ask. Comparing two of your original pics, the depth if the rear deck area looks a lot smaller on image 5991 than it does on image 5976. See the white arrows below. Probably just my eyes and I think I know the answer, but are they the same size?


View attachment 119802View attachment 119803
Yes same size. I want to say its 72" wide x 32" long. Need to double check on the length but it looks much much shorter in the picture from the front.
 
32" is pretty decent. Are you going to put any hatches?
Yes. on the rear deck the middle forward one will be fuel. Starboard will be battery and maybe tools and the Port will be general storage.

My current plan is to put 3 flush mounted seat posts on the rear deck so I would only ever have 1 or 2 seats back there but I could have one in the middle if I am running with 3 people. or one on each side if I am running with 4. Middle seat base will go on the hatch door. the 2 side compartments I am thinking about just putting a small plastic hatch behind the seat to access the under seat storage since I plan on putting tools and things I don't need very often.

I also have thought about getting a big bench type seat and making a base that allows me to install it into my seat base sockets in the back so I could have something more comfy for the wife and kid to sit on but easily removable when fishing with the guys. Still thinking on this one.

I will also have the hatch in the bow that will have life jackets. I wish there was more storage on this boat and I considered making more but I like the simplicity and open deck. I may add a bot above the deck in the bow and have room for some storage boxes above the rear deck on either side.
 
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