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Repair an aluminum boat leak


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#1 Flappn

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 09:11 AM

Hello all. I have an older aluminum boat the leaks right in the front seam were the front comes together...I want to call it a crevice were the front joins. Anyway...the boat is old and it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a lot of money on it, however I use it for the back lakes up north and would prefer not to stand in water anymore when fishing in the front.

Is there a good way to stop this leak? I was thinking of filling this crevice with some sort of aluminum sealer. Any one
have any other good ideas? Any help would be very much appreciated. :worthy:

#2 Bob/MN

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 10:11 AM

If you have loose rivits get a rivit set and peen the rivits tight. A little clear silicone rubber will also help seal the rivits. Make sure the area to be sealed is clean before sealent is added.
If it is a crack it can be welded.
<BTW> with the boat on the trailer add some water and mark the spots that are leaking. This works well for finding small leaks.

#3 irishfield

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 10:17 AM

Flappn...do a search on leaky boat...I'm tired of typin the same stuff........ and sending requested PM's that get no thank you's.

I'm sorry Bob/MN...but I highly discourage the use of Silcone Rubber on alum. If you need to use sealer, scuff with coarse scotchbrite to get a good cross hatch pattern and use either Sikaflex 1A (available at good constuction suppliers..it's actually a concrete expansion joint sealer) or Sikaflex 291 or 292 Marine Sealant (available at West Marine). Based on chemical properties 1A and 291/292 are the same sealer in different tubes. 1A is about $7 and 292 probably $20 for 12oz caulking cartridges.

Or you can also use 3M5200 that I think is about $20 for a squeeze tube at CTC

Edited by irishfield, 03 May 2007 - 11:52 AM.


#4 Flappn

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 01:04 PM

irishfield you always give good feedback....I will thank you for everyone else. I will try what you have recommended. I appreciate the help.

#5 Whopper

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 01:11 PM

Duct Tape!

#6 Zib

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 02:07 PM

Duct Tape!

:D

It's funny that you say that Whooper. My brother-in-law & I once used duct tape to attempt to seal off some leaks on a 12 foot tinny that we had barrowed. It didn't work too good but since we were in a bind we had no other options at the time.

#7 irishfield

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 03:03 PM

irishfield you always give good feedback....I will thank you for everyone else. I will try what you have recommended. I appreciate the help.


Is it a Springbok by chance?

My f-in-laws leaked up there. Back in the day, 20+ years ago, when I was lazy/cheap/stupid enough to try the quick fixes thinking what the hay.... that spray on "leak fix" for plumbing and eve troughs they used to advertise on TV worked well... FOR ABOUT 3 DAYS.

Doing it right won't cost anymore and will last many moons. Reset the rivets and if that isn't enough, scrub the seam area down between the keel and skin and put a thin fillet of Sikaflex down on the outside. Use a popcycle stick to fillet it nice between keel and skin. You can fill the gap on the inside if you wish..but may not even be necessary.

#8 Beans

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 03:28 PM

Nanook and I both own 14 ft leaky aluminum boats...

Last year he taped his boat's bottom with true duct tape...the kind that is like sticky aluminum foil that you take off the backing before applying...but...he never got it into the water yet to test it...

Because mine is a slow leak from the outside in only and God only knows where it is, Big Cliff suggested slathering 3 coats of paint on her bottom and hopefully that will seal it...the paint I got was Home Hardware's own Rust Paint that has a poly eurethne mix to lend a bit of elasticity to it...I'll know better if it worked later today as I bailed out the rain water from the other day and it has been basking in the sunshine all day so should be dried out by now...

Sure hope this works as I've already invested $80 in 4 tubes of aluminum putty (the kind you cut off a small bit at a time and knead it for 1 minute then apply to seams) to no avail...

will let you know later...

It is now much later... :whistling:

I got a last minute message to meet Crappieperchhunter over by Little Bald Lake for some crappie fishing after supper and you know how we got to keep our priorities straight...we kept a dozen or so "slabs" and Steve is cleaning them...he does a great job of it...not like the massacre job I do...

So far so good with the leak (I think)...the only area that was leaking now was around the drain (I don't have a plug) but this drain thing that when you pull up and twist it stays open and when you twist it and push down it closes...I had a thought that maybe sumpin' was keeping it from closing properly so I opened it and some crap came in along with the fresh water then I closed it back down and watched for a couple of minutes and it appers to have stopped...I'll keep my fingers crossed...I have a whole roll of the above mentioned aluminum foil tape so I can do a bunch of sealing with that around the bottom of the drain inside the boat if necessary...BTW...all this testing was done dockside not out on the lake...LOL

Edited by Beans, 03 May 2007 - 09:18 PM.


#9 GbayGiant

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 05:18 PM

Wayne I appreciate the advice you gave me during the winter and you even offered to bring it by your shop. :worthy: I was going to pull everything out and just hammer it down but I said @#$@ it and went out and bought rivets, sikaflex and borrowed a rivet gun from a marina friend. I went to town on it today and got about 50 new rivets in :lol: I'll see if it leaks tomorrow, if not than I'm just going to continue to do the whole bottom and transom area (only about 200 all together)

They are different rivets than before, the gun pulls a nail through it tight and breaks off so you don't need the inside of the boat, I hope it works but it's to late to go back now. :lol: It felt really air tight and I globed the sikaflex all underneath, I think it will work good.

#10 irishfield

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 05:46 PM

John...does the mandrel (nail) stick out both sides of those rivets you bought? If so I hope you rolled the tip in sealer before insertion or at least coated the back sides afterwards...and had cleaned/scotchbrited the surrounding alum so it bonds. Mandrels fall can out and then it looks like Moby Dic k s water spout after that! When I use blind rivets....I use "tank" rivets. The mandrel is encapsulated inside a solid plug and when pulled there is no hole if the mandrel wasn't there. When you can get at boths sides and have a willing helper then you can do solids like came out.

Edited by irishfield, 03 May 2007 - 05:47 PM.


#11 GbayGiant

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 06:30 PM

▌▐2r╤

Edited by GbayGiant, 03 May 2007 - 06:33 PM.


#12 GbayGiant

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 06:30 PM

I'm not worried about the paint for now so I drilled out the bad rivets, sanded down the area and cleaned it with some oil/dirt remover than put the sikaflex over the end of the rivet and around the hole and then clamped it in with the gun. The rivets fit tight.

I was going to pull the floor out but with further inspection it was a huge job, the wood was riveted down and so was all the console and compartments, so I figured I would have messed things up even more if I tore the boat apart.

Here's what the rivets I got look like :


Posted Image

#13 irishfield

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 06:35 PM

:w00t:

Please don't do the other 200 with those! Those aren't even good avex rivets..but cheap "POP" rivets. Are those 1/8" diameter? If so PM me a mailing address and I'll send you some tank rivets.

#14 Bob/MN

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 07:47 PM

:w00t:

Please don't do the other 200 with those! Those aren't even good avex rivets..but cheap "POP" rivets. Are those 1/8" diameter? If so PM me a mailing address and I'll send you some tank rivets.


Are tank rivets the same thing as closed end pop rivets?

#15 irishfield

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 07:58 PM

Are tank rivets the same thing as closed end pop rivets?


I've never looked to see what the generic "POP" brands offer in closed ends. Basically a pop rivet is exactly what John showed a picture of. They don't make a good shop head..but form a tube when the mandrel is pulled....that doesn't hold tight or seal well if at all. Avex, aircraft quality, rivets pull a nice tight shop head. Even the regular ones seal pretty good...heck my airplanes fuel tanks are made with them. Tank rivets have a solid bulb that becomes the shop head...mandrel is encapsulated and when they're pulled the mandrel breaks leaving a solid shop head and no thru hole.

I buy 1/8" tank rivets in bulk (10,000 at a time) for less than 10 cents each, so why use inferior crap from CTC?

#16 Randy from Sturgeon

 
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Posted 03 May 2007 - 08:11 PM

Try Tech-Steel works great i keep in my tackle box... 2 part epoxy putty.sticks to anything.
but try replacing the rivets it's not very hard... 24rivets = 2 beer
then wash it down with "gun wash" or silicone remover let dry and apply a roll on bedliner for trucks
problem solved! I did it on my 12 footer last spring has'nt leaked yet..
Tech Steel available @ Benson Auto Parts ,, Auto Parts Extra ,, or any automotive place.
but do use the Beartex scuff pads the grey ones before applying any sealant for proper adhesion
if you do go the Rivet route seal it anyway.
Randy...Muskieman

#17 FinS

 
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Posted 04 May 2007 - 09:07 AM

try using marine goop
its water proof and it bonds very well to alluminum and fiberglass and it costs $5
make sure you sand the area well before applying after it is dry add spray paint ( dont be shy with the stuff more the better)
i have used it a few times up north on a 12 footer and my uncles 15 ft bowrider and it does the trick
u wouldnt think

#18 yellowboat

 
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Posted 04 May 2007 - 09:56 AM

The mandrel (stems) of POP rivet tend to fall out over time as well. Use the tank rivets (blind mechanical lock I'm assuming).

#19 madhuskie

 
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Posted 04 May 2007 - 12:12 PM

As a last resort buy the liquid truck bed liner and cover the outside of the boat with it. It will add weight to the boat but should seal every leak.






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