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lureme

Aluminum boat leaks

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What is a good way to find leaks in an aluminum boat with rivets? I filled it with water floor high and let sit but no leaks/ When sitting in water some is coming in from where ? Whats a good product to seal any leaks?

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Couple questions, do you have any plumbing for live wells, that can be one point for sure.  3M4200 is an excellent sealer, avoid silicone on aluminum.

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Filling the boat with water will help with larger leaks but if it’s a tiny one (or multiple tiny ones), it simply would provide enough force to find it. The boat floating on water has more downforce pushing the water into the boat. 

 

Now, like Fisherman said, if you’ve got livewells, check the hoses and connections first. Then move to the bilge plug and go from there. 

My old boat was dry the first week I had it. The next week, water started coming in. I wasn’t happy because it was a welded Hull. In my case, a $5.00 bilge plug fixed the problem and luckily, it was the first thing I tried. 

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1 hour ago, lureme said:

What is a good way to find leaks in an aluminum boat with rivets? I filled it with water floor high and let sit but no leaks/ When sitting in water some is coming in from where ? Whats a good product to seal any leaks?

Gluvit is a great seep in epoxy sealer, but no good if you have a finished floor. 

How fast is it coming in?

do you have corrosion around rivets? Any missing?

3M has a good mini syringe epoxy applicator  that you can use around questionable rivet heads.

any OB connections (thru-bolts)@ Transom? 

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Also  check your keel plug. Some early Boats had a sealant in the keel exposed at the bow where the bow halves start to come up together.  The sealant shrinks and allows water to come up from the keel vent hole near the transom

Edited by Hack_Fisherman

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On my 14 tin with a finished flat floor I removed the entire interior and took it to the lake for a float. I had about 30 leaking rivets and the entire base of the transom was allowing water in. When I filled the boat with water I had no leaks at all. Re riveted the entire floor area and a new butyl gasket and rivets on the transom and its dry as a bone now.

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Quite often leaking rivets when dry will end up with a white hazy ring around the head of the rivet. A couple of shots with a bucking tool may be all you need to do.

 

Cheers

  • Haha 1

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8 hours ago, lureme said:

I have a stupid questions but what is a bucking tool ? Or should I ask my wife, LOL

It’s a small hand held metal anvil with a dome machined in it to match the dome shape of the rivet head. It prevents the head of the rivet from being distorted by imperfect hammer strikes and keeps the contact pressure uniform 

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Sounds like my old tin can...Paid $150 for it and probably spent over $200 on various kinds of guck and muck and never did stop the leak...

Finally gave up and tried to live with it...Fashioned a portable bilge pump with an old motorcycle battery...

Not stable enough on my feet to go boating anymore (pontoon boats excepted) so I gave it to Motiv8tor...

 

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10 minutes ago, Beans said:

so I gave it to Motiv8tor...

 

Yer a good man Br. Beans

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I would like to thank evryone's ideas about my leak, but now I feel sort of stupid. I bought a larger output capacity automatic bilge pump and installed it and no more leaks? So I was ready for any water coming in and could hardly wait to try the sucker out! But to my surprise no water getting in? So then I wondered what I did differently? I horsed up the drain plug tighter, DA!  So I examined the hole and was crudded up so I cleaned it, new plug and vowala! no more leaks! Now you all can have a chuckle on me!

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Often with aluminum boats leaks will appear then disappear. The aluminum shifts and or rivets seat themselves, only to appear latter.

Please never put water inside a boat to check for leaks. They are not designed to take that weight from the inside.

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Not surprised to hear this was the issue as it is exactly what happened to me. If it happens again, at least you have a bigger bilge to deal with the water better.

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