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Aluminum vs Fibreglass


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Would like to hear your pros/cons for both! I am considering an aluminum and FG both 16' for fishing and a bit of putting around with the kids/wife... both are tillers. Lakes will vary, some with rocks and logs. I am nervous about hitting something with a glass boat.. on the other had, glass is more stable/solid on the water... what about maintenance ? Other things I'm not considering? Fuel costs? 

 

thanks!

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Basically every single aspect of an aluminum boat wins over a glass boat

except for perhaps the most important aspect, and that’s ride quality. 
 

Ask yourself this, owning a glass boat is like a sacrifice, if you are willing to wash the boat after every use and ceramic coat it every year and baby it? As my boss said yesterday when I was talking about how much I baby my boat, “you obviously don’t have 3 kids!”

no matter how solid the hull, I’ve fished in those ultimate heavy duty aluminum boats everything from a lund tyee, kingfishers and alumacrafts, right down to the entry level smokercraft, and StarCraft and the middle range crestliner etc and you will just never ever get honestly anywhere near the ride of a glass boat.

and then each glass boat will ride differently than the other, ask a bass guy about the ride difference between a ranger and a skeeter, or even crazier a nitro and a champion or gambler. The hull designs on glass boats matter a lot, with each company somewhat owning their own hull design, it’s not a standard “Deep V shape  one size fits all solution”

personally I’m thinking you will want to try and take a ride in a variety of aluminum boats and feel the difference between their hulls because it’s noticeable by brand. 
 

Then go take a ride in a glass boat, you may or may not fall in love.

i wouldn’t worry too much about this “put a hole in a glass boat” thing unless you fish a hell of a lot of lakes without any charts in them? I’ve been boating 15 years now and have yet to hit a rock with my boat. I also drive with a big graph in front of my face at all times. To my it’s the only truly safe way to navigate on the water.

Edited by AKRISONER
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Posted (edited)

Interesting and informative post. Thanks!

I will mostly fish smallish lakes so I won't be in big swells. I will hit simcoe though a few times a year as that is my closest body of water. In that lake a FG would probably come in handy for comfort reasons. However I am basically looking at what would be considered "utility" boats (I.e. boats  with three benches across with a tiller configuration). I won't be "cruising" with this boat much but the family might come out a couple times per year. It'll primarily be a fishing boat hitting lakes/areas like Balsam/kawarthas, port Severn, cooks bay, sparrow, and some haliburton lakes on occasion...

I do like the layout out of the FG and the person I am dealing with has been a gentleman. Both boats seem pretty good at least based on the online ads.  I am looking at the aluminum first and he's willing to let me take it out for a spin.
 

An issue the aluminum boat has is that the "motor has difficulty in reverse as it drops out of reverse". Apparently he has to hold his hand on the lever so the boat stays in reverse.  Not being mechanically inclined I'm not sure how serious this is but he says it hasn't stopped him from using the boat. 

 

Edited by siwash
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21 hours ago, siwash said:

Interesting and informative post. Thanks!

I do like the layout out of the FG and the person I am dealing with has been a gentleman. Both boats seem pretty good at least based on the online ads.  I am looking at the aluminum first and he's willing to let me take it out for a spin.
 

An issue the aluminum boat has is that the "motor has difficulty in reverse as it drops out of reverse". Apparently he has to hold his hand on the lever so the boat stays in reverse.  Not being mechanically inclined I'm not sure how serious this is but he says it hasn't stopped him from using the boat. 

 

That is the best policy, always do a lake test before buying a boat. 

 

The falling out of reverse MAY be a simple fix of adjusting the shift linkage, or it could mean that the lower unit needs major gear repairs. Make sure you budget for "improvements" when you buy a boat. 

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Hthm is 1000% correct, do not buy a used boat without a budget to work and fix the problems that you will inherit. It’s a normal reality, boats break…a lot lol

they are a life of tinkering if over 7 years old effectively. If that’s not your thing then go new.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, AKRISONER said:

Hthm is 1000% correct, do not buy a used boat without a budget to work and fix the problems that you will inherit. It’s a normal reality, boats break…a lot lol

they are a life of tinkering if over 7 years old effectively. If that’s not your thing then go new.

New is ridiculously expensive. I want to keep this to a utility boat so that it should minimize the things to fix. I have kept the extra costs along the way in mind. 

Edited by siwash
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Was supposed to see a boat very early this morning up in parry sound. But there was high risk of severe t storms. 
 

the glass boat I was looking at sold. 

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I asked that same question of a man with a PhD in materials science (or something like that).  He said to me, "would you ever pull this boat up on a sandy beach?"  Indeed I would says I, and he says, "buy aluminum."

That was three boats ago, all aluminum of course.  The second one I bought new in 1998, and sold it this spring for 75% of what I paid for it 24 years ago.  And even though I did beach it, and bumped into the odd rock and the odd stump, etc, it was still water-tight, no leaks.

BTW most of my fishing is like the OP.

Doug

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6 hours ago, siwash said:

Was supposed to see a boat very early this morning up in parry sound. But there was high risk of severe t storms. 
 

the glass boat I was looking at sold. 

thats another thing...the right boat will not last. Ive bought two boats now and Ive seen a total of 3 including the two boats I bought in all of my searching for boats.

When you are ready to buy, you will know when you have hit the right deal. The due dilligence is the test drive, leak check and compression test. From there if its priced right, bring your money with you because if it is, it wont last.

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Update on the boat buying experience - in a word - frustrating!!

i went to see one on mill lake (Parry Sound). Boat was decent but the reverse had issue (as I stated in previous post). Thought for the money too high considering the fix required. Otherwise I liked the boat. I left and the guy messages be back later when I got home and offers it for quite bit less - 30% less. So I message him back and he sold it in the few minutes (to someone who didn't even see it) that passed between messaging. I thought that was pretty classless.  He had my number. He could have at least called me since I drove almost 4 hours back and forth. I told him as much. What can you do...
then yesterday a boat popped up on Facebook marketplace- called him up and agreed to see the boat today. Looked real nice. I go back to check the ad and it was sold - literally 45 min later. 
 

not a great time ti buy... seems like market is very tight for decent boats. They go fast! People buying unseen!

Obviously I'd rather see it first but it's hard to get out to these places that fast.. 

does the market get better in the latter half of summer and fall? I might just wait as this is frustrating!

Edited by siwash
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Yea, I have learned that now. In the case of the boat with the wonky reverse though, that was the seller not being honourable. He should have had the decency to call me.  This boat sat for a long time because he had it listed initially at a very high price. He even apologized to me for having driven all the way there because the ad listed the boat as a 16' and not was actually 14' when we measured it. That was an honest mistake I believe.

anyhow ultimately you can sell to whom ever you want but there are codes/rules that we should follow. 

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1 hour ago, siwash said:

Yea, I have learned that now. In the case of the boat with the wonky reverse though, that was the seller not being honourable. He should have had the decency to call me.  This boat sat for a long time because he had it listed initially at a very high price. He even apologized to me for having driven all the way there because the ad listed the boat as a 16' and not was actually 14' when we measured it. That was an honest mistake I believe.

anyhow ultimately you can sell to whom ever you want but there are codes/rules that we should follow. 

Siwash speaking from my own personal experience, you will probably have a pretty good feeling that you are buying the boat prior to even seeing it. 

Both times in my experience, the communication from the seller was perfect leading up to the transaction, I basically knew everything about the boat before even meeting them. I showed up and within 5 minutes I knew I was buying it. I just then went through the process of confirming that the compression was correct and that the boat didnt leak. 

Good sellers are typically guys that are only selling this boat because they upgraded to a better boat. That a lot of the time means that the guy was fishing out of the boat you are buying and simply went bigger/newer.

One boat I test drove, the other i started from cold in the driveway and revved it up. On an aluminum boat I probably wouldnt buy it without seeing it sit in the lake for half an hour just to make sure the rivets aren't blown right from the get go.

An honest seller will probably start the conversation by telling you everything wrong with the boat lol. My newest boat the seller outright told me, yup I hit a rock and had to replace the lower end. He then even gave me the receipts for the work. Pointed out a few chips in the glass and told me about getting a recall done from yamaha. Its pretty obvious the guy isnt hiding anything when they do that.

Remember no used boat is perfect, even ones that say "immaculate" they essentially never are. Its a matter of the fundamentals being in check. A bad engine or hull is a problem. A few nicks and bangs or wear spots give the boat character and a lot of things can be cleaned up or fixed with a bit of elbow grease, silicone and PC 11 

 

Edited by AKRISONER
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31 minutes ago, AKRISONER said:

Siwash speaking from my own personal experience, you will probably have a pretty good feeling that you are buying the boat prior to even seeing it. 

Both times in my experience, the communication from the seller was perfect leading up to the transaction, I basically knew everything about the boat before even meeting them. I showed up and within 5 minutes I knew I was buying it. I just then went through the process of confirming that the compression was correct and that the boat didnt leak. 

Good sellers are typically guys that are only selling this boat because they upgraded to a better boat. That a lot of the time means that the guy was fishing out of the boat you are buying and simply went bigger/newer.

One boat I test drove, the other i started from cold in the driveway and revved it up. On an aluminum boat I probably wouldnt buy it without seeing it sit in the lake for half an hour just to make sure the rivets aren't blown right from the get go.

An honest seller will probably start the conversation by telling you everything wrong with the boat lol. My newest boat the seller outright told me, yup I hit a rock and had to replace the lower end. He then even gave me the receipts for the work. Pointed out a few chips in the glass and told me about getting a recall done from yamaha. Its pretty obvious the guy isnt hiding anything when they do that.

Remember no used boat is perfect, even ones that say "immaculate" they essentially never are. Its a matter of the fundamentals being in check. A bad engine or hull is a problem. A few nicks and bangs or wear spots give the boat character and a lot of things can be cleaned up or fixed with a bit of elbow grease, silicone and PC 11 

 

And this is exactly what happened. Sellers were honest and very forthcoming. I had a great feeling about both. I think both boats would have served me well. Your advice is solid and something I've followed with anything I've bought over the years.  You know,, generally, who are the suspicious ones.  A guy in the Kawartha area has a 16' since May. Fishy guy. You can tell. He never used the boat. They put in a floor and spruced it up a bit. I doubt they had any idea if it was leaking. He claimed it didn't but how could he know? I walked away from it after talking to him on the phone. 

Edited by siwash
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5 hours ago, siwash said:

Another seller said said motor needs a new impeller. What is the approximate cost to replace one on an 80s 20 HP Johnson? And is this something that I can do myself?

 

thanks. 

Impeller is easy if you can get the kit. I’d make sure you can still get one. 
 

im also curious as to how this guy knows that a new impeller is all it needs? It’s so easy and reasonably priced to do it seems strange that he would sell it without it done? Could be larger issues at play?

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9 hours ago, siwash said:

Another seller said said motor needs a new impeller. What is the approximate cost to replace one on an 80s 20 HP Johnson? And is this something that I can do myself?

 

thanks. 

A marina will charge you about $200 tax in.  Their shop rates are $125 an hour most places these days.  Terry is right it’s not hard on a small motor to do it yourself if your handy!  Whenever I’ve sold a boat in the past I’ve always told the guy to replace the impeller.  That said, I’ve never sold one without a functioning impeller either!

Edited by porkpie
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As a rule, when you buy a used boat even if the impeller is working, you change the impeller. 
 

unless of course the owner tells you that he literally just had it done. 
 

i did an impeller on my 130 on my front lawn having never done one in my life and I found it very straight forward. Hardest part was realizing how to twist the housing down on the rubber so that it would actually go into the housing. It’s one of those jobs that because everything is intact to begin with and typically nothing is broken, you simply disassemble and then just reassemble in the exact same order with your new parts (gaskets, the impeller) the hard part on a big motor can be re-aligning the gearshaft and that’s just because it’s heavy as hell. On a small motor, easy Peazy can be done by yourself.

 

youtube is your friend for sure!

Edited by AKRISONER
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19 minutes ago, siwash said:

Ok. Thanks. 
 

another seller just sent me a video of his motor running. Switched gears too. Noticed water was coming out steadily and strong. Would this be an good indicator that the water pump/ impeller are still working well? 
 

thanks!

 

Yes.

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