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Better way to attach rub rail?

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  • Better way to attach rub rail?

    I am working on an older aluminum Duracraft boat that has many of the rub rail rivets sheared or just broken. There is no damage to the rub rail or hull, just the rivets are broke or loose.
    My question is: Is there a better way to attach the rub rail? The rub rail on this boat actually forms the top rail of the boat, it's square edged and rolls over the top forming a ledge. The rivet heads are exposed all around the inside perimeter.
    I was thinking of just using stainless or even just aluminum pop style 3/16" rivets to resecure the rail. There are a few spots where the rail is wallowed out and the rivets simply pulled through that will need washers, but they will be covered by the rubber insert.
    The hull is an odd design, there is a 3/8" plywood floor which sets on an usecured wood frame on the bottom of the boat, then there is a set of 4 aluminum side supports that go from the wood floor to the rub rail. The supports are very flat and are covered by two side boxes that actually seam to stiff the gunwales because without them the boat has no side strength at all.
    I was thinking about re-arraging the layout a bit but I think I am pretty much stuck with the side boxes or I would have to make some sort of side structure on each side to support the gunwales. With the side braces and boxes removed, there is nothing but single wall aluminum on each side. The hull below the floor has four full length aluminum stringers and several cross braces that come up and meet the floor at about the same point where the top braces meet the top of the floor.
    I am in the process of a complete redo on this boat, I need to make sure the inner hull and all structural points are covered before I turn it over and strip and repaint the bottom. With the side boxes, brackets and rub rail loose, the hull has no strength and would most likely collapse if lifted or handled. With the boxes riveted in, the sides are rock solid. I will most likely have to leave them in and simply make covers for them as rod boxes. The right side is a long narrow insulated livewell. the boat is cable steer with a forward tiller, I'd also like to find a more modern steering set up for this. I may custom make a tiller system using a rotary steering box and teleflex cable.

  • #2
    Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

    i don't know of any other way and think you are stuck with the boxes, i love the original stick steering. have you seen my 14foot Duracraft restoration?
    TEBOW Country

    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.


    • #3
      Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

      please resize you're pictures when posting, as they become wide screen, and are a real PIA, to read, having to scan back and forth. thanks,
      TEBOW Country

      Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
      That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.


      • #4
        Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

        There ya go. It's better now.

        "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"


        • #5
          Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

          Sorry about the pic, I didn't realize they were that big, they aren't that big on my screen.
          The stick steer is fine, I too like the way it looks and works, but with the pulley and cable system, (like a sailboat), it takes up most of the left side box and has three pulleys and a mess of vinyl coated cable at the rear of the boat. I like the idea of a teleflex rotary box and cable, I'll just fab up a new tiller that can attach to the steering box. The last owner also had a pair of super heavy Pompanette seats on those aluminum pedestals, I plan to go with something a lot lighter. This thing weighs way too much the way it is. There's no foam, just loose peanuts under the floor, but the 3/4" wood and 1/4" overlayment that someone did along with a maze of angle iron and plate stainless they did to bridge the seams rather than running wood floor joists across was way too much. I am pretty much stuck with the floor height, and the boxes, anything I could add would either be ugly or not as overall effective as those boxes. The boat has a fairly narrow beam for a 15.5" boat, it only measures 64" overall. The narrow width though should make it pretty fast with less motor. The transom is another odd set up, it's only single wall aluminum with a single piece of plywood across the inside, the wood is still solid, but the transom is only 1 1/4" thick with only a pair of 6" gussets which go from the two outer aluminum stringers to the rear plywood with thru bolts in the transom. There is no coast guard plate, but I would guess that it can't be rated for more than a 30HP or so the way it is? The transom isn't much heavier than my 12" jon boat, only that this one is a full 20" tall. It has a four bolt patter drilled in it now that matches an early Johnson 25HP I have. It doesn't seem to have had any throttle controls or remote start? There is no sign of a motor control being mounted anywhere?
          I take it that they were starting the motor and only steering from up front?
          The tiller unit was seized up but a few months of soaking in PB Blaster freed it right up.
          It's got some pitting from saltwater use, but only a few very minor perforations here and there. I'll sand the bottom and fill all the pitting with marine tex aluminum putty and resand and coat with several coats of good epoxy paint. I will also coat the inside, maybe with Gluvit below the water line just to be safe. It most likely won't see any saltwater with me using it after this, if it does, it will still get a long ride home each time in freshwater.

          I had an older Grumman years ago that was pretty similar to this set up, that was a bit newer than this one, but was tiller steer and had a late 80's Yamaha on it. I hated the motor, but the boat was great.

          Once I get the rub rail secured and safely attached, I can flip it over and start on the bottom. The way it is in the pic, if it would fold in half if I tryed to move it. The sides are single wall and only about .040 thick. I don't really like how the side supports sandwich the floor like that, I have to be carefull not to change the height or thickness of the floor. The lower floor supports look like they are cedar or redwood, the ones I removed from the rear are super light, none are rotted, but I just don't like how they arranged the floor joists, they ran two front to rear 2x4"s which trap water on their upside, and then they ran several cross ways joists every 2 foot or so, and there's no exact measurement, they are just in there where ever they fell. Not even square. I don't think it's been apart before because all of the rivets look original on the side braces. There's a hatch in the center that is also partly blocked by the floor joists, that may also have to stay like that. I may make that hatch larger or make several separate sections.

          Another concern is what to use for the floor that won't break the bank, it had some sort of vynil flooring on the old wood floor, it looked more like kitchen floor covering. I don't want carpet since it can hold moisture, but the high end rubber flooring is expensive. I have consided doing a fiberglass floor or looking for some sort of comercial rubber flooring? I also though about using aluminum diamond plate for the floors, but that would be slippery when fishing and expensive. I just priced it today and it's over $140 per sheet. And it would take about three sheets to do the whole interior of this, and that would also mean making up a complete set of floor supports out of aluminum.

          I did consider building a rear splash pan and beefing up the transom a bit, so I could hang a 50HP on it but I really didn't want to make this that big of a project. It would be nice to be able to hang a real motor on it though. It's a pretty heavy hull, a 25 would barely be enough?

          I am not sure about the age of this, there are no number plates and it was a recovered abandoned boat which I got a new title for from the marine police so the title says 2006. Here's a better rear view of the transom:


          • #6
            Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

            I'd add a doubler to the center portion of the transom with gussets on both sides that tie into the floor, and supplement whatever you plan to use for mechanical fasteners on the rubrail with an adhesive.

            Smooth and skin the existing floor with glass then gelcoat it with a non-skid texture.


            • #7
              Sign up today
              Re: Better way to attach rub rail?

              I'm not sure what you mean by adding a 'doubler to the center portion of the transom'?
              I was sort of thinking about adding a cross brace from side to side with corner gussets and a splash pan with the forward cross brace being attached to both the both sides, gusseted to the rear corner plates, and attached to the two main aluminum floor stringers with two angled down braces. I would sort of copy the way I saw a Tracker Semi-V hull a buddy has is done. Right now there's only a single layer of aluminum rolled over the top with a piece of plywood inside that doesn't even go all the way to the bottom of the transom. The transom will flex if I hang my weight on it, it's fine with a smaller motor, but anything with any real weight would probably destroy it. It has a slight outward bow, but I think some of that may be the way it's made, There are two angle gussets to from the main two aluminum stringers to that bolt through the transom, they are rivetted to the stringers, but through bolted with steel countersunk bolts through the lower part of the transom. They are the 5 rusty black spots you see in the transom pic, they didn't use stainless hardware, just plain steel. The nuts were stainless but the bolts weren't.
              The transom rolls over the top edge about 3 inches, which would make replacing the wood a real nightmare if it needed it, luckily the wood is still solid. It's trapped in by the way the top is rolled over, by the top rear edges of the floor stringers, and by three gussets that come about 4 inches up on the wood inside. The corners are also trapped in by the corner braces and caps. It looks like the wood was installed on the transom panel, then they welded in the perimeter from the outside, it's the only way they could have gotten it in there. Even if all the braces and gussets were out, the wood is still trapped by the shape of the transom and the corner caps. But like I said, the wood is fine, so as long as I don't have to weld near it I am fine.
              I also considered doing a rivet in or bolt in spash pan and forward support, just for maintainence reasons? Welding is faster and easier though.