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Aluminum boat leaking at seam

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  • Aluminum boat leaking at seam

    Hello,

    I have a 1996 harbercraft classic 12' aluminum boat purchased new in 1996 and it has been used maybe four or five times. Been sitting the last 8 years until I decided to use or sell it recently. I pressure washed it and it cleaned up nice.

    I had a vague memory of a leak somewhere near the back seat during the last use so I put a little water in the boat today and found two leaks. These two leaks are along the same seam and maybe 8" apart or so. Neither leak is from the rivets, but from holes in the sealer at the seam just above the rivets. Almost seems like a bubble burst or something leaving the hole in the sealer.

    The holes are in the red box in the pictures. What can I do to repair this? Is there some sort of sealer that can be injected into those little holes to seal it up?

    Thanks







  • #2
    Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

    Check out a product called Gluvit or Coat-It

    ---------
    1961 Lonestar Flamingo - SPLASHED...Kinda!!
    Fabricating Decks, Stringers, and Transoms
    Paint Your Boat with Tractor Paint

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    • #3
      Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

      Thanks for the reply. I purchased some Gluvit today and will give it a try.

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

        Mix the gluvit very carefully and it is very thin when mixed. You might want to back the holes with tape first on one side and do one side at a time. It (gluvit) is designed to "creep" and flow into seams so.... tipping the hull to one side then the following day do the other side. It takes about 24 hrs to set up right.
        This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
        Please, shop iboats first!!

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        • #5
          Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

          Ok here is an update.

          I put the boat and trailer on the lift and put gluvit on not only the two holes but on the entire length of the two side seams, and the bow seam.







          Let it dry for three or four days while I worked on cleaning up the boat. During which time there was water pooled at the bow of the boat. This was water that did not get drained after the first time I put water in the boat and found the two holes in the original post. There was no leaking under the boat during the week.
          Area in red.


          continued in next post

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          • #6
            Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

            Today I went to pull the boat out of the shop to put some water in to test the sealing of the original two holes. When the boat came down off the shop floor to the gravel it drops about 3". This tilted the bow of the boat down just a bit and there was some water coming out at the bow end of the center rib (runner?)


            The leak appears to be in the red area.


            I suspect because that pocket in the bow of the boat held water for a week that water is entering the center rib from somewhere back of the bow. I guess through one of the rivets on seams that pass over that rib?

            Center rib


            Center rib back


            Remember that the boat has not actually been in the water yet, just some water put inside the boat to check for leaks. Maybe water is getting into that rib through the rivets or seams directly over the rib?


            I did some further checking tonight. I left the bow down below horizontal and started the hose filling the boat at the bow. I slowly raised the bow and walked the water back towards the stern. The small pool/stream of water was pretty much centered over that rib. I would lower the bow to see if it would leak at the bow end of that center rib about every two feet as the water made its way to the stern. I started to get some water drips when the water in the boat reached the back of the center seat. So I'm pretty sure water is leaking into that center rib.

            Now, what to do about it?

            Do I try using the gluvit on all the rivets along that center rib inside the boat?

            Or do I sling the boat off the trailer, set it on the floor, tip it up on each side as Bob mentioned, and hope the gluvit can seal the seam of the center rib where it is leaking out at the bow roller. Or, I believe I have enough gluvit left to do both seams the entire length of the rib. It seems like since the objective is to keep water from entering any part of the boat that this would be the best approach?

            Thanks

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            • #7
              Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

              The ribs, strakes, and keel aren't supposed to be water tight. Just worry about the rivets that hold them on which penetrate the hull.
              1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
              Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=357767
              1966 16' Starcraft Jupiter 85HP Johnson
              Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=338633 sold

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              • #8
                Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

                Originally posted by ezmobee View Post
                The ribs, strakes, and keel aren't supposed to be water tight. Just worry about the rivets that hold them on which penetrate the hull.
                Ok thanks. Some of those rivets, particularly the ones under the seats are going to be difficult to get to, not much room between the bottom of the seat and the hull.

                I can't really reach the center rivets when standing outside the boat so I think I'll sling the boat off the trailer, set it on it's side on top of the lift arms, lean it against the lift carriage and elevate the whole thing to a work height. Suspect I can at least get to those under seat rivets that way.

                I can see where this might be going. If I wire brush/sand each rivet then coat them with gluvit the inside floor of the boat is going to look ugly. At least now the scuffed paint looks somewhat normal from a bit of wear.

                I fear I may be back asking about painting the entire floor to make it look better after the gluvit is cured. It never seems to end.

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                • #9
                  Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

                  Gluvit is not UV tolerant so you should paint it anyway.
                  1976 18' Starcraft SuperSport 90HP Evinrude
                  Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=357767
                  1966 16' Starcraft Jupiter 85HP Johnson
                  Restoration thread http://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=338633 sold

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: Aluminum boat leaking at seam

                    Yes, that's right, I remember reading that on the gluvit instructions.

                    From reading previous painting threads I gather that I need to scuff the surface with a coarse scotchbrite pad, wipe with acetone, paint with an etching primer, then topcoat with color?

                    I'm only going to paint the floor as the sides and seats are in good shape. I'd like to match that original color as much as possible. What type of paint is used for the top coat?

                    Also, I assume when scuffing the surface I want to avoid the areas with gluvit so as to avoid disturbing the seal, and that the paint will adhere to the gluvit?

                    Thanks

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