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pontoon tube wall thickness: 1/8" (0.125") vs 3/16" (0.1875") vs 1/4" (0.250")

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  • pontoon tube wall thickness: 1/8" (0.125") vs 3/16" (0.1875") vs 1/4" (0.250")

    I'm a wannabe pontoon owner. Not sure how to go about deciding which wall thickness to go for. Is it based on salt/fresh water, the speed you'll be traveling at, if the bodies of water will be full of deadheads or not, or some other factor? Obviously cost is always factor, but let's ignore that for now. I'll account for cost later. I'm more interested in what makes the boat safer without paying too much more to get a little extra. If I want to take the boat out of the great lakes and around the east coast, is a thinner walled pontoon suitable for that? Is it suitable for the great lakes? Need help figuring this out. Thanks for reading.

  • #2
    How prone to slamming into docks are you? Hitting submerged rocks or stumps? Do you stay tied up to a dock where if your bumper gets busted or out of place it could be hitting a dock for weeks till uou find it? Beach it where you could be rolling in the waves on a rock?

    Me I go out on a big lake, seldom if ever hit the bottom where I go cause I am familiar with most of the places I go and know it's deep enough. I don't tie to a dock more than a few minutes to pUT the boat on a trailer. I do pull up to beaches but there is a piece on the bottom of the toon to help increase the leading edge of the toon.

    I guess my point is thinner is fine if your not doing the above things I listed, the rougher you are the better the thicker metal will be. They all will float though.

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    • #3
      thanks clemsonfor. I may not do those things myself but may invite friends/family for a ride and all that is possible. To be honest, maybe I'll make mistakes myself too if I'm exploring unfamiliar waters.
      Is 1/8" the norm?
      Would love to see the bottom piece you mentioned. A picture would be appreciated if/whenever you can.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by newboat1925 View Post
        thanks clemsonfor. I may not do those things myself but may invite friends/family for a ride and all that is possible. To be honest, maybe I'll make mistakes myself too if I'm exploring unfamiliar waters.
        Is 1/8" the norm?
        Would love to see the bottom piece you mentioned. A picture would be appreciated if/whenever you can.
        I have no idea what is normal. The piece I'm thinking of I think maybe just where the toon is bent to the point in the front. It seems way thicker up front on bottom of the toon.

        My toon logs are just smooth on the bottom, I probably didn't describe it well. My fault.

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        • #5
          Most pontoons use some angle stock (think angle iron, only this is alum.) to form a "keel" that's much thicker that the skin the rest of the tube is made from. That keel runs front to rear, providing support necessary to the bottom of the toons to allow them to sit on blocks when out of season.

          Been 'tooning forever, so pretty secure in the knowledge most are built using materials that are just fine for my purposes, and seeing anything that's been damaged due to inadequate materials is something I don't ever recall seeing.

          It should be noted I've trailered 'toons extensively over the last 40 years or so, all over the central US, been all over the Great Lakes (Lks Erie, St. Clair, and Huron, including much of the Georgian Bay), and the Gulf of Mexico - weather permitting (yes, learned that lesson the hard way a few times!).

          My point is, sure, go ahead and ask, but don't spend too much time worrying about it.

          Last, I don't think you'll ever see anything made from 1/4" stock on a pontoon. Prior to dealing with the weight of a part made from that thickness, they go with a higher tensile strength alloy, allowing the part to be made of a thinner (and lighter) material.

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          • #6
            When out on the boat yesterday I looked. The front keel of the toons I have from top tip down and back about 3 to 4 feet is a piece of thicker aluminum angle bent or either 2 pieces of flat stock welded togeather to make a thicker leading edge than just the toons formed to a point with just the toon metal.

            Also I do not have a piece of angle running the length of my toons to form a keel, I know whag your talking about though.

            I have a 1997 Crest2

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            • #7
              Originally posted by clemsonfor View Post
              When out on the boat yesterday I looked. The front keel of the toons I have from top tip down and back about 3 to 4 feet is a piece of thicker aluminum angle bent or either 2 pieces of flat stock welded togeather to make a thicker leading edge than just the toons formed to a point with just the toon metal.

              Also I do not have a piece of angle running the length of my toons to form a keel, I know whag your talking about though.

              I have a 1997 Crest2
              OK I was out messing with the trailer and I looked , I was wrong there is a piece on the bottom of my toon but it's like a .5" square stock piece welded to the bottom, maybe 1/4" the length of it. Solid square AL

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              • #8
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                I repair these daily. Normally modern Al toons are .080 to .092 depending on manufacturer. Bennington and crest seem to be thicker, Sedona seems to be thinest.
                '47 18' CC Utility "Knock On Wood"
                Various Evinrude powered Pontoons all named "Floosy"

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