Pontoon Tube Reconditioning Ideas Needed

tablerockboater

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This is for a seasonal-used pontoon in Lemon Bay (saltwater), FL.

Getting water in the toons, and they are pitted.

1. Please recommend drain plugs that I can install at the back, lower toons. Any non-weld ones?

2. Same for small leak repair. Aluminum putty? JB Marine Weld? Something else?

3. Waterproof, leakproofing coating I can DIY.

4. Any and all other suggestions.

TIY
 

tablerockboater

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Here's what I've posted on the Godfrey Owners Forum:

New here, need expert advice . . . .

We have a '97 Sweetwater that we use in Lemon Bay, FL, and canals, so, saltwater. We Snowbird, and when we put it in a couple weeks ago, a toon filled with water, and sank. In the several years we've owned it, it's never done that, and we leave it in the water for 3-5 months.

We have managed to get it back on the trailer, drilled small drain holes at the rear/lower area of the tubes, and a whole lot of water came out. Probably ancient water from prehistoric time.

I am ready to block it up off the trailer, and go to work.

Anyone know if there's more than one compartment in the toons? The one that sank, sank in the back, where the little hole is, but the front of the toon stayed up.

1. Any suggestions for drain plugs I can install . . . prefer non-welded. Do I need just ones in the back, or front, too?
2. Same for locating and patching holes. JB Marine Weld, Aluminum putty, or . . . . ?
3. Waterproof/sealant I can put on after the repairs are done.

Thanks.

By the way, I have seen videos on the Internet of sealing/waterproofing toons with bedliner, both spraying it on the entire toon and rolling it on the bottom half that is normally antifouling paint.

Bedliner sounds like a good idea, so I figure it must not be. I can't think of any reason it would deteriorate in saltwater; it's not like it is "less noble" than aluminum.

But . . .

I would also prefer plastic drain plugs, too, because they would not be "less noble."
 

tablerockboater

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Funny, now that I've started blocking up the pontoon, I notice that there are three drain plugs ON TOP of each of the toons, one in the front, pointy section, one in the middle, and one at the back.

I had not noticed them because I had looked at the back bottom.

Why in the ---- would drain plugs be at the TOP of the toons???!!! It would be awfully hard to tip the the boat over to empty them!!!
 

HotTommy

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I was hoping someone more knowledgable than me would chime in, but as that has not yet happened I'll offer my thoughts.
First, those openings on the tops of the toons are air vents to allow the pressure inside to equalize with changes in temperature. Second, you can likely extract water through those vents with tubing and a suction pump. Third, the fact that you have three fittings on each toon may mean each has three separate sealed compartments. If that is the case, the fact that the front stayed up indicates the leak was in the aft compartment. Fourth, after you seal the hole you drilled, you may be able to locate the original leak by gently pressurizing each compartment (no more than 3 psi) using the top fitting, and looking and listening for where the air is coming out. Fifth, I wouldn't use anything less than professional welding to patch any holes. Sixth, if this were mine, I'd be reluctant to spend much on it until I figured out why it started to leak. If the aluminum has become so thin in spots that it finally ate the first hole all the way through, this may not be a set of toons worth saving. ... Good luck.
 

jbcurt00

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tablerockboater dont post to old inactive topics. The Suntracker 'toon topic you posted to is over 6yrs old, none of the posters are around any more to get or reply to your post.
 

tablerockboater

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tablerockboater dont post to old inactive topics. The Suntracker 'toon topic you posted to is over 6yrs old, none of the posters are around any more to get or reply to your post.

Okey dokey. If it had been closed, as others that I found, I would not have posted on it. I did because it was not closed.

;)
 

GA_Boater

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Closed or open - It was still 6 years old. You've been around long enough to know our old thread rules.
 

tablerockboater

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I was hoping someone more knowledgable than me would chime in, but as that has not yet happened I'll offer my thoughts.
First, those openings on the tops of the toons are air vents to allow the pressure inside to equalize with changes in temperature. Second, you can likely extract water through those vents with tubing and a suction pump. Third, the fact that you have three fittings on each toon may mean each has three separate sealed compartments. If that is the case, the fact that the front stayed up indicates the leak was in the aft compartment. Fourth, after you seal the hole you drilled, you may be able to locate the original leak by gently pressurizing each compartment (no more than 3 psi) using the top fitting, and looking and listening for where the air is coming out. Fifth, I wouldn't use anything less than professional welding to patch any holes. Sixth, if this were mine, I'd be reluctant to spend much on it until I figured out why it started to leak. If the aluminum has become so thin in spots that it finally ate the first hole all the way through, this may not be a set of toons worth saving. ... Good luck.

I've done enough google-education the last two days to know that I agree with everything you said.

I've got it off the bunks, and cleaning and evaluating the toons is next. Good or not, we will not spend much money on it. The fact that I replaced all of the stringers three years ago because they had sacrificed tells me a lot. I put on all new stringers and the transom then for $200. The stringers I put on have not sacrificed/pitted at all.

I still wonder why some toons have drain plugs and some do not.

I would think it would be a good idea to put inner liners in the toons, that can be pressurized, like an inner tube. Or, when toons get weak, put in that inner tube, like you can do with tubeless tires if you want.
 

tablerockboater

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Closed or open - It was still 6 years old. You've been around long enough to know our old thread rules.

Then it is definitely my fault.

I have been here awhile, but not frequently.

That's good, I think, since I come here with boat problems.

:D
 
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Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
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1. No
2. No
3. No

Replace the boat or at a minimum, replace the toon logs
 

tablerockboater

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1. No
2. No
3. No

Replace the boat or at a minimum, replace the toon logs

We could be getting to that. (Even with all the videos on the Internet showing people doing those things.)

We know not to spend $1000 on a $50 boat.

So, now that it's been brought to my attention, why is water in toons such a problem, do you think?

& I see we're not far away. Do you run into any Sherrards of Ed Droste?
 
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tablerockboater

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I Fourth, after you seal the hole you drilled, you may be able to locate the original leak by gently pressurizing each compartment (no more than 3 psi) using the top fitting, and looking and listening for where the air is coming out. Fifth,

I hadn't mentioned that we know where (at least one) (of the) original leak(s) is because we were able to raise the pontoon with a davit cable connected to the back of the toon that was submerged at the back, and when we raised it, water was peeing out of that hole.

I will use those "vents" at the top of the toons to check for water in the other five (likely) compartments, like is shown in a youtube video.
 

tablerockboater

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tablerockboater dont post to old inactive topics. The Suntracker 'toon topic you posted to is over 6yrs old, none of the posters are around any more to get or reply to your post.

Now that I think about it, the other day I posted on another forum I probably should not have.

It is a Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade forum, which I use to get others' experiences when I have problems with our vehicles, like I do with this forum for boat problems. Been on that forum a long time, too, first with our 2000 Yukon, which we replaced with an Escalade.

The driver's seat heaters have a mind of their own. Keep coming on all by themselves, going from low to medium to high to off to low to medium to high, and they were driving me crazy. I first thought I was accidentally hitting the buttons on the door arm rest.

I did what I always do, googled, and found it is a common problem, and GM has TSB on it. I also found a thread about the problem on that forum, so I posted about the TSB, and a link to how to disconnect the connectors under the seat. Then, when we drove 1200 miles to Florida, we noticed that also disabled the heaters to the passenger seat, my wife's, which she was not happy about.

So, I posted again that on the forum, saying that if I could find that thread on a google search, someone else could too, and they may want to know what I found out, because that's what Internet forums are for.

I just looked and no one has replied to what I posted, so I guess I should have just kept all that to myself.

Back to the toons in the morning . . . .
 

GA_Boater

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So, now that it's been brought to my attention, why is water in toons such a problem, do you think?

If this is a real question, didn't you start this thread because the stern of your toon was sitting on the bottom?
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
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We know not to spend $1000 on a $50 boat.

So, now that it's been brought to my attention, why is water in toons such a problem, do you think?

/QUOTE]

so take the $50 boat to the scrap yard and get your money back

leaking toon logs will sink the boat

and corroded and leaking toon logs can only be fixed by removing all the bad and corroded aluminum and replacing. there is nothing you can apply that will prevent the underlying aluminum from continuing to corrode

however for a single person to do that is cost prohibitive.

buying new toon logs is the only answer, or spending more on the boat than I do on beer per boating event is the other answer. anything less than $5k on a boat, especially in florida, consider it a project boat. (unless its a new jon boat or a kayak, those are under $5k)
 

tablerockboater

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First, when I said, "Why is water in toons such a problem," I realize now that I did not phrase that properly. That happens on the Internet, that something reads something a different way than you intended. Let me try again.

Why is it that so many toons get water in them? Isn't American manufacturing better than that? I don't think it's something most pontoon owners think about until, well, until . . . . Yesterday, two Internet friend with pontoons said they hope they don't have to deal with that, but it doesn't appear to be something you can control if you leave them in the water.

Second, regardless of what we wind up doing with the boat, we had to do what what we've done so far. We had to get (enough of) the water out of the toon to get the boat to the ramp, on the trailer and out of the water. We have to assess the condition of the toons, so we have to do what we're doing now.

And, given that the toon was on the bottom of the canal, we've done a pretty good job getting to this point.

Like people say about their timeshares (or marriages) when they are done with them, "We had some good times . . . ."

At least we will be able to take it to a salvage yard.
 
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tablerockboater

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Just an obvious heads-up . . .

When you sell something to a stranger, and he hands you the money, a little pile of bills, don't just set it there where he can still get to it while he has you distracted.

There may not be as much in the pile after he leaves.

But, then, it was better than having to pay someone to haul it away.

:facepalm:

My wife has post-pontoon depression, and is wanting another one, but I am resisting falling in love on the rebound. A winter without the hassles of owning a boat will be welcome.
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy old guy who plays with boats
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Why is it that so many toons get water in them?

Toon Logs get water in them from neglect and lack of maintenance. part of owning a toon is to pressure test the logs periodically and check the chambers for water. they all crack at the M brackets. when that happens, normal use and splashing water along with thermal expansion will draw water into the log chambers. a cracked weld at top and running into something (mechanical breach) will cause the log chamber to rapidly fill up with water. same goes for corrosion breaches

annual checks of the toon logs is a must, and if you put about 500-600 hours a year on them, its more like quarterly checks. any crack needs to be welded and sealed. I know many people with 'Toons that are between 30 and 40 years old. all of them have had the splash plates re-welded and the M-brackets re-welded a few times

my guess your assessment was the logs were corroded beyond repair?
 
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