The Boating Forum - Aluminum - riveted or welded?

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View Full Version : Aluminum - riveted or welded?


Madisonk
03-20-2006, 11:03 AM
Looking to buy a 16' tiller driven aluminum skiff. Got it down to Lund and a G3. G3 advertises fully welded and Lund rivets most of their boat although it welds the "critical" areas. Somebody cut through the confusion for me. I see lots of old riveted aluminums in Essex. Does it make a difference one way or the other?


Steve 08753
03-20-2006, 11:33 AM
I've had 3 riveted Starcraft's, one friend had a riveted Princecraft and anothed has an 18' Lund. All 5 of these boats leaked due to rivet problems, the Lund was sent back to the factory for repairs. Based on my expierences I would never buy another riveted aluminum boat again, though I would love a Black Lab!

Bailey Boat
03-20-2006, 11:35 AM
Welded, plain and simple, the strongest of the 2 types of construction......


jpscott1
03-20-2006, 11:38 AM
I have a riveted 14ft Landau Jon Boat- as the boat flexes over time- it develops small leaks around some of the rivets. It is not a big deal b/c I use it for duck hunting and wear waders and track mud into the boat etc. However- if you want to keep the floor dry- and thus the stuff in the boat dry- get an all welded boat. My buddy has a Sea Ark all weld that is very nice and rugged. My brother in law has an all weld G3- 17ft side console and it is very nice.

ccat
03-20-2006, 11:42 AM
I've heard it both ways, I've owned 2-riveted and never had a problem. I've heard from a few who had welded that they had some of the welded areas crack. My dad has a 16' Lowe Big Jon and we have fished it alot in the sound and never had a problem with it either.

tombro
03-20-2006, 11:42 AM
I've had two welded Duranautics over the years. Fished hard in SW and FW....neither ever leaked, and the smaller one, which I still own, turns 17 this month.

Kamper
03-20-2006, 05:30 PM
I have a 16ft Starcraft that's about 30 years old and doesnt leak. Freshwater only though and I slow down in the chop.

duckblaster
03-20-2006, 09:41 PM
Go with the welded for sure. I had a 17' G3 that was riveted and after 2 years (it was 3 years old when I bought it) of me using it on lake murray it developed cracks on 6 or 8 spots along the rivets in the hull. I thought I was screwed but Yamaha took it back and gave me a brand new welded hull boat. I would not buy a riveted boat again. Can't say enough about Yamaha or East Columbia Sport Shop in SC though.

solarfry
03-20-2006, 09:56 PM
I have a 5 yr old riveted V14 alumacraft and have had no problems with it. I use it in saltwater most of time. It has a 20 yr no leak guarantee. We have run over rocks on lakes and have a couple of dings to show for it but no leaks.

Be carefull with advice on a forum. There is a lot of prejudice and very little facts on most of advice. There are also "pushers" that thrive in pushing you towards their product of preference. Also, how do you know advice does not come from a salesman?

Good luck

melton7a
03-20-2006, 10:02 PM
I don't know G3, but I have several friends who have had Lund boats for years without leak issues. My view is that rivets are fine and make perfect sense on small boats used on lakes in good conditions. Most riveted boats are made of thinner aluminum. I have a 17 year old 18' aluminum boat at a summer place up in Ontario that's had to have dozens of rivets replaced over the years. I believe the leaks have happened when the boat was loaded up and driven at speed in rough water. Riveted aluminum boats just aren't made to endure pounding like that. If you'll be in smooth lake water, you'll probably be fine with a well made aluminum boat.

Having said that, there's really no comparison between a riveted aluminum boat and a well built welded aluminum boat like a Black Lab or a Henley. The thickness of the metal and the quality of the welds will allow those boats to do well in most any conditions. Extremely stout. If you can afford a well made welded aluminum boat, by all means get one.

jobowker
03-20-2006, 10:03 PM
I had a 13' riveted duranautic years ago, and over time it developed leaks. I'm not sure I can blame this on the boat, as it was probably 15 year old by that time, had never seen anything but saltwater, and had a light 15hp 2 stroke (max hp). We got the thing airborne on a regular basis, with the prop completely out of the water. We would run through small chop at WOT whenever we could. Jumping wakes was another fun form of entertainment. Yes, it was leaking after a number of years, but not too badly considering what we did to it.

drd
03-21-2006, 12:06 AM
I had an older riveted Jon boat, and have been on many others. They have all leaked a little bit. Granted all of these hulls were at least 15yrs old and well used. I also fish on a a newer starcraft (97?) riveted boat, which has never leaked.

fishhawk123
03-21-2006, 12:53 AM
Take ur pick. I would think welded would be better but I bought an old mirrocraft circa 1960's to early 70's, riveted v hull, 14' w/ johnson 40hp. old man I paid the 300.00 to said it never leaked. Had it 3 yrs, never leaked unless u count the first time i left out the drain plug...lol. Always used in saltwater.

rudetech1
03-21-2006, 01:02 AM
Define "skiff"!!

north coast
03-21-2006, 06:39 AM
I once had a riveted boat dealer tell me that "when boeing starts welding aircraft instead of riveting we'll start selling welded boats"---I've had three alum riveted boats and two welded, all leaked eventually. fwiw-- lund was the best in my mind

BobT
03-21-2006, 07:18 AM
I've had three aluminum boats, two riveted (Lund and Starcraft) and one welded (duranautic) none leaked for me fresh/salt. I'd recommend a Lund.

captainkevin
03-21-2006, 09:18 AM
I have owned Lund Alumicraft Starcraft nayden & sylvan aluminum boats all were riveted the only one that didn't leak was the sylvan.

The sylvan was a tough boat that I beat to death overpowered & abused it bad after 15 years of pure punishment to that boat with many thousands of hours & two new motors I sold it for about half that I paid new including the motor costs.

A few highlights boat was dropped of a stand when new at the boat show so the dealer discounted it big, I had it come off a roller trailer [rope broke & chain pulled hook bent out tiedowns were not on yet I was pulling over to secure them it was a very steep ramp] on a gravel road sliding down a hill it stopped when the skeg caught in the road. I jumped it over beverdams to many times to count got it stuck in a narrow bridge that it used to fit through, a jetski doing 30ish lost control smashed the side when parked at the dock in front of me. I bent three trailer axles from rough roads that I towed it on. I banged it off rocks pulled it on rocks dragged it over rocks, sand & oysterbeds used it in saltwater & it never leaked.

After 15 years the transom needed repair so I fixed it myself the wood rotted. The starcraft leaked the first time I used it in saltwater I bought it new I sold it after a few years I didn't abuse it . The others were used boats.

Grady Wahoo
03-21-2006, 11:13 AM
Essex huh? If you like to blend in with the crowd, get the Lund. If you want something unique, get the G3. I don't think you can go wrong with either. I used to have the 20' Alaskan (Lund). Wingarsheek was my favorite, as I could beach and walk the dog there. Still go there, just have to anchor....Good luck!

skyranchrob
03-21-2006, 12:13 PM
At one time it might have been a toss up between the two, but now there not even close, go with welded. All high volume manufactors use jigs and automated welding on there alum. boats. I have been all over my boat and not seen one example of a bad weld, and I would bet this is true of all brands.

fourdfish
03-21-2006, 12:54 PM
I have had 3 aluminum boats thru the years. 2 were riveted and the 23ft welded Crestliner. None ever leaked. Crestliner has a 20yr warrenty on the welded hull. It has clean welds which have been ground down and look great.

Jerry-Rigged
03-21-2006, 02:29 PM
My family has had both welded and rivited hulls. IMHO, a well cared for, fresh water rivited hull should not leek for a long time. Mine were all in salt water, and they all leaked. It was never anything that an auto-bildge pump couldn't handle. In fact most of my boats didn't have pumps, we would just "run the water out" at night, and again in the morining.

One other thought - most people believe a 5 year old rivited hull will leak, no mater what you tell them. This WILL affect resale (if you care about that).

If weight or cost is the #1 priority, get a rivited hull. If you can stand another 200lbs or so, or can afford the extra money for the welded, get the welded.

Jerry

MBFish
03-21-2006, 02:50 PM
Three words: Black Lab Marine

Madisonk
03-22-2006, 09:48 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I have been out of town for a couple of days and haven't had a chance to check back in.

Since we can't come to a consensus on welded vs riveted maybe you can help me make the choice based on other factors.

Two choices are;

Leftover 2004 16' G3 with 25 HP Yami 4 stroke (also leftover 2004). Layout is unique with bench seating running along the sides, open flat deck and a front traditional bench seat. It comes with lights, bilge pump, aluminum bunk trailer. Price is $6,900. I offered them $6,500 and they wouldn't take it two months ago.

New 16' Lund SSV with 30HP Merc 4 stroke, galvanized roller trailer, lights, flat deck inserts. The layout is traditional with bench seating. Price is $9,400.

At first glance the choice probably seems simple but consider the 2004 engine was probably shipped sometime in the middle or late part of 2003 and has been sitting in a crate all that time. Warranty starts with commission but I would prefer to have no service calls even if they are covered. Do you think the engine is more likely to have small issues related to it sitting in a crate all of this time? Then there is the fact that I already made an offer and would now have to eat a little bit of my pride and go make another offer :)

The other factor is that the dealer for Lund also owns a marina. I have been told by locals that they would be more likely to get me a slip when I buy a bigger boat again if I have already done business with him.

So; G3 or Lund?

Jerry-Rigged
03-22-2006, 01:25 PM
I hadn't heard of G3 until this thread - from thier website, they look nice.

Left over motor will not be an issue, if it has never had gas in it. If it has, ask them to give it a tune up and clean the carbs. I don't think it would really be nessacery, but if it helps you piece of mind, ask for it.

G3 is cheaper, has an AL trailer, welded hull, 5 hp will not make much diffrence - I say save the 2.5k and get the G3, before someone else buys it first.

For the same $$, I would pick the G3, I think, for the welded hull and Al trailer.

Jerry

cbboatworks
03-22-2006, 01:53 PM
Have you checked out the Blade Runner? all welded also a great price for what you are getting.i will included the webpage.

Builder is located in Wilmington,NC

http://www.bladerunnerboats.net/

Madisonk
03-22-2006, 03:09 PM
How much does that blade runner cost. It's not the kind of aluminum I am looking for but I like it. I need something I can run aground and pull across the sand by myself.

chokie1942
03-22-2006, 04:05 PM
Just called on the price...it's 14200 w/o engine.

wsabi
03-23-2006, 08:58 AM
Crestliner (actually a Lowe built boat) factory weld....not clean to me. Some are, some aren't. The 'some aren't' ones are the problem. Do you feel like sitting on shore 8 months while the boat goes back to the factory for repairs twice?

http://www.earlysvilleironworks.com/crestliner/hullribweld3crop_sm.jpg

fourdfish
03-23-2006, 11:32 AM
wsabi-- Sorry, Crestliner Boats are manufactured in Little Falls, Minnesota-- Lowe Boats are made in Lebanon, Missouri. Two completely different companys. The welds on my Crestliner boat don't look like that. Crestliner was bought by Brunswick not to ago!

Joel K
03-23-2006, 12:51 PM
I had 3 welded boats. One spectrum, no problems, then two Fisher's. Both of the Fisher's had serious problems, broken welds, cracked alluminum at the weld sites etc. Fisher and Tracker boats are both from the same company and I would not buy either again. I know several other people who have had problems with welded boats but also many with riveted. I think if you get a high quality alluminum boat regardless if it is welded or riveted and you don't beat it to death it will give you many years of service.

Living in Michigan I see alot of high quality boats from Lund, Tracker "Tundra model", Crestliner, Allumicraft, G3, Ranger to name a few that are used by Pro Walleye fisherman. These guys beat the he## out of these boats and they all have had problems when treated that way. These boats vary from year to year also, for example, Lund had a riviting problem one year and all of those boats leaked, but they fixed them all for the customers. I have heard that Allumicraft is a good company to deal with as they take care of thier customers. Allumicraft is a riveted boat.

I guess if I had to buy a welded boat I would buy a crestliner. Riveted, a Lund or Allumicraft. If you look on the walleye fishing forums you will find alot of info on alluminum boats. Try www.walleyecentral.com or www.walleyesinc.com

Good luck

edit, I just seen the last post with pictures of a weld from a Crestliner, I hope the quality is not going downhill.

cgrand
03-23-2006, 01:02 PM
Joel K - 3/23/2006 11:51 AM
I think if you get a high quality alluminum boat regardless if it is welded or riveted and you don't beat it to death it will give you many years of service.
.

i disagree...
if you buy a high-quality aluminum boat you SHOULD be able to "beat it to death" and still get more than many years of service
this is reason 1A to buy aluminum in the first place

mine is welded, by the way

Joel K
03-23-2006, 01:26 PM
cgrand - 3/23/2006 12:02 PM

Joel K - 3/23/2006 11:51 AM
I think if you get a high quality alluminum boat regardless if it is welded or riveted and you don't beat it to death it will give you many years of service.
.

i disagree...
if you buy a high-quality aluminum boat you SHOULD be able to "beat it to death" and still get more than many years of service
this is reason 1A to buy aluminum in the first place

mine is welded, by the way

Yes you shoul be able to beat it but the fact is they don't always hold up. Also when I think of beating them it involves a 200-250 hp outboard on a 19-21 foot boat going wide open for miles in rough seas. I only had a 90 on an 18' boat it failed. I do know of pros that did not have boat problems after the abuse they put them through but like I said you never know how well your boat will hold up when buying alluminum. This includes the boats that only have a max of .125 alluminum in the hull. I see some of the ocean style alluminum boats have thicker alluminum.

fourdfish
03-23-2006, 03:42 PM
Joel-He said that boat was made by Lowe but it was a Crestliner????? Never heard that before! Never saw welds like that on a Crestliner!

wsabi
03-23-2006, 05:41 PM
Lowe makes the Roughneck boat and Crestliner resells these as Crestliner boats. So Lowe does not make every Crestliner boat, just the models I am referring to.

And Crestliner told me there have been reports of poor weld performance in some of these boats. I think Crestliner found it a bit easier to admit this since it is Lowe actually making this boat for them. Either way, my loss.

solarfry
03-23-2006, 06:47 PM
Joel K - 3/23/2006 12:26 PM

cgrand - 3/23/2006 12:02 PM

Joel K - 3/23/2006 11:51 AM
I think if you get a high quality alluminum boat regardless if it is welded or riveted and you don't beat it to death it will give you many years of service.
.

i disagree...
if you buy a high-quality aluminum boat you SHOULD be able to "beat it to death" and still get more than many years of service
this is reason 1A to buy aluminum in the first place

mine is welded, by the way

Yes you shoul be able to beat it but the fact is they don't always hold up. Also when I think of beating them it involves a 200-250 hp outboard on a 19-21 foot boat going wide open for miles in rough seas. I only had a 90 on an 18' boat it failed. I do know of pros that did not have boat problems after the abuse they put them through but like I said you never know how well your boat will hold up when buying alluminum. This includes the boats that only have a max of .125 alluminum in the hull. I see some of the ocean style alluminum boats have thicker alluminum.

You don't really know how a fiberglass boat will take abuse like that either. they tend to develop spyder and linear gelcoat cracks everywhere. Specially at any right angles, curves or stern. Some lose connection tween hull and gridwork and rattle.

muddywater
03-23-2006, 06:54 PM
I agree with Cgrand and the others who actually own good welded boats. There is no comparison. As a kid, I wiped out and sank a number of riveted Al boats. I used to wait for a crew boat to come down the bayou behind our house throwing up a good 3+ foot high wake and follow it jumping the wake with rivets popping up in the air. I would have to run with the plug out all the time to keep from sinking from all the rivet holes ;) Unfortunately, I forgot to put the plug back in at the ramp and came back to find it sunk still tied to the dock. I would pull it out, dry out the motor, and have it running the next day (old 1960something Merc) and go back at it (sank 3 times and still ran).

On the other hand, Dad's welded Al boat was built about the time I was born (30 years ago). It has been used almost exclusively in salt and brackish water. It was and is used year round for hunting in winter, kneeboarding/wakeboarding in summer, and fishing year round. Being of small financial means, it is all we have, so I actually go out in the gulf in it (yes I am a little crazy - it's a 15' flat). Nobody ever wants to fish with me because nobody can take the beating. I'm probably airborn 30% of the time (which can't be good for me or the motor). Anyway the boat is pretty much the same as the day it was built. It is 1/4 inch aluminum and was build by a boat works in Coteau Holmes, LA which specializes in skiffs. It has been rammed into trees, oyster reefs, concrete rubble, cars, fences (Katrina) etc etc. The only recent pic I have of it is during Search and Rescue in New Orleans last year. Anyway, suffice it to say that I vote for welded!

http://www.thehulltruth.com/photos/get-photo.asp?photoid=15665

Madisonk
03-23-2006, 07:20 PM
I've made my decision...I'm getting an inner tube!

rob p
03-23-2006, 08:04 PM
I have a 14 foot guide series Lund that is 18 years old. My friend in Homer Alaska told me they use the 14 foot Lunds to hold the ends of their salmon nets as the big boats go around and pay them out. Sold me. My boat has three rows of rivets with something gray and hard sticking out of the seams that kind of reminds me of bondo. With a 20 horse Johnson, I have towed skiers, tubes, passed people on jet skies, duck hunted, bay fished, and had absolutely no leaks or problems of any kind.

fourdfish
03-23-2006, 09:25 PM
wsabi- I didn't know that Lowe made those boats for Crestliner but since both companys are owned by Brunswick, I can see how that came about! I do know that the welded boats comining out of the Crestliner plant in Little Falls,MN are of good quality with excellent welds.
I have seen a lot of them and never seen welds like that.

Eyehooker
03-23-2006, 10:12 PM
presently have both-- crestline 1750 fishhawk 1996 welded-- no cracks no leaks-- sea nymph 16R no leaks riveted-- Both are quality aluminum boats -- not bottom $$$ boat-- crestliner has 20 year warranty and they are still in busines Lowe purchased sea nymph around 1996

igors_i
04-03-2006, 03:25 PM
Guys, any info, positive/negative feedbacks on Princecraft?

wsabi
04-05-2006, 05:41 PM
My Crestliner has cracks in welds and this week we found cracks in non-structural areas on my friend's Lowe 1648 side console jonboat. Doesn't matter if it is under warranty, still sucks when you find it on your boat. Make syou wonder about all those areas you CAN'T see!

Madisonk
04-05-2006, 06:25 PM
picked up my Lund today. I'll post pictures after the motor is mounted and when it stops #$%^&# SNOWING!

jyasaki
04-05-2006, 07:49 PM
Having said that, there's really no comparison between a riveted aluminum boat and a well built welded aluminum boat like a Black Lab or a Henley.

No comparison in pricing, either. What's a mid-tier riveted skiff/bass boat? Maybe $15K? Figure 3 times that (I'd assume) for something like a Black Lab (corrections are welcome on this.)

That said, I would much prefer a welded boat over riveted (which is why I got one.)


I once had a riveted boat dealer tell me that "when boeing starts welding aircraft instead of riveting we'll start selling welded boats"

When Boeing starts building boats instead of airplanes, I might listen to that advice.

jky

lowew79
02-14-2013, 10:13 PM
I dont know a lot about boats, but the boeing arguement doesn't make much sense aeronautically. Boeing might like to weld their aircraft very much. Perhaps their engineers would find it tougher and more durable. But the physics of flight would make it a bad idea.

Airplanes are like giant balloons, as they go up in the air they expand, a surprising amount! Then when they descend to land they compress, like someone let the air out of the balloon. It has to do with the pressurized cabin in the very low pressure air around it, then descending back into high pressure atmosphere near and at the surface.

I don't know a lot about welding, but I am almost certain welded joints do not flex at all. This expansion/shrinking cycle seems like it would be just asking for a crack. Riveted surface would seem like they are more flexible and able to allow for expansion and shrinkage.

Boats do not go into the high atmosphere (unless something really bad happens lol). So they don't really need to be able to expand and contract like that.

I think Boeing uses rivets because they have to, not because they are stronger.

Does this solve the arguement of weld vs. riveted? No, I have no idea which is stronger or better. But don't let the dealers 'boeing uses rivets' arguement sway you.

Not an aeronautic expert or a boat expert, just a knowledgeable enthusiast about aircraft and aeronautics, and looking to learn enough to buy my first boat lol.

pfithian
02-15-2013, 04:04 AM
Guys, any info, positive/negative feedbacks on Princecraft?

They are excellent, well made boats. I ran a 17' center console for years in rough service on Lake Michigan, never had a problem or leak with the hull.

longboat
02-15-2013, 07:23 AM
Wow, what an old thread! Ok, I'll play...

Welded boats can be nice. Riveted boats can also be nice. Yes, riveted boats are more likely to develop leaks over time, but are also easier and cheaper to repair (unless you happen to be a good aluminum welder). Riveted boats are also generally lighter. With some of the rough waters I've boated in, the flexing of the riveted boats seemed to be easier on the boat overall, whereas the welded boats pounded more and several eventually developed cracks in the welds, especially where the gunwales meet the transom. If the aluminum is thin enough to easily break welds, then it takes a good welder to repair it without weakening the aluminum further.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. A good welded boat is better than a poor riveted boat, and a good riveted boat is better than a bad welded boat!

Hunter789
02-15-2013, 08:11 AM
I have had a 14' 9" Duracraft for 30 years that is all welded. I have never had a problem. Its has been in all kinds of conditions. Go welded!

ste6168
02-15-2013, 08:21 AM
I have owned my fair share of riveted aluminum boats. In my experience, they have all leaked, but never enough to be of concern. I just take it with a grain of salt and deal with it. Worst it has ever been is an inch of water (at the transom) after a full day of fishing. I have always trailored aluminum boats, but if I were going to leave on in the water, I would go with a welded.

Shear cost of riveted boats does it for me when in the aluminum market.

SeaJay
02-15-2013, 11:51 AM
It ain't our money, the OP should go ahead and get the more expensive welded variety.

muffinman51432
02-15-2013, 12:41 PM
I have a rivet'd 16' mirrocraft. It leaks about a gallon an hour on the hook. I am doing some work on it AGAIN this year. I tried 5200, and west system and nothing will stop it.

epanzella
02-15-2013, 02:26 PM
I had a Crestilner 24 ft great lakes. All welded awesome boat. I sold it to go bigger and have been regretting it ever since. Tried to buy another one but they don't make the 24 anymore. I have two friends with riveted boats and both needed to repair leaky rivets but not until after their tenth birthdays.

rwmct
02-15-2013, 05:43 PM
I am fishing a riveted Sylvan 14' that has been in the family since the 80s. Beat the heck out of it in LI Sound. It does not leak.

southernman13
02-15-2013, 08:33 PM
Certain grades of aluminum can't be welded to strength. It has tomb riveted. I have a 94 Lowe 22' deck boat that's riveted and it doesn't leak at all. I would prefer a welded boat if I had a choice.



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