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Old 12-13-2009, 08:27 PM
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Default Leaky Aluminum Hull

I am trying to fix a leaky aluminum riveted boat.

I have a couple leaks along the keel and would like to fix them.

I plan on simply cleaning the bottom off with a wire brush and sealing with 5200 will this work? Is there a better way?
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:36 PM
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I used an epoxy called Gluvit on my Mirrorcraft aluminum boat. I applied the Gluvit around all of the rivets and all of the seams. I applied it to the outside of the boat, nothing on the inside. The stuff is flexible and didn't crack the whole time I owned the boat. It stopped the leaks completely.

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Old 12-14-2009, 06:31 AM
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Once you have cleaned the bottom, tighten the rivets.

Have someone hold a sledge hammer on the outside, and you tap on the rivets with a much smaller hammer in the inside.

PS That is tap and not smash.

If it still leaks, then add a sealer.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:19 AM
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My buddy and I have restored several aluminum riveted boats in the 16 - 20 foot range with leaking rivets.
We tried 5200 and also tried tightening up the leakers by using a dolly and air hammer.
Neither of these procedures worked very well.
Now when we do a boat(alum.)we drill out the rivets,and replace them with stainless machine bolts with a ss washer and nylock nut.
We put a dab of 5200 on the head,and sock it down.Ten years of trailering and bouncing around on the road and water with zero leaks.

The disadvantage is that you have to be able to get to both sides of the hull.For us,it's not a problem as we are normally doing a complete deck replacement as well.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big easy View Post
My buddy and I have restored several aluminum riveted boats in the 16 - 20 foot range with leaking rivets.
We tried 5200 and also tried tightening up the leakers by using a dolly and air hammer.
Neither of these procedures worked very well.
Now when we do a boat(alum.)we drill out the rivets,and replace them with stainless machine bolts with a ss washer and nylock nut.
We put a dab of 5200 on the head,and sock it down.Ten years of trailering and bouncing around on the road and water with zero leaks.

The disadvantage is that you have to be able to get to both sides of the hull.For us,it's not a problem as we are normally doing a complete deck replacement as well.
Suggest aluminium rivets as you will get galvanic reaction if you keep the boat in the water for any length of time.

PS Tapping the rivets to stop the leak worked for me on both occassions
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:12 PM
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Thanks guys. The only problem is it will be very difficult to get at the top of the rivets since the boat has a deck in it that is solid (translate - good enough to where I do not want to remove). Boat is a Alumacraft bass boat and has full deck, live wells, side console etc. My repairs will have to be done while lying on back with the boat on the trailer.

I think I will try 5200 to start. I guess if I have too at some point I will have to remove the deck and then reinstall it. But this will be way more work than I intended when I purchased the boat, motor and trailer for less than 1k.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:03 PM
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I saw a really slick application for West System for just this purpose- I think it was on Ship Shape.

It involved some hull prep, and then application of their 6-10 epoxy (IIRC) around all the rivets and seams( hull was inverted and all work was done on the bottom- so a deck is not an issue). Heat was then applied with a torch to lower the viscosity of the epoxy and cause it to flow under the rivets and into the seams for a permanent repair.

Check West System's website- I'll bet there's info on the technique there.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:55 PM
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Saw the same episode on ship shape TV and looks like it would work much better than 5200. Really just depends how much work you want to put into it for what you will get out of it. Check the West system out if you are serious about fixing it for good.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:18 PM
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Aluminum boats are a staple of the boating industry and is exceedingly durable requiring a minimum of maintenance. They will tolerate being dragged out of lakes on the keel repeatedly and carried on the back of a pickup truck or gently pulled out of the water on a boat trailer. Aluminum boats are found in a variety of sizes and shapes both painted and unpainted. Typically, outside of routine maintenance, the only repair ever needed on an aluminum boat will be to stop a leak if one occurs. Like leaks in a house roof, leaks in aluminum boats can sometimes be hard to find since the location of the water inside isn't always seen where the water is actually entering. Techniques for finding the site of the leak and methods to fix it will be discussed. The repair tips discussed in this article apply to most aluminum craft but for the sake of simplicity the comments will be specifically directed towards open V bow or flat bow jon boats.

Most leaks in aluminum boats occur at the rivets rather than punctures due to rocks or sharp objects. Rivet leaks are typically not a result of a manufacturing problem but rather due to the rough handling of the boat or impacts with submerged objects such as rocks. While the source of the leak may be hard to find, rivet leaks are typically easier to patch then gashes since usually only one or two rivets will be found to be leaking. Depending on the size of a gash type leak it may be determined that taking the boat to a shop that does aluminum welding is the quickest way to secure a durable lasting repair. A variety of home based approaches may be tried on gash leaks less than 1" in length.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:20 AM
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What about this stuff, carries a money back guarantee
http://www.alumiweld.com/
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:42 AM
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I would fill the boat with water and identify which rivets are leaking by looking for drips under the boat. Might be just a few??? Go from there...
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