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Gelcoat cracks on the transom

Old 06-08-2020, 05:48 PM
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Default Gelcoat cracks on the transom

Im looking at a 1995 Wellcraft V21, Iíve had a few V20s in the past, love the boats but know they have a wood rot issue

There are spider cracks in the gelcoat on the transom. Nothing that looks like its any deeper than the gelcoat.

Transom seems solid, no flex when bouncing the motor. Motor bolt holes looks good, not sinking in at all. I pulled probably 15 screws from around the cap, transducers, swim ladder, wash down/ livewell 3 way etc.. none of the screws had any wet or dark wood come out, all but one came out completely clean, one had a tiny bit of dry brown wood on the end.

mallet test sounded good, Iíve had rotten transoms and one that was wet in spots. I didnít hear ya dull thuds in this one like Iíve heard in the bad ones.


Other than the spider cracks pictured there was one little chip In the gelcoat about the size of a dime (gelcoat still intact)

I did not and could not drill a core sample.

If these cracks were anywhere else I wouldnít care, Iíve just never saw them on a transom and Iím kind of stumped considering all the other tests I did seemed good.

With that info and this picture would you run far away from this boat? itís not an expensive boat but I donít want to buy a problem

What would cause this?





Last edited by jamesbalog; 06-08-2020 at 07:43 PM.
Old 06-08-2020, 06:14 PM
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Iím not sure how that couldnít be the layer of glass flexing from a soft core or an impact.
Old 06-08-2020, 06:51 PM
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Double post
Old 06-08-2020, 06:52 PM
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mbb
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Good transoms dont flex
Hence they dont crack
Looks looks like impact, but that still shouldn't be possible with the transom.

I would be leery.

but I wouldn't even look at an old boat with wooden transom and stringers and deck coring unless I was factoring in a rebuild on all of those things. Unless it was exceptionally well kept stored indoors etc.
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Old 06-08-2020, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mbb View Post
Good transoms dont flex
Hence they dont crack
Looks looks like impact, but that still shouldn't be possible with the transom.

I would be leery.

but I wouldn't even look at an old boat with wooden transom and stringers and deck coring unless I was factoring in a rebuild on all of those things. Unless it was exceptionally well kept stored indoors etc.
i am leery or it would be in my driveway. It does seem solid other than this, I couldnít get it to fail any other of my tests. The price on the boat isnít worth a survey either.

The boat has been rack stored year round for the last 8 years. It does have bottom paint so it was probably docked before that.

im wondering if it could have been bumped by the lift getting it out of the rack. It was on the top shelf when I saw them bring it down and the cracks would line up roughly where the forks would go

im not looking for a boat to keep for the next 10-20 years. Iím looking for something to keep for a couple years until I have the rest of the money saved for what I really want.


Old 06-08-2020, 07:35 PM
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Almost looks like something hit it.
Old 06-08-2020, 07:50 PM
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Not all transoms are completely cored particularly near rounded corners . If it's outside the coring in center it could have flexed
Old 06-08-2020, 09:12 PM
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Having some idea what part of the transom we're looking at would help, maybe you could back up the camera a few feet?
Gerald
Old 06-08-2020, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by commuter boats View Post
Having some idea what part of the transom we're looking at would help, maybe you could back up the camera a few feet?
Gerald
about 1.5ft to the left of the motor, dead center of the transom. It isnít near any corners, any bolts, or anything else that would scream stay away
Old 06-08-2020, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesbalog View Post
about 1.5ft to the left of the motor, dead center of the transom. It isnít near any corners, any bolts, or anything else that would scream stay away
Thanks, that helps. Are the edges slightly cupped / raised... Like the gel coat shrunk some?
Gerald
Old 06-08-2020, 10:58 PM
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Its a 95 so I would be surprised if it didn't have any. I have not been on a boat yet that didn't have some. It just depends how deep the cracks are. Can you get your finger nails in it? If not don't worry too much about it.
Old 06-09-2020, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by commuter boats View Post
Thanks, that helps. Are the edges slightly cupped / raised... Like the gel coat shrunk some?
Gerald
Gerald, not exactly sure of what your asking. But I donít recall if they were cupped/rasied. At least it didnít stand out to me at the time.

i will have to go look again.
Old 06-09-2020, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by angermanagement View Post
Its a 95 so I would be surprised if it didn't have any. I have not been on a boat yet that didn't have some. It just depends how deep the cracks are. Can you get your finger nails in it? If not don't worry too much about it.
if these cracks where anywhere else but the transom i wouldnít give them a second thought. Iíve just never seen them on a transom which is why Iím leery.

no you canít get your nails in it, i actually didnít even notice it the first time I walked around the boat. I didnít notice until I was inspecting the transom.
Old 06-09-2020, 02:52 PM
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I'm a big fan of trying to interpret stress cracks in gel coat. But these are a little odd. It's possible that the pattern suggests a stretching of the gel coat rather than an impact (compression) type of stress. An easy test would be to hold a 2 foot or longer straight edge over the cracks and see if it rocks back and forth over the cracks, the cracks being a sort of dome. If this is the case then it's pretty obvious what's going on.
Old 06-09-2020, 04:05 PM
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Did you by any chance pull the drain plug screws at the bottom and check for rot?

i have to agree with the others, not a real common sight being basically on its own in an area with no penetrations. What is going on inside the hull in the same area? Is it roughly where the stringer is knee braced to the transom? Possibly showing a different issue telegraphing through the transom?
Old 06-09-2020, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
Did you by any chance pull the drain plug screws at the bottom and check for rot?

i have to agree with the others, not a real common sight being basically on its own in an area with no penetrations. What is going on inside the hull in the same area? Is it roughly where the stringer is knee braced to the transom? Possibly showing a different issue telegraphing through the transom?

this hull has a 2 piece transom, almost like a bracket where the motor sits back a foot or so, I donít think the stringers make it that far back.

ive attached a picture of a V21 (not that actual boat) showing where the cracks are.

Old 06-10-2020, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesbalog View Post
Gerald, not exactly sure of what your asking. But I donít recall if they were cupped/rasied. At least it didnít stand out to me at the time.

i will have to go look again.
I'm thinking that it's a gelcoat chemistry problem... Like maybe the spray operator didn't clear the acetone from his gun after a flush and before he pointed it back into the mold. If the surveyor has a hardness tester, he / she might be able to detect a difference in the cure hardness . Besides hardness a acetone test might reveal poor cure in that area ; put a razor blade across the cracks and observe if there is any space between the blade and the gel coat, hold a rag soaked in acetone against the surface for a few minutes, check to see if the shine on the gelcoat has been reduced / gel coat softened and with the blade again, check to see if the edges of the cracks have swelled.
The hardness test it's more conclusive but any mechanic that is being inspected has to pass both of those tests.
Because of the location I'm inclined to not be very concerned but if you buy the boat, you should monitor it.
Gerald
Old 06-12-2020, 10:49 AM
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Well I ended up buying the boat. Once I drill into the transom to add a kicker bracket Iíll know more.

price was right with my concerns expressed so even if it ends up being worse that I thought I wonít be too far in the hole.





Old 06-12-2020, 11:00 AM
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If the transom is solid I bet its been replaced. Good chance that prior damage.

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