17.5' 1998 Tracker lost part of bottom support/rail strips

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old_school
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Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 10:04
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17.5' 1998 Tracker lost part of bottom support/rail strips

Post by old_school »

1st - great forum - been able to DIY our bilge, pour a new transom, fix the OB and now ....

When we bought the boat I noticed that one of the rail strips on the bottom had been repaired - someone spot welded on top of a loose rivet - I thought it looked strange so I even snapped a couple pics at the time - it also had some other little spot welds on the hull on either side of the rail (you can see them in the pics) - I figured they had a problem with the fuel tank brackets and needed to do some welding - our boat has a 5' long, 24" wide, 8" high plastic fuel tank that lays flat under the floor

We were out the other day - nothing irregular (although my wife did hit some other boater's wakes rather hard) - get back to the house, hosing underneath and WOAH! WTH!

QUESTION - is there another way of installing the broken piece of rail? (other than welding). I still have the foot long piece as it was hanging on by a sliver. The piece broke off right where the rivets were drilled on both LH and RH sides. The LH rail piece that is still on the boat is SUPER HARD to push and lay flat against the hull (maybe why it fatigued in the 1st place??). The RH rail is easy to push and lay flat against the hull.

Can another piece of aluminum just be cut and laid on top and then riveted? Or is it best to have all this welded?

Thanks!
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dr_beerman
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17.5' 1998 Tracker lost part of bottom support/rail strips

Post by dr_beerman »

WOW! is there any damage to the gunwale or keel in that general area? The reason I ask is it sounds like the hull might be flexing too much in that area. I would take it to a metal fab shop and see it they could replace to entire piece. best of luck

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BOB350RX
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17.5' 1998 Tracker lost part of bottom support/rail strips

Post by BOB350RX »

never seen that before must have some serious stress going on in there, are there seats removed that would be braces for the boat? or braces missing to help it from flexing?
THIS THING USED TO FLOAT

https://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic ... 21&t=20263, my 82 mirro build

https://www.powerstream.com/wire_size.htm voltage drop, and wire size charts, pretty useful stuff!! not just for 12v either

old_school
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Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 10:04
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you guys are right - here is what we found and solution so f

Post by old_school »

An autobody repair guy/friend inspected the rail - what caused the failure were little stress (flex) cracks that started around the rivets in the outside and thinnest part of the rail -there are actually 2 more tiny cracks by the next set of rivets as you head back along the rail towards the transom (again, right at the rivets)

We are assuming the front piece of rail failed by the rivets and then it peeled back to the next set of rivets (luckily I didn't lose the 12" piece of rail)

My friend's brother had an aluminum welding machine and tacked and welded the piece back in - he also put a couple tack/blob welds on top of the other 2 rivets/cracks - it doesn't look pretty but for 2 hours on his back at night (after working all day) it is pretty OK with me - I will post pictures

To ensure that more of the rail (there are 4 rails total running the length of the boat - 2 each side) do not fail - we are planning to add a few more rivets (they are currently spaced every 12" and we want to split that to 6" mainly upfront where the evidence of flexing is greatest - (since the hull is an older 1998 and the integrity is questionable we have decided against spot welding the rail to the hull instead of riveting) - there is also a 20 gallon fuel tank laying in the hull (please don't ask if we took it out before we welded - lets just say I had a lot of water blasting down the hull inspection/access compartment last night)

QUESTION - for the 32 rivets we will add (8 per rail for the 1st 4' of each rail) can we use just regular aluminum rivets or should we order that new Bull Frog Rivet kit? (that has epoxy you put on each rivet) - I am not that concerned with minor rivet leaks as the boat has a good bilge pump (boat was taking on about a 3/4 gallon every 45 minutes which was no big deal)

old_school
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17.5' 1998 Tracker - final solution - not going to rivet

Post by old_school »

After much consultation with other tin boat owners it looks like the rail failed because the hull was flexing (maybe previous owner hit large waves or wakes on a regular basis). When the hull flexes small stress cracks develop around the rivet holes. After a while it is just like bending a pop can back and forth - finally cracks in half (just like the rail).

Rather than weaken the rail, and put more holes in the hull, we are leaving it spot welded. As you can see it was not a pretty job but welding it upside down caused the weld to drip down and not into the holes - so it was a lot of spot/blob welding and grinding. I have since smoothed on some Marine Tex (epoxy) on any forward facing weld to help sheer the water off.

We are going to inspect all rivets on a more regular basis and when one starts cracking just spot weld that particular rivet/hole.

Thank you everyone and I hope this helps someone else having problems.
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rusty.hook
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17.5' 1998 Tracker lost part of bottom support/rail strips

Post by rusty.hook »

Now yall know why I will never ever have a riveted boat again, on my Tracker I had, there were loose rivets everywhere, from front to back. Must be a Tracker thing.
A BAD DAY ON THE WATER IS BETTER THAN A GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. MY FAVORITE TWO DAYS THAT START WITH A "T", ARE, "TODAY & TOMORROW".

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